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Gainesville native pens her first novel
Lady of the House about self-realization
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As a child at Candler Street Elementary, Katherine Elberfeld wrote a collection of short stories in her notebook with a pencil to give to her friends as Christmas presents.

Writing, she said, just came naturally to her.

As an adult, Elberfeld has continued to hone her craft. With four books to her credit, Elberfeld’s latest fictional novel, “Lady of the House,” is about a woman’s journey to self-realization and self-actualization.

The book is available through, paperback for $12 or Kindle edition for $9.99.

The novel follows recently widowed Annie as she looks back on her childhood in rural Georgia, her life, the decisions she made and the people who influenced her.

Amanda C. Gable, author of “The Confederate General Rides North,” said the book brings the Georgia landscape and complicated family to life.

“This meditative and vibrant narrative will delight readers who want to experience or relive the now vanishing outdoor life of children in the rural south and Annie’s trials will resonate with those who know cruelly conflicting expectations from families,” Gable wrote.

Elberfeld said the book was inspired partly by her own life’s journey. As a young woman in her late 20s, Elberfeld said she went through an “emotional growth spurt” allowing her to think about her life and where she was heading.

“It really came from my own experience in many ways,” Elberfeld said. “I wrote the book really as an outgrowth of my own personal development as I came into my self. As I grew and matured and became my own person as opposed as being my parents’ daughter or this or this or this. It just came from my own journey of deepening personal awareness and self actualization.”

Her parents, however, played a role in her development as a writer.

At the urging of her father, Lou Fockele, publisher of the Gainesville Times from 1949 to 1981, Elberfeld earned a masters degree in journalism.

“As I was contemplating what to do next, I remember daddy’s counsel was to think about journalism school because that was going to ‘trim the fat’ of my writing,” Elberfeld said. “I’ll never forget that that’s the way he phrased it. I’m really, really glad I did that because it did trim the fat. Being able to write as a reporter writes, in a leaner fashion, was just exactly what I needed.”

Elberfeld worked at a few different newspapers in Virginia and as a freelance writer for a number of years before becoming an Episcopal priest. She was ordained in 1999.

She founded the Gabriel Center for Servant-Leadership 15 years ago in Marietta, where she now lives.

Elberfeld said it’s funny to look back on her life and see how each step in her career lead her to where she is now.

“Really being in the priesthood and being a reporter are very similar,” Elberfeld said laughing. “In that they’re trying to get the word out.”