One of Kerry’s earliest memories are of weekend mornings going to work with her dad in his big red truck. Off they’d drive to a nearby New Jersey neighborhood, where they’d stroll door to door putting cards in mailboxes, the words “Leddy Siding” brightly festooned across the flyers. She loved the time they spent in the truck, singing along with the radio and sleuthing out whodunnit in the latest Nancy Drew series.
When she ran out of books to chat about, her dad would ask, “Did you have any good dreams last night?” Dreams, he told her, also held hidden clues. Together they cracked the code of these nighttime visions. She had no idea how this working-class man, who had not gotten past high school and never read a book as far as she could tell, not only understood the meaning of dreams but also took hers seriously.
One Saturday, Bridge Over Troubled Water played on the AM radio. Listening closely, she was gripped by each and every word. It took her breath away to discover a marvelous secret, that the bridge meant something more—a friend who helps you over hard times. As with dreams, lyrics held deeper meanings and connected you to others.
In time, sitting side by side with her father while the music played, she began to understand the power that lay beneath and within words, setting her on her path to a career as a psychoanalyst and then a writer.
For Kerry, writing and doing therapy share something essential: they are a form of sleuthing. Each starts by grappling with a real-life puzzle or conflict, something she wants to understand. As the questions deepen in texture and tone, she takes pen to pad. Initially there is no editing, revising, or obsessing over language. The goal is to get the words down on paper, knowing that if she sweats the details she’ll lose the essence of the story.
Then the fun begins. What most writers call revising, she thinks of as detective work. Like Sherlock Holmes she picks up her magnifying glass to observe, deduce, and collect evidence. The smells, sounds, tastes, and dialogue she discovers or invents is the DNA of the characters.
Kerry first shared her cases as co-author of three books. Wearing my Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories (2011) and The Therapist in Mourning: From the Faraway Nearby (2013) were both published byColumbia University Press, and Who’s Behind the Couch (2017) was published by Routledge Press.
Her personal essays have appeared nationally in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals including New York Times, Washington Post, Zone 3, Washingtonian Magazine, Huffington Post, Bethesda Magazine, Arlington Magazine, Account Magazine, and Delmarva Review, which nominated her essay for a Pushcart Prize.
As co-chair of New Directions in Writing (https://newdirectionsinwriting.com), a three-year, low-residency writing program, she and the other faculty inspire students to write with a psychoanalytic edge.
Kerry and her husband Alan live in Potomac, Maryland, where they raised their four children.
Regal House/Fitzroy Books publication of Meet the Moon, long listed for the Kraken Prize, brings her back to her first love—novels.