Kate Allen was born in Massachusetts. She began writing stories while still in high school. She studied creative writing at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, worked as a teacher, and raised a family before writing her debut novel, »The Line Tender« in 2019.
The main character is twelve-year-old Lucy Everhart, whose mother, a marine biologist, died suddenly while conducting research on sharks. Lucy was seven years old at the time. Since the incident, she has lived alone with her father, a rescue diver who throws himself into his work and also dives frequently in his spare time to cope with the loss. Well integrated into a network of close friends and neighbors, Lucy prefers to spend her days with her buddy Fred. Together, they are working on a school project for which they are documenting all the creatures in their hometown, the fishing town of Rockport. Lucy draws the animals, and Fred looks up information about how they live. When a great white shark is pulled ashore – a very unusual occurrence – Lucy gets the opportunity to follow up on her mother’s research. In the process, she not only learns more about sharks, but also about her mother and the people in her mother’s life. It is a novel about mourning that does not have a depressing tinge, but rather conveys a lot of humor with a variety of lovingly drawn characters and leaves readers in a hopeful mood. The novel was inspired by her own experiences: when Kate Allen was nineteen years old, a fisherman in her hometown caught a great white shark and brought it to the harbor. Shortly before, Allen had been swimming in the ocean – in the belief that the water was too cold for sharks. Commenting on the supposedly heavy themes of loss and grief in her book, the author said in an interview with »Publishers Weekly«, that she »wanted to show that hard things happen, but that there is a pathway forward from struggle«. As part of the research for her book, she conducted interviews with the fisherman who caught the great white shark at the time, the biologist who subsequently dissected the animal, and a shark expert. The predators are also the focus of Xingye Jin’s illustrations, which introduce the chapters and show movement studies, body structure, and different types of sharks. The book received a recommendation from the Luchs jury.
The author lives in Minneapolis with her family.