Kristi Cheatham (K.L. Allen) is a young writer with a difficult past. She was the oldest of two kids who grew up with a violent, abusive mother in a mostly single-parent household. From an early age she escaped from the nightmare of her reality and took refuge in art, particularly books and music.
“In a way, I am grateful for my past”, she said, “for it taught me the value of love and kindness. Because of that deep sinking darkness, I learned to appreciate the light and use it as a creative advantage.”
Enjoy the interview below as she explains more about herself and her writing experience.
Since when have you been writing and how did you start?
I really discovered my passion for writing in sixth grade at a Baptist private school – no less – when I was given several creative writing assignments. The first, was to create a complete story character. The next, was to write a short story for that character. At the time I was obsessed with Ancient Egypt and Anne Rice, so my character had to be an Ancient Egyptian vampire (obviously!). Even though that original story was thrown in the trash and I was made to re-do those assignments – without vampires – I still kept that story idea in my heart. Now it is the start of a three novel series.
What do you usually write about, the main topics of your writings?
Someone recently pointed out that the main theme throughout my stories seems to be “escape.” Perhaps, she is correct.
What are you currently working on, what can you say is particular about this project?
My current project is titled, “Monster.” It is in the final editing stages and is a story about a monster who comes to live under a little girl’s bed in order to protect her from the real monsters – her parents. I believe it is unique, because it is not the typical “werewolf/monster” story. I have taken influences from the Native Alaskan Inuit legends of the amarok, Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee”, reincarnation and turned them into an original story.
How did you get the idea of your current project ?
The idea came from a writing prompt: “What if the monster hiding beneath a child’s bed wasn’t the real monster?” That question bounced around in my head for weeks. I wasn’t sure just how to start it and I almost didn’t. Then I saw an ad on Facebook for a writing competition and I toyed with the idea of actually entering it. By the time I finally conquered my writing fears, I only had six days to write an entire short story from scratch that had to be 4,500 words or less. An hour away from the entry deadline, I crossed my fingers and submitted “Monster: A Short Story”. That was the first time I ever felt proud about anything I had written. I quickly fell in love with it and felt like it deserved to become a richer, fuller story.
How do you intend to get this story into the hands of your readers and how do you think they will react to it?
I would like to have this story available on Amazon and other e-reader services by the end of this year. My hope is that readers will connect to the characters in a positive way and love them as much as I do.
Personally, how do you feel when you are writing your stories; does it make any difference to you if you never write again?
My entire life, I’ve felt completely out of place and as restless as the sea. However when I am writing, I somehow feel grounded. Sometimes, a story idea pops into my head that is randomly inspired by music. Other times, it can be a quote I read or a vibrant sunset. Writing has given me strength when I felt I had none. It has been a light in the storm. Without it, I honestly don’t believe I would still be here. So in a way, I breathe to write and write to breathe. Maybe I’ll inspire someone else along the way.
Who is your best author of reference and why?
There have been so many authors that have inspired me over the years, that it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one. Anne Rice has been a huge influence with her unforgettable characters and richly crafted worlds. Stephen King on the other hand, has been my “writing mentor” with all of his sage advise.
Where do you see yourself in the future in terms of writings?
In the future, I plan on having many more books written and published. Who knows….maybe a movie or two?
Thank you very much for your time and good luck for your present and future books.
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Obehi Peter Ewanfoh