This anthology set is a bundle including Whispers of the Past, Spirits of the West, and Where Spirits Linger. All three anthologies combined into one convenient paranormal set for lovers of ghost stories.
Author Interview: Roberta "Robbie" Eaton Cheadle
A contributor to all three anthologies in the set for a total of five stories. Titles: "The Last of the Lavender", "Missed Signs" (Whispers of the Past); "Ghost in the Mound", "The Thirstyland Journey" (Spirits of the West); "Listen to Instructions" (Where Spirits Linger).
As a poet, writing in the horror genre of the paranormal/supernatural is a different tone then the succinct and lyrical form of creative writing, how do you find writing horror? Is it a challenge?
As far back as I can remember I have always written poetry and played with words, forming them into descriptive paragraphs that, as a young girl, I thought were quite delightful. I have also always enjoyed books about people and their everyday lives and grew up reading L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series. These were the books I attempted to mimic with my descriptive passages.
At the age of ten I progressed to adult books. I had read everything in the children’s library and wasn’t allowed to borrow adult books. I resorted to reading my mom’s books behind the couch. I am the oldest of four girls and my mom was a very busy mother. She never missed me or noticed me stretched out on the floor behind the couch with one of her books in my hands. My mom was a Stephen King fan. I worked my way through The Shining, Salem’s Lot, The Stand, The Running Man, Cujo, Christine, The Talisman, Firestarter, Carrie, and Pet Sematary. These books scared me to death, but I loved them. When I had exhausted mom’s King collection, I moved on to her collection of Charles Dickens books. These were beautiful leather-bound books with thin, wispy pages.
My reading tastes remained dark, and I favour books about war, paranormal and dystopia. As a result, transitioning from writing poetry and children’s books wasn’t difficult for me. That being said, I might not have thought to attempt writing horror if I hadn’t come across a short story competition on another writer’s blog. An idea for my first horror story, The Willow Tree, came to me and I decided to give writing horror a whirl. Since that first attempt in 2018, I have written two supernatural historical novels and written dark stories for inclusion in nine anthologies, three of which are the WordCrafter anthologies.
Writing children’s books are often more visual creative than writing short stories, how do you use your gift for visualization in your writing craft of long narratives?
The feedback I receive from readers is that my books are very descriptive. The feedback has been positive despite my initial concern that modern readers don’t like a lot of description. Descriptive prose is my writing style, and I wouldn’t want to change it.
I have lived through some difficult experiences including numerous house robberies, thefts of cars, two children with chronic illnesses necessitating numerous operations and hospitalisations, and a home invasion when my mother and I were tied up and I had a gun at my head.
When I write, I insert myself into the circumstances of my story and visualise how I would feel, think, and react. I draw from my own negative experiences and try to capture the essence of them on paper. I always write dark literature for adults and my characters are usual either ghosts who are already dead or people who are destined to die. I have written about death from a gunshot numerous times in my stories.
Why am I drawn to writing dark stories? I do not know as I am naturally an upbeat and positive person.
Out of the five short stories you have written, which one was your favorite? Which one was the most unsettling? And, which one drew from one of your real-life experiences?
My favourite of these five short stories is The Ghost in the Mound from Spirits of the West. This was based on a real event in South African history where a wagon train comprising of nine ox-wagons was attacked and all the families were killed in the ensuing fight. Afrikaans women did use termite mounds as ovens to bake bread and some of these mounds are enormous. I had the idea of a young mother hiding her baby in one of these old ovens to save it from death during an attack and from that idea, this story was born.
The Thirstyland Journey from Spirits of the West is the short story that is the most disturbing to me as it is the one that is most closely based on a true story. The outcome and deaths in that story are all real and it was a most tragic situation as there were several children who died. Life for pioneering families was extremely hard and many of them died of sickness, starvation, or thirst, and during attacks.
Missed Signs from Whispers of the Past is the story that is most closely based on a real-life experience. The reason I say this is because the main character suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has a horror of germs and illness. The character of Sean is based on someone close to me who suffers from this illness. I like this story very much.
Would you like to visit a real haunted location? Have you already? What would you like to experience at a haunted place that would help you as a horror fiction writer? If you have a past experience, did that help you write your stories?
My husband and I have travelled extensively in the UK and South Africa. We favour visiting sites of historical interest, especially battlefields, forts, castles, and museums. We have visited several sites that are believed to be haunted. Our own house, which is the original farmhouse in our area in Johannesburg, is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of a gang of bandits who hid in the house and were killed in a shoot out with the authorities in 1929.
I am open minded about ghosts and spirits, but sadly, they have never chosen to reveal themselves to me. I would be interested in experiencing a paranormal phenomenon, but I don’t think I have any gifts in that direction. I do experience the dark horror of certain places and I am imaginative so I am able to write my stories without having any real supernatural experiences. I am particularly interested in the psychology of murderers and people who die unnatural deaths as a result of murder or war.
Roberta has a historical supernatural novel set during the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa coming out in early 2021.
When she is not writing, Roberta enjoys working in the garden and creating fondant and cake artworks.
- Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
- Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za
|Join Our Community Event|
If you like this interview, then read the others in the Lingering Spirit Whispers series: