Poetry, children’s books, young adult, cookbooks, adult – today’s author writes in all of these genres. She also works in a demanding profession, is raising a family, and maintains several blogs. Makes you wonder if she ever sleeps. She learned about tarot cards from a fellow blogger (bet I know who) and incorporated them into her featured novel. Welcome Robbie Cheadle!
Have you ever had a tarot card reading?
I have never had a tarot card reading. I don’t know where you would go to get one here in South Africa. I learned about tarot cards through a series of posts by a fellow blogger and found them fascinating. They interested me so much that I researched the meanings of all the different tarot cards and wove them into my book, A Ghost and His Gold.
My main character, Michelle’s, best friend reads tarot cards and I have a few scenes with readings. I also closed out the tarot card readings as part of the conclusion of the story.
Here is a short extract:
“Alice turns over the card on the left. It’s the Moon. Paling slightly, she draws in a deep breath.
“The Moon in the past position, as it relates to romance, could mean that you have an inaccurate perception of your partner. It is possible that your partner has not been completely honest with you and has hidden secrets.”
Michelle grimaces, “That is rather concerning, especially considering the poltergeist, or whatever she is, said he was a lying cheat and that I was a traitor to my sex for marrying him. What can it all mean?”
“I’m not sure, Michelle, but it may not mean what you think it does. Let’s consider the next card and what it tells us about your relationship?”
Alice flips over the middle card and reveals the Ten of Swords.
Starting visibly, Michelle sucks in air through gritted teeth. “That’s not a good card in the context of a relationship,” she hisses.”
Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?
I have never dunked for apples but have read about it. I have actually assisted my dad with carving a Jack o’ lantern. Halloween is not celebrated much here in South Africa although in the past 10 years, a few people have parties on 31 October. I have always enjoyed the idea of Halloween and loved horror stories from a young age.
A few years ago, our local grocery store got carving pumpkins and we bought few to make Jack o’ Lanterns. They came out well, but sadly, I forgot to take a picture.
As you can see from this picture, our local pumpkins aren’t suitable for carving due to their thin skins and flat shape. When I was a girl, I used to wonder how on earth anyone managed to carve a pumpkin, I didn’t know there were different types of pumpkins.
Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?
I have seen figures in my peripheral vision, but sadly they are not ever ghosts or spirits, but usually my cat who likes to slink up behind me.
My character, Michelle, on the other hand, does see otherworldly shadows in her peripheral vision. This is evidenced in the following short extract:
“She inspected the board and, after removing the plastic covering, the planchette. There were no instructions on how it should be used. “I must look up how it works,” she murmured to herself.
A shadow shifted on the far wall of her office and an unexpected cold draft made her shiver. Glimpsing a subtle movement out of the corner of her eye, she swung around quickly, but saw nothing at all. There was no shadow on the wall.
Michelle picked up the Ouija board and planchette and placed them next to her laptop. As soon as I finish my work, I’ll do some research on these and how they work.”
Would you and your main character get along?
My main character, Michelle, shares similar characteristics to me in many ways. She is a chartered accountant [just like me] who has elected to leave full time employment and run her own small accounting business so that she can develop her career as a writer [I haven’t done exactly this but I do work reduced hours – in theory anyway]. Michelle’s husband is a chartered accountant [just like mine], but unlike my husband, Tom is the personification of everything I dislike in select individuals in the profession who participate in excessive drinking and extra marital affairs and who become the target of office gossip and speculation.
I think that Michelle is probably nicer and softer than I am. I don’t know if I would be able to forgive my partner misleading me and telling outright lies. I think, when I created Michelle, I made her a better version of me.
If you decided to write a spinoff of a side character, who would you choose?
Hmmmm! For me this question should be could you write a spinoff of a side character. I am not sure I could for the simple reason that, for me, when a book is finished and I sign off for the publisher to go ahead, all the characters disappear out of my head. So far, none of them have returned to tickle my writing fancy again. I only have three novels though so there is still time for it to happen. Somehow, I don’t think it will though. I am not a person who ever looks back or who is good at staying in contact with colleagues and acquaintances from the past. It is always about the future and something new and exciting for me. I’m even like this with baking, never creating the exact same cake or dish twice.
What are you working on now?
That is an interesting question, Teri. I seem to be having a bit of trouble settling on one idea at the moment, so I am working on five books at the same time. I like to write sections in my books from the perspective of different characters and so I am finishing a piece by a character or a chapter, as relevant, and then moving to another WIP.
The one I am currently progressing is called The Soldier and the Radium Girl and is a historical paranormal book about the First World War. I am writing from the American perspective which is quite interesting for me. I have to make sure I don’t slip into language like bloody which is not a term an American would use. I have an American Beta reader who is checking this for me. I am currently at 15,000 words with this story.
I am also working on the first book in a series about climate change and the fourth industrial revolution. This is a sci fi book, but it is heavily entrenched in reality and real future predictions for mankind. I am doing a lot of research for this book too, as I need to get the details of genetic engineering, climate change, pollution, and the future of the pandemic correct and then extrapolate these predictions forward. The writing and research for this book are quite intense which is why I need to take breaks from it. This book is approximately 45,000 words to date.
I am working on the sequel to While the Bombs Fell, a historical novel for teenagers about my mother’s life growing up in a small British town during WWII. I have progressed this document to about 15,000 words.
I am also writing a biography of my own childhood growing up in South Africa in the 80’s. It is stilled along the lines of My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards and is called The Girl Who Loved Dolls. This one is approximately 10,000 words to date.
Finally, I am working on a new Sir Chocolate book called Chocolate Fudge saves the sugar dog story and cookbook which is due out before Christmas. All the artwork is finished and I am just finalizing the recipes before it goes to my publisher.
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lies in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s books
TSL Books (paperback)
Roberta Eaton Cheadle author biography
Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000. Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
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