Individual Author Record
Born in Chicago, Cheatham grew up in Elmwood Park and later attended Northern Illinois University for both undergrad and graduate school. She taught special education in Cicero and Elk Grove Village and worked in business at her father's company in Elk Grove Village where she now resides with her family.
Biographical and Professional Information
For the past ten years, Cheatham has been writing YA novels and has been involved with the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), acting for many years as a network rep for a SCBWI critique group at the Schaumburg Barnes & Noble. Her debut novel, Merely Dee, a fictionalized account of the 1915 Eastland Boat Disaster, was published in January 2012. Cheatham has a personal connection to the Eastland story and has been interested in the disaster her entire life. She's created a power point presentation on her Eastland research and how Chicago's greatest loss-of-life disaster effected the city, Cicero, and Western Electric Hawthorne Works.
Merely Dee, iUniverse, 2012
Titles At Your Library
The 1915 Western Electric Employee Picnic is the social highlight of the year in Cicero, Illinois. Five steamers wait to ferry seven thousand passengers to the picnic grounds in Michigan City, Indiana. As teenager Dee Pageau packs her picnic basket and prepares to board the SS Eastland, she anticipates this will be the best day of her life. Dee hopes to spend time with her best friend, Mae Koznecki-but she also wants to get to know Mae's handsome brother, Karel, a little better. Dee has no idea that in a matter of hours, tragedy will strike. Despite her mother's dark premonition that death awaits her if she boards the SS Eastland, Dee decides the risk is worth a chance for more time with Karel. Dee's excitement quickly turns to terror, though, when the ship capsizes at the dock, threatening the lives of everyone on board. Rescued from certain death-not once, but twice-by Karel and a mysterious stranger, Dee soon discovers that Mae is nowhere to be found. Dee can only sit back and wait to hear if she is trapped in the flooding bowels of the capsized ship or worse yet, dead. In this captivating historical tale, Dee takes a coming-of-age journey like no other as she soon realizes that surviving the disaster is only the beginning.
Editor's Choice from iUniverse Publishing, ''Merely Dee''
Rising Star Award from iUniverse Publishing, ''Merely Dee''