Kelly Cheek has been closely following a creative muse for his entire life. He grew up in the big city of Sacramento, California and the small town of Parsons in southeast Kansas. As a devoted introvert, he never really fit in with most social circles, but was happiest when stuck away in his room with his creative pursuits – art, writing songs and playing them on his guitar, and writing stories.
He graduated from high school in Kansas after taking all the art and English courses that were offered. He didn’t go to college, but delved right into the work force with a string of diverse jobs he hated, from fry cook to construction worker. After four years, he managed to wrangle a job as a graphic designer at a decal company that had a lousy attitude toward its workers, but it was a start to his professional creativity.
Kelly was a natural. Born creative, many of the earliest photos of him, back before color was invented, show him with a pencil in his hand. He was drawing before he could read, but once he learned to read, he started writing.
He started writing actual short stories in his teens, and though he had naïve dreams of becoming a celebrated author, none of those stories were ever published. One, however, lasted for decades. Kelly wrote and rewrote it several times over the years as he learned more about writing. In time, though he enjoyed the process of writing it, he came to realize that the story was not really viable as a commercial novel. But he liked some of the characters and their accounts enough that he has since lifted them from their original story and placed them in other projects where they could live out their natural lives outside the confines of the perpetually unfinished original.
His writing method always involves a basic outline of where he sees the story going. He doesn’t put a great deal of detail into it, allowing a certain amount of flexibility. Though he knows where the story is going, sometimes the characters surprise him. The story still ends up in the same general vicinity to which he sent it, but the characters may take a different route.
He does research as needed, often online, but many times on site. This has involved trips to towns in Colorado like Georgetown, Manitou Springs and Boulder, and even to such exotic locations as Edinburgh, Scotland.
As with most writers, though some argue against its existence, Kelly does sometimes deal with writer’s block. Scotch sometimes is involved, but often what helps most is talking about the problematic scene with someone else. A new viewpoint, a different set of eyes, another brain can help open up a possibility that he hadn’t considered.
Now, having spent years honing his craft, he’s a lover of history, and enjoys writing stories set against real historical backgrounds. He is particularly fascinated with how the past interacts with and influences the present, and the scenes in his stories often alternate between past and present.
Kelly Cheek now lives in Denver, Colorado, where he can often be found hunched over his computer, pouring his lifeblood into his next opus.