susan taylor chehak

Publications

Nonfiction
At the time of her death in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, during the summer of 1970, eighteen-year-old Paula Oberbroeckling was a beautiful leggy blonde who dreamed of becoming a model. She disappeared in the early morning hours of July 11th, after she'd borrowed her roommate's car to go off on an unspecified errand. She was barefoot and dressed in a sky-blue nightgown with matching panties. The next morning, the roommate's car was found parked in a no parking zone near a grocery store, and Paula was gone. Four months later, a pair of young brothers who were on a hike along the railroad tracks down by the Cedar River came upon some human remains and homicide detectives were called in. While rumors flew, the ensuing police investigation brought no conclusive answer to what had happened to Paula. All these many years later, the case remains unsolved.
Short Stories
Read the whole story online, at Blue Lake Review.
Online at Conte: A Journal of Narrative Writing
Included in a new anthology from SeedpodPress
Read it in the Winter 2013 issue of Permafrost
read it in the summer 2013 issue of Grey Sparrow Journal
Now available at Amarillo Bay
Now available at Necessary Fiction: Part One and Part Two
Now available at Juked
read it in the Spring 2012 issue of Folio by subscribing HERE
available online at Folly
read it in the Spring 2011 issue of Coe Review by subscribing HERE
read it on your Kindle, or your Kindle App
Fiction
“[Chehak's] ambitiously imaginative novel questions the very nature of reality… [a] diverting exploration of metaphysical concepts. Winsome and smartly playful.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Chehak's prose provides a seamless, calm flow to a novel whose elements of love and murder ripple enticingly, fully surfacing only gently, only eventually, in the most satisfying kind of storytelling." -Booklist
"Haunting . . . Clodine Wheeler is the bemused narrator who strings together brilliant beads of descriptive phrases as she sorts through her memories . . . Chehak skillfully depicts small-town meanness and ironic generosity . . . . Her mesmerizing tale has classic resonances." – Publishers Weekly
"A dark tale of obsession among the posh ranks of a midwestern town... Chehak's poetic style exposes the passionate longings beneath the mannered sterling-and-crystal patina of Cedar Hill life; she renders both violence and love with an unflinching eye and casts a mournful spell." -Vogue
"Chehak is a very accomplished storyteller, always in control of her narrative, which moves ahead with grace and speed. But it's not only the plot that matters to this writer. It's the telling little details, particularly of teenage angst and of domestic life that makes the novel rich... SMITHEREENS is a novel fully worthy of the title thriller. It's hard to put down. It has a kind of dark allure." - The Los Angeles Times
“In Susan Taylor Chehak’s skilled hands, Iowa becomes the seething, steamy setting for a tale of pure evil… This is a marvelous, creepy story.” -The Kansas City Star
Online Projects


Susan Taylor Chehak is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop and the author of several novels, including The Great Disappointment, Smithereens, The Story of Annie D., and Harmony. Her short stories have appeared in Folio, Coe Review, Guernica Magazine, and The Adirondack Review, among other places.

Susan's other ongoing projects include All The Lost Girls a website devoted to exploring the lost girl archetype and the grip her story continues to have on our cultural imagination, In Hollow Hill, where she documents evidence for the existence of goblins in the 60 acres of undeveloped woodland at the edge of Nowhere, in Linwood, Iowa; and The Foreverland Chronicles, where she is creating detailed narrative record of Foreverland and its denizens.

Susan is also the driving force behind Foreverland Press, an e-book publisher devoted to bringing back the backlists of fine writers who might have otherwise been overlooked. Other of her online projects include, What Happened To Paula, a collaborative web-based investigation into the as yet unsolved murder of a former schoolmate, and The Truth About Paula O., a blogged memoir of Susan's ongoing 15-year investigation into the Paula Oberbroeckling murder case.

Susan has taught fiction writing in the low residency MFA program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the University of Southern California, and the Summer Writing Festival at the University of Iowa. She grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, lives occasionally in Toronto, and at present calls Colorado home.


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