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Kali White Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Monsters We Make (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Kali White
Author Kali White was born and raised on a dairy farm in southern Iowa, and writes and lives on a quiet acreage outside of Des Moines with her family and Olive, their highly emotional dog.

She holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a core faculty member in the Lindenwood University MFA Writing Program and teaches writing workshops regularly at various festivals and conferences. In addition to teaching and writing, she is a state lobbyist and advocate for mental health care reform.

Kali writes and publishes articles, short stories, and essays and serves as the managing editor of the micro-essay journal The Past Ten. Her work’s appeared in Poets & Writers, Midwestern Gothic, The Writer, Nowhere Magazine, and several other anthologies.

Kali, in previous professional lives, was a gymnastics instructor, a county case manager for mentally disabled children and adults, a substitute librarian, a childcare provider, a jewelry counter attendant at Target, and a waitress. She also spent a summer detasseling cornfields and a winter working on a Christmas tree farm. Kali lived in a remote Hungarian for weeks while she volunteered on an organic vegetable farm.

Kali gets inspired by the stories and lives of people around her, and she never knows what little nuggets going to catch her attention and stick. Sometimes it will be stories from her own family, sometimes it is a story that she reads or hears about in the news, or sometimes it’s a story somebody tells her about a friend of a friend.

A story of hers about the priest was inspired by the story on a real priest that is the son of one of Kali’s friends. Then she read about a separate murder case close to her childhood hometown that involved, in part, a mental health aspect, and those two stories merged together in her imagination and it got her writing the book.

Her first published novel, “The Space Between” (the first novel published as Kali VanBaale) was the third novel she had attempted writing. She had two failed novels in her computer files that she wrote sequentially. “The Space Between” came to her in chunks, just like images, so she would write the images that were on her mind that day. The first actual scene she wrote for that novel was where Judith rushes off to the school to find Lucas.

Early on, she also wrote the scene where Caroline (the mom of one of the victims) parks her car right in front of Judith’s house. Then she began free-writing Judith’s inner thoughts, attempting to get to know her better, and these free-writing exercises eventually evolved into her journal entries. After she had compiled enough material, she began to piece it together sequentially so that she could see just how and where the story would unfold.

This wasn’t that effective, because she had to fix a lot of continuity errors in the first draft, a bunch of inconsistencies to fix, and holes had to fill in. It worked because it was a story that about the reckoning of one woman through her journey through grief.

She got the idea for “The Monsters We Make” from the missing paperboy cases of Eugene Martin and Johnny Gosch in Des Moines during the early eighties. She grew up, like all the Gen X Iowa kids, in the frightening shadow of these cases and she never forgot about them. She had wanted to write about them in some way for years, however she hadn’t found the right angle or through story.

Until 2007, there were child abduction cases in Missouri of Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck that she became interested in the idea that one crime would inadvertently expose another. With this idea in mind, a plot began forming around the story of the Des Moines cases.

Kali finds the best part about being a writer is being able to live other lives. She’s endlessly fascinated by what makes people tic. Their sorrows, triumphs, joys, and struggles. She loves to look at a situation or a person and asking “What if…?” Exploring all of the possible paths that question opens up is always interesting.

Kali has won the Fred Bonnie Memorial First Novel Award, the Eric Hoffer Book Award for General Fiction, the Great River Writer’s Retreat, and an Independent Publisher’s silver medal for general fiction. She has also received the American Book Award, and an Iowa Arts Council major artist grant.

She has published other novels under the name Kali VanBaale. Her first novel published under her Kali White name is “The Monsters We Make”, a mystery novel.

“The Monsters We Make” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. In August of 1984, Christopher Stewart, a paperboy, has gone missing. Hours later, Sammy Cox (age twelve) hurries home from his paper route, out of breath and red-faced, hiding a horrible secret.

Crystal, Sammy’s older sister, is worried by the disappearance but see this as an opportunity. The Stewart case has some echoes of one earlier unsolved disappearance of this other boy, a town over. Crystal senses the makings of an award winning essay, one that may win her a scholarship, as well as a ticket of their small Iowa town.

Officer Dale Goodkind cannot believe his bad luck. Another paperboy’s been kidnapped in another town. This time he vows it’s not going to go unsolved. While the abductions set in motion one unpredictable chain of devastating and violent events touching each of the lives in some unexpected ways, Dale is forced to face demons of his own.

The story is told through interwoven perspectives, and is based on the real-life Des Moines Register paperboy abductions during the early eighties, the novel explores the effects of one crime that exposes another. As well as the secrets that people keep hidden from families, friends, and sometimes, even themselves.

Readers were hooked right from the very first page of the novel. It is a story that creeps up the back of your neck, and is a haunting and intense story that is just as terrifying as it is twisty. It is a nail biter of a suspense novel with an atmospheric and dark heart.

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