Recently, we here at the Jet Fuel Review hosted an Alumni Author Reading featuring three alumni from the university where we are based, Lewis University. We wanted to celebrate them not only in that space, but here on the blog, too. Two weeks ago we spotlighted former JFR Managing Editor Tim Fitzpatrick, last week we highlighted poet Susan Slaviero, and this week we finally have novelist Kendra Hadnott.
Kendra Hadnott is an author, freelance writer, educator, and blogger. In 2015, she was named the third place winner in the 2014 International 3-Day Novel Contest for her novella, Somebody’s Nobody. Her short stories have been published in various university magazine publications. She is the author of the 5-book LIVE series and children’s paranormal fantasy novel, Something Watching Me (an official 2016 Chicago Public School Battle of the Books title). Her science-fiction novel, Death Leaders, is the latest of her work to be published. Previously a writer/project manager for a well-known toy company, Kendra happily traded in her 9-to-5 gig for a rewarding career as an author. She holds a bachelors degree in English from Lewis University. You can visit her website here.
Below we have an interview with Kendra, and also feature the first chapter of her novella, Somebody’s Nobody.
My library is super diverse. I read quite a bit for pleasure, so I switch things up to keep my interest. On my shelf you’d find the following types of books (and probably more): fiction, autobiographies, self-help, spirituality, philosophical readings, etc. Fiction interests me the most. If you’ve ever read my work, you know that I’m all for escaping the confines of real life. It fascinates me when authors make the unreal feel like a normal, everyday event.
From one of your favorite books, pick a quote that speaks to you.
I haven’t committed anything to memory, but you can never go wrong with a good Dr. Seuss quote!
Do you have a favorite poem?
Not really. I’m primarily a fiction writer, but I do admire writers who are able to fuse poetry and prose. Author Lauren Oliver does this particularly well.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Kendra’s novella Somebody’s Nobody is published by Miles Way Press and can be purchaed here.
Chapter 1: DETECTIVE BOOKMAN
Amy was 24, a great cook, a skilled driver, and dead. At least that’s what her neighbors had managed to remember about her. One neighbor had seen her make a flavorful-looking manicotti dish last Tuesday. Another had seen her artfully turn a corner while driving. No one else in the neighborhood answered their door.
I had first gotten wind of Amy’s case at 8:07pm on Wednesday March 24th. I remember the exact moment because it was the first time in months that my wife had not acknowledged my presence begrudgingly. I think she was glad to have me home for once. Candied yams, macaroni, grilled salmon with bell peppers- and then a phone call from Detective Chapman who was on 25th street standing next to a young girl who had been stabbed 47 times and nearly decapitated.
When I arrived, I immediately shared Chapman’s frustration. There were two neighbors nearby who had come out to see what happened. John, who had apparently kept a close watch on Amy’s dinners, stood lackadaisically against a light post smoking a cigarette. He sported cut off tattered shorts, large brown flip flops, and a dingy white t-shirt with a stretched out front pocket. I decided to keep an eye on him. Carol, an elderly woman in her 80s who had especially admired Amy’s driving abilities, sat across the street on a stair stoop with a yellow tank top and short grey sweat shorts, casually watching the police. She was surprisingly scantily clad for a woman of her age. I made a mental note to arrest her for indecent exposure once this case had closed. Amy Clad had been a “nobody” it seemed. No traces of friends and a near empty cell phone with the exception of two entries: a local clothing store and her mother.
“Nothin huh?” I asked Chapman as I lit a cigarette. The subtle burn of the nicotine felt good when it mixed with the cool night air. Detective Chapman lowered his eyebrows in frustration.
“This kid could have been listed in Merriam Webster as the prime definition of a hermit. And now she’s the worst kind, a dead one.” I was all too familiar with Chapman’s statement. We had worked with far too many untraceable young adults; adults who as children had run away and didn’t want to be bothered with being found. To me, Amy Clad was not a nobody. She was somebody who had managed to pull me away from helping my son with his Algebra the day before finals. Somebody who stopped me from having dinner with my wife for the first time in months. Amy Clad was damn special as far as I was concerned.
“Well,” I said. “You know what they say. A bird on the hand beats two in the bush…something like that. Let’s get this closed.” I threw my cigarette onto the barren concrete, smashing it with my wing tip shoe.
“You feel alright, man?” Chapman asked.
I shrugged listlessly. “I’m hungry.”
“Where are we off to?”
“To see Mommy Dearest. Somebody wanted to make sure this kid didn’t live. Might as well find out why.”