In our new author series, we’ll be offering a clairvoyant peek behind the veil of who and what makes up TRANSCENDENT. Here’s a glimpse at Kacie Berghoef and her story “Night Terror.”
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
I lived in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco that had all kinds of problems. The toilet kept breaking, the heater got gas leaks constantly, and the ceiling leaked. The icing on the cake was when the heater in the unit above mine started a fire. I couldn’t afford to move without leaving the city altogether, so I lived there, quite warily, for four and a half years. Shortly after I finally left the place, I was inspired to write a flash fiction about a character who has one terrible disaster after another in her home.
Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?
Yes, gas leaks, which feature heavily in my story. We all learn they’re dangerous, but I researched their fatality levels specifically. It turns out it takes a lot of natural gas to cause death by suffocation, and you’ll generally smell the pungent odor well before that happens. A bigger risk is high levels of gas increasing the odds of starting a fire.
Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?
When moving into a new place, my protagonist, who likes a good deal, ends up choosing a cheaper and more “lived in” option over something better quality and more expensive. She ends up regretting her choice, as it appears to have grim consequences for her life.
Tell me about the setting you chose and how it influences your work.
The story is set in my protagonist’s new flat. I’d recently moved when writing this and typically write from home, so that was a direct inspiration for this story.
Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?
I don’t believe in ghosts, but one night energy pulses in my body, as strange beings whisper to me in a language I don’t understand.
If your story was front-page news, what would the headline be?
Miracle Woman Dies Three Times in One Flat: “I’ll Never Be the Same Again,” She Reveals
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Getting my degree in philosophy. My professors taught me to write clearly, concisely, and with airtight logic. I didn’t know it at the time, but the writing set me up well to be both a nonfiction and fiction writer.
If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?
The Sandman series. I’m a terrible artist, so I’m fascinated and wildly impressed by graphic novels. I first became a fan when some friends asked me to dress up with them as Delirium for Halloween.
When did you decide to take writing seriously?
A few years ago, I started a blog as part of promoting a teaching business. The blog took off, and soon I was getting requests to do more writing- and then I got approached with a book deal, resulting in The Modern Enneagram getting published last year. I found myself organically transitioning into content writing and am thrilled that I’m now getting fiction published, too!
If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?
Superhuman strength. In an alternate life, I like to fancy myself as some sort of Herculean construction worker, since in this one I can barely open jars!
Kacie Berghoef is the author of The Modern Enneagram and a content creator, writer, and social media manager. Her fiction and poetry were recently featured in in The NW Zine and Realm of Magic Anthology. Her byline appears on websites such as ThoughtCo, The Billfold, and xoJane. When she isn’t writing, Kacie loves all things Enneagram and personality typology and traveling around the world.
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