photo by Nancy Kohler

photo by Nancy Kohler

Kassandra Montag grew up on an acreage outside a small town in rural Nebraska. She spent her days exploring the woods close to her house with her older brother and younger sister, while her father worked as a hospital administrator and her mother maintained the household and half-acre garden. 

Her mother taught her to read and her childhood revolved around nature and books. Behind her house an apple tree made the perfect reading spot, and she was known to avoid chores by hiding up in it with her favorite book. Her father, an oil painter, built her a miniature easel when she was a toddler so she could paint alongside him. 

She always liked to make things—pastel paintings of landscapes she hadn’t seen before, rafts that sunk in the creek near her house, her own clothing cut and stitched from discarded bolts of fabric. At seven, she made her first picture book series that featured a man who lived alone in the wilderness with his dog, fighting together for survival. 

In high school and college Kassandra worked a variety of jobs: serving patients in a mental hospital’s cafeteria, cleaning hotel rooms, typing in a factory, shelving books in a university library, and writing for a local newspaper. She attended her local state university on scholarship and majored in philosophy. A local poet and retired English professor mentored her early attempts at poetry, teaching her not just to write, but to pay closer attention to the world. 

After college, she received a fellowship to earn an MA in English Literature with an emphasis in creative writing. For almost ten years she wrote and published poetry while working at a medical library and teaching English as a second language. Her poetry and short stories have been published in the Prairie Schooner, Mystery Weekly magazine, and Midwestern Gothic, among other journals and magazines. 

She lived in the Netherlands for a year while her husband was there on a Fulbright grant. They traveled throughout Europe on a shoestring budget and she gave lectures and lead workshops at a Dutch university. Upon returning to the States, she wrote her first novel, After the Flood, while freelance writing and caring for her infant and toddler sons. 

After the Flood will be published in September 2019 and will be translated into 17 languages. It has been optioned for television by Chernin Entertainment. Today, Kassandra lives in Omaha with her husband and two sons and is at work on her next novel.