Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Marian Carol Manseau Cheatham  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction History Mystery Romance

Born: 1955 in Chicago, IL

-- Website --
-- Marian Carol Manseau Cheatham on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Born in Chicago, I grew up in Elmwood Park and later attended Northern Illinois University for both undergrad and graduate school. I taught special education in Cicero and Elk Grove Village and worked in business at my father's company in Elk Grove Village where I now reside with my family. For the past ten years, I've been writing YA novels and have been involved with the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), acting for many years as a network rep for a SCBWI critique group at the Schaumburg Barnes & Noble. My debut novel, Merely Dee, a fictionalized account of the 1915 Eastland Boat Disaster, was published in January 2012. I have a personal connection to the Eastland story and have been interested in the disaster all my life. I've created a power point presentation on my Eastland research and how Chicago's greatest loss-of-life disaster effected the city, Cicero, and Western Electric Hawthorne Works.

Biographical and Professional Information

See above

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Merely Dee
ISBN: 1462072291

iUniverse. 2012

The 1915 Western Electric Employee Picnic is the social highlight of the year in Cicero, Illinois. Five steamers wait to ferry seven thousand passengers to the picnic grounds in Michigan City, Indiana. As teenager Dee Pageau packs her picnic basket and prepares to board the SS Eastland, she anticipates this will be the best day of her life. Dee hopes to spend time with her best friend, Mae Koznecki-but she also wants to get to know Mae's handsome brother, Karel, a little better. Dee has no idea that in a matter of hours, tragedy will strike. Despite her mother's dark premonition that death awaits her if she boards the SS Eastland, Dee decides the risk is worth a chance for more time with Karel. Dee's excitement quickly turns to terror, though, when the ship capsizes at the dock, threatening the lives of everyone on board. Rescued from certain death-not once, but twice-by Karel and a mysterious stranger, Dee soon discovers that Mae is nowhere to be found. Dee can only sit back and wait to hear if she is trapped in the flooding bowels of the capsized ship or worse yet, dead. In this captivating historical tale, Dee takes a coming-of-age journey like no other as she soon realizes that surviving the disaster is only the beginning.


  • Editor's Choice from iUniverse Publishing, ''Merely Dee''

  • Rising Star Award from iUniverse Publishing, ''Merely Dee''

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

    I'm available for readings and lectures (power point presentations)

    and/or book signings. My standard fee is $250.00 and I'm open to driving anywhere in the midwest. My novel and presentation are suited for high school groups and above. Merely Dee has been especially well received by book clubs and senior groups more familiar with the history of Western Electric. Merely Dee would be great supplemental reading for a high school/college unit on the history of Illinois, Chicago, the Great Lakes, or the time period just prior to WWI. Please contact me directly by email or phone to schedule an event.