Mountain Advocate, Barbourville

Newman to launch second novel at Joseph-Beth Booksellers June 25

 Knox County novelist Melissa Newman has been invited to Joseph-Beth Booksellers to share her latest novel, House of Cleaving released in June by Whiskey Creek Press.

The event is Saturday, June 25 beginning at 2 p.m. with a reading and discussion.

House of Cleaving is written in Newman’s favorite prose – fiction. Her first book, Sister Blackberry released in

Melissa Newman

2010, also by Whiskey Creek Press, has enjoyed much success and Newman is happy to have gathered fans along the way, many from Barbourville and surrounding areas.

“Since my first book, Sister Blackberry, was released I have met many wonderful people in the area and I have been invited to speak at book clubs and readers’ groups all over the state. These thoughtful people have become good friends. I cherish my loyal readers and hope they like House of Cleaving as much as they enjoyed Sister Blackberry.”

House of Cleaving is the story of Annie, a woman who has truly lost everything – her son to a car crash in which she was driving, then a year later her mother to breast cancer. She wants to leave her small town and the painful memories there but there’s one problem – the house she thought she owned actually belongs to ten of her aunts and uncles, most of them estranged. Annie must travel outside her comfort zone and gather signatures from the family in order to move forward with the sale of her home. During her journey she meets a colorful and sometimes crazy cast of characters who tell her deep, dark Cleaving secrets. A family murder involving her mother, who had always been viewed as quiet and passive, is just one of the many revelations.

The idea for Cleaving came about like most other Newman novel ideas – with just one small seed.

“Yes, the beginning of the book really did happen,” Newman said. “Faced with a choice to find an entire family which had been splintered for decades or just walk away, I did the latter. Annie Cleaving, much braver than I, moved forward into a fictional account of what I imagined the journey might have been had I taken it.”

Newman is already hard at work on her third and fourth novels, “Daddy’s Girls,” scheduled for a spring 2012 release and The Bridge, with a yet-to-be-announced release date.

Another summer book launch event will take place at Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville, the Frankfort Avenue location, July 9 at 4 p.m.

For more information about Melissa’s work or other upcoming events go to

Books can be found at and and can be ordered from most bookstore retailers.

A Note to Readers

Just a Short Hiatus ... More Novels to Come

While Growing Up Wilder was my last novel, it will certainly not be my final. I have two outlines just dying to escape from my desk drawer and I often have to apologetically shove them back in when I find they have made it to the surface time and again.

I am currently working toward completing my doctorate degree (I am all but dissertation, folks!) and I am tangled up in research that uses storytelling and social media as a way to increase hope levels for individuals and entire communities.

This research is allowing me to focus on solving a problem within Kentucky's Appalachia - negative stereotypes.

Readers, please be patient. I will return to fiction shortly. Until then, please continue to share Sister Blackberry, House of Cleaving and Growing Up Wilder with your friends and family.

As always, I welcome your notes and messages.