Melinda Clayton is the author of "Appalachian Justice," "Return to Crutcher Mountain," "Entangled Thorns," and "Blessed Are the Wholly Broken." Her most recent work is the non-fiction guide, "Self-publishing Made Simple: A How-to Guide for the Non-tech-savvy Among Us."
Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. In addition to writing, Dr. Clayton has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado.
When did you first start writing?
My first "book" was a fifth grade school project, complete with cardboard cover. I think the end result was about twenty pages long, and within those twenty pages there were dozens of marriages, births, and deaths. The characters didn't do much else.
What is your writing process?
I'm a very slow writer. I tend to spend weeks, if not months, thinking about a story before I ever begin writing it; it's only when the story is fully formed that I sit down to start typing. Once I've begun, I find I write best early in the morning; if for some reason I'm unable to get started in the morning, my writing is pretty much shot for the day. I also do something we're cautioned not to do: I edit as I go. I'm constantly re-reading and changing things as I go along. Half of my writing time is spent re-writing what I wrote the day before. It may not be the proper procedure, but it works for me.
Self-publishing Made Simple is a plainspoken, nuts and bolts instruction booklet to help guide learning, non-tech-savvy authors through a maze of confusing information. Compare and contrast publishing and distribution venues, learn how to buy ISBNs, file copyrights, format manuscripts for Kindle, Smashwords, CreateSpace, and more. The author is working in Microsoft Word 2010.
Beth Sloan has spent the majority of her life trying to escape the memories of a difficult childhood. Born into the infamous Pritchett family of Cedar Hollow, West Virginia, she grew up surrounded by homemade stills, corn liquor, and an impoverished family that more often than not preferred life on the wrong side of the law. Just when she thought she'd finally escaped, she's been called home.
As recounted in Appalachian Justice, Jessie is an adult survivor of horrendous childhood abuse. At the age of thirteen, she was rescued by reclusive mountain woman Billy May Platte.
Now forty-seven, Jessie is outwardly successful but inwardly struggles to reconcile the broken pieces of her past.
Billy May Platte is a half Irish, half Cherokee Appalachian woman who learned the hard way that 1940s West Virginia was no place to be gay.
In 1945, when Billy May was fourteen years old, three boys witnessed an incident in which Billy May’s sexuality was called into question. Determined to teach her a lesson she'd never forget, they orchestrated a brutal attack that changed the town forever.
2013 Pushcart Prize Nominee Short Story
Nineteen-forty-six was a turning point for young Erma Puckett for three reasons. First, it was the year she became rich. Second, it was the year she fell in love. And third, it was the year she was run out of town.