A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Melanie K. Hutsell grew up listening to family stories of ghosts and tales of recalcitrant women. A life-transforming discovery from her childhood – that the lyrics to Peter, Paul, and Mary’s song, “The Three Ravens,” actually appear in a book of ballads – propelled her forever into the magic realm where literature, music, and folklore converge.
Her debut Appalachian magic realism novel, The Dead Shall Rise, is available from Celtic Cat Publishing (www.celticcatpublishing.com).The first two chapters (in slightly altered form and under a different title) won first place in the Tennessee Writers Alliance Novel Competition in 2001, awarded at the Southern Festival of Books.
Melanie’s short fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage (http://appalachianheritage.net/tag/fiction/page/3/), Still: The Journal (www.stilljournal.net), Trajectory (http://www.trajectoryjournal.com/), and the Knoxville Writers’ Guild anthology, Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers. Her short story, “Celestial Images,” was a Judge’s Selection (as judged by Holly Goddard Jones) in the 2013 Literary Contests at Still. Melanie has also published poetry in The Sow’s Ear and contributed to the Encyclopedia of Folklore and Literature, edited by Brown and Rosenberg.
Melanie holds a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in English from Indiana University at Bloomington. An avid reader and music lover, she currently lives in Maryville, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
I recently returned to Knoxville after eight years in Fort Worth, Texas, where it was just too hot to breathe. In the early 2000s, I served on the KWG Board, chairing committees for publicity, contests, and the now defunct Gala.
I have been a copywriter at an ad agency, publicist for a feature film production company, bookseller, and a variety of other jobs, most of which led to short story settings. My work has been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Southwestern American Literature, Red Truck Review, several KWG anthologies, and other publications. I am the co-editor of KWG’s Literary Lunch, a food anthology.
A passion for writing, not a journalism degree, led me to apply for a job at my hometown newspaper, The Mountain Press in Sevierville, after graduating the University of Tennessee with a finance degree. Against his better judgment, editor Butch Walker took a chance on me and I found my life's passion. I have always been a story teller at heart and I've pushed the boundaries in journalism by combining news reporting with a fiction writer's style. That was 27 years ago. After spending eight years at the Mountain Press, I began my journey with the News Sentinel, where I've focused on crime and legal reporting with a nontraditional approach that still makes old school journalism teachers see red. A few have even marked up my stories in red pen. But when a grandmother in Monroe County calls to say she reads me everyday, well, that red ink just doesn't mean much. With my husband's recent passing from cancer, I've found an emotional outlet in creative writing and I look forward to doing whatever small part I can to advance the Knoxville Writer's Guild. Oh, and lest my children slay me, I am the proud mother of Knox County's newest assistant public defender (my baby girl) and a Belmont University grad who just sold his first song to a CBS television show (my baby boy).
I am a historical novelist. My three novels were published by Harper Collins; they have been short-listed for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction; one was a USA Today Bestseller. I've published short stories in England, France, Italy (where I lived for 10 years) and the US. I've taught writing at UT and the University of Maryland, European Division and current do workshops for the Guild. I'm working on my fourth novel. I live in Knoxville with my husband, Maurizio, a physicst, and dog, Jesse, a philospher.
Michael K. Smith received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1984. While teaching at UTK for ten years, he authored numerous publications in psychology and education journals. Presently, he is the owner of Testprep Experts, a company that helps prepare students for college admissions tests. He published Humble Pi: The Role Mathematics Should Play in American Education (Prometheus Books) in 1992. More recently, he is the author of Playing Fast and Loose: Match Wits with the Author and Guess the Origin of Common Idioms (AuthorHouse 2013). With his wife, Kathryn Smith, he has just published What Do We Do? Questions on Psychology and Education for Parents (Authorhouse 2015). He writes a monthly column for Knoxville Parent magazine entitled Reading Knoxville. This column features a book review and interview with local authors.
Laura Still, a native Tennessean, is a published poet and playwright as well as storyteller and guide for her tour business, Knoxville Walking Tours. To support her creative endeavors she works regularly as a dental hygienist. A long time member of the Knoxville Writer's Guild, her poetry appears in many of the KWG anthologies as well as Growing Up Girl and Knoxville Bound. She is also a regular contributor to New Millennium Writings. Her first poetry collection, Guardians, was published by Celtic Cat in October 2009. Still is a member of Church Street United Methodist Church, where she serves as a Sunday School teacher, labyrinth guide, and Archangel in the church's annual Walk Through Bethlehem. She has written and produced over 50 plays for their children's drama workshop. A selection of these plays appears in her drama workshop manual Acts of the Apostles, Vol. I, published by Stony River Media in March 2010.
Laura began to write and tell stories as a young child and credits her family full of creative, literary and musical people for passing on the right genes. Her interest in Knoxville history began with reading her friend Jack Neely's Secret History column in the Metropulse, and in talking to city preservationistsabout saving historic places and structures. She began researching local history for fun, but became fascinated with stories about Knoxville's colorful past and the idea of leading walking history tours. With Jack's blessing and the encouragement of family and friends, she began offering a regular calendar of walking tours in May 2012. Knoxville Walking Tours started with one history tour and one entertainment tour, but now offers eight different tours of downtown Knoxville, plus Old Gray Cemetery. Her tours attract guests from all over the world and right next door, and have inspired her latest book, A Haunted History of Knoxville, released in October 2014.
In early 2015, Laura and her partner Brent Minchey purchased Celtic Cat Publishing from its founder Jim Johnston. They have been busy all year producing Celtic Cat books, releasing new books from poet Art Stewart (From Where We Came) and humorist Judy Digregorio (Tidbits), plus a debut collection of short stories by Bill McGowan (The Ali Files). There are many more in progress, and they look forward to continuing Celtic Cat's legacy.