Author Heather Newton to speak at Lanier Library June 21

Published 10:31 am Thursday, June 16, 2011

Author Heather Newton will speak about her new novel, “Under the Mercy Trees,” at the Lanier Library on Tuesday, June 21 at noon. The program is free and everyone is welcome.

Heather Newton

A native of Raleigh, N.C., Heather Newton is the daughter of an author of children’s books and, following her mother’s lead, began creating her own books as a small child. Her love of writing continued as she studied history at Carnegie Mellon University and law at U.N.C. Chapel Hill.

After taking her first job in the field of law in Boston, she continued writing and joined a critique group to hone her skills. When she had paid off her student loans she quit her job, went traveling and wrote her first novel. Although she said she wasn’t pleased with her first book, she learned much from the writing process, moved to Asheville to be closer to her family and went back to practicing law.

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Newton met her husband, Michael, in Asheville and, after their marriage, began working on her second novel, which she describes as a “not-very-thrilling legal thriller.” She then joined the “Flatiron Writers” group in Asheville.

After publishing several of her short stories in the Flatiron group’s anthology, “Irons in the Fire: Stories from the Flatiron Writers,” she began to work on her third novel, “Under the Mercy Trees,” which was published by HarperCollins in January of this year. The novel, which is set is the mountains of Western North Carolina, involves a man’s search for his missing brother while dealing with long unresolved family matters. Publishers Weekly said of the novel, “Newton delivers a stirring debut novel told from the perspective of four central characters embroiled in a family drama that spans generations and is riddled with defensive secrecy and emotional penury in equal measures. Newton delivers across the board with these characters.” Tom Franklin, New York Times Best Selling Author described it as “a novel that seamlessly, beautifully, twines past with present to show how we can never escape our histories or the deeds — good and bad — that create those histories. The powerful, swelling conclusion of this book raised gooseflesh on my arms and had me near tears.”

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

The program is one of the monthly Brown Bag Lunch series at the Lanier Library, which is on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Chestnut Street in Tryon. Coffee is available and audience members are encouraged to bring their own brown bag lunch if they so wish.

– article submitted by Frances Flynn