TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

April 10, 2014

Author, Knox County native at Corbin Library

Merrill J. Davies to read from her two novels from 5-7 p.m. this Friday


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

On her website, author and Barbourville native Merrill J. Davies states, “Words are the building blocks of communications.”

And this Friday, the author and former high school English teacher will discuss how she ties those words into her recent books during a visit at the Corbin Public Library.

Davies will be at the library Friday from 5-7 p.m. to talk about and read portions of her first two novels, “The Welsh Harp,” and “The Truth About Katie.”

The event is sponsored by the Friends of Corbin Library, and is free to the public.

Beginning in high school in Southeastern Kentucky as the feature editor of The Hazel Nut, and continuing throughout her high school teaching career that spanned more than 30 years, Davies has always enjoyed writing, and teaching writing.  

In 2003, after she retired from teaching, Davies started focusing on her efforts to write fiction. But the teaching element remains with her to this day.

“I’m not your stereotypical writer who is a recluse. I taught secondary school English for 31 years, and I love to go into the classroom and interact with students about their writing,” she noted on her website at www.merrilldavies.com.

Along with her long career as an English teacher, Davies has taught creative writing, worked with gifted education, and served as advisor to the high school yearbook staff, debate team, and several other academic teams.

In 2012, she published her first novel, “The Welsh Harp,” which is described as a coming-of-age story about a young girl from Wales. Through faith and perseverance, the girl overcomes hardship and achieves her dreams.

Davies’ second novel, “The Truth About Katie,” was published in October 2013.

At her website, she mentioned the story’s subject — missing persons — has been part of her life for quite a while.

“I have always been fascinated with (the) idea of missing persons. I grew up hearing my family tell about my dad who went missing for seven years before he met and married my mother. I had a first cousin who went AWOL from the Army and was assumed to be dead before re-appearing several years later,” she said.

Once Katie (also known as “Agatha”) returns back to Eastern Kentucky to reconnect with her family, she discovers the person who holds the key to her past, her Aunt Esther, is reluctant to talk. When Esther does tell Katie the facts about her traumatic childhood, the healing begins.

As well as her work as a writer, Davies is active in the organization Toastmasters International in her current hometown of Rome, Ga. She has earned the Distinguished Toastmaster award from the organization, which helps members improve their skills in public speaking, communication and leadership.

Merrill is also active in the Georgia Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of English, and her church. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Bill, and her two daughters and their families, including six grandchildren.

If you need more information about Friday’s event with Merrill J. Davies, contact the Library Board’s President, Diane Mitchell at 528-5361, or Rob Miller, President of the Friends of the Corbin Library, at 524-0032.