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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GCC Presents Melissa Walker and SMALL TOWN SINNERS!


 “A devilishly good read.” —Lauren Myracle, NY Times bestselling author of Shine


Small Town Sinners is the story of Lacey Anne, daughter of the pastor and perennial good girl, who is eligible for a lead role in the season’s Hell House production—a role she’s been coveting for years. But when Ty moves to town as casting begins, a new perspective is added to Lacey Anne’s world and she starts to see her tight-knit, Evangelical community in a different light. With the help of her two best friends Starla Joy and Dean, and her potential first love Ty, Lacey Anne begins exploring her own thoughts and feelings about her religion, her community, and her place within both. While this novel deals with provocative issues like religion, teen pregnancy and underage drinking, it is not an “issue” book; the topics are masterfully interwoven into this story of friendship and family.

Early readers agree:
“Small Town Sinners shines a light on the fascinating world of the teenage Hell House. Sit back and let Melissa Walker be your guide. She writes without a shred of judgment and plenty of heart.” —Dana Reinhardt, author of A Brief Chapter of My Impossible Life

“Walker is sympathetic and respectful of her characters’ faith, while putting on display the shocking extremist scare tactics that make Hell Houses, well, hellish.” —Donna Freitas, author of This Gorgeous Game and The Possibilities of Sainthood.

“A non-judgmental, nuanced, fascinating look at the teenage religious right… Walker writes an outstanding contemporary novel with a cast of characters who, far from being portrayed as hateful zealots, are relatable for readers of all faiths. The extremism of Hell House is tempered by the perfectly understandable attitudes and intentions of Lacey Anne, who struggles with what it means to grow up, to question and to think for herself.” –Romantic Times

“Both tender and provocative… Walker creates an astutely balanced portrait of a conservative congregation’s in-your-face response to perennial issues of domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, and suicide, as well as of those who struggle to fit the prescribed Christian mold.” –Publishers Weekly
“This secular story about religious people could easily devolve into camp mockery, but because Walker takes her character’s crisis of faith seriously and sensitively, readers will, too.” –Kirkus Reviews

MELISSA WALKER: Melissa has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. She is the author of the Violet on the Runway series as well as Lovestruck Summer. Melissa manages I Heart Daily, an e-newsletter and blogs for ReaderGirlz, an online community for teens.


1. Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
Religious small town girl meets curious boy.

2. Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
I really like Tessa, the older sister of my main character's best friend. She radiates positivity and confidence, and whenever I wrote about her I could picture her inner glow.

3. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Read everything, good and bad! The good will give you something to aspire to; the bad will make you think, "Hey, maybe I can do this too!" (At least it did for me.)

4. What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I wrote articles for my yearbook and school newspaper, but I also kept a journal that was FILLED with angst and emotion. I still love to reread it (even when it makes me cringe).

5. What's the last book you read that you really loved?
I adored Tara Altebrando's DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB. I got so lost in the characters' world that I would be disoriented when I looked up from the book (I love it when that happens).

Melissa also holds regular contests on her blog. Check out July's contest here. Congratulations to Melissa and SMALL TOWN SINNERS!


  1. Looking forward to reading this! Thank you both for the interview.