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We're launching the Book Tour for THE MELODY OF THE MULBERRIES by Tonya Blessing #MMPrism


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Author Interview

What inspired you to write The Melody of the Mulberries

My mom is the inspiration for both novels in the Big Creek Series. She grew up in rural West Virginia. Her use of Appalachian folk lure made me giggle as a small girl. She also did not mince words when talking about the joys and struggles of living in poverty in the hills. She was an overcomer. 

If you could sum the book up in one sentence, what would you say? 

There is always hope. 

What challenged you about writing this story? 

On an emotional level, writing in detail about the struggles of the young women featured in the book. On a practical level, getting the dialogue correct when using the Appalachian colloquialisms. 

Which character do you most relate to and why? 

I relate to Coral the most. On the surface, she seems quiet and passive, yet deep down she has tremendous courage. Like Coral, I appear to be meek and mild, yet I have backbone and often do things outside the box. 

What do you hope readers will take with them after they have read it? 

My hope is that readers will recognize that there is always a plan for redemption and a way of escape from the difficulties of life. 

What is something about you that is unique or that we may not know about you? 

I live in South Africa and was bitten by a spitting cobra a couple of years ago. I should have died but survived and even thrived amid the trauma. 

The Melody of the Mulberries
(Big Creek Series, #2)
By Tonya Jewel Blessing
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 248 Pages
September 1, 2019 by Capture Books

This sequel to The Whispering of the Willows is set in the late 1920s' Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.

This Big Creek sequel follows the lives and loves of two siblings. Coral determines to visit the family's nemesis, Charlie, now in prison for the rape of her sister, Emerald, and the murder of her inlaw. When Mercy re-enters brother Ernest's life, he has already found a new attraction in his elder brother's widow.

Coral sat in contemplation under a mulberry tree. It was spring, and the fragrant female blossoms promised the mid-summer arrival of first white, then pink, then crimson, and finally deep purple berries. The white berries were hard and tart and enjoyed by the quail, wild turkeys, mocking birds, and blue jays. The blackish purple berries were soft and sweet - perfect for pies and jams.

When the berries turned white, Coral would thank the good Lord for providing food for the birds. When the berries ripened she would thank the good Lord for the sweetness savored in her mouth and curse the birds for wanting more than their share.

Where Emerald Ashby's story leaves us in the last pages of The Whispering of the Willows, sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby's story begins. Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate life through the late 1920s. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.

When Ernest's previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that his heart is now singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother's widow. But Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools and a special friend who guides her way.

Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.

(Affiliate links included.)

Tour Schedule

June 22nd:
June 23rd:
June 24th:
June 25th:
June 26th:
June 27th:

Other Books in the Series

The Whispering of the Willows
(Big Creek Series, #1)
By Tonya Jewel Blessing
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 396 Pages
February 2, 2016 by Capture Books

Young Emie isn't desperate for a man, but she is surrounded by a variety of them in the Appalachian holler of Big Creek. How does a young girl find her way, and grow strong, when life begins to spin out of control?

A 1920s' saga of Emerald Ashby coming of age.

Set against the superstitions and old time religion in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, author Tonya Jewel Blessing tells a difficult, yet redemptive story of a blossoming young woman who is accompanied by her friends and her foes on a journey towards hope and healing. Love weaves through gut-wrenching circumstances and dismal poverty where Emerald Ashby grows strong despite grievous wrongs committed against her. In this desperate historical setting, mysterious disappearances lead to traps set for the innocent.

Now, when key individuals begin carving out a rescue plan, Emerald Ashby sets a few of her own traps. It's a page turner. In this ailing town. What will be their measure of success?

Cleverly suspenseful and sweetly spoken, the storyteller's unassuming voice transforms an Appalachian trail of tears into holy terror against an evil that stalks the innocent. In The Whispering of the Willows, an Appalachian marriage practice might be compared to the modern sex trade which exploits young females.

Not since Catherine Marshall's strong heroine named Christy, has an Appalachian drama come to life like The Whispering of the Willows.

Includes: Bibliography and Book Club Questions. A novel for women examining the Old Time Religion. Coming of age in the Southern Appalachians. If you love a story where the underdog surfaces and thrives, you'll love this story.

Praise for the Book

Best book I have read in a while. Didn't want it to end. Great and different story line. - Christine

This is a fantastic book that had me examining my own personal spiritual journey. Kudos to the author for writing such a heartfelt, inspiring work. - Verified Amazon Reader

I absolutely loved the characters and the story. Their faith in God helped them through the trials they faced. The story is engrossing and very believable. Hope this book is a winner for the author. - Verified Purchaser

"The story is emotionally gripping and pulls the reader along to see what will happen next. The best stories grab our emotions and don’t let go." - Judge's Commentary from 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Book Awards

The Whispering of the Willows is an inspiring story full of twists and turns, freedom and redemption, the expected and unexpected. This book brings to light the struggles of young woman past and present. God’s goodness and provision flow from each page. - Linda Bottoms, Rocky Mountain Ministry Network Women’s Ministries Director

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author


Tonya Jewel Blessing 
National/International Speaker, Published Author, Co-Founder/Director Strong Cross Ministries

Tonya grew up in rural Ohio. She currently lives in South Africa with her husband of 35 years. Tonya decided to trust Jesus for the destination of her young soul at the age of four. As a young adult, she worked for a well known television evangelist, and traveled with a Christian drama group throughout the Midwest. 

Tonya attended Arapahoe Community College and Akron University, and has enjoyed a trusted position in formal and informal ministry settings and training opportunities. Tonya also worked as a children’s pastor, youth pastor, and women’s pastor. She served on staff at Praise Church in Littleton, Colorado for a number of years, and also worked as the Director of Women’s Ministries for Journey Church in Strasburg, Colorado. She has served on a number of ministry boards that support concerns for women. 

Tonya and her husband operated Strong Cross Ranch Colorado for over eleven years, a place of respite for missionaries and ministers. They had the honor of hosting over 2,000 guests during that time frame. The Blessings relocated their ministry to South Africa in June of 2012. The ministry continues to serve and partner with local pastors and missionaries through a variety of creative and responsible means. The Blessings oversee building projects, feeding programs, educational services, interventions, and church planting. 

Tonya is a well-known national and international speaker, often serving women in areas of the world which cannot be publicized. She writes articles and devotionals for missions’ magazines and women’s groups and is also a published author. She is the author of two historical fiction books The Whispering of the Willows and The Melody of the Mulberries. Both novels are set in Big Creek, West Virginia, during the late 1920’s. Tonya has also co-authored a devotional called Soothing Rain – Living Water to Refresh Your Soul. All three of Tonya’s books have received literary awards. 

Tonya enjoys speaking and sharing her life with women at retreats and events. She thinks that women are amazing, and appreciates that the female gender is multifaceted yet fragile creations of God. In her personal life and as a speaker, Tonya believes that God’s Word is powerful, and needs to be read and written on her heart and on the hearts of women everywhere. For additional information, please review her author and ministry webpage: www.TonyaJewelBlessing.com

She was ordained in 2011 and is currently pursuing further pastoral and biblical studies. For additional information regarding Strong Cross Ministries South Africa, please visit the ministry web page – www.strongcrossministries.org.


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a $30 Amazon Gift Card
Open internationally (to those who can use one of Amazon's branches)
Ends July 1, 2020

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Tressa @ Wishful Endings
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7 comments:

  1. Enjoyed learning about your book.

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    Replies
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  2. Nice cover. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These stories sound interesting. Thanks for sharing this series with us.

    ReplyDelete
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  5. This does sound like a very good story. I've read Christy & I loved the show with Kelli Martin though it wasn't quite like the book! I've read several books set in Appalachia actually. I think The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers was set in that area too.

    ReplyDelete

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