A! Magazine for the Arts

Local author Melissa Ferguson pays homage to hometown

November 3, 2020

Local author Melissa Ferguson is gearing up for the release of her sophomore novel,"The Cul-de-Sac War," and readers just may recognize a few key settings throughout the story.

“Perhaps the biggest inspiration for this story came from the setting,” said Ferguson. “I live in the area where this book takes place, and one of my favorite activities is to go to the Barter Theatre. One day while I was there, I was struck by the idea of not only writing a book set in the adorable Hallmark town that I call home, but also introducing readers to some of my favorite establishments along the way.”

Set in Abingdon, Virginia,"The Cul-de-Sac War" follows the journey of Bree Leake—a young woman with a penchant for freedom and no plans of settling down. She’s known to bounce from job to job, but right as she’s about to move on from her minor stage role at the historic Barter Theatre, her parents make her an offer she can’t refuse: stay put for a full year in exchange for the one thing she’s always wanted — her grandmother’s house. It seems that all of Bree’s dreams are on the cusp of coming true, that is until she meets her handsome, yet infuriating new neighbor, Chip McBride.

Despite an initial spark between the two, several less-than-ideal interactions leave Bree desperate to get as far away from Chip as possible. However, upon realizing she’s bound by the deal she struck with her parents, Bree decides to hatch a plan to drive Chip out of the neighborhood. It isn’t long before the two are entangled in a hilarious prank war that quickly blurs the line between love and hate.

“I hope readers come away from this book with a smile on their faces, having laughed and enjoyed a little mental break from the world,” said Ferguson. “But also, perhaps most importantly, my desire is that readers walk away with a sense of hope.”

"The Cul-de-Sac War" releases Nov. 10, (HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson, softcover, $15.99; also available in audio and e-book).

Ferguson lives in Tennessee, where she enjoys chasing her children and writing romantic comedies full of humor and heart. Her favorite hobby is taking friends and acquaintances and turning them into characters in her books without their knowledge.You can read more about her at melissaferguson.com.