Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gatlinburg school subject of new novel

Retired Knox County librarian Loletta Clouse jokes that her latest novel is a huge departure from her three other novels.

"It has three words in the title."

"Rainbow by Moonlight" is the fictional story of a young educator who comes to teach at the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School (now the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts) in 1920s Gatlinburg. Clouse told the Open Door Book Review Club at the Fountain City branch library this morning that the idea for the novel came to her after reading a newspaper article highlighting a grant UT had secured to digitize Arrowmont's records online.

When she looked at the website, Clouse discovered letters that the teachers had sent home to families, along with journals and Kodak photos.

"It was amazing and fascinating."

Clouse says she wanted to show "the poverty and the isolation that the teachers ran into as well as the middle class, complicated culture that also existed in Gatlinburg at the time."

Her previous novels "Wilder," "The Homesteads" and "Mallie," are all set in East Tennessee. Clouse worked in the Knox County Public Library system for 25 years.

"Rainbow by Moonlight" is available at, at Hastings book store in Maryville, at any of the Smoky Mountain visitor centers or through the Knox County Public Library.

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