Macon County native Terri Merryman has recently finished her latest project, which is a book collaboration with Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, titled “Ashes of Bluebird.”
In this riveting account of the life of a Middle Tennessee sheriff, Merryman puts her own spin on the book as Ashe’s tragedy and triumph are vividly detailed, while he takes us through the ups and downs of his 45 years as a dedicated law enforcement officer.
Ashe and Merryman make a good team as he related the story and she used her clever knowledge of writing to keep us spell bound, waiting with bated breath to flip to the next page to see how the sheriff handled each crisis in his war against crime in Wilson County.
This must read 321 page book includes the devastating account of the horrific deaths of two Wilson County officers in 2003 after a young woman with no regard for human life ran them down in a stolen Mercedes at 118 miles per hour. Merryman’s choice of words demonstrated her ability to help tell the sheriffs’ story almost like she was there herself.
The multi-talented Merryman spent close to eight months poring over his notes and journals and listening to tapes, as Sheriff Ashe told her the stories of his life he’d been collecting for years.
Merryman says it was the easiest, most comfortable collaboration ever. “As I got in to the project and got to know him,” she said, “I could almost finish his sentences for him. I learned the rhythm of his language, his figures of speech and his sense of humor.”
“I could actually feel the emotions of some of those tough times he went through,” Merryman said, “and one of the toughest investigative/political reporters in Nashville, who knows and respects the sheriff, told me that he cried almost all the way through one particular chapter and laughed his way through another.”
The versatile writer said there’s something for everyone in this book about an exceptional law enforcement officer, who was awarded three Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star for bravery in Vietnam. “I’m so proud to have had this opportunity to work with Sheriff Terry Ashe,” said Merryman. “It was great fun!”
Another Macon County native, Kathy Carman Tobey, who had been the graphic designer for Tennessee Repertory Theatre for years, designed the cover after long-time friend, Terri Merryman, contacted her. “I had recently left Tennessee Rep and was doing free-lance work,” Carman said, “so I jumped at the chance and it has been a delightful experience. Terri and I have always had a good time together and working with her on this project has been lots of fun too.”
Tobey added that it had been great getting to know Sheriff Ashe and hearing him talk about some of his adventures. “I really hope lots of people read this book, because it is fascinating,” said she.
Last week, Terry Ashe and Terri Merryman signed a deal with an entertainment company in Hollywood, California to market a screenplay based on the popular book. Merryman flew to Los Angeles in July for meetings about the book and the response was overwhelming, not only to the sheriff’s character, but his unique stories.
“Terri Merryman is truly a professional who knows what she is doing,” said Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe on Monday morning. “She knows the business and the industry and her unique style of writing brought the book alive.”
“It was a pleasure working with Terri, who made my story easy to understand and I thank her for joining me in this project,” said the Sheriff.
The nationwide release of “Ashes of Bluebird” kicked off with two book signings in Lebanon and another signing is coming up at Parnassus Books in Green Hills on Thursday, September 13th. “We’d like to invite all of our good friends to join us for this special event,” said Merryman, “and I would love to have some Macon County people there to say hello!”
Published by Westview, the book is available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or you can go to Parnassus Books on/after September 13th.