There are books that move you to look at your own life. To see yourself in the pages within. There are books that make you want to stay up late because the story is so engaging and so well written, you feel nurtured by each word like feasting on a beautiful meal. Very few books do ALL of these things. Ashley Cleveland's book, Little Black Sheep, is all of this and more.
Her ability to weave into her painful past, while making you feel hope even in the midst of such pain, is beyond compelling. There aren't that many memoirs out there that can bring us so deeply into another person's story that we can see ourselves in the reflection. This is one of the most beautifully honest books I have ever read. I loved sitting down with Ashley to talk over lunch about Little Black Sheep (please excuse the background noise and throat clearing please:)
Ashley has also provided a small snippet of a chapter as well as her song Little Black Sheep. Register here to be drawn for a copy of Ashley's book or buy it here now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Listen below to Cindy Morgan's interview with Ashley Cleveland, author of "Little Black Sheep":
I wonder if my father ever considered the utter futility of a dual, duplicitous lifestyle. He was a brilliant, complicated man, the product of a Southern matriarchal family with a domineering mother and a silent specter of a father. He escaped the small town confines of Sweetwater, Tennessee, and earned a degree in Architecture at Yale and then a second degree in Interior Design at the University of Tennessee. He served as a second lieutenant in World War II, an event that he spoke little about except to say that he was in Patton’s army. He was handsome, accomplished, charming—and gay. He met my mother in church, found her to be his equal in style and form, and married her, dreaming, I’m sure, of all the gracious living and fabulous parties that awaited them. He was not looking for intimacy with my mother; he was a man who viewed women as accessories or lapel pins: connected at the surface but meant only for display. When he fell for my mother, it was her presentation skills that won his heart. But he reserved the most honest, accessible part of himself for a secret male world fueled by good gin, where sex, glamour, gossip, and luxury fabrics were what mattered most.
Fortunately for my sister Windsor and me, my father’s view of the perfect marriage included children, and we unwittingly came tumbling, two years apart, into a well-designed household that had already begun to reek of alcohol and silence.
ASHLEY CLEVELAND BIO:
Since her debut on Atlantic Records in 1991, Ashley Cleveland has recorded 8 critically acclaimed albums and won three Grammys for Best Rock Gospel Album. Additionally, she has been nominated for 6 Dove awards. She received her fourth Grammy nomination in 2010 for her current disc, God Don’t Never Change, a collection of spirituals in the Best Traditional Gospel Album category.
Ashley was recently the subject of a documentary by Oscar-winning producer Morgan Neville.
Ashley is a writer/essayist and has written a memoir entitled “Little Black Sheep” which was released September 2013 by David C Cook Publishing. She has contributed essays to two books: The Dance Of Heaven and The Art Of Being; she has also written articles for national magazines such as Performing Songwriter and CCM. She is currently working on her second book.