THE BOOK: Refuge


THE AUTHOR:  Melinda Viergever Inman

THE EDITOR: Joe Coccaro

THE PUBLISHER: Koehler Books, John Koehler owner and publisher

SUMMARY: Refuge is the story of Cain, Abel, Lilith—the sister Cain desires to marry, and what happens next. It deals with sibling conflict, a relationship we would consider to be incest, fratricide, immorality, cutting, attempted suicide, revenge, and redemption. It’s gritty. Back-cover Blurb: Intent on total destruction, Satan notices Cain’s obsessive lust for Lilith and the dark roots of jealousy growing deep in his soul toward his do-gooding brother Abel. Satan goads Cain to the point of madness, barraging his mind with thoughts of hatred, lust, and futility. In a blinding rage, Cain wrecks everything. Wracked with shame, he flees into the vast wilderness, unable to possess the one thing he truly desires – Lilith. His life is destroyed. Will he ever find his way back? He longs for refuge. Can he ever find God again?

THE BACK STORY: I drafted Fallen, the prequel to Refuge, first. At one point I had to lay aside Fallen to process all I was learning about myself. I needed distance. As I reflected, I dug more deeply into background information and let the manuscript sit.Simultaneously, the next story within this first family began to press on my heart – the story of Cain, Abel, and their sister. I knew that writing about the children of Adam and Eve would help me uncover more of their character for Fallen, so I let Fallen sit for a few years and went ahead with Refuge. I named Cain and Abel’s sister Lilith, the name of legend, since Cain’s wife’s name is not given in the bible. I spent several years writing, editing, and researching Lilith, Hebrew and Akkadian myth, Sumerian history and storytelling, and demonology – something I never thought I’d study.

For the framework of Refuge, I adhered very closely to the biblical record in Genesis. But Lilith’s name is from ancientSumerian and Akkadian campfire storytelling and Jewish legends. In Hebrew, in the book of Isaiah, the name is used for a desert demon—a screech owl type entity, not a woman at all. Around the campfire this name of an evil spirit somehow morphed into a woman. The name still fuels stories today. I attempted to craft a woman whose real-life actions could have sparked myth and legend. I believe at the root of myth, there are real events that have been enlarged, misconstrued, and turned into fable. In the bible a type of demon is given this name. In ancient times, strong and passionate women were often demonized. Maybe we still are. With Lilith’s character, I crafted a woman whose actions could have been retold by her enemies in an evil light. Researching Lilith and discovering the demonization of this ancient woman was another piece to my growth as a woman as I researched both of these first two novels.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Cain is the protagonist. At first he seeks refuge in Lilith, thinking she is all he needs. But then he wrecks everything and must leave her and the family. He wonders if he’ll ever have Lilith again or any refuge at all. He wanders homeless and alone, but this journey shows him something about refuge and shelter that he never understood before. When I researched the Hebrew understanding of this passage in Genesis, Refuge became the obvious title.

WHY SMelinda InmanOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT My stories deal have protagonists who are wounded or who suffer within the story. My lead characters make tragic mistakes. They have an ax to grind with God. Most of us can relate to this, and so the story feels deeply personal and restorative. Additionally, because these first two novels are about biblical narratives we’re all somewhat familiar with – Cain and Abel, The Garden of Eden, we’re always curious about the reality. Plays, novels, movies, short stories, and music still revisit these themes. We wonder: What don’t I know about this that might be uncovered? What would these people be like with skin on and real emotions? In bringing these people to life, we discover they’re not so very different from us.


Review #1: “Cover to cover a great read! Refuge is not only historically enlightening but a fascinating and poignant depiction of human nature. Real struggles with guilt, lust, anger, frustration, jealousy and insecurity are depicted with honest, raw and truly captivating candor. The characters are diverse, the setting is engrossing; the story feels very real.” by Erin Holcomb, Classical Educator

Review #2: “From the moment of his own fiery fall to earth, Satan has sought to thwart God’s plan. He enflames our desires to have what is not rightfully ours to lead us from God’s chosen path. David, driven by murderous passion, was willing give his entire kingdom to have Uriah’s wife. Surely God couldn’t use, let alone redeem, David after this. Or could He? Melinda Viergever Inman’s story of Cain and Lilith, Refuge, draws us in to a story of rage, pain, passion and despair where we, too, wonder how God could possibly take this mess and make it right, let alone beautiful. A magnificent story that restores hope for our brokenness and leaves God firmly enthroned and in control of His creation!” Author Bruce VanHorn

Review #3: “Melinda Viergever Inman takes Cain’s act of killing Abel after God’s rejection of his own sacrifice, and weaves it into a cosmic battle between God and Satan, reminiscent of Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. She creates a poignant love story between Cain and his sister Lilith and then turns Cain’s failure into a story of God’s love and redemption. Inman inhabits Adam’s and Cain’s world with believable characters and supplies delightful details along the way so that the reader can visualize that world. The book is a real page turner as Inman creates suspense motivating the reader to persist till the last page and then beyond into the reader’s guide.” by Jo Ann Pevoto, Professor Emeritus, College of the Mainland, Former Co-Editor Poetry Texas, The Sidewinder, and Hurakan.

Review #4: “Refuge plunges readers into the time of Adam and Eve, filling the white space between sentences in the story from Genesis we know so well with ingenuity. The fallen world in which Adam, Eve, and their children find themselves is one you and I can relate to, after all it is our own. Yet the landscape of Refuge manages to maintain the exotic ether of its former glory, the vapors of perfection having only just begun to dissipate. There is intrigue in this young earth where Cain, Abel and their siblings are beginning to experience the effects of their parent’s sin, and commit new sins of their own. In this place, visible angels stand guard at the entrance of Eden, an ever present reminder there’s no going back.” by Jen Sloniger, Writer

AUTHOR PROFILE: My roots were sunk in a storytelling Oklahoma family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, I forsook my roots and ran from myself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought me home again. A prodigal now returned to my secure foundation, I write with passion to illustrate God’s love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. I serve and teach women in prison through a 12-step program. With my husband and family I’m involved with Mission India, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students. More of my story can be found on YouTube:

AUTHOR COMMENTSThe year I wrote Refuge one of my sons was running from God. I’ve done that, too, and I wanted my son to know that God loves him so much that he’s willing to forgive any sin, no matter what it is. I know this firsthand. I wrote with the passionate intensity of a mother, seeking to portray a message of love from a merciful and compassionate God. This son of mine has now been restored. I have his permission to share this part of the story.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: This Amazon link contains a sample chapter:


Amazon: paperback $17.87; ebook $3.49

Barnes  & Noble: paperback $17.87; ebook $3.49

Apple iBook: ebook $3.99 paperback $17.96


Facebook Author page:





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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

One thought on “Refuge”

  1. Just a clarification. Somehow, a copy of Melinda’s video went out to followers along with the post. Which is fine, and I hope those who saw it enjoyed it. But Melinda didn’t ask that I do this, and I’m not making it a regular practice. Just so you know.

    Liked by 1 person

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