Clayton “Coke” Newell is the author of a autobiographical novel On the Road to Heaven (which garnered him best novel of the year for 2007 from both the Association for Mormon Letters and the Whitney Awards) and nonfiction Latter Days: A Guided Tour Through Six Billion Years of Mormonism. His other book titles include The Lost Compass, Journey to Edaphica, Cow Chips Aren’t for Dippin’: A Guide to Life in the New Wild West, and Dying Words: Colombian Journalists and the Cocaine Warlords, his first book and thesis for his bachelor’s degree in technical journalism, which he earned from Colorado State University. He later received a Master's degree in organizational communications from Montana State University.
He is an author and curriculum designer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he is a member. Also for the Church, he served as the public relations manager for the North America Area for nearly seven years and media relations manager for almost four years.
Newell was the executive director of Project Amigo, a humanitarian organization working for literacy and educational opportunities in rural Mexico. He was an assistant professor of communication at the University of Saint Francis for almost four years and an instructor at Salt Lake Community College.
Newell was raised in the Colorado mountains and joined the Church during his teen years. He served a full-time mission to Colombia. He and his wife, Cindy, are the parents of seven children.