to kill a mockingbird sequel authorHave you heard the big news in the literary world? Harper Lee, now 88, is releasing a To Kill a Mockingbird sequel! My daughter, Krista, sent me a link to the announcement yesterday afternoon and my response to her was: Oh. My. God.

Millions of fans, including myself, have been wanting more from Harper Lee for decades, and we will finally get our wish.

Evidently, Harper Lee wrote this manuscript in the mid 1950s and then put it away. She went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for To Kill a Mockingbird. The sequel is called Go Set a Watchman. (Publishing date: July 14, 2015) It is the story of To Kill a Mockingbird’s main character, Scout, grown up and returning home to visit her father, Atticus.

Here’s what Harper Lee said about why is hasn’t been released sooner:

“My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel (what became To Kill a Mockingbird) from the point of view of the young Scout,” she said.

“I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so I was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication.”

Lee continued:

“I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”

Known for being reclusive and often questioned about why she only wrote one book, I imagine the publication of the To Kill A Mockingbird sequel will be a big moment for Harper Lee. Hopefully, her family and friends will protect her from the scrutiny her new novel will be under as it is compared to her first book, which is a literary classic.

As a writer, everything is compared to your best book, and as I put the finishing touches on my newest novel Temple Secrets (to be released later this month), I also wonder (on a much smaller scale, of course) how my readers will like it. It is very different from The Secret Sense of Wildflower, and any of the other novels I’ve written, although they all have similar ingredients: Secrets. Ghosts (in more than one). Characters you can root for. Courage. Resilience. Humor.

In the Kirkus Review (starred review, and a Best Book of 2012) for The Secret Sense of Wildflower, Wildflower was referred to as an “adolescent Scout Finch,” albeit one whose life took a difficult turn.

That single reference is encouraging enough to keep me writing for years! I have been compared to Harper Lee in other reviews, as well. I am honored by that, and humbled by the mere suggestion. I certainly don’t feel on that level. Although I can get a bit reclusive if I’m not careful, especially if I am working on a new novel!

It’s a totally different world out there than when To Kill a Mockingbird came out 55 years ago. The world of publishing alone has gone through enormous upheavals and changes in the last fifty years.

However, one thing hasn’t changed. It still takes a tremendous amount of courage for a writer of any age to put a book out into the world.

What do you think of this news? xo

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