PRESS RELEASE Trespassers Talking
Mississippi Author/Illustrator Laurie Parker’s
Short Description: Set in Natchez, Mississippi in 2015, Trespassers Talking is the fourth novel by author/artist Laurie Parker. Accepting a job at a fledgling newspaper in his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi seems like a good resume-building opportunity to recent Vanderbilt graduate and aspiring sportswriter Rainer Landrou, so he moves back and opts to live with his dad to save money. The night job he takes at a hotel supplements the meager income he has settled for in pursuit of his calling, but once slammed with football season assignments, he soon finds his work schedule and his long-distance relationship with his girlfriend back in Nashville tricky to juggle. Talented, ambitious, and determined to make a name for himself, he decides to enter a contest for young sports journalists with a story on his former neighbor and high-school football coach, Joe “Judas” Cline, an NFL veteran who is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. In the process of working on the feature, he gets to know Cline’s wife, Vicky, whose devotion to her husband impacts Rainer greatly. When one of Rainer’s colleagues at the newspaper maneuvers the current climate of political correctness to serve a personal vendetta, outside protesters and the mainstream media descend upon the historic town. The resulting turmoil dovetails with career frustrations which have been percolating in Rainer, and he makes a decision that he will deeply regret, one that affects the life of a childhood playmate with whom he has become reacquainted. Trespassers Talking is a stirring, honest, and wit-filled account of a young millennial’s coming home to face an intense crash-course in real life, a season crammed with realizations regarding work, love, memories, social issues, stereotypes, and friendship
Stanton Hall, Dunleith, Magnolia Hall, Natchez-Under-The-Hill, King’s Tavern, Cotton Alley Café, Biscuits and Blues, the Bellemont Shake Shop, Pig Out Barbecue Inn, are just a few of the places OLD and NEW that folks from the Natchez area will appreciate seeing mentioned in the context of a fictional story!
(Yonder Dove Press; Starkville, Mississippi; October 2016) – Mississippi wordsmith and collage artist Laurie Parker, author and illustrator of the beloved children’s rhyming favorites Everywhere in Mississippi, The Turtle Saver, It Really Said Christmas, and others, has again demonstrated the strength of the writing side of her twenty-four-year career in the arts by releasing her FOURTH novel in as many years.
Says Parker: “In 2013, I made the switch from ‘children’s books’ to ‘big-people books’ when I released The Matchstick Cross. Even though I always considered my rhyming books to be for both children AND adults, I was long-ago labeled a ‘children’s author.’ So although it was a major departure in the eyes of the public when I released my first novel, a 507 page book, it wasn’t so much for me. I was just doing what I’ve always done—crafting in words! But there were, of course, some differences in the process!”
Although she says she thoroughly enjoyed doing the children’s books, the Starkville native says that she found that writing a story in prose came so naturally to her with her first novel that she regrets she didn’t start doing novels years ago. So to make up for lost time, she has devoted the last three years of her life to crafting in prose! In September of 2014, she released her second southern novel, Yonder Breaks the Morning, and in 2015, her third, Hush, Swing, Hush.
Laurie’s novels are not sequels; they are completely unrelated stories. But they all are set in Mississippi. Laurie chose Natchez as the setting for her latest for several reasons. Says the author, “Natchez is perhaps Mississippi’s most historically colorful town, so that made it a fun place to set a story. As my main character is a sportswriter, the fact that Natchez has several high school football teams worked for me as well.” Parker said she did a lot of fact checking when it came to SEC and high school football. “My story is set in 2015, and I stuck to reality as far as both the SEC’s and the state’s high-school football schedules. If my main character, Rainer, is covering LSU at Ole Miss one weekend, that’s because they actually played each other on that date. So I incorporated authentic scores and stats into my story. At one point, I even go back in history and mention a state championship game that took place in 1981 between Starkville and South Natchez. It was fun to include that, as I was dating someone who played for Starkville that year, and was actually at that game! And I had completely forgotten that it was Natchez who beat us, until I was doing some research for my story!”
As Trespassers Talking features a character who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parker said she studied quite a few online message boards to find stories from which she could draw—stories people shared about things their parents or spouses did when affected by the brain disease. She says she wants people who love someone with Alzheimer’s to be able to relate to some of the stages the spouse in her story goes through.
Parker’s latest novel also touches on the subject of political correctness, and she says she is aware that many people will consider the way she approaches it to be politically incorrect! But she says she strove to make the point in her story that sweeping generalizations, such as those often made through those who fervently embrace some of today’s popular agendas, can be dangerous. Says Parker, “In a fictional story, you can show the humanity of characters and get readers into the hearts of people, and that is a less vitriolic, more innocuous way to facilitate getting folks to see the other side of an argument, or to realize that everything isn’t always black or white, good or bad. In short, in this age in which freedom of speech and the right to have one’s own opinion rather than a mainstream-dictated one seem to be more and more in jeopardy, fiction is one of the only places where one can still feel free to be a rebel! After all—it’s JUST a story!” The author says that one thing she wants to convey with this story is that not only is it wrong to stereotype people, but that to call someone you don’t personally know a “racist” is especially irresponsible.
The novelist says that what she enjoyed the most about writing this particular book was finding a way to weave a story using two separate topics as her loom: Alzheimer’s disease and political correctness run amok. Follow Mississippi Writer laurie Parker on Facebook to find out where and when she’ll be signing Trespassers Talking, and to see what readers have to say about the story!
Trespassers Talking, the fourth novel by Mississippi Writer Laurie Parker,
Hardbound with a dust jacket and 435 pages, it retails for $28.00.
You can order through The Book Mart (662-323-2844).
Interested RETAILERS can get more information via private message on Facebook.
Good terms: no minimum, 45% discount and signed books are shipped media mail.
Laurie handwrote her first three novels—with a mechanical pencil, two or three drafts of each chapter. Here, you are looking at the handwritten version of her first novel, The Matchstick Cross. She penned Yonder Breaks the Morning and Hush, Swing, Hush the same way. Her latest novel, Trespassers Talking was done a little differently; she handwrote the first third and did the rest directly on the computer.
Laurie got her cat Wordsworth from the
pound in March of 2006.
He is named for the poet, William Wordsworth.