When Mockingbirds Sing
I interrupt this low-volume blogging season with the following public service announcement:
I first ran across Billy’s writing through the wonders of social media where someone (I can’t remember who) posted a link to his blog, What I Learned Today. Over the past year or so, I’ve shared a number of his posts with the group that gathers for lunch and prayer at our church every Wednesday. Billy has an observant eye, an honest voice, and a knack for finding truth in everyday happenings. He’s also just a really nice guy. I was honored when he invited me to be a part of the launch team for his newest novel.
When Mockingbirds Sing is about a group of outcasts: a young girl with a bad stutter named Leah, her parents who aren’t accepted in the small mountain town where they just moved, an old man named Barney whose life has taken some hard turns, and Barney’s wife, Maybel, whose stroke has left her unable to verbalize anything besides “I love you.”
Then there is Allie, an astute little girl with a wisdom beyond her years, who befriends Leah. Folks, I have to tell you, I love little Allie! I could “listen” to her talk in the pages of the novel forever. Her observations and her innocence reminded me so much of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. If you know me at all, then you know that I’m singing high praises of Allie, for few characters in all of literature have captured my heart like Scout. And now there is Allie.
There are other characters as well: a well-meaning but overly self-important pastor, a legalistic deacon, Allie’s parents, a good-hearted sheriff, and other townspeople of Mattingly. They all felt like people I knew in Landrum, or Tryon, or Columbus, or Iva, Polkton, or any of the other small towns that have graced my life.
The story gets interesting with the introduction of the most mysterious character of all –The Rainbow Man. The Rainbow Man is seen by Leah alone. Is The Rainbow Man Leah’s imaginary friend, or is he real? The Rainbow Man instructs Leah to paint pictures that astound everyone. When the scenes depicted in the paintings begin to come true, things get intense. Mattingly is in danger. Is Leah the cause, or the solution?
I was fascinated by the story of the origin of The Rainbow Man. I believe it will enhance your reading of the novel as well. Billy tells us all about it in this video clip.
There are a number of excellent reviews, interviews, and video clips out there about Billy and this wonderful new novel. I encourage you to get to know him and his writing. You won’t regret it!
P.S. I have it from an excellent source that we will be hearing more about the town of Mattingly next spring. Read When Mockingbirds Sing now and then join me in the countdown to the follow-up novel!
One More P.S. Click on over to Billy’s blog and you can get 30% off your purchase!