Thursday, April 28, 2011
Still Alive, Still Kicking
The author issued a statement through her sister, an attorney, to set the record straight. What Ms. Mills is writing is her own memoir, and trades on what she describes as a friendship with Harper Lee and various relations. Ms. Lee assures us that she is not cooperating with Ms. Mills, has not authorized this book, and if you think otherwise you're seriously misguided.
Marja Mills' agent lands somewhere between the two. Miriam Altschuler says that Ms. Mills was granted support in writing from Alice Lee, and Harper Lee gave her a verbal pat on the back. Before her stroke in 2007, mind you, so maybe the old brain isn't as sharp as once it was?
Where did the memoir come from? Likely the book is an expansion of an article Ms. Mills wrote about Harper Lee back in 2002, when she interviewed family and friends of the author. It is worth noting that Harper Lee declined to speak to the reporter back then as well.
The book will sell if it can be positioned as an exclusive, never before heard tale of an author who only penned but the one novel. Sales will not take off if the buying public believes that the Lee family had no real input into the content, and all that's left is the ramblings of a journalist who's presenting an investigation that turned up no new data.
Of course, sales will be good if enough publicity and buzz of any sort can be generated, and dragged out until the memoir is laid down on the front table of bookstores nationwide.