Laurie Parker talks latest novel at Luncheon With Books

Staff Writer

Friends of the Library invited author and artist Laurie Parker to talk about her newest novel "Trespassers Talking" during the October Luncheon With Book series. Parker is a native of Starkville and is well known for her self - illustrated children's books.

"I published my first book 'Everywhere in Mississippi' 21 years ago." Parker said. "I didn't start out to be a children's writer, but children's books allowed me to do my own artwork, as well as write."
Parker said she loved to write in rhyme, and children's books were the perfect medium for her collage-type art and rhymes.

"I was self-employed as an artist," Parker said. "I cut and glue paper to make collages. I also used that medium to create jewelry. There is a niche for regional art and books. All of those things went into my first book 'Everywhere In Mississippi. A rhyming book about a lost dog named Skippy that includes the name of every town in our state."

She said her publisher was Quail Ridge Press, which published regional cookbooks. Parker said they showed an interest in her first book and that's where it all began.
"I left my publisher in 2003," Parker said. "I began self-publishing. I've self-published more books than I did with a publisher. I pay a lot to have high quality books. A lot of my books are bought to be given as gifts and I want them to be gift ready. All the profit I make goes back into the books."

Parker said having total artistic freedom and control is the upside of self-publishing.
"In 'Trespassers Talking' there are two different themes running through the book," Parker said. "What Alzheimer's Disease does to person and political correctness run amok. The first one is a sad thing for anyone to experience to watch someone you love become someone who doesn't even know their own name. The other tends to sort of lighten up the book."

She said her main character accepts a job at a sportswriter for a small newspaper in his hometown of Natchez. It 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.
"He decides to enter a contest for young sports journalists with a story on his former neighbor and high-school football coach," Parker said. "Joe “Judas” Cline, an NFL veteran who is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s."

She said Rainer had known about this Judas long before he had heard of the original Judas Iscariot. Joe Cline had earned the moniker "Judas" after choosing to play football for the Ole Miss Rebels.
"In the process of working on the feature, he gets to know Cline’s wife, Vicky," Parker said. " Whose devotion to her husband impacts Rainer greatly. When "Judas" would speak rudely or harshly, something total our of character, Vicky would say that was 'Trespassers Talking.' The trespasser of Alzheimer's."

She said 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.
"Trespassers Talking' also means those who come to Natchez from the outside," Parker said. "The ones who come to make trouble and create strife."