Starkville author and illustrator Laurie Parker will discuss her latest novel, "Gently Scattered Intentions" at the Starkville Public Library today at noon.
"'Gently Scattered Intentions' is a really outstanding work of fiction of literary quality," said Starkville Friends of the Library Board Member Sue Minchew.
The setting of the book is in the Mississippi Delta in June of 1977 with 21st century Memphis woven into it by main character, Gina's recollections.
"The book alternates between the past, Greenville, Mississippi in the late 70s, and the present, Memphis in 2011," Parker said.
The past was her favorite part to write because it deals with 15-year-old Gina moving to the Delta and meeting an older boy, Nigel, who's a crop-duster pilot.
Gina later developed a bond with Lily, a Chinese-American girl who goes missing.
"The book is a very compelling love story, a cold case mystery and even mystery surrounding Gina's past," Minchew said. "Parker artfully captures both Gina's emotions and the aura of the region: the sights, sounds, smells, the feel of the heat and humidity. It was a personal walk down memory lane for me as my daddy, like Uncle Dermott, was also a crop duster and owned a crop dusting business."
Parker has written 12 children's books and five novels for adults. Each novel was based in a different Mississippi town such as Meridian, Natchez, Oxford, Biloxi and now Greenville.
Parker immersed herself in research about crop-dusting and the Mississippi-Chinese connection, developing Lily.
She was born in Bruce, Mississippi but moved to Starkville when she was one years old.
"I consider myself a Starkville native," Parker said.
She graduated from Starkville High School and attended Mississippi State University twice to pursue elementary education and engineering.
Deciding to pursue writing was an easy choice because it was something she felt came natural to her since she was old enough to hold a pencil.
"My heart has always been with writing. Writing and art has always been my passion," she said. "I ended up doing what I always loved."
Parker considers it her calling stating she's been a poet her entire life.
"I started out in children's books because I'm also an artist so I'm able to do writing and the illustrating on those. And children's books are probably the only thing other than greeting cards that let's you use your art and writing talent," Parker said.
"And I have also always been good at writing and rhyme so that also lent itself well to the children's genre," she added.