On Monday, Harper Lee dropped a literary bombshell by announcing to the world that her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, is set to be published this summer.
Today, Stephen Roth amused a few of his friends and a smattering of other fiction readers by announcing work on his second novel, tentatively titled An American Band, which he hopes will be published someday.
“I have nothing but profound respect for Harper Lee. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since I was in 6th grade,” Roth said in a recent interview. “I’m not trying to steal any thunder from her big announcement, but I wanted to let people know that I am halfway through writing my second book, and I hope to finish the first draft this summer.”
Lee’s first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is an American literary classic, and still sells hundreds of thousands of copies each year. The book spawned an iconic movie, in which Gregory Peck portrayed the soft-spoken but courageous small-town lawyer, Atticus Finch. Go Set a Watchman, described as a sequel to Mockingbird, will be Lee’s first published work since 1961.
Roth’s first novel, A Plot for Pridemore, was published last May, and has earned 22 positive reader reviews on Amazon.com. The author has described book sales as “pretty good so far,” but declined to share specific figures. He noted that the book is available as a Kindle or Nook eBook, “if people prefer to read it that way.”
Unlike Lee’s new book, An American Band is not a sequel, although it does share the same humorous storytelling style as Roth’s rookie effort. The new novel focuses on two groups of people: a three-man, middle-aged rock band in Charlotte, N.C. that decides to go on tour, and a collection of retired conspiracy theorists in South Georgia who are ready to engage in radical activism. Roth said he has enjoyed writing about how these two distinct groups become intertwined. To date, he has completed 160 pages of An America Band.
The announcement of Lee’s new book has sparked a firestorm of excitement and speculation. Fans have been clamoring for another book from the reclusive Alabama author for 55 years. The book’s publisher, Harper, plans to print two million copies of Go Set a Watchman, according to an article in The New York Times.
Roth expressed excitement about his own second novel, and said he felt the need to “get the word out” about it.
“I’ve gotten a few emails from people asking me when I’m going to write another book, so I felt like now was a good time to make some sort of announcement,” Roth said. “It’s nice to know that some people are interested in reading another one of my books.”