Thursday, 25 April 2019 19:57

Jenkins set to release debut novel Sept. 24

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ROCKINGHAM — Lance Jenkins, the co-founder of The Richmond Observer, will release his debut novel titled "A New Requiem" this fall.

The book is set to release on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and will be available for pre-order on Friday, Aug. 23 on blancejenkins.com and at major book retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

“This has long been a goal of mine, and I’m excited to finally launch my career as an author and bring a story I am very passionate about to the forefront,” said Jenkins. “To realize this dream … I just cannot explain how incredible it feels.”

"A New Requiem" is the story of Dwight Kerry, a longtime teacher and choir director in the fictional town of Freeden, who is an openly gay man living in the rural South. On the night of his spring community chorus concert, Mozart’s "Requiem," he is arrested and wrongly accused of murdering and raping a 17-year old boy, the son of a prominent family in the community.

The radically fundamental populous immediately turns against Dwight and convicts him in the court of public opinion, and local homegrown trial attorney, choir member, and friend Ben Bailey elects to defend Dwight, despite harsh criticism, from a corrupt local justice system. Led by local pastor and religious leader Dr. Daniel Henson, Freeden’s majority wages a social war against Dwight, Ben, and progressive thought, claiming that Dwight must be found guilty for the sake of Freeden’s future and the moral values its townspeople hold dear.

"A New Requiem" addresses the prejudices often directed toward things different from social norms, with the subject in this story being a gay man in a small town, and calls for readers to reconsider their own preconceived ideas and become more understanding of things different from what they are used to.

“If you know me, you know I am from a small town,” said Jenkins, “and I want to make clear that the fictional town of Freeden is not a reflection on the town I grew up in … or any town I know of, for that matter. Freeden, the antagonist, is merely a collection of people who exhibit the very worst of bigotries and unfair prejudices. Think of the most hateful, negative, narrow-minded person or persons you know. This town is full of them.”

Jenkins knows there is an obvious message of social justice embedded in the plot, but maintains that the thrilling storyline is the key component to his debut novel.

“I believe it’s an incredibly good story that people will really enjoy.”

Jenkins noted that if readers are looking for a laugh, Dwight is an amazingly fun character and maintains his humor and bold personality throughout his trials and tribulations; if readers are looking for redemptive self-conflict, he says to look no further than the protagonist, Ben, who desperately wants to fit in in his hometown, knows he doesn’t mesh with the town’s radical ideals, and ultimately decides to defend Dwight and do the right thing to help his friend who he knows is innocent despite the negative effects it will have on him; if readers are seeking a love story, they’re in luck, too, as Ben falls for Assistant District Attorney Kate Gregory, who serves the prosecution at the beginning of Dwight’s trial, and becomes both an integral part of the trial and of Ben’s evolution in separating himself from the narrow-minded populous of Freeden.

And if readers are looking for a crime thriller, Jenkins says there are elements of that as well: the arrest, the trial, and the drama of the inevitable verdict, in Jenkins’ words, “will keep you entertained.”

As far as the central theme of empathy and understanding, Jenkins has said that he hopes readers will appreciate the message in today’s often contentious social climate.

“I believe the message in 'A New Requiem' is more pertinent now than ever before. It’s time to end prejudices toward things that are different from what we understand. Often times, our fallacies need to be right in front of us…some people need to see how ugly they are. Perhaps when they do, they’ll realize a need for change in the way they treat others.”

The novel will be available in hardcover, paperback, and as an e-book.

You can follow Lance on his blog at blancejenkins.com, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by searching the handle @blancejenkins.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 25 April 2019 20:10