South Mississippians excited to read 'Go Set a Watchman' - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippians excited to read 'Go Set a Watchman'

South Mississippians are excited to see the familiar characters from Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" hit bookshelves once again with Lee's highly-anticipated sequel, "Go Set a Watchman." (Photo source: WLOX) South Mississippians are excited to see the familiar characters from Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" hit bookshelves once again with Lee's highly-anticipated sequel, "Go Set a Watchman." (Photo source: WLOX)
Katy Perez poses with her daughter, Bella, in front of the "Go Set a Watchman" display at Barnes and Noble. (Photo source: WLOX) Katy Perez poses with her daughter, Bella, in front of the "Go Set a Watchman" display at Barnes and Noble. (Photo source: WLOX)
Claudia Smith and her mom, Cindy, were ecstatic about picking up their copies of "Go Set a Watchman." (Photo source: WLOX) Claudia Smith and her mom, Cindy, were ecstatic about picking up their copies of "Go Set a Watchman." (Photo source: WLOX)
"Go Set a Watchman is now available online and in most bookstores. (Photo source: WLOX) "Go Set a Watchman is now available online and in most bookstores. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

It's been more than half a century since Harper Lee released her first novel. The critically acclaimed and award-winning book "To Kill a Mockingbird" was an instant hit and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Now, the familiar characters from the classic story are hitting bookshelves once again with Lee's highly-anticipated sequel, "Go Set a Watchman."

Many Harper Lee fans have been waiting for this day since 1960, when Lee's classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" became a permanent fixture in American literature. The book has transcended generations, and garnered new fans along the way. So, when a sequel was announced in February, the fans were ecstatic.

"I think I cried when I heard it was coming out. And I'm going to cry today, I'm sure," said Katy Perez.

She remembered the impact the book had on her as a young girl. She hoped to give that same experience to her daughter, Bella, with Lee's newest release.

"I'm sure she won't let us down," said Perez.

"Go Set a Watchman" takes place a couple of decades after the events in Mockingbird. And many of the fans are anxious to see how their favorite characters have developed in that time.

"I'm very excited about it. Scout's kind of one of my heroes," said Lee fan, Dee Wichman.

Each fan has a story about how the book touched them in one way or the other. For Cindy Smith, it was the author, herself, who made the biggest impression. She said she'll never forget meeting Lee with a school group.

"Awe inspiring. We just sat there with our mouths open," said Smith.

According to Smith, meeting Lee made reading her book even better. Smith passed her love of literature on to her daughter, Claudia, who says Lee's work inspired her.

"It just hooked me," said Claudia.

Now, Claudia is studying creative writing and hopes her work will provide that same inspiration to young writers. And she credits Lee's writing as her motivation.

"And all I thought was, man, I want to write a story that really gets people's attention and really changes either the way they look at things, or the way they look at life," said Claudia.

Which is an experience that Lee's fans are expecting from her second novel.

"Go Set a Watchman is now available in most bookstores. If you have your own copy, let us know what you think on our WLOX Facebook page. But please, no spoilers.

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