Jack Riggs, author of the Duluth Reads book selection for 2012 “When the Finch Rises,” was the guest of honor at a meet-and-greet reception and booksigning hosted by the Duluth Fine Arts League at the .
After being introduced by Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris, Riggs talked to the audience about the process of writing, including creating characters, choosing the setting and deciding on a time frame. He shared that he was a normal kid who got into mischief just like all of us and the characters in “Finch.”
Set in 1968, "When the Finch Rises" relates the story of two 12-year-old boys Raybert Williams and Palmer Conroy coming of age against the background of the civil rights movement.
Sacrifice, love and redemption are significant themes in the book.
He grew up in a town that could be “Anytown” USA, Riggs said. His hometown of Lexington, NC, inspired the North Carolina mill town of Ellenton that serves as the book’s setting.
Riggs said his characters many times “find him” and challenge him to write their story. And sometimes, as in “Finch,” they "tell him" about things he doesn’t really want to write about particularly. Even though he writes fiction, the author said, he tries “to look for the truth in life.”
Mayor Harris, founder and president of the Duluth Fine Arts League, presented Riggs with a framed “When the Finch Rises” book cover. The framing was done by in Duluth.
The mayor thanked sponsors of this year’s Duluth Reads events that included a Book Talk March 13 at and the March 16 Author Reception. Sponsor support allowed both events to be free and open to the public. Duluth Reads 2012 sponsors were Alfa Insurance/David Tidwell Agency, Chocolate Perks, Duluth Fine Wines and Spirits, the City Of Duluth, The Work Spot, Duluth Historical Society, Gwinnett Gallery, and Woody’s Nursery.
Duluth Reads encourages the community to read and discuss the same book and provides opportunities to interact with the author.