For the first time in its history, the Schuyler Public Library will be host to a New York Times best-selling author.
Tosca Lee, a Nebraska-based author, will come to the library at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss her latest book, “A Single Light”, the sequel to her best-seller “The Line Between." The event is free, open to the public and sponsored by the Schuyler Public Library Foundation. Library Director Jenny White said that while the library had hosted local authors in the past, it hasn't had anyone visit with the kind of pedigree as Lee.
“We’ve had local authors before of some renown, but we’ve never had an official New York Times best-seller,” White said. “This is our first one.”
White managed to get Lee to Schuyler after getting a call from her publicist, who told White that she liked doing library visits. Thus, with the new book on the way, White called Lee to ask if she would be willing to come to Schuyler.
“I asked and she said 'yes,'” White said. “Her publicist reached out to me and he was like, ‘She’s got a new book coming out, she’s local and she’s keen to visit libraries.’”
“A Single Light” was released Tuesday and continues the tale of Wynter Roth, a woman who was kicked out of a doomsday cult. After spending six months underground, she comes up to see that the world has spun out of control, thanks to a continued outbreak of early-onset dementia. Thus, Roth is tasked with attempting to save the world from imminent destruction.
“The theme of 'A Single Light' is this idea that it only takes one good person or one good deed or one act of kindness to save the world," Lee said. "It's the idea of being the change that you want to see in the world. That's the theme of the book."
Although the book has a dark backdrop, with overtones inspired by current events such as global warming, global pandemics and potential cyber attacks, Lee said that her book differs from others in the dystopia category by focusing on hope and optimism for a better future.
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"So many of the books in that genre tend to be pretty dark, hopeless and scary," Lee said. "I think what may set it apart from other books in this genre is this idea of hope and light."
Schuyler would seem like an unconventional place for a New York Times best-seller to visit, but Lee was more than willing to take time out of her busy schedule to make the trip.
“I asked my publicist to reach out to Nebraska libraries," said Lee, who lives in Fremont. "Everyone who responded, we're going (to). I've never been to Schuyler before, so I'm really excited. I've been to a lot of communities - 20 years ago, I was Miss Nebraska, so I went all around the state doing stuff - but I don't know if I've ever been to Schuyler."
While calling a dystopian novel a love letter is somewhat inaccurate, Lee does give plenty of nods to Nebraska within the pages of the book.
"It's a way for me to finally come home and write a story that takes place in my state and features not only towns here in Nebraska but tips the cap to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (and) to different landmarks around the state of Nebraska," Lee said. "(I pay tribute to) the people of Nebraska and it's inspired heavily by events in Nebraska as well."
Getting Lee to make a visit is definitely a big coup for the library, but White said she hopes that she won’t be the only New York Times best-seller to come out and enchant this rural Nebraska enclave.
“Hopefully, it is the first of many,” White said. “The library is here now. We’re established in our new location, so now it’s time to reach out with programming, outreach and events. We’re going to try to have more author events and more interesting programming in the library. Hopefully, she’s not the last.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at email@example.com.