Award-winning author to speak at Friends of the Sumter County Library Author Event

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 4/11/18

McCall Hoyle, award-winning author of the Young Adult novel "The Thing with Feathers," will be the guest speaker at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Friends of the Sumter County Library Annual Author …

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Award-winning author to speak at Friends of the Sumter County Library Author Event

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McCall Hoyle, award-winning author of the Young Adult novel "The Thing with Feathers," will be the guest speaker at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Friends of the Sumter County Library Annual Author Event.

A high school English teacher in Georgia, Hoyle spends most of her days with teenagers, her students, whom she considers her "extended family." She says "being a teenager is tough," citing her own high school experiences and "issues with self-esteem, which (she) hid really well."

Hoyle's protagonist, 16-year-old Emilie Day, deals with some of the same problems. Home-schooled because of her epilepsy, Emilie has built a virtual wall around herself, which begins to come down when her doctor recommends she transfer to a public high school in her hometown in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She decides not to reveal her epilepsy to her classmates, so lives in a state of anxiety, constantly dreading having a grand mal seizure at school.

Despite her guardedness, Emilie meets new friends and finds a close relationship with a handsome classmate, who encourages her to accept change. The book centers on Emilie's ambivalence about escaping or accepting and embracing her new life at the school.

The title of the book is taken from the Emily Dickinson poem, which begins:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all

Hoyle's "The Thing with Feathers" has received praise from many critics.

YABooksCentral cites her "strong writing and empathy-expanding content . Hoyle is a talented new fiction voice and an author I'd highly recommend keeping an eye on!"

Romantic Times also praises Hoyle's " beautifully written and genuine novel. Emilie makes for a very engaging heroine, and her relationship with her mom is healthy and refreshing. life with epilepsy never overshadows the heart of the story - Emilie herself. Literary references and a swoon-worthy first love provide a perfect balance to the tougher issues that the author tackles with sincerity, sensitivity and good humor."

In addition to numerous outstanding reviews, "The Thing with Feathers" was selected one of Tutora's Best Children's Books of 2017, Romantic Times Top Pick and 4.5 star review, and Hoyle received the Golden Heart Award for Best Young Adult Romance Author.

Hoyle said she "comes from a long line of strong women," among them her grandmother "Pinkie" Hildebrand Howell, for whom she is named. Howell "was the first female editor of an Associated Press newspaper, (The Sumter Item). My great aunt was a physics professor at Auburn University. They were women way ahead of their times ."

Friends President Sue Griffin noted that "McCall's mother is Emilie Hildebrand Alexander, and her great-grandmother was Mrs. H.C. (Burr) Haynsworth, who was on the first library board with Dr. Samuel Edmunds, all born and raised in Sumter."

Hoyle has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Columbia College and a Master's degree from Georgia State University. She lives in the woods of North Georgia with her husband, children and "an odd assortment of pets - a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten."

Meet author McCall Hoyle at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Friends of the Sumter County Library Author Event in the large meeting room of the Main Library, 111 N. Harvin St. Hoyle will read from and talk about her first novel, "The Thing with Feathers," published in 2017. Her second novel, "Meet the Sky," will be released in September. Both books are published by HarperCollins/Blink. Copies of "The Thing with Feathers" will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend. Call (803) 773-7273 for more information.

For more about the author, visit the website mccallhoyle.com.