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Lawrence releases story collection

Longtime writer and former LaGrange resident Harold A. Lawrence is out with his second book of short stories.  Water Sprites and other Stories, a collection of 21 tales, picks up where “Night Flyers,” his 2017 work, left off.

Now retired and living in Milledgeville, Lawrence served as senior pastor of LaGrange First United Methodist Church from 2005 to 2015. Over decades of writing, he has published five novels, five volumes of poetry, several children’s stories and a slew of historical and genealogical works.

Like “Night Flyers,” “Water Sprites” is laced with a hint of foreboding, Lawrence said, but also with a sense of shared humanity.

“The stories in this collection seek to link the reader with the characters in each one — whether advocate or bystander, perpetrator or victim, the innocent or the guilt-ridden, the joyous or the miserable. All of these elements reside in every person, making every story also partly yours and mine,” the author said.

Lawrence will be in LaGrange on Nov. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. for a meet the author event and book-signing at Legacy Museum and Troup County Archives, located at 136 Main St.  Copies of “Water Sprites and other Stories” will be available for purchase.

Dr. Donald A. Randall of Athens, a graduate school classmate of the author, said Lawrence’s tales delve into the strange, the creepy and the unexpected.

“The stories in this new volume take ordinary people and place them in situations that defy the expected,” Randall said.

“Either the environment offers a twist, or something deep inside a character challenges our expectations.”

“What I try to do,” Lawrence said, “is combine the realistic with the supernatural to reflect the fascinations we all have with those iconic people who stick out in our past so much that we cannot forget them or what they did.”

The story topics are as varied as they are unsettling: hitchhikers who come back to identify their killer, wallpaper patterns that evoke strange moods leading to violence, a ghost rising up to resist those trespassing on his property.

There’s also “Night Flyers II,” a question-answering sequel to the title story from the first volume.

The overall result, Randall said, is “an intimate look at life with a twist…by an astute observer of human nature with a gift for powerful story-telling.”