The Vernon Parish Public Library recently announced that an up and coming author is bringing a stop on his book tour to the Vernon Parish Public Library. Dr. John “Johnny” Armstrong has received much acclaim for his debut novel Shadowshine.

Armstrong will be at the Vernon Parish Public Library to sign books and do a live reading of Shadowshine on November 2nd  The book tells the story of Zak, an opossum, who must venture deep into the woods to save his home from destruction. 

Among the book’s themes is the estrangement between mankind and the rest of the animal kingdom. Armstrong has explained that this idea came from his experience while traveling with his wife in France. 

“My own personal experience came about 18 or 19 years ago. My wife, Karen, and I were in a Paris bar and I casually picked up a sous-bock (French for beer coaster). At the time, Paris was celebrating sous-bock art and all the city’s bars were following the art theme on their coasters. When I looked at the one in my hand, I couldn’t decipher the image on the front at all. But the backside explanation almost knocked me off my stool. The image was a depiction of humanity’s crise d’identite’ face a la nature—humanity’s identity crisis in the face of nature.”

Armstrong has noted that the concept of an identity crisis that encompassed all of humanity has also been addressed by many writers and artists over the years. He draws inspiration from many of them including French writer Jean Bruller who famously stated: “All of mankind’s troubles are due to the fact that we do not know what we are and cannot agree on what to become.”

Shadowshine has received many glowing reviews online from readers and Armstrong’s peers in the writing community. Author Tom Aswell compared Shadowshine to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as greek myth. 

"It’s what I would describe as a story akin to The Hobbit, or Homer’s Odyssey-lite. This book would make a great animated feature movie and I hope some astute scriptwriter stumbles across it and sees its potential. Three words: delightful, entertaining, and enlightening."

An online review saw reader Elizabeth Gilbert make a glowing recommendation: She said:  “I rarely discover a book that completely engages me in its story and characters while making me stop and think about underlying issues at the same time. Shadowshine did that and more”

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