Harper Lee publisher sort of hoping author kicks bucket just before summer release

HarperCollins are not taking advantage of Harper Lee

A HarperCollins marketing team discuss the best time to launch Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman.’

NEW YORK — The company publishing Harper Lee’s first novel in 55 years says that while they wish the 88-year-old author “health and an even excruciatingly longer life than the one she’s already allowed to drag on,” they wouldn’t mind if she kicked the bucket, particularly just before the novel’s July 14 release.

“Harper Lee is an American literary treasure, and it’s with great excitement that the world awaits ‘Go Set a Watchman,’” said HarperCollins spokesperson Allen Letts. “And imagine how much more special reading a mediocre novel about an adult Scout would be if Ms. Lee’s passing was fresh in your mind, and you felt like she was communing with you, her spirit rising up from the very words that were deemed unexceptional by her editor more than half a century ago.”

The novel has so far earned HarperCollins millions of dollars in pre-order sales, but that figure could be many times bigger if only Lee were more cooperative with the marketing team, one source claims.

“Go Set a Watchman” tells the story of a 20-something Scout who deals with conflicted emotions about her father, Atticus, and it written years before the 1960 classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.” After her editor suggested she rewrite the story from the perspective of a girl, Lee hid the manuscript and, according to 60 years of witness accounts, vowed it would never see the light of day. However, After Lee’s sister and legal representative died last year at the age of 103, a lawyer and family friend known as “Jesus of the Dead and Dying Literary Works” miraculously uncovered the draft and set out to get to get it published.

Lee, who is living in a nursing home and suffering from dementia, was “thrilled” to sign away the rights, according to one source. All those involved in the publication who stand to make tens of millions of dollars have vowed to buy a small Caribbean island and a luxury yacht named “The Mayella Ewell” to keep the author’s memory alive.