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Author Marja Mills talks about her controversial Harper Lee book

Marja Mills, via bookpassage.com

Marja Mills, via bookpassage.com

During a recent event hosted by the Chicago Tribune, author and former Trib reporter Marja Mills answered questions about the still-swirling controversy concerning her newly published look at the life of “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee.

When Mills’ deal to write The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee was announced in 2011, it prompted a statement purportedly from Lee denying that she had cooperated. Mills has long rebutted that and has continued to do so in recent days after the conflict resurfaced upon July 15 publication.

Mills lived in the house next to the Lee and her older sister Alice in Monroeville, Alabama for 18 months while doing research for her book — which sprang from a 2002 profile she wrote for the Tribune.

Lee “had always been encouraging and also quite specific about stories that she was sharing for the book and those that were to remain private and I did respect those,” Mills told columnist Mary Schmich Monday evening.

“There are other people dealing with [the Lees'[ affairs and, I don’t know, I am sad about what has happened with that, but also glad that these stories have been preserved.”

Reviews so far have been mixed.