Author to visit Carmel library to share message of kindness from latest book


Jeffrey Blount’s mission is to make his novels a form of activism.

He will discuss his book, “Mr. Jimmy From Around the Way,” at 6 p.m. Jan. 16 in the Carmel Clay Public Library’s Community Room. The novel, his fourth, is scheduled to be released that same day.

“I want the books to make change around the world,” he said. “I wanted to write this book because there are issues I’ve always wanted to deal with, and when I was in the journalism world, it’s not the place for activism. I wanted to speak to some of those issues that I had been carrying. Many of those issues include poverty, lack of health care, lack of housing, all the kind of things that would be happening in a poverty-stricken neighborhood.”

Blount, 64, said the book is designed to portray how some people live in poverty in the United States.

“They are living in ways that would be shocking to a lot of people,” Blount said.

The story follows James Henry Ferguson, known as Mr. Jimmy, who moves to a rural Mississippi community after a highly publicized fall from grace.

“I believe the book is about the activation of kindness,” Blount said. “(Ferguson) shows us an America that we may not know exists, and he begins to give us a road map as to how we can help the individuals that live in these communities.”

Blount said he was inspired by something that happened when he was in second grade.

“I was able to read when I left kindergarten, and by the time I was in second grade, I was able to read beyond that level (at age 7),” Blount said. “They brought a young man, who was 12 or 13, who came from a farm family. They brought him into our classroom, and he didn’t know how to read. I was given the task of doing his reading lessons.”

Blount said he had time to reflect on those issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I asked myself, with all the stuff going on with people dying, I thought, ‘What if I only had one more book to write?’” Blount said. “That’s when I realized I had to write about the activism of kindness. I refer to (the book) as my pandemic baby.”

Blount visited CCPL in 2020 to discuss his novel “The Emancipation of Evan Walls.”

Blount, who lives in Washington, D.C., spent 34 years at NBC News, where he directed “Meet the Press” and “Today, among other duties.

Registration is required for the free event. For more, visit