Scout Webb is the protagonist in my debut novel, Scout’s Honor. Her story opens in August 1983. She is a 14 year old girl in the small (fictional) town of Haddleboro, North Carolina and playing on a summer baseball team with her best friend, a 15 year old boy named Charlie Porter. Charlie has been a centerpiece of Scout’s life for her entire childhood; they are very close and underneath of everything, they love each other. They’re kindred spirits.
Scout has a sweet, kind and innocent disposition and personality, with a bit of spirit or spit fire thrown in there for good measure, which matches the family in which she was raised. She is intense inside, but not at all rebellious or overly self-confident. Scout is a tomboy who loves sports, especially baseball and the New York Yankees. She isn’t afraid to play with and against the boys, is well liked among her peers and has the normal insecurities of girls this age. Scout is an animal lover, especially dogs.
She was born on October 21st, 1968 to her parents, Lee and Raelene Webb. The family is working class. Her father is a stoic, calloused-hands type of man, with a strong quiet faith in God. He’s also a southern gentleman with a dry sense of humor and owns his own auto shop in their small town. Her mother is a sweet southern woman with a very strong moral center. Her family and church family are the center of her life. She is a reading teacher at the town elementary school. Scout and her younger brother have a typical sibling rivalry relationship. The Webb family attends a small town Southern Baptist Church, live in a typical rural southern home off of a gravel road, and enjoy a simple life with no real frills. In some ways, but certainly not all, Scout’s personality and upbringing are similar to her namesake, the young narrator from her mother’s favorite book, To Kill A Mockingbird.
Her name and her Christian faith are both deeply woven into the fabric of her identity, and she always feels an internal pressure to live up to something more. While she is smart and hard-working, she still feels like she should be better or more than what or who she is. This is not due to anything her parents have done or put upon her…this is due to her tendency to take what she has learned in church and apply it very harshly to herself. Instead of focusing on God’s love, she focuses on how much she disappoints God due to her thoughts or imperfections. She is very, very hard on herself, more-so than the average person.
Scout is coming of age, and so she is starting to question some of the things she believes and some of the demands of authority, but her nature is to conform to that authority and not make any waves or problems for others. She keeps her troubles to herself. She is trusting and naïve, and so this is how a simple school girl crush can go into a completely different direction when the right kind of situation – or “perfect storm” – develops.
Without giving up too much information about the entire story, I hope that the readers see Scout as I tried to portray her: a typical good hearted, nice, genuine all American girl from a good salt-of-the-earth place. She is you and me and our sister and best friend and the girl you know from the down the street. She’s all of us. And bad things happen to all of us and affect our lives…sometimes forever…in intangible and profound ways.
I hope you enjoy getting to know her over the course of 20 years (32 years if you count the Epilogue), as much as I enjoyed creating her.