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Phillip Lehn, a local author and actor, recently published his first novel entitled The Sessions.

A Morganton man is making his dream of creating a movie come true one step at a time, which now includes publishing the book that started it all.

Philip Lehn, author of "The Sessions," recently published his first book in June which currently is being made into a feature-length film set to release in 2018, as previously reported in The News Herald.

The 252-page book follows the character named Sammy Buford, who “struggles to connect with people on an emotional and empathetic level," Lehn said.

Buford, played by Lehn in the movie, starts on a journey to learn how to love for the first time with help from his new therapist, Dr. Natalie Knowles, and childhood best friend , Jenny Johnson.

Lehn has setup two different book signings for those who would like to purchase the book. There will only be 25 books at each signing, so it is recommended to get there early. Bobby Pimentel, director of "The Sessions" also will be at the book signings available to autograph the books.

The first book signing will be at Marquee Cinemas on July 8 from noon to 3 p.m. and the second at Brown Mountain Bottleworks on July 22 from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.

He first started writing the book when he was 17 years old — close to when his grandmother died from cancer and other situations in his life happened that were out of his control.

“In being 17 years old I wasn’t comfortable talking to people, so I started writing the book as a therapeutic way of thinking,” he said. “Very seldom do our hearts and our minds agree because our heart says 'yes' and our mind says vice versa.”

In the book, Lehn says that Buford, in a metaphorical sense, is his heart and Knowles is his mind saying yes or no.

“It was just therapeutic for me going back and forth with my own thoughts,” Lehn said.

He hopes that publishing his book will add more excitement building up to the movie.

"People aren't going to see the movie to see us because no one knows us, except friends and family, so publishing the movie would be a little extra push to build the film's credibilty and possibly the excitement," he said. "I believe if people read the book, they will see the movie."

He said this book surrounds the subject of talking about feelings and how the Buford realizes that people can and do accept others' feelings.

“Whether it be positive or negative, it is better to feel disappointment, heartbreak or joy than to neglect the feeling,” he said.

Lehn believes that in today’s world , he does have an audience.

He conducted a random study involving 23 teenagers taking a poll on how many of them feel comfortable talking about their feelings and the results came back as a surprise.

"Nineteen of the 23 kids said they were not comfortable talking about their feelings , which is what this entire book is about," Lehn said.

The movie , which began filming in September of 2016, has been shot locally in several different places including Brown Mountain Bottleworks in downtown Morganton.

The film is planned to premiere at the Marquee Cinemas when completed and will be entered into several film festivals, said a previous News Herald article.

To purchase the book, visit http://bit.ly/2snS7Xb

The book costs $9.99 online and $15 for an autographed edition. It is suggested that only those 16 and older read the book due to language and mild sexual content.

To see theatrical trailers for the film, visit https://youtu.be/WpUcERpUxv0 or http://bit.ly/2kmzD7b

For more information about the film, visit www.thesessionsfilm.com or their Facebook page “THE SESSIONS.”

Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at jbobak@morganton.com or 828-432-8907.

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