The author has dismissed concerns about her upcoming sequel

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Harper Lee has shot down concerns that she was “pressured” into releasing her new book.

Fans of the reclusive author were thrilled earlier this week when she announced plans to release a sequel to her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird – 55 years after it was first published.

But the announcement raised some eyebrows, with people like actress Mia Farrow suggesting that the 88-year-old was being coerced into releasing the lost novel, titled Go Set a Watchman.

For years, Lee and her estate were fiercely guarded by her sister Alice, who died in November at the age of 103. The announcement of Lee’s new book just a few months after her sister’s passing has many wondering whether the author, who resides in an assisted living facility in Alabama and is reportedly in poor health herself, willingly parted with the long-lost manuscript.

Lee vehemently disputes these rumors.

“I’m alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to Watchman,” she said in a statement Thursday morning, according to the BBC.

The novel, which follows an adult Scout, was originally written in the 1950s and recently re-discovered by Lee’s lawyer, Tonja Carter.

Added Lee’s international rights agent Andrew Nurnburg in a separate statement: “I met with her last autumn and again over two days in January; she was in great spirits and increasingly excited at the prospect of this novel finally seeing the light of day.”

Go Set a Watchman hits shelves July 14.