I never know what a book is about until I finish it. Fourteen years ago I moved to Atlanta from my long-years home in Frederick, Maryland near Washington, D.C. I thought never to leave that house. But life happens and I did leave, and at the same time I got on the road and had a work life filled with schools, libraries, conferences, and new friends along the way.
What I missed most was the time to make a home in a new place, and that feeling of putting down roots, creating community, and staying somewhere where everyone knows you.
Emma Lane Cake feels that way, too. She finds herself in Halleluia, Mississippi with her loving but chaotic family of itinerant bakers, her eleventh move in as many years as she’s been alive — or has it been more than 11 moves? She has lost track. When she meets Ruby Lavender, they hatch a plan that will allow Emma to stay. Or will it?
I’ve come back to Aurora County to write about coming home and finding a place to belong in the world… something I had to do as a military child grown up, and something I had to do again when I moved to Atlanta.
On the road for 17 years it became clear to me that some children search for home and belonging, and friendship, every day. And that other children offer it, every day. I wanted to write a book for all those children, too.
A Long Line of Cakes is published this fall. It becomes the fourth Aurora County book after Love, Ruby Lavender, Each Little Bird That Sings, and The Aurora County All-Stars. I hope you take Emma to your heart in just the way Ruby does (in her Ruby way) and in the way that I did, too.
If you’re a reader of the previous Aurora County novels, you’ll say a new hello to Ruby, Melba Jane, Miss Eula, Miss Mattie, Declaration, House, Cleebo, Honey, Eudora Welty, Finesse, and more, along with the magic — and mystery — of what it means to belong, to create a home, and to find a family.
I’m welcoming myself back home to blogging, too, after a century away. Let’s see if it feels like home.