Friday, March 26, 2010

Guest Blogger, Sarah Addison Allen

Today I’d like to introduce New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress as she concludes her first blog tour.

Sarah is the author of the southern magic realism novel, “The Girl Who Chased the Moon.”

Sarah joins us here today to talk about how food makes it’s way into her writing.

Food always seems to make its way into what I write. My debut Garden Spells features a caterer who makes delicious dishes with edible flowers. My book The Sugar Queen is chock full of Southern and rural candies.

When I sat down to write my new book, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, I only knew one magical thing about it: that it was going to be set in a North Carolina barbecue town, where the air was always tomato-sweet and hickory-smoked.

I remember the first time I heard someone refer to outdoor grilling as "barbecuing." It was so foreign to me. As Grandpa Vance says in The Girl Who Chased the Moon: "Hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill, that's called cooking out around here."

In North Carolina, barbecue means pork. Pulled pork and sauce and cole slaw and hush puppies. 

Our idea of barbecue is just a part of the odd loveliness of my home state, part of its distinctive flavor. I hope you enjoy this taste of it.

Thanks Sarah for guest blogging here today. Barbecuing does have different meaning for different parts of the country.

Here’s a brief description of the book:
In her latest enchanting novel, Sarah invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world…no matter how out of place they feel.

Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life.

Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes. Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth and in the hope of bringing back the love she fears she’s lost forever.

In Julia, Emily may have found a link to her mother’s past. But why is everyone trying to discourage Emily’s growing relationship with the handsome and mysterious son of Mullaby’s most prominent family? Emily came to Mullaby to get answers, but all she’s found so far are more questions.

Is there really a ghost dancing in her backyard? Can a cake really bring back a lost love? In this town of lovable misfits, maybe the right answer is the one that just feels…different.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon can be found at and there will be a Kindle edition.

Now a little background on Sarah. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is currently at work on her next novel. For more about Sarah, visit her website at

Does Mullaby sound like the kind of town you’d like to visit or live in?


  1. Mason - Thanks for hosting Sarah.

    Sarah - One of the things I enjoy about different novels is the way the local culture permeates them. It sounds as though the culture of the American South - North Carolina style - is woven through your work, and that fascinates me. I wish you continued success with your books!

  2. After reading about Sarah's book here and on Lesa's site, I'm really excited about this Southern novel. The story does sound magical.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. This book is already on my TBR list - it sounds wonderful. And the cover is absolutely charming.

  4. Sarah, I am also a NC author, and yes - BBQ is pulled pork!
    Now, I'm originally from Oregon, so the pulled pork thing really threw me at first. BBQ meant ribs or hamburgers & hotdogs to me!

  5. Up here in my part of Canada, we use barbeque to mean the device itself and as a verb (where a lot of people say grill). We think of a grill as the front silvery stuff of a car or truck :)

  6. Thanks for hosting Sarah today. Like Jemi, barbeque means a grill for us and we use it as a verb saying, I am going to barbeque some chicken. I never knew it meant anything else. Neat post.


  7. Someone just mentioned this book to me and have since put it on my book list.

  8. Sounds like a great book. I'll go to amazon and put it on my wish list.


  9. Thanks everyone for stopping by. It's interesting to see all the different translations of barbecuing. But the one common element - good food no matter what it is or what it's called.

    Sarah thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on food and how it's used in the book. THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON sound great, can't wait to read it. Wishing much success with it.

  10. This sounds like a great book. I'm adding it to my list, too - even though Texas has the "real" barbecue :)

  11. All of Sarah's books sound magical. I just started reading Garden Spells last night. Now I can't wait to read all of her books!

  12. Hi, Sarah!

    Great to "see" you here. I am so excited for your new book. We have to catch up -- I need to give you a
    hooligan update -- and I need an
    update on your menagerie!


  13. Thanks for this interview-this book has been on my wish list for awhile.

  14. Great interview. Thanks for posting.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.