The author, on Abby's contribution to her writing:
Abby loves to sit at my feet under the table where I do my writing. She likes to snuggle against me, whether it’s on the bed, the couch, or on the floor next to my feet. I like having her close, so I’d say she’s helps me write, kind of like a writing buddy. The only problem, from her point of view, is that when I get in the writing zone, I can work for four or five hours without getting up,. After a while, Abby will come from under the table and sit a few feet away and start staring at me. That’s her signal that she needs to go out. If I’m not paying attention, she’ll either come over and paw my leg, or give out a yelp. At one point during the writing of Dollbaby, I had to start leaving the back door open so that she could go out at her leisure. That was fine remedy until birds and squirrels starting coming into the house. I’m...[read on]About NcNeal's novel, Dollbaby, from the publisher:
A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secretsVisit Laura Lane McNeal's website.
When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.
For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.
For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, Dollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.
By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbaby is a novel readers will take to their hearts.
My Book, The Movie: Dollbaby.
Writers Read: Laura Lane McNeal.
The Page 69 Test: Dollbaby.
Coffee with a Canine: Laura Lane McNeal & Abby.