Laura Lane  McNeal

(C) Carlton Mickle

Writing from the Heart | Saturday, May 16, 3:20 - 4:10, Richland Meeting Room C
Okra Picks: Great Southern Books, Fresh Off the Vine | Sunday, May 17, 1:40 - 2:30, Lexington Meeting Room A
Genre(s) Fiction Southern

Laura Lane McNeal was born and raised in New Orleans. After receiving two degrees from SMU, she went on to earn an MBA from Tulane. She spent most of her career in advertising, working for agencies in New York and Dallas, before returning to New Orleans where she became a free-lance writer as well as a decorative artist. The devastation of Katrina is what led her to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. Laura resides in New Orleans and is married with two sons. Dollbaby is her first novel.

Book Title: Dollbaby

After living through Hurricane Katrina, Laura Lane McNeal vowed to write a novel, and the New Orleans native kept her word. Dollbaby is a dazzling love letter to the Big Easy, featuring a winning young heroine and an unforgettable cast of characters.

When Ibby Bell’s father dies the summer of 1964, her mother deposits eleven-year-old Ibby in New Orleans with her eccentric grandmother, Fannie. Her grandmother’s rundown Victorian mansion is like no place Ibby’s ever been, and Fannie like no one she’s ever met. Ibby falls under the care of Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her outspoken daughter, Dollbaby, who initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets. Set against the backdrop of the civil-rights era, Dollbaby is a coming-of-age that weaves together the lives of five women who prove that family can be found where you least expect it.