Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Calling Me Home: Susan

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For more than a year, we have been awaiting a special day that is almost here: the publication of Julie Kibler’s first novel, Calling Me Home, available for pre-order now and in bookstores February 12. If you are in DFW, please join us that evening for Julie's book launch and signing at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, The Parks Mall, Arlington. Click here for more information and to RSVP (which is helpful to Julie and the store in planning for the event, but not required).

Calling Me Home is our group's first published novel, and it marks a major milestone for both Julie and the blog itself. We started this blog more than four years ago as an outlet for some of our thoughts on writing, but also as a platform to help introduce us to you, our readers, as writers looking forward to publication. That time is beginning. In celebration, each of us is sharing our thoughts on home, how it calls us, and what it means to every "me" in our group. We hope you enjoy these posts, and we hope to see some of you February 12!

By Susan

I’ll admit it: I’ve struggled with writing this post. Home is a loaded word to me: a mix of my childhood and the childhoods of my own daughters, of my past and my present colliding in a place we call the same thing, two places that are the same yet are vastly different: Home.

I’ve made no secret that I am a Kentucky girl and proud of it, even though I haven’t lived there in thirteen years and left my hometown—my real home—twenty-four years ago.

I grew up in a town with a population not much more than my Texas daughter’s high school. I knew every bump of every sidewalk in that town. I knew the shortcut to Laura Gay’s house and the open field behind Stacy’s place, where we’d play kick the can with boys until called in for dinner. There was a freedom that came with home in those years.

In the spring and summers of my childhood, I slept with my windows open to the cool night air. I stoked fireplaces with wood in winters, and felt the crisp crackle of autumn every October. I walked to school with my sisters, rode my bike everywhere else, went to church three times a week, and lived within blocks of my cousins and both sets of grandparents. Home isn’t just another place to me, of course. It’s another time. Yet by the time I was a teenager, home was no longer freedom; freedom was somewhere else. I left in 1989 and never lived there again. 

We live in Texas now, and have for eleven years. I married a California boy, and my daughters know of no other home except for the house where we currently live. Their story of home will be built around the hot white light of Texas drought, our suburban cul-de-sac in the middle of the Metroplex filled with children their own ages, and our travels to far-flung locales for vacations, including the annual road trip to Kentucky to stay a summer month with my old friends and extended family who never left. And so while a part of my heart will always be in the rolling hills of the Bluegrass state, my home is also here: the dry flat expanse of Texas, where my daughters are growing up faster than I could have ever imagined, making their memories of home as they go.

My Kentucky home, in my mind, will always be magical in so many ways—not perfect, mind you, but full of love. And isn’t that what home really means? Home truly is where your heart is.

When Julie started writing Calling Me Home her story immediately tugged at my heart. How could it not? I know the road that Isabelle and Dorrie follow from Texas to Kentucky. I understand the racist undertones from this part of the country and can easily imagine what Northern Kentucky would have been like in the 1930s. At the same time, I know women like Dorrie—tough and independent Texans who don't want to feel forced to rely on anyone. Julie, who was born in Kentucky, knows this road as well, and it's beautifully evident in this novel.  Through her drafts and revisions of Calling Me Home, we talked more and more along the way about Kentucky memories and our present lives in Texas. One sign of a good writer is taking the seemingly ordinary journey and making it extraordinary. Julie does this with Calling Me Home.

And so if home truly is where the heart is, Julie's heart is this novel. And I can't wait to see others read and enjoy this book, this book of my friend's heart. 


  1. Wonderful blog. I agree, since I was privileged also to get to read Julie's prior to release, it is a wonderfully told story.

    Ann Ellison

    1. Yes, Ann! It's so much fun to support a book that you love. This is one of those books!

    2. Thanks for stopping by the blog, Ann! You are my hero! :)

  2. Being a Kentucky girl, raising my children in the fast lanes of Chicago, I can not wait to read this book! "Home" has a myriad meanings for me, as well. However, the rolling Bluegrass hills hold the true meaning. Where my mind goes first. My childhood. When I still had my parents and my 4 older sisters were cool. So excited to order this novel. Enjoy the book signing. Celebrate big. You can't take too many photos. It is very exciting. Congrats. Thanks for the post, Susan. Wishing you and the whole Poo family my best regards. Ali

    1. Ali, I think you'll really like Calling Me Home, Julie is a great writer. We should try to connect sometime (in Kentucky!!) I will pass on your hello to Poo. We miss you!

    2. Thank you, Ali! I hope you like Calling Me Home!


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