The Girl Who Chased the Moon was originally titled Festival of the Naked Lady. The title made sense when I first started writing the book, but ended up having no correlation to the final draft.
The book went through three complete drafts. The story I started out telling bears little resemblance to the story it is today...but the one constant was barbecue. I knew I wanted the town in the book to be a barbecue town, so I could showcase the unique quality of North Carolina barbecue and its sauces.
Mullaby, the fictional town in the book, is very loosely based on the town of Lexington, North Carolina. Lexington is a true barbecue town, with more barbecue restaurants per capita than any other place in the state. It's also home to the famous Lexington Barbecue Festival.
I spelled barbecue "barbeque" in the book, and my poor copyeditor had to go through the entire manuscript and change all those q's to c's.
During my research on Southern cakes for the book, I could trace only four cakes back to definitive Southern origins. Recipes for these cakes can be found under the Julia's Cakes link.
"A layer cake with a fluffy frosting and containing coconut, chopped fruits and nuts in the filling. The cake was named after Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, who published the original recipe under the name "Prize Cake" in her 1898 cookbook Some Good Things to Eat." Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink
"Food historians generally cite Mrs. L.H. Wiggin's recipe published in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living magazine (p. 206) as the first printed reference to Hummingbird Cake. Mrs. Wiggins did not offer an explanation of the name. Evidence strongly suggests this cake was popular in the south and known by several different (and equally interesting) names." Foodtimeline.org
Red Velvet Cake
Controversial, because many claim this cake first appeared in the North -- in Canada or at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. "We do know for certain that Red Velvet Cake originated in the late 1900s, somewhere in America. Most food historians agree that, like many layer cakes, it comes from the southern United States - some people even call it 'the Chocolate Cake of the South.' Although the cake is not included in every cookbook about Southern food, it is certainly most popular in the south and is a favorite dessert in New Orleans. Squidoo.com
Apple Stack Cake
"Dried apple stack cake is the most 'mountain' of all cakes baked and served in Southern Appalachia. The story goes that James Harrod, one of Kentucky's earlier pioneers and the founder of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, brought the stack cake recipe with him when he traveled the Wilderness Road to Kentucky." Appalachian Heritage Magazine