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A native New Englander, Erika Marks fell in love with New Orleans while studying architectural preservation at Tulane University. She also fell in love with a native named Ian, who taught her to make exotic dishes like gumbo. Hurricane Katrina drove the couple from the city, but New Orleans stayed on Erika's mind through a move back to Maine and another to the Midwest. The story of a woman who leaves New Orleans with her two teenaged daughters for the quiet shores of an island off the coast of Maine became Marks' first novel, "Little Gale Gumbo," published October 4.

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