Meet Cora from Ane Mulligan’s On Sugar Hill

I’m a little confused. You seem to have two names. Which is right?

My name is Cora Fitzgerald, but my stage name is Dixie Lynn.

You’re in vaudeville, then?

Yea, and I’ve worked hard to establish myself, and I finally made the best circuit in vaudeville. I’m a ventriloquist and voice thrower. Voice throwers are rare. I’m even rarer, being a woman. And I’m one of the best.

Tell us about your childhood. 

It was lonely. My father, the senator, never liked me. I wasn’t beautiful like Mama. I was plain. He had no time for me and made sure Mama’s time was tied up in Atlanta’s high society. I later learned about their arranged marriage, which benefitted him. Mama got the short end of that stick.

How did you learn to be a ventriloquist?

Nobody knows for sure where my strange “talent” came from, but by the time I was four years old, I could make my dolls talk. By six, I could throw my voice across the room. That’s how I entertained myself and the servants. But the senator beat me because it embarrassed him.

You said your childhood was lonely. Didn’t you have school friends?

 Oh, yes. When I started school, I met Martha Anne, Glenice Jo, Trudie and Millie. Our mamas were friends, and they were delighted when we became best friends too. They heled protect me when the senator’s temper raged against me. Mama would make a telephone call and Millie’s or Martha Anne’s mama would come pick me up for an overnight.

A lot of women suffer with low self-esteem. Do you?

I do. Mama told me stories about the plain garden faerie named Sugar Pie who lived in our yard. She told me, “When the Michaelmas Daisies bloomed, the Sugar Pie became beautiful, just as you will. You aren’t plain, Cora. You simply haven’t bloomed yet.” After she told me that story, she began to call me Sugar-pie, to reinforce her words. Unfortunately, the senator’s harsh criticism obliterated Mama’s. 

Did that affect your relationship with men?

Well, that and my parents’ marriage. I don’t trust men. They’ll break your heart sure as sunrise. They always want something. My father wanted my mother’s good name. He used her to rise in state politics. I always say a dating is fine, just don’t let it bloom into romance.

Hear Cora’s Story:

On Sugar Hill

She traded Sugar Hill for Vaudeville. Now she’s back.

The day Cora Fitzgerald turned sixteen, she fled Sugar Hill for the bright lights of Vaudeville, leaving behind her senator-father’s verbal abuse. But just as her career takes off, she’s summoned back home. And everything changes. 

The stock market crashes. The senator is dead. Her mother is delusional, and her mute Aunt Clara pens novels that have people talking. Then there’s Boone Robertson, who never knew she was alive back in high school, but now manages to be around whenever she needs help. 

Will the people of her past keep her from a brilliant future?            


Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw PETER PAN on stage, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. One day, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her websiteAmazon Author pageFacebookBookBubGoodreadsPinterest,Twitter, and The Write Conversation

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