Local author’s latest book inspired by Ashley’s Pastry Shop in Oakwood

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Local author Mere Walton’s latest book, “Christmas Connections,” is inspired by her connection to Ashley’s Pastry Shop in Oakwood.

Set for release on Dec. 4, “Christmas Connections” is a romantic tale concerning Alex, an undercover prince granted six months away from his royal family. He ends up meeting Theresa, a New York social media coordinator, who works for The Town Bakery. The bakery is owned by Theresa’s closest friends, Grace and James. Several characters weave in and out of the bakery, sharing their life and love stories big and small, Walton said.

“One of my favorite holiday movies is ‘Love Actually,’” Walton said. “The reason I love it is because I love the multiple storylines and how they all weave together in the end. That’s what you will find with this book. The characters meet each other in unexpected ways, but they all link back in the end.”

Meet Mere Walton

Walton is originally from Columbus but moved to Oakwood in 2005. She said as soon as her family moved to the Dayton area, they visited Ashley’s Pastry Shop. She described owner Theresa Hammons as “a guiding light and kind person.”

Through the years, the bakery became Walton’s go-to stop for celebrations.

In 2017, Walton began writing as a hobby after her mother died and her first child went off to college. About a year later, she started working at Ashley’s Pastry Shop. She witnessed firsthand how it felt to be an extension of the bakery family and felt like the customers had that same feeling when they walked in the door.

“This book is dedicated to the staff and customers of Ashley’s Pastry Shop, my inspiration for the Town Bakery,” Walton writes in her book. “Thank you for connecting with me from the minute I became an employee. Your kindness, energy and enthusiasm motivated me to write this book.”

She recalled Hammons knowing each customer by name, their order and how long they’ve been coming to the bakery.

This aspect of the bakery fit into the genre — families, biological and found — that is essential in Walton’s work. As an author, she typically writes thrillers.

A feel-good story

“Christmas Connections” was written during the pandemic because Walton wanted to write a happy, feel-good Christmas book.

“I love ‘Love Actually’ because I’m laughing through my tears,” Walton said. “I’m hoping people have that reaction to this book. A lot of people deal with loss through the holidays, so my characters are dealing with that a little bit — just a tiny part. I hope if someone needs that it’s there for them.”

The digital version of “Christmas Connections” is available now for pre-order ahead of its Dec. 4 release. The paperback version will be available to order via Amazon on Dec. 5. The book also includes five recipes perfect for the holiday season.

Walton plans to write a sequel next year highlighting aforementioned bakery owners Grace and James.

For more information about Walton and her latest book, visit www.merewalton.com or the author’s Instagram, Twitter or TikTok pages.

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