Hello there! I’m Cai. Novelist, word-lover, people-lover, weather and climate-obsessed…

… I write because I can’t stop writing. It is my fulcrum in the world, my way of trying to understand life’s mysteries.

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Emmons takes us to the very heart of an American tragedy, the kind of story we usually only know at the arms-reach remove of TV news, and illuminates it with such vivid insight, such emotional intensity, such imaginative sympathy that we can't stop turning the pages.

–Peter Ho Davies, author of The Ugliest House in the World

Cai Emmons puts a human face on our most urgent concerns. Written with such terrifying precision that the prose burns on the page, but also brilliantly nuanced, this is writing worthy of the psychologically complex characters and their crucial drama of compassion and violence, trauma and tenderness.

–Laura Kasischke, author of The Life Before Her Eyes

Suspenseful, edgy and exact, His Mother's Son explores the dark country between what we know and how we are nonetheless compelled to behave. Beautifully written, compulsively readable.

–Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

With family relations as twisted as a French braid and language as vivid as a platinum dye job, Emmons’ potent novel features magnetic characters and complex and compelling secrets.


A riveting, zip-line ride over the narrowing chasm between [Jana's] past and present lives. . . . Emmons sustains an amazing level of emotional tension....

–The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)

The slowly building tension is by turns sickening and exquisite.

–Portland Oregonian

Lovely writing . . . Emmons' emphasis is on her characters, and she draws them well.

–Seattle Times

An unsettling and powerful debut novel.

–Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Emmons . . . has an eye for the grating intimacy of small-town life and a fine ear for suggestive metaphors. . . . Unusual and memorable.

–The Economist

Gripping. Brings home the power and terror of maternal love.

–O Magazine

Gorgeous writing throughout makes for an unusually affecting and memorable debut.

–Kirkus Reviews

Accomplished playwright and filmmaker Emmons tests chilly waters in this ambitious, unsettling debut.

–Publishers Weekly

A gift of a book, an affecting story of violence and forgiveness.

On the Blog
Writing Places I’ve Never Been
Writing Places I’ve Never Been

I have never been to Siberia, and yet Tiksi Russia, a Siberian town above the Arctic Circle on the edge of the Laptev Sea, figures prominently in my forthcoming novel, Weather Woman. When I became interested in Tiksi as a possible setting for the last part of my story, it seemed instinctually right, but I

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Electronic Reading
Electronic Reading

A few months ago a friend decided she didn’t like reading on her Kobo and she gave it to me. The timing was perfect. I had just returned from a 5-week trip on which I’d run out of reading material. Though I have been staunchly resistant to reading on a screen, I saw that, for

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The Hero’s Journey Paradigm: Why it doesn’t work for me as a female fiction writer
The Hero’s Journey Paradigm: Why it doesn’t work for me as a female fiction writer

After dwelling in a period of uncertainty about what to write next, I recently plunged into developing an idea for a new novel. As always, the idea is filled with possible landmines and diversions that could sink the entire project and, as I’ve been trying to navigate a meaningful path, I’ve given a lot of

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