Why Alexandria, Indiana?
Why is Jamie Poole from Alexandria, Indiana?
The obvious answer could be that since the Jamie Poole series incorporates a lot of Egyptian culture, I’d pick or even make up a city named Alexandria as Jamie’s hometown as some sort of ‘obvious’ place to stick her.
You’d be wrong.
The obvious answer to a question like this isn’t always the right one. Don’t take things at face value. Unless you’re reading nutritional information on cereal boxes.
The first answer would be this: Once I lived in Marion, Indiana, and commuted to work in Anderson. The route took me through Alexandria where I hit a stoplight more times than didn’t. Near the stoplight is a carpet store. The town it’s in is Alexandria. And yes, the citizens call it Elek, just as Jamie says.
But, that wouldn’t be the only answer. Jamie Poole was a mixture of ideas in my head when I did that commute. It was a long commute. I was bored. I composed stories in my head that would later turn into the Jamie Poole diaries.
Writing about places you’ve been or things you know lend authenticity you can’t get from Wikipedia or history books. At the same time, good research and a liberal imagination are crucial.
There is no apartment above the carpet store. The owner doesn’t even know what his building lent to the story, but Alexandria stuck in my memory. I almost moved there, but I moved to Anderson instead. It just made sense.
Jamie’s explanation about her family and Chief William Anderson is true. Indirectly it is my family’s story. Quite unexpectedly, I learned that early into my book research.
It falls to one of the last reasons that Alexandria is both a town in Indiana and a major city in Egypt. However, it’s amazing how many times history lends itself to fiction to add credible details that can make a person wonder where the line is between art and life. After all good storytelling is art imitating life imitating art. Onward the ouroboros.