The seeds of the Dalton Diary
Every story has an origin story. A seed that creates THE story. This can be anything. For me, it was a childhood where I had to find my own fun. I had friends who would go to the same heights. Our creativity was unhinged. You read that right. I laugh now as I wonder what our parents' thought. Does it matter? A seed that began to bloom into the Jamie Poole books began with this moment.
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Dalton's diary is his confession.
And now for my confession.
Doyle Dalton’s diary has been central to the story from its first mention in Tome of Tubal-Cain. Since then it’s been quoted in virtually every book as Jamie and others have obsessed over it. But parts of Doyle’s story have existed for decades before this series existed. Perhaps the story has always been part of me.
What was the inspiration behind Dalton’s diary? (Besides all the obvious research.) This book was written during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While we were ordered to shelter in place in the early days, I researched a pandemic from another century: The Spanish flu. But really, where did the inspiration come from, if not research? I won’t belittle the research. I spent weeks reading book after book and watching documentaries. I drew maps and reviewed old photos.
However, decades before any of this, there existed Margaret Poindexter and Mo Polly. These figures might be utterly fictional, but they lived boldly. Margaret Poindexter was a Victorian explorer who lived bigger-than-life experiences as she traversed jungles in faraway lands. Mo Polly was one of the indigenous persons she met in her journeys. No photographs of either remain. What we know comes from a series of letters exchanged over a summer as one hunted the other across the globe. It’s unclear why they pursued each other in some tormented game of cat and mouse. It’s also unclear if one sought to harm the other, or if it was merely an elaborate lark. Poindexter appeared to be a woman of means. Mo Polly also indicated that money proved no obstacle as she sought her nemesis. And so the pursuit continued zealously.
Every novel has an origin story. A seed that creates THE story. This can be anything. For me, it was a childhood where I had to find my own fun. I had friends who would go to the same heights. Our creativity was unhinged. You read that right. I laugh now as I wonder what our parents' thought. Does it matter? A seed that began to bloom into the Jamie Poole books began with this moment. elope had been scorched by fire. As a consequence, the postal service felt inclined to add a note of its own. They apologized profusely to “Mo Polly” and assured her that the postal service took full responsibility for all mail in its care. Little did they know that the flames that attacked that envelope had been inflicted by Poindexter prior to her dropping it in the mail. Had she escaped a burning building only to drop the letter in the closest mailbox? We may never know how the truth of it all.novel
Such grand lives these two heroes must have lived. And yet, what is the real story? Why such an elaborate ruse? At the core, it’s not so different from Doyle Dalton’s. Mo Polly and Margaret Poindexter were creatures born from the imagination of two girls who lived in a small town not unlike Alexandria, Indiana. Like Jamie Poole and like Doyle Dalton, they longed for adventure. And like Doyle Dalton, they created their own. The dangerous jungles they traversed were the streets of Greentown, Indiana, a quick drive north of Alexandria. A seed of their longings found its ways into these pages. When they grew up, they discovered the adventure they had longed for. But what of Doyle Dalton? Will he find adventure? Or is everything a lie as Jamie suspects?
Before I sign off, I must apologize to the US Postal Service for dropping that scorched letter in the mail. I take full responsibility. (At last my conscience is clear!)