Why Halifax, Jamie?
Sisterhood of the Sword, the sixth book in paperback from the Jamie Poole Diaries series will be available in early 2023.
Jamie Poole grew up in Alexandria, Indiana. Her dad is an enigma that Jamie intends to break. Brett Poole is an Egyptologist who has been absent most of her life. Because of an odd artifact she found at the Alexandrian fair, she tracked him down and reconciled. But who is he? He will not say. He will not reveal the name of his parents or any detail of his growing up. While he lives in New Hampshire, Jamie cannot be certain he is from there. The not knowing leaves Jamie off-balance because family, according to her mom, is important. She wants to know who her dad is, but she is also seeks for an understanding of herself. His irrational refusal to tell anything leaves her like a dog with a bone. She cannot leave it alone. There is something abnormal about the secret he desperately hides.
To this point in the series, the primary site locations have seen Jamie grow up in Indiana, travel to Scotland where she resurrects a Druidess, and then attend Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. She attends here because her dad attended here, and she's simply chasing a trail in hopes of a clue.
Clearly more is happening because we have, after all, arrived at book six. We have traveled in Time. We have seen Time break, and we have seen Jamie fix Time. And we know there is some psychopath time traveler actively breaking Time for reasons that are as yet unexplained.
What takes Jamie to Halifax, Nova Scotia? Beyond a story plot you mean? Somewhere in the writing of this book series, I made my own cross-country journey from Indiana to New Hampshire to Montana and then to Nova Scotia. While my moves were business related, it did give me first-hand exposure to some unique country in which to center a book. The picture here is in a munitions cave where the military actively stored munitions up to World War II. This manmade cave is featured in the newest book, and the picture above was when I first explored it and the surrounding abandoned buildings that also date to World War II. This trip in 2013 gave me the idea for the book.
I won't give away the full appearance of these abandoned bunkers. They're so cool I'll save that for its own blog. I did include one of many murals that adorn the now abandoned structures. (It is a shame they could not preserve this as a museum with its historic value.) This is more to explain how we got from Montana to Nova Scotia. It is almost literally a coast-to-coast journey. While Jamie never actually lives in Nova Scotia, it was woven into the story from the beginning. Did you notice the reference to Nova Scotia in The Isle of Osiris? What about the introduction of Nick Fagan from Windsor, Nova Scotia, in Tome of Tubal-Cain? And now the province gets its own book with some very unique history.
Here is the opening comments on the why from Sisterhood of the Sword. More details to follow. While Jamie Poole is very much an international story fitting every piece into history, Halifax holds its own special place, and here it gets to shine with its on special light.
When I moved from Montana to Halifax, I traveled light, or heavy, depending on how you view it. I came with a half-dozen partly-written manuscripts, a few dozen history and science books, and a lot of ideas. It’s a wonder the car tires weren’t flat.
This is not one of those manuscripts. This came into being as I became acquainted with my new home. Jamie has a habit of stalking me, so it came as no surprise when she asked that I write a book about Halifax. “We’ll get back to the partly-written manuscripts,” she bargained. “Write this first.” So I did. My characters are allowed liberal decision-making as they often have better ideas than I. So does my editor, the cat. Any of them, as I’ve had a few feline editors. If you have a cat, you understand. Most authors have cats. There’s something about the combination of writing and having cats. Maybe it’s their continual observation or their helpfulness in correcting or adding to text. They can be very hands-on.
As I learned my way around Halifax, it was amazing to realize how close history superimposed itself over everyday life. From where I sit during my day job, I overlook where they kept World War I German prisoners, and I can see where naval activity unfolded both on land and in the Bedford Basin (part of the Halifax Harbour) during World Wars I and II. Not far away is the epicenter of the massive 1917 Halifax Explosion. (Unfamiliar with that? Don’t worry, I have you covered.) Again from my desk, I watched archaeologists unearth a guardhouse from the 1700s, shortly after the city was founded. It helps that I sit in a tall building.
The point is history is right here! I am surrounded by buildings that are a few centuries old, perfectly preserved. Perhaps, if my employer read this, they’d wonder if I did anything more than document my surroundings. From where I sit, a book begged to be written with all the history hanging ‘round like so many ghosts. And that’s a real possibility if the legends are correct. Most of the buildings have at least one ghost story attached to it.
While this story is fictional, many details are not. Halifax was home to German spies during World War II. Remains of submarine nets are readily found on a casual walk if you know where to look, and you don’t have to look hard. Forts, some erected in the 1700s, continued to be updated and used until World War II. Hundreds of Halagonians pass them every day. Cannons, cannon balls, ship anchors, and such have integrated with the city’s infrastructure. From the Citadel a cannon is fired ceremonially every day at noon, except on Christmas.
Some take history for granted. We shouldn’t. Halifax is not unique in its history, and yet it is. So much so close at hand. It has evolved into a modern city, but hiding closely under a veil of modern façades is a history that cannot be erased. Jamie asked that it not be erased but rather amplified. And in it, she asked I tell a story. This is that story.