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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author David A. Jacinto shares how learning about his mother’s life and history inspired him to write Out Of The Darkness.
Written by David A. Jacinto
A few years ago, which seems a lifetime ago now, I wrote Christmas Kindling, a book of sixteen Christmas stories released by a small publisher out of America’s midwest. My mother, who at the time was extremely ill with cancer, diabetes, and generally failing health called me from Louisiana. Blinded by macular degeneration, she asked if I might read her some of the stories because she didn’t think she would make it to Christmas that year. So, I jumped on a plane and flew from San Diego to Louisiana to spend the week with her. She was in worse condition than I had imagined, but her mind was still sharp.
Over the next week, I read her two Christmas stories from Christmas Kindling each day, and she told me about a life I knew nothing about. My mother had grown up an orphan and she had not spoken to us about her birth family in the little town of Chalk Creek, Wyoming. I suppose it was too painful. I was fascinated by her story of the family she had lost as a child. By the end of the week, I had read her all 16 stories from Christmas Kindling and she had told me everything she knew about her family in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. At the end, she asked to be buried in the family plot in that little town.
Less than a month later, we all stood together in a small circle of family around her grave in a cemetery filled with 150 years of past residents. I was surprised to find that the largest tombstone in the entire cemetery was there to mark my great, great grandparents’ graves. The nostalgia that flooded my mind and heart inspired me to find out more about this family I knew almost nothing about, my ancestors who filled a large part of this cemetery.
I was so fascinated and traveled from Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah, that very day to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in the largest genealogical library in the world. Cute little old docents showed me the ins and outs of this giant genealogical center. They surrounded me, smothering me with help in uncovering the lives of my direct ancestors and their descendants from England and America.
The very next day I went back to that little Wyoming town. And on a Sunday afternoon with no one working, I entered a church in the center of town, talked to the bishop and discovered that the local historian was an in-active member of their congregation. Surprisingly, the bishop gave me her phone number and I gave her a call. Well, that very Sunday, Navee Vernon opened up the county library and historical center for me. We spent the day pouring over documents, letters, journals, and historical records that included my great, great grandparents and other founding fathers of this community in the 1860’s and 70’s.
I flew home to San Diego with a trunk load full of documents and information and spent the next month reading the stories, letters and journals about fascinating events in England and the early years of our new nation’s growing pains here in America. So fascinated by what I had found, I spent the next 2 1/2 years researching the history, relationships, historical events, disasters, losses, loves, deaths of my family in England, their immigration to America and beyond. Well before I had finished my research, I was compelled to write a two book series on the the story of their lives, adventures, and the changes my relations had wrought on both England and America.
Out of the Darkness, the first of the two book series, focuses on my family’s time in England, published on October 3, 2023 (Forefront Books, distributed by Simon & Schuster). The second, Where Eagles Fly Free, is scheduled to be published in 2024.
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