A Book Peeked Over The Horizon

Dave Tabler Author Interview

Delaware Before the Railroads: A Diamond among the States shares with readers the history of Delaware through photographs and research. What inspired you to write a book about this topic?

A unique octagonal schoolhouse from the early 19th century that’s 20 minutes from where I live in Delaware. It’s the only one left in the state, but it represents the tail end of a national fascination with octagonal buildings that started in the mid-19th century. My curiosity sent me down the rabbit hole. I started looking around for other Delaware buildings distinct in their own way, and the stories behind them. There are a lot in this state. The material started to pile up, and a book peeked over the horizon.

How much research did you undertake for this book and how much time did it take to put it all together?

Short answer: a lot. I’m fortunate to be the son of a librarian. I learned at a young age some supercharged shortcuts to find the research material you’re after. I remember being startled as a teenager when my Mom showed me a thing called the ‘Encyclopedia of Encyclopedias’. Very useful before the age of Google. Just knowing the sources doesn’t eliminate the hardest part, though: slogging through the results. I expect there must be an AI program somewhere that can digest mountains of raw material for an author, but for this book I worked old school. Start to finish this book took about a year.

Did you find anything in your research of this book that surprised you?

Yes: just how much human activity has taken place in this little state of only three counties. From the view of states with hundreds of counties Delaware must seem impossibly limited. But. Henry Hudson sailed up the Delaware Bay in 1609, a year before he sailed up the Hudson River, and only 2 years after Jamestown, VA was founded. Delaware history starts early, runs deep.

Where did you get your love of history and photography from?

From my 8th grade geography/history teacher Mr. Jarboe, who was a master at story buildup. The first day of class he had written “Pizzaro was a pig farmer” in large letters on the board. When the students were settled in he took a big, deep breath, and sprung.
“I want to tell you about a young teen, Francisco, who was a bastard son.
“And because he was a bastard son his mother felt no responsibility to educate him.
“And because he couldn’t go to school like all the other kids, he had to tend to the pigs.
“And because he had to tend the pigs he was bored, restless, and wanted to strike out on his own.

Long pause.

“Mind you,” said Mr. Jarboe, scanning the class for emphasis, “he was about your age.”

He continued on like this for the whole class-machine gun bullet points, long pause-but we still had no idea who Francisco was or why we should remember him.

Finally, there were about 30 seconds left in the class. “Oh yes, and when he finally got out into the world, Francisco Pizzaro, no longer a pig farmer, conquered the Incan Empire. Class dismissed!” What?? How?? When?? Mr. Jarboe had tricked us into wanting to learn more! I hated him then. Love him now.

Two photographers bent my young eye in their direction: Ernst Haas and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Hass, because he was one of the first photographers to take color photography seriously as an art form, and to forge his own way in this new direction. Fearless! And Cartier-Bresson for his unbelievable ability to be at the right place at the right time: ‘the decisive moment,’ as he famously explained it. The thing is, when you look at his contact sheets and see what images came before and after his most famous shots, you appreciate keenly just how hard Cartier-Bresson worked a scene before the magic moment ‘happened’ for him.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

If you think you know Delaware, think again. Pirates? Quakers fighting with Pennsylvania? Towns so ugly no one would settle there? With stunning pictures and straightforward storytelling, Dave Tabler opens hidden passages and describes defining moments in this founding American colony. Telling this small state’s story gives you a sense of the big picture in American history.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 8, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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