Local News

February 8, 2013

New novel’s setting looks a little like Dalton

Frank O’Neill says Dalton residents might find some of the characters in his new novel a bit familiar.

“But so might people in Colombia, S.C., or Italy or the former Belgian Congo,” he said.

“Georgia Bound,” a murder mystery, starts in Pine Hills, a “sleepy town in the foothills of the Appalachians” that looks a bit like Dalton. But as protagonist Jack Monahan tries to unravel the mystery it leads through the low country of South Carolina, Latin America and Africa.

O’Neill, who was the founder and long-time publisher of Floor Focus magazine, certainly knows Dalton well.

“I started the magazine in 1992 and sold it in 2006,” he said. “Before that I was working for a magazine for the carpet industry. I wanted to own my own business, and I told a friend of mine who was the head of DuPont’s fiber business. He said, ‘You can’t leave this industry.” So he helped me start my own magazine.”

After leaving Floor Focus, O’Neill and his wife started a small design business in New York.

“I’d always wanted to be a novelist, and early in my career I’d done some fiction writing. So I decided that this was my opportunity,” he said. “I was running a business, so it took a long time to write it, maybe five years. I don’t recommended writing a novel while trying to run a business.”

So how did he come up with the idea for the book?

“I had some initial ideas. But it’s sort of like making a stew. You have a carrot here and a potato there and some corn over here. You put it all together, and you don’t recognize the original parts,” he said. “Dalton was a huge inspiration. But to continue the stew metaphor, it’s like Dalton. But it’s definitely not Dalton.”

Similarly, O’Neill says some of the characters in the book may have been inspired by real-life Daltonians. But they aren’t those people. He said some of the fun of the novel for Dalton residents will be guessing who inspired a particular character.

“And some of the characters, such as (Sheriff) Truett Hall, I don’t know where they came from. Hall is pure fiction,” he said. “If I really looked back on it, I probably took a little bit from many different people in my life and put them in one person.”

Others, such as the root doctor Mama Faithful, came from his research into the Gullah, the descendants of former slaves who live in the Lowcountry area of South Carolina and Georgia.

“The part dealing with the Gullah is probably the most fantastical part of the book,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill says he’s had good feedback from friends in Dalton. But he says he thinks that people who just want to read a good mystery and aren’t that familiar with the carpet industry will also enjoy the book, which is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers.

Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local congressmen agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014