The Reasons Delaying the Second Volume of the
John Hays Hammond, Jr., Biography

the Hammond biography so switching creative gears was difficult. Two of the projects were mystery novels and two others were local history projects along with editing a fiction manuscript of a recently-deceased author. Dandola's delay was passed on to his publisher who ceased production until all the wrinkles were finally ironed out. Now the book has finally gone to the layout stage for printing. That process includes the monotonous time-consuming task of creating an index and putting Hammond's five-hundred-fifty-plus patents in chronological order.

"Thankfully," Dandola reasons, "the market for information concerning Hammond doesn't go out of date and those who are curious about the inventor are always willing to wait. This whole mess was simply out-of-my control."

It's always curious as to how writers work but what Dandola was up against in his Hammond research is a study in frustration.

The castle Hammond built for himself in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which now acts as his museum, has stepped on a lot of toes both professionally and personally so comeuppance was often improperly passed on to Dandola. Other local museums which Dandola had helped free-of-charge now wanted to charge him for furnishing copies of their Hammond materials. Local individuals proved equally dubious because Hammond's museum had been so unkind to them in past dealings that they worried if Dandola would misbehave in the same fashion.

"I was inheriting the ‘sins of the fathers'," Dandola admits, "but not only wasn't I related in any way, shape, or form to the wrongdoers, those same wrongdoers had victimized me, as well."

The problems didn't just end with how Hammond's museum had hurt people. There were also the quirks of those who said they would help. Among them was a staggering number of people trying to prove that they were illegitimate children of Hammond and begging Dandola to help them establish that.

"None of those claims is true," Dandola says emphatically. "But no one would accept that no matter how diplomatically I explained away in great detail what they were telling me."

There was also an institution which had done cataloguing at the castle decades ago. After they offered to help they abruptly ceased both their assistance and communication once they began searching their files. It gave the distinct impression to Dandola that they discovered original museum materials had been retained and were now afraid of being caught with them.

Finding lost Hammond memorabilia in and around Gloucester is nothing new because a great many objects went missing from the castle after Hammond's death. Although the museum refuses to buy back any of those objects, possession of such things does raise questions as to how they were obtained. Regardless of how outsiders came by such things, Dandola never saw his job as policeman. He has only wanted to gather facts in order to accurately chronicle Hammond's life and accomplishments.

In that pursuit, needless problems also arose with personalities. Dandola encountered an editor of a niche magazine who proceeded to edit everything from e-mails to lists to passages sent to him solely for the purpose of fact-checking.

"The most obnoxious part of the unwanted edits," comments Dandola, "is that we both knew there are some choices and preferences that are both correct (besides the usual the issue of Chicago style versus AP style) so the power he thought he was exercising served no purpose other than to try and prove his superiority. He wasn't right and I wasn't wrong. I mean, really, life is too short to put up with that sort of nonsense. What does it prove?"

One has to wonder whether there was any shining light in the whole project.

To that, Dandola replies, "Well, there's Hammond, himself, of course. I get the feeling he would have liked that someone has finally told his true story rather than the outlandish tall tales Hammond Castle Museum bombards visitors with. And there's someone named Phillip Jacquart with whom I've become pen-pals. We've never met but we're friends and he was enormously helpful in my compiling a comprehensive list of the organ music recorded at the castle. That's another case of the museum not keeping track of things they should have. Thankfully, it's a hobby of Phillip's and I couldn't have created that list without his help and kindness."

The second volume of Hammond's biography is now back on track although neither Dandola nor his publisher can give a time-frame as to its debut. When the book finally sees print, press releases will make the announcement.

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Copyright © 2016 by The Quincannon Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
How Writing a Biography Can Become Fraught with Needless Complications


PRLog  (Press Release) — June 8, 2016The road to the second volume of Living in the Past, Looking to the Future: The Biography of John Hays Hammond, Jr. hasn't been quick or easy and outside forces were far beyond the control of both the author, John Dandola, and his publisher, the Quincannon Publishing Group.

"Writing is my full-time job," explains Dandola. "I had completed the bulk of the manuscript and then I was forced to wait on someone who claimed to have information that might have been crucial to my end result. The wait was months and months on end and resulted in absolutely nothing. No new information furnished. No hidden secrets. No juicy tidbits. Nothing. This person was wasting my time in order to be named as a source and included in the final project due to a fleeting acquaintance with Hammond."

The problem of wasting Dandola's time is that he had several other projects he had moved on to and they not only required his attention to meet contractual deadlines but their scope was jarringly different from
John Hays Hammond, Jr.,
and his castle