Writer Ross Malone's inspiration for his latest book stems from his former teaching days in Union, when he would treat his students to an annual field trip to the Capital City.
The class's explorations of the city always included a visit to the Governor's Mansion. Malone recalls that the students were fascinated by a boy depicted in the Children's Fountain, a bronze sculpture by the mansion steps.
"He was a sort of mysterious figure to my students, and every year they wanted to know more about him," Malone said.
The students' interest prompted Malone to begin researching his historic fiction novel "Tobias and the Governor," which
chronicles the young boy's adventures in the state capital. It is the first novel in a five-book series on historic boys of Missouri.
Little is known about the mysterious boy, who was found in the mansion stables in 1911. He did not have any family with him, and the only written record of his life is a single sentence penned by the wife of Herbert S. Hadley, the governor at the time.
For Jefferson City, 1911 was an eventful year. The Capitol building was destroyed in a fire. Trolleys were just starting to make an appearance in the city. And on Nov. 11, the Midwest experienced an extreme temperature drop that triggered a severe and deadly storm.
Malone, a former historian, has authored several books about Missouri, including a collection of historical short stories on life in the Show-Me State. He describes his latest work as a "heartwarming story" that presents a good look at life in the early twentieth century.
"It's a story about a little guy who had the deck stacked against him, but with hard work and manners he persevered and succeeded," Malone said.
The book is available for purchase at Downtown Book & Toy, Amazon.com and Malone's website, www.missouri-books.com.