Cinnamon Diamonds is a fictional account of Hanson Gregory’s creation of the hole in the doughnut. I found the story by accident whilst researching another project in 2010. It captured my attention immediately and completely derailed what I had been researching. I started writing a largely true story based on the newspaper article which was published on this day 100 years ago in The Washington Post.
The first draft was submitted as a magazine article which received favourable feedback. It was not published however, as it resembled a short story rather than an article. A suggestion was made that perhaps it should form the basis of a novel. It was forwarded on by a number of kind editors who thought the story would be better served elsewhere. Some months later I received an email asking if I would be interested in the story being a part of a compilation called “A History of Strange Beginnings,” by Kavanagh Press. It contained similar baked goods origin stories including the hole in the bagel and the structural integrity of waffles. I jumped at the chance to have it published, as I loved the story. The thought that someone, anyone, would be reading it thrilled me.
It was published to little fanfare and disappeared into obscurity just as fast. I’m still yet to receive a printed version of the compilation which now spend their time in libraries across America gathering dust. However, strange things were brewing. The publisher had started the process of releasing some of the stories as stand alone ebooks. Cinnamon Diamonds was one of these. The big plus with the ebook market was that people could access the books immediately all across the world. This was never more apparent than when the ebook was picked up as part of a promotion during National Doughnut Day in America.
Just a quick aside: National Doughnut Day is the first Friday in June each year and honours the efforts of The Salvation Army volunteers who risked their lives to deliver doughnuts to soldiers on the front line during World War One. I think there is a doughnut sequel in that story.
A link to Cinnamon Diamonds was released by one of the large doughnut brands in the states on their Facebook page as an interesting story attached to their National Doughnut Day offers. It worked so well that the ebook jumped into the top 50 bestseller list on Kobo in a day. Over the next couple of months it accrued over 40000 pairs of eyeballs on it including both sales and free downloads.
Now on the 100th anniversary of the original article being published during the horrors of the First World War it becomes more understandable why a very short article published on page nine of the Post struck a chord with the readers. The headlines of the day were of death and destruction and carried with them a pessimistic air. Doughnuts were lifting morale on the battlefields of Europe and Northern Africa just as they had helped sailors over seventy years prior.
To celebrate The Washington Post’s anniversary we have released Cinnamon Diamonds in an extended version with the original article recreated at the back of the book. There are links listed below in case you’re interested. Thanks for taking an interest in a rather bizarre sideline of history.