With the release of my first book in my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES historical fiction chapter book series, Ship of Dreams, I knew I was on to something. The wonderful cover template created by my illustrator, Estella Hickman, was clever enough to capture a reader’s attention. Like a Hollywood star with a hit movie, now I had to come up with another story to captivate my audience.

That’s where my sister, Janet, came in. One day she sent me a snippet of an article she had come across. It told about a random train wreck back in the 1950’s which dumped some chocolate on a small town in upstate New York. The article itself was not that impressive, but I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. What was twenty tons of chocolate doing on that train and what did the kids think when they woke up the next day to find part of their small village buried in chocolate?

It was certainly a mystery worth researching.

I made phone calls, spoke to the curators of both the local village museum and the state’s railway museum. I even managed to receive a call from a judge who admonished me to be sure to let the world know my story involved an unsolved mystery which was never solved more than 60 years later.

But it was correspondence I had with a lady in her 70’s that intrigued me the most. This person was a young girl of 11 when the wreck occurred. The train landed in her next door neighbor’s vegetable garden and she, along with her best friend at the time, witnessed the entire event. What started out as a unfortunate derailment, quickly turned into a much bigger mystery once the state police and FBI became involved.

I had found my next story in the series and on November 1st, 2019, Story Catcher Publishing released book two in the HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series with The Chocolate Train Wreck.

Here is the book’s blurb: “Nine-year-old Abigail thinks nothing exciting ever happens in Hamilton. But things change one stormy night when an airborne train and twenty tons of chocolate shower down on the sleepy village. Even local police and the FBI are puzzled over who caused the train to derail. Abigail and Billy team up to find out who’s behind the CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK, but will all they find is more questions? There’s a mystery hovering over Hamilton—and it smells like CHOCOLATE!”


This book also received a 5 STAR review from the READERS’ FAVORITE organization. It is very popular with children who are fascinated with the real photos of the crime scene as they try to imagine just what 20 tons of chocolate all in one place would look like! Every year in the fall, the small village of Hamilton, New York has a chocolate festival to celebrate this rich part of their heritage. Chocolate makers recreate a small replica of the actual engine which went flying through the air on that fateful night back in 1955 and the brave men who prevented a tragedy are once again honored. I’ve been invited to visit during the festival but the pandemic makes that impossible for now. Maybe one day…


“Eight-year-old Hailey loved wearing hats! She had a special hat for almost every adventure of the week! But what happens when she runs out of hats? Who will she be then?

HAILEY’S HATS celebrates one child’s imagination, while challenging ALL children to take another look in the mirror to see the fabulous person looking back at them!

***Ebook on sale now for $2.99! Softcover also available! (***

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

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Donna L

Hybrid award winning author; aspiring sketch artist; and 4th Degree Senior Certified Taekwondo Instructor. Host of BOOK NOOK REVIEWS. Member of SCBWI. Mom to fabulous son and adventurer delving into the tricky world of indie-publishing.

2 thoughts on “THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: HISTORY’S MYSTERIES The Chocolate Train Wreck by Donna L Martin

  • February 23, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    When I come across unique, interesting items in newspapers and magazines, I think, “Will Donna find a story in this?” You keep writing and I will keep looking. You have plenty of your own ideas, so I don’t have to rush to find the items. You know how lazy I am.


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