Researching and writing this novel and its accompanying photobook was an immense project. It began in 2009 and was completed in 2016, after more than seven years of demanding efforts that challenged mind, body and spirit.
During the early part of this process, I endured a financially and spiritually devastating time of unemployment and wrongful home foreclosure in the fallout of the Great Recession. This led me west in search of work. Fortunately, this period also afforded me the opportunity to re-discover Lewis and Clark, after having interest in the topic for many years. As a consequence of the recession, I was uprooted from my origins in the Midwest, and lived in several tremendous areas along the trail that enabled me to relive the Lewis and Clark adventure — namely South Sioux City, Nebraska; Glendive, Montana; and Helena, Montana. Great proximity afforded many opportunities to visit and revisit sites over several years in an effort to recreate what they likely experienced.
Due to work and other obligations, writing of this book was mostly done in evenings and on weekends.
Started: August 10, 2010
Finished: March 27, 2016
Published: Volume One, Fall 2015
Volume Two, Fall 2016
Consolidated novel, June 2017
Word count: 240,570; April 2018
Great effort was made for the story narration to adhere to the expedition journals, and is supplemented with many historical facts
The book includes a comprehensive timeline, source list, bibliography, index, and alphabetical list of characters
A companion book of photos is also for sale. All photos were taken by the author all along the Lewis and Clark trail.
Jeff Havens is a former investigative reporter for a weekly newspaper in Rockford, Illinois called The Rock River Times.
In 2004, Havens was recognized by the Illinois Press Association in their "Best of the Press" contest for his work exposing mismanagement and corruption at a community college in Rockford. Havens also extensively wrote about past Mafia activities, and its insidious legacy, in that region of the United States, which is located near Chicago.
In addition to being a news reporter, Havens was a high school science teacher and registered environmental health specialist.
The Lewis and Clark saga has always been an interest for Havens. However, the topic took on a new level of significance in 2010 when he was led west in search of work in the wake of the Great Recession.
Fraught With Difficulties
Fraught With Difficulties - Lewis And Clark Historical Novel Photos of Lewis And Clark Trail
I am grateful to all those who wrote and researched before me on this and related topics; the most notable being Gary E. Moulton, James P. Ronda, David S. Lavender, Donald Jackson, and Edward S. Curtis. This huge project was my effort to stand on their sturdy shoulders in a differing manner.
Also, I would like to thank all the people, including the numerous volunteers who put together the many great Lewis and Clark attractions all along their trail.
My hope for the reader is that you enjoy the book as much as I did researching and writing it. Great effort was made to be as historically accurate as possible by using numerous and notable sources and supplementing them with visiting and photographing as many Lewis and Clark sites as possible from Hartford, Illinois to Seaside, Oregon. I hiked parts of the Lolo Trail several times, including the challenging Wendover Ridge in Idaho, and the even more challenging Trail 204 that connects to the section of the Lolo near a site known as the “Smoking Place,” especially when there is still snow on the road. I also canoed the White Cliffs section of the Missouri River in Montana, and lived in several places along the trail.
Fraught With Difficulties - Lewis And Clark Historical Novel Photos of Lewis And Clark Trail - Realistic Fiction - Jeff Havens