At this week's Rotary Club meeting, Daren Dean author of the new novel "Black Harvest" spoke to members about his book as well as the process he went through to finish it.
Dean's ultimate goal was to showcase how complex and different the Civil War was in Missouri. Looking at the state during the war, it was a home to pro-Union members, pro-Confederate members and some German emigrants that just wanted to remain neutral. And another complicating factor, they didn't see themselves as the United States; each state saw themselves as their own country.
He spent years researching and trying to better understand what took place during the Civil War here in Missouri. In fact, it took him 20 to 30 years to finish his book but he wanted to make sure that he truly understood what he was talking about.
"When I started doing research for this," Dean said. "I thought I would research the Civil War in Missouri for a year, and then I would write the book then maybe two or three years after that I would become famous, and New York would send me checks to turn it into a movie. That's what I hoped anyway."
Dean got the idea to write a novel on the Civil War in the 1990s; when he told people they would look at him and say, "good luck." The idea really stemmed from all the different movies about Jesse James and books like the Cold Mountain by Charles Frasier.
He started writing the first bit back in 1998.
"If someone would have told me one day this book will be published but it was going to be in 2021.." Dean said.
Though it took some time and a lot of research, "Black Harvest" is set to be released next month.
"Black Harvest" is revolved around a young man named Ashby Marchbanks and shows his coming of age during the Civil War. His father was a preacher but ends up getting hanged. Ashby Marchbanks had all this expectations to follow in his father's footsteps, but he decides to join the war — partly because his brother is already, but also for revenge. He tries to get away from his belief in God and his calling to be like his father, but as soon as the Bushwhackers find out he has a background as a preacher's son and has attended a seminary to study the word of God, they start calling him preacher. They have this expectation of him to be a moral beacon in a world that has little morality anymore. So the book showcases his constant battle of what he thinks is right, and that he's going to fight for what he thinks is right and protect those closest to him.
The book can be pre-ordered from the University of West Alabama's Livingston Press at livingstonpress.uwa.edu/The%20Black%20Harvest.htm.