My heroine, Hallie Wells, is a grieving widow traveling with her young son to the Willamette Valley in Oregon on the famous Oregon Trail that begins in Missouri. Part of her journey includes traveling by Steamboat from St. Louis to Westport Landing, a jumping off point for the trail. So, although the steamboat I'm going to ride today is much smaller, it will allow me to partake of some of the emotions Hallie feels during her journey (I really get into my characters).
I have set quite a task for myself in writing this series. It's intimidating to incorporate factual events, places, and sometimes people into fictional stories. It's so much easier writing about the familiar or even writing fantasy where you can create your own history. In dealing with history, there is always a margin for error in relating what has been researched. Here are some examples: What staples did the pioneers bring on their wagons. How did they cook their meals? What supplies did they include on their journey? How much was the cost of such items? What landmarks did they pass during their journey? What was the most difficult part of their travels? What kinds of animals pulled their wagons (or prairie schooners)? As I have discovered, sometimes what seems to be an obvious answer, is not, and the truth is far different that I thought.
As you can see, there is much to be researched, but, oops, I almost forgot, I have a steamship to catch. I'll have to continue the research part later. If you would like to read an excerpt from Cry of the West: Hallie, please go to the books page or click here.