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World traveler Neal Moore let us follow along with him on iReport when he made his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River in 2009, so we were really excited when his new book about the journey arrived in the mail.
"Down the Mississippi: A Modern-Day Huck on America's River Road" chronicles Moore's five-month journey from its source at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana. He made the trip because he wanted to find and tell positive stories about the people living along the river.
Mark Twain and his iconic character Huckleberry Finn were a big influence on the project -- his co-author Dr. Cindy Lovell is the executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri.
Moore's been living in Taiwan, but is back in the United States to promote the book. We were able to catch up with him by email to ask him about the project.
What are you doing now that your book is out? Are you doing book tours or anything like that?
Yes, my co-author, Dr. Cindy Lovell, and myself are currently out promoting the launch of the book here in the States (as a bit of a mini-tour). I did a book release in Oxford, Mississippi. We just launched the book in Hannibal, and we'll be taping a segment for NPR/St. Louis Public Radio.
Where do you live these days?
I'm moving back to Cape Town, South Africa, this coming week, a gem of a city I've lived in, off and on, for the past twenty years.
How long did it take to write the book?
The book took two years to complete from the time my co-author and myself began, just following the completion of my Mississippi River canoe journey in late 2009. In the book, Dr. Lovell conjures up Twain's words directly into the text. So you've got the physical journey, the stories of the towns, and Twain, who encourages, reprimands, and comments on the characters encountered all along the way.
What part did iReport play?
iReport has given me the platform to share my stories with a worldwide audience. The challenge of approaching a story scenario through video, still images, along with a written report was something that I saw as a challenge and one that excited me as a storyteller. The Mississippi River sojourn was planned and plotted as a solo journey -- but one in which I would take iReport, and with her, an international audience, along for the ride. Villages, towns and cities along the expedition were proud to see themselves on television and featured in online reports, their positive stories of struggle and economic survival encouraging their neighbors, near and far. At the end of the journey, I began work on my book, and looking back at my footage, found a wealth of images and transcripts - stories ready to be told. I can't say enough about my experience with iReport. It has been a positive ride and I am proud to call myself a citizen journalist.
Where did you write the book?
I wrote my portion of the book in some of my favorite locales along the Mississippi River journey: in Oxford, Mississippi, a literary-minded village; Hannibal, Missouri, Twain's hometown; and northeast Iowa, on a rambling family farm. I then flew on to East Asia where I completed the writing of the final third of the book, late last year.
Where can people buy the book if they're interested?
The eBook version is now available via Kindle. A print edition of the book is available at the Mark Twain Museum and will soon be available at leading independent bookstores nationwide - to be found on http://moderndayhuck.com/.
What's your next big adventure?
I'm currently gearing up for the next big adventure to take place in South Asia. I'm intending to set it up as a rambling, roving report similar to the Mississippi River expedition, but with a different twist.
Congratulations Neal! We can't wait to see your stories from South Africa and around the world.
Wish i could read this book
Hi @sunethra! Neil's book is available for purchase here: http://moderndayhuck.com/buy-the-book/ Hope that helps!