There’s an underlying irony behind the photograph Roger Drouin selected for the cover his recently-released novel, No Other Way.
Captured in the White Cloud Mountains of central Idaho, it features an unnamed peak in the range’s Big Boulder Creek drainage. But just a drainage away, in fact just on the other side of the photographed peak, is Little Boulder Creek where the American Smelting and Refining Company once proposed a massive open-pit molybdenum mine. That 40-years-ago story of how everyday Idahoans rose up to fight corporate conquest in their beloved mountains isn’t altogether different from Drouin’s fictional plot.
“It was great to see there was a story behind Greg Stahl’s photograph,” Drouin said in May as he celebrated his completed book. “And it’s really wonderful to see my writing and Greg’s art coming together for a unified message.”
Drouin, former city editor at the Sarasota Observer, lives in Delray Beach and recently completed his MFA in creative writing at Florida Atlantic University. According to an article in Sarasota Patch, No Other Way begins when “photographer of birds Samuel Leaton, sets out to find the ‘possibly extinct’ northern stilted curlew, when he suddenly gets caught up in a battle to protect a remote backcountry forest. As the men from Century Corp. drive in with their rigs to begin drilling for natural gas, Samuel and a rouge park ranger take up a fight no one else will.”
The photograph was shot in August 2006 during a backpacking trip with Congressman Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican who has been working for more than a decade to legislate more than 300,000 acres of the White Cloud and nearby Boulder mountains as wilderness. The White Clouds still constitute a candidate wilderness area today because of the fight that was won 40 years ago.
“The fact that this image captures a wild land that has been preserved dovetails so well with the message of my novel that we can in fact do something to preserve the undominated, wild habitats remaining,” Drouin said. “It is a fight that will continue, and I just hope there are a few quixotic conservationists left to lead the way.”
No Other Way is Drouin’s first novel, published by Moonshine Cove Publishing. It is available as an ebook from Smashwords, as an ebook and in hard cover at Amazon, and can be found in most Barnes and Noble bookstores.
© Greg Stahl