“The Mississippi River is Nature personified: bountiful, mysterious, capricious, and capable of massive destruction. I can think of no other force like it in Nature, none with such an enormous scope, none whose rampages have such lasting effects. But we learned from writing Clementine that the river can be an ally if humans truly understand it. That is ultimately how Clementine defeats Nathan.”
UL Press Blog
Most of the action in Forty Days and Forty Nights may take place in Arkansas, but Louisiana is no stranger to the threat of widespread flooding and the sometimes-dangerous power of the Mississippi River that drive this novel’s plot. Amber Edwards and Justin Scott are the husband-and-wife team behind this gripping story. Justin is the author of thirty-seven thriller, mystery, and sea story novels, and Amber has directed, produced, and written nineteen national PBS documentaries and one theatrical feature. Read the interview below to discover more about these authors, their writing process, and their new book, Forty Days and Forty Nights.
What was the process of writing as a husband-and-wife team like?
A: Joyous indeed, but to be more specific, once we had our outline, we divided up the scenes as to who would tackle the first draft. Once we had gotten something down—even something clunky—we would take out red pencils, mark it up, revise, mark it up again, revise again, and then either pronounce it acceptable or jettison the entire scene and try to figure out where we went wrong. Or, as happened often, hand one’s first draft to the other and ask, “Maybe you should write this one?”
What made you decide to work together on this project?
J: Back-to-back bête noirs. Thirty years of documentary filmmaking made Amber weary of having to raise the money for every new project before she could go to work. Twenty years of writing and re-writing one particular novel that refused to work (in between a bunch that did) made Justin decide that bringing Amber in could not possibly make its prospects any worse.
A: It’s possible also that Justin got tired of my endless suggestions: “How about making the hero a female?” “How about if the villain’s blind spot is his love for his wife?” Many experienced novelists would have said, “How about you write your own damn book?” Fortunately, he said, “Would you like to write this with me?”