Erica Ferencik is a Boston-based author whose recent release, The River at Night is a modern Deliverance set in the deep woods of Maine. I conducted a full-length interview with her for Electric Literature that talks about the research that went into writing the book and so much more.
Here’s an excerpt from that interview:
I took a nine day trip to Maine to research the book, and I wanted to interview people who lived off-the-grid. I didn’t know anyone, so I called all of the chambers of commerce from Caribou through Fort Kent and they all said, “Yeah, we know people, but they live off-the-grid and won’t want to talk to you. That’s why they live off the grid.” Then there was always this pause before they would tell me, “But I know somebody who knows somebody.”
I was able to set up interviews with seven people. Two had families and five were individuals. They all lived off-the-grid. I went up there having hotel reservations for all nine nights but only had to stay in one the first and last night because they all put me up overnight. One was a rehabbed bus, one was a boat — and I don’t know how it got there on the land — outside of Sweden (Maine). I got these wonderful interviews with these people. I wasn’t trying to be literal with the story; I was just trying to get their motivation. So many time my assumptions were wrong about why people decided to do this. They were all different.
She was gracious enough to chat more with me over the phone about what she likes to read for pleasure. After you listen to the podcast episode, you can learn more about Ferencik at her website. Make sure to tweet at her, because she is always kind enough to respond and engage in conversation.