Interview with Erica Ferencik, Author of The River at Night


Erica Ferencik’s disucsses her debut THE RIVER AT NIGHT, which comes out today, January 10!

Please describe what the story is about.

The River at Night is a high stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

“I know we all felt it – even then, while the titan was sleeping – that there was a force larger and more terrible in charge that we’d better heed above all out petty infighting. The impression of riding something sensate was unmistakable; even when we steered the raft with our oars, the river had its own idea of where we would go and what would happen to us.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

I had a total blast writing this book. Hopefully the reading experience will be comparable!

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

How persistent I am. How I really have to listen to feedback that I know in my heart is spot on. How I can’t please every reader.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

Four years.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

I hate all of it. Kidding. Sort of:)

Many ideas occur to me that could potentially be book-worthy, but I’ve learned over time I often go to bed a genius and wake up an idiot; in other words: that great idea I had the night before? When the light of day shines down on it – it just ain’t gonna work.

So – to finally answer the question – I love it when I really do come up with an idea big enough for a book, and one I feel capable of writing. Doesn’t happen every day.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

Two sources:

One novel: Deliverance, the 1970 novel by James Dickey, which blew my mind with its real-time, visceral, propulsive writing, and one experience: an ill-fated hiking trip of my own in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with several friends in the summer of 2012.

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

The shower. Taking walks. When I am not thinking about my work at all. I also tend to do well when I quit screwing around and actually make myself put words on paper.

Share something people may be surprised to know about you?

I was a fine artist – a painter: watercolors and mixed media – until I was 26 years old. Then one day I woke up and literally lost interest in painting ever again. Just tossed all my painting stuff in storage. From then on, all I wanted to do was write. That was over 30 years ago.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Don’t ever give up. Learn everything you can about writing, then learn some more. Thinking about you who want to be as a writer is never a waste of time. Plan your time. Stay organized. But don’t forget to live your one beautiful life!

What’s next?

My next novel is a survival thriller set in the Peruvian Amazon about an American girl who falls for a local man and goes to live in his jungle village, experiencing the joys of family for the first time only to have her new found happiness threatened by a mysterious illness and the warring tribe that holds the cure.

This means I am planning a trip to the Peruvian Amazon this May to do research. I’m terrified and excited, usually at the same time!

What intrigued you about writing about female friendship?

The stakes in female friendship are just as high or higher than in romantic ones. We trust our women friends with so much intimate knowledge – why is that? Our hairdressers know for sure….isn’t that the truth.

It’s such a delicate balance to keep these relationships alive, as well as intensely difficult to determine when or whether it may be time to end them, or to come to grips with the fact that – since everything changes – these cherished friendships must change as well.


“A gal-pal vacation goes over the falls and into hell. You won’t put it down.”
Kirkus Reviews

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