When I was asked to write the book, my editor Will McKay said, I think this is a book that should begin in the Delta. My reaction was: absolutely not. The myth is that all of Mississippi literature springs out of the Delta. To dispel that myth, I began the book on the Gulf Coast with Jesmyn Ward and Natasha Trethewey, two African American women writing difficult things about the South. Then I move on through the state, using the geographic regions of the state to tell the story of its literature.