Gilead by Marilynne Robinson:
Jill: How did you begin Gilead? What was its genesis?
Marilynne Robinson: It had a long genesis because it came as a result of my interest in theology, and also the fact of my having moved into the Middle West and becoming interested in the history of the Middle West. I read a lot of things that were written in the nineteenth century. Then, for whatever reason, a character came into my mind, or more specifically, a voice, and a lot of things that I'd been thinking about and reading about precipitated themselves as a novel. Who knows why? I was very pleased. I enjoyed writing the novel.