In part three of Sam Kean's interview with famed biologist E.O. Wilson, Wilson explained why he decided to write his first novel after all these years:

My favorite story along these lines has to do with this great evangelist of the 1920s. ... I heard a record of him giving one these hellfire sermons of the kind that’s typical of Southern evangelicals. And here’s what he said, and here’s the accentI can do it real well, having grown up with it. ...

I’ma agains’ sin. I hayte sin sooo much, I’ma gonna fight it ‘til I cain’t move my airms no more. ...And when I cain’t move my airms no more, I’ma a gonna byte sin. ... And when all my teeth falls out, I’ma gonna gum it.

... I love that. That’s what I’m doing. I’m gumming it.