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A novel inspired by the true story of America's only fatal nuclear accident

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'The Longest Night' by Andria Williams
"The Longest Night" by Andria Williams
Courtesy of publisher

On Jan. 3, 1961, a nuclear reactor in eastern Idaho suffered a meltdown. The accident killed three military personnel on site. It was the country's only fatal nuclear accident.

Debut novelist Andria Williams has taken this little known moment in American nuclear history for the backdrop of her novel, "The Longest Night." The book focuses on the strained marriage of a young Army Specialist, Paul Collier, and his wife Nat. 

In the remote military town of Idaho Falls, the couple struggles to keep their family together as the stresses of Paul's job grow. Stationed at the reactor, he discovers a problem that threatens the safety of the entire community, but his superiors launch a cover-up of the issue.

Williams knows the pressures of a military marriage first-hand: She is married to an active-duty naval officer. She maintains the Military Spouse Book Review blog

She joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about her inspirations for the novel and her writing process.

The Longest Night The Longest Night