“I’d known them in my heart for so long.”
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Four years after Where the Crawdads Sing first took the world by storm, author Delia Owens is counting down the days until the movie adaptation reaches theaters on July 15.

Speaking with Southern Living Tuesday, the Georgia native describes the film as "stunning" and "100-percent faithful" to the book. "Readers will be so happy," she promises.

Like the book, the movie is told via two storylines set in different time periods. The first follows a misunderstood young girl named Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) as she comes of age in the marshes of coastal North Carolina. The second takes place in the same marsh several years later, after her unlikely romance with the town's "golden boy" Chase (Harris Dickinson) ends with her going on trial for his murder.

It's been a wild ride for Owens, who says she never expected to get to this point—and certainly not with her first novel.

"I really never thought about it [becoming a movie]. I was just hoping someone would read it," she said of the best-selling book. "I never thought the book would do as well as it did."

"Where The Crawdads Sing" Photo Call
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Surprised though she might be, Owens has some theories as to why Kya's story has resonated with such a large audience.

"Kya teaches us that we can get back up on our feet again, time after time when life takes us down," she explained. "All of us end up in a swamp now and then. Life is hard, and Kya goes from one thing to another and just picks herself up and keeps going."

Owens admits to having been nervous about the adaptation at the beginning, but those fears were assuaged after meeting producer Reese Witherspoon and director Olivia Newman. They made it clear that they would be respectful to the readers. From the production team to the cast, Owens says she "couldn't have chosen any better."

The 73-year-old author was involved in nearly every aspect of the production. She read every draft of the script, watched auditions, and visited the set in Louisiana twice. Meeting the cast was especially surreal.

"It was very emotional," Owens says. "Especially with Kya and Tate and Jumpin' and Mable. To actually see and meet them was very moving. I'd known them in my heart for so long. I felt connected with them immediately. Everyone did. I nearly cried when I met Daisy."

Get ready… Where the Crawdads Sing premieres nationwide on July 15.