According to Clayton, he drew from two of his seminary courses as he developed his capstone, Religion and Literature and Theoretical Issues in Literary Studies. He applied some of the work of Wayne Booth to the work of J.F. Powers. Clayton used Booth's notion of the companionship offered by the authorial presence from Booth's book The Company We Keep.
Dr. Creighton Lindsay served as the director for Clayton's project, and Dr. Seymour House served as the second reader. Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, served as the English standards reader. Clayton also acknowledged the guidance of Abbot Peter Eberle and Father Richard Koelker.