The Progeny follows the descendant of a prolific serial killer as she is the target of an ancient order. How did this idea begin and change as you were writing the novel?
A fan asked me to write a book about Elizabeth Bathory. I was familiar with Bathory (AKA the “Blood Countess”—the most prolific female serial killer in history, rumored to have bathed in the blood of virgins.) But I was fresh off several historical novels and eager to write something contemporary and faster-paced—a thriller. So I decided to write about her modern-day descendants, who have been systematically hunted for centuries.
Strangely enough, as I was researching the novel, I learned through my mother (a lifelong career genealogist) that I am actually distantly related to Bathory. So that was a twist I didn’t see coming!
I always enjoy the way you develop your characters. What is your writing process like to bring your characters to life?
Thank you! This story is populated by a group of charismatic young people with slightly supernatural gifts. So that was really fun to write. That said, it was really important to me to portray them as real, grounded—not super heroes—but bohemian outcasts living hard and fast on society’s fringe, just trying to make it to their 30th—or 25th, or 22nd—birthday. As far as bringing them to life, I used to spend a lot of time role-playing characters online. And I think those hours and days and years of doing that taught me a lot about stepping into another person’s skin and looking at life through their eyes.
The characters, and ancient orders, have a engaging backstory. What were some themes that drove their development?
So many of us are fascinated by ancient orders, secret societies, and clandestine histories hidden beneath the surface of the world as we know it. I am, too, and have spent far too much time gleefully studying this kind of thing. But the one overarching theme that really guides the groups in The Progeny is that of revenge for one group… and redemption for another.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I just had a duology come out in quick succession last year: The Line Between and its sequel, A Single Light—the story of a young woman leaving a doomsday cult just in time for the apocalypse as a pandemic sweeps across the nation that feels like it’s striking a little too close to home at the moment! Now that those two are out, I’m working on a couple new historical novels—a medieval thriller and a WWII novel.
Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.
She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.
Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. It is a story about the search for self filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.
“Readers of inspirational fiction will love this moving story that affirms the power of God’s mercy.”
A story about the struggle, passion, and adventure of faith, about the Truth that transforms lives…
The Alaska Territory, 1925: Thirteen-year-old Luke couldn’t be prouder of his father, whose heroic efforts have just saved thousands of lives. but his world turns upside down when dad abandons his family for a beautiful reporter from New York. Luke’s mother, Yura, vows to win back her husband and kill the woman who stole his heart, and she and Luke embark on an epic cross-country quest that will lead them to the Nevada desert, and to truths–and terrors–of which they’d never dreamed.
Reno, Nevada, 1930: Boxer David Gold, a Bible-school dropout who fights as the Pummelin’ Preacher, is nearing the end of his career and feeling hopelessly far from God. Then one day, a former call girl who hails from a railway stop called Las Vegas shows up at his door. She’s part of a rag-tag congregation whose pastor has been murdered; the killer is still at large, they haven’t a cent to pay David, but they need a fighting man to shepherd the tiny Church of the Heart Set Free. Her proposal seems sheer madness–after all, he’s not really a preacher, how can he possibly do these people any good? But the Spirit is at work; it’s already brought a mother and son from Alaska into his life, and now it’s telling him to say yes…
Las Vegas, 2011: Science Cable T.V. big-wig Tim Faber is an arrogant narcissist determined to prove that mankind has no need of God, while his producer, Joan Reed, is trying to regain the faith of her youth. They’ve come to Vegas to meet with 99-year-old Luke and David Gold’s grandson, Daniel, two men who hold the key to a mystery they must solve—and answers that will forever change their lives.
“I was mesmerized by the characters and how everything unfolded and linked together…”
–Just One More Paragraph (Musings of a Christian Wife)
“Bold and forthright writing that would set any heart on fire.”
–Christian blogger Miranda A. Uyeh
Are we defined by the ones who were before us, or do our actions define us? Do the actions of one individual condemn their future descendants to a dire future?
The Progeny is a thrilling adventure story, echoing the suspense of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series. The beginning of the story is a little slow but the story picks up and is quickly entertaining. Things keep on rolling as our lead character, Audra and her small group of people find themselves in situations that quickly turn sour. Despite the frailty shown, the characters rise up to the challenges that face them, which made me emotionally invested in the well drawn characters. I frowned when I read about the zealots who were hunting descendants of the most infamous female serial killer in history. Why? They are not the killers. Why harm them? But then people do tend to carry grouses for years, maybe some are crazy to carry ones that pass on from generation to generation. These thought provoking themes kept me hooked. I especially loved Luka character, who loves Audra without any motives or benefits. The author describes the revelation in layers which is all the more warming to my heart.
There are many more layers to the story than initially appears. It shows the depth with which Tosca Lee has crafted her narrative. Overall the story is well written and continues at a good pace. We get a glimpse into the past of the characters, but thankfully the story does not dedicate too much time on it. The one thing that I did find odd was the persuasion power that every descendant of Elizabeth Bathory (mainly females) seems to have. Why it appears, or what is the reason for it is not explained. Even more curious is that it goes away after a certain age. Why? I need to know! Needless to say, I am invested in this enthralling and thoroughly entertaining novel.
Pages: 337 | ASIN: B010MH9YUW
Runaway follows Rose as she is taken from one home to the next and struggles to find a place without pain. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
This story actually came from a dream that interrupted my sleep night after night until I finally got up and wrote the outline. I tried to describe Rose the way she looked in my vivid technicolor dream.
Rose’s character is interesting and deeply developed. What were some ideals that drove her character development?
Although I was loved and wanted as a child, I grew up alone with older parents who were often mistaken as my grandparents. I had to entertain, and sometimes care for myself. Perhaps some of my own characteristics come through in finding the hideaway in the attic, pretending to be someone else through my own fantasies, and particularly escaping into my music. My own piano playing comes naturally; I play by ear as well as by note. Playing before a crowd, or on a small Sunday night service also comes from personal experience. How the book describes Rose getting lost in her music, playing with her eyes closed, or banging out her frustration on the keys comes from personal experience.
This novel sheds light on the condition of runaways and abused children. What do you hope readers take away from this story?
My husband and I were foster parents to young preteens. We saw the plight of these young children and what they had to endure (especially if they had to return to their families). We had to deal with and abide with CPS *(aka, the system) and their rules. It may not be the perfect answer, but with so many abused runaways/throwaways in our nation, it may be their only hope and salvation to be placed with a good foster family, and eventually adopted. More good families are needed in the system to meet this need.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am presently doing research on an immigrant child from Venezuela seeking to find refuge in the United States. His Venezuelan mother has been promised safe transport for herself and her twelve-year-old son if she can only come up with the money. She knows if she can get her son to his American father, he will be cared for properly and safe from the cartel. Even though Mateo’s father was only in Venezuela on a short work project, she believes he will welcome the son he knows nothing about. Little does she know the man she hired is only doing this for profit and benefits.
Hopefully, this will be available sometime next year.
My Love’s Journey Home trilogy (available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, or at my website, casimonson.com- 2013-2015) also deals with abandoned children. Separating to survive, some end up going through the adoption setting.
She was told she was unwanted. Unloved. Broken and scarred. “No man wants a cripple,” she was told. “You’re damaged goods.” But she never dreamed she’d be thrown away. There was only one thing she could do…”Runaway” is a fictional account that captures the plight of runaways, child abuse, and foster care in America. It’s a message of hope and faith when all else seems lost.
Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart is a contemporary fiction story about Grace Kleren, a struggling design assistant in New York who aspires to be a fashion designer. But instead of receiving the promotion she expects, she ends up being fired. With no job and no way to pay her bills, she is forced to return to Silver Creek, Iowa, the town she left ten years ago. However, she’s determined to find a way to earn enough money to move back to New York and prove herself as a fashion designer. But after reconnecting with her first love, Tucker, will Grace’s dream change?
Heart Land is a story that was a joy to read. I won’t ruin the ending for you, or how Grace and Tuckers relationship ends, but I’ll say that it was one of my favorite endings for a book this year. Especially after the ladies of the sewing circle had come together to help her with her new business, which brought much-needed money into the area. I’m glad that Grace didn’t turn her back on them. All of this was delivered eloquently with a bit of humor, which I enjoyed.
Although I liked the main characters, I felt that there were a lot of unnecessary secondary characters in the beginning of the book, since most of them were not mentioned again later in the story. And Grace was not shown in the best light when she is first introduced and she ducks out early on the photo shoot the day before she expected to get a promotion. Although that was not the reason she got fired, it could have easily gone that way, and she thoughtlessly risked the very thing that she supposedly wanted the most (can you tell I’m invested in the characters).
When Grace first returned to Silver Creek, I didn’t like how she often acted like a sulky teenager rather than a women in her late twenties just because things in New York had not gone the way she’d imagined and she wasn’t happy to be returning to Iowa. Ultimately she recognized this fault in herself and did not continue the same behavior for too long. I enjoyed her character transition, although it took her a while to realize what was really important.
This is an exceptional story that explores the power of love and connection to people and places.
Pages: 321 | ASIN: B078MDDLFB
Save Him by William M. Hayes is a time travel story about a scientist named Rydel Scott who works at the Genesis Lab in upstate New York creating new technology for the military. After he stumbles across a way to travel back in time, his terminally ill sister convinces him that he must use this discovery to prevent Jesus’s death on the cross. The Unit, an elite military group led by Ray Catlin, is sent to stop him before it’s too late and bring him back. But once on the mission, the Unit becomes divided. Will Rydel succeed in changing the past and saving Jesus Christ? And if he does, will the people in the present survive the repercussions?
I enjoyed reading this book. The story line was intriguing, and it was a unique take on a time travel action adventure story. I liked the descriptions of Jerusalem during the life of Jesus. It gave me a good sense of what it might have been like to live during that time period.
The technology described in the book was interesting. The story started out a bit slow, taking place in the Genesis Lab with a show and tell of the new tech rather than with action as the Unit is sent out on their mission. However, this did give me a chance to get to know the various members of the Unit, who might have been hard to keep straight otherwise, since there were so many of them.
The group became divided about the mission once they arrived in the past, which was something that didn’t sit well with me, since the Christian believers’ position did not seem logical. One of the foundations of Christianity is that Jesus died for our sins so that our souls would be saved, yet the Christian characters don’t act as though that sacrifice was necessary when it should have been a fundamental belief. I thought it was odd for them to think that saving Jesus would have no effect on the present when Christianity as they know it would cease to exist if Jesus did not die on the cross.
This was an intriguing book with an interesting plot, but I felt the book lacked a conclusive ending. If you enjoy science fiction stories with futuristic, yet believable, technology in a historic setting then this book is definitely for you.
Pages: 345 | ASIN: B07WQMP41B
Nina doesn’t want her and told her as much. The man in the car wanted her, but she knew he was no father figure. The two old ladies who find her want her, but the system says otherwise. Nothing in her life is the way it should be. A scar mars her face, and her leg is twisted and forces her to limp. When the girl now called Rose is taken from the one home where she feels loved and truly cared for, she is placed in a shelter for runaways and begins to question everything about where she came from and where she wants to be.
Runaway, by CA. Simonson, is a gripping novel detailing the struggle one young girl faces as she is forced to leave the wreckage she knows as her life thus far. The only parental figure on whom she can rely is mentally abusive and more inclined to offer her up to a man who wants to sexually exploit her. From the first pages, Simonson engages readers in Rose’s story as she fights to flee from a man who promises to do nothing but continue her world of hurt.
Simonson does an amazing job communicating to readers the intense feelings of neglect and mental anguish experienced by young Rose. Her thoughts are painfully clear, and her pain is tangible. The author has created a phenomenal main character and provided a supporting cast of characters that further develop the tragic plot enveloping Rose.
When Rose is essentially rescued by Hope and Faith, she sees what her life could be like for the first time. It is during this part of Rose’s story that readers see her experience real love and kindness. There is a sense of relief for Rose and readers are filled with hope. Simonson shapes her story well and immediately finds a way to continue the rollercoaster that is Rose’s young life.
Simonson is adept at creating characters readers will love to hate. Nina is number one on that list. Not in a long time have I loathed a character as much as I loate Nina. The way she treats poor Rose from the first chapter is reprehensible and unforgivable. Simonson’s antagonist serves her purpose well.
There is a satisfying amount of mystery in Simonson’s novel. Rose’s background, while tragic and fairly transparent in the first chapter, is a bit of an enigma. As the detective searches for the truth about Rose’s mother, readers are taken on a heartbreaking journey. Nothing about Rose’s life has ever been easy, and readers soon see why.
I recommend this book to anyone searching for a novel based on faith and centered around Christian values. C.A. Simonson has created a character who overcomes tremendous odds in the face of a multitude of obstacles including a family who cannot bring themselves to provide the love she needs. Readers will be touched by the honesty and strengthened by the values expressed by Simonson’s cast of characters.
Pages: 193 | ASIN: B07RT73PTN
Destined To Date A Good Man gives readers practical solutions to finding a Godly man and avoiding counterfeits. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I’ve seen so many women’s lives destroyed behind counterfeit men, and I’m fed up. I can relate to their suffering, because I was once a victim myself.
You give practical advice in a straightforward manner that I enjoyed. What were some ideals that were important for you to capture in this book?
I feel it is extremely important for me to expose the tactics and tricks that counterfeits use to manipulate their victims. It’s equally important for me to reveal how to spot them, avoid them, or break free.
What is a common misconception people have about dating and finding the right partner?
Women often believe that if he looks trustworthy, says the right things, or does good deeds, that he’s a good man. In many instances, this may be the farthest thing from the truth. Counterfeits are great actors, and can fool many people.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
This book will equip women with tools to empower them, and protect them from counterfeit men.
Do you feel as if he’s hiding something, but you don’t know what it is? If so, you may be dealing with a counterfeit. A counterfeit is a man who will mask his true intentions while he intentionally wastes your time, drains your resources, breaks your heart, or abandons you at his convenience. Since he is able to mimic the behaviors of a good man, he’ll manage to scam many women throughout his lifetime. It’s time to be empowered! Christian Author, Daisy Thomas will expose eight different types of counterfeits. She will also reveal numerous strategies a counterfeit will use to deceive you, and turn your life upside down. If you want to avoid getting played by a counterfeit, this book is for you. Inside you’ll find biblical and practical solutions to give you the best outcome. You’ll be empowered to recognize and break free from counterfeits in your life!