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The Idea of Hope

Tosca Lee Author Interview

Tosca Lee Author Interview

A Single Light is the suspenseful follow up to The Line Between and picks up six months after going underground. What were some ideas you wanted to focus on in this book that were different from the first?

I really wanted to focus on this idea of staying sane in an insane time, but also—just as in the first book—really focus on the idea of hope. Because in this kind of situation—as in real life right now—hope is as crucial to our coming out of threatening situations like a pandemic as a vaccine is.

In this book we get to see a lot of raw human emotion and intense decisions. How did you put yourself in the mindset to capture the passion of your characters?

I think I missed my calling as an actor LOL. I act it out in my mind, and I’m playing all the parts! But beyond that, it’s vitally important while writing fiction to know what is motivating your characters in both the short and long term.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer when working on this book?

I wanted to make it as realistic as possible, and I wanted to keep readers glued to the pages.

This is the second book in your series, The Line Between. What are you writing next?

Good question! 😀 I have some historical novels in the works right now, as well as a potential new thriller.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | GoodReads

A Single Light: A Thriller (The Line Between Book 2) by [Tosca Lee]

Six months after vanishing into an underground silo with sixty others, Wynter and Chase emerge to find the area abandoned. There is no sign of Noah and the rest of the group that was supposed to greet them when they emerged—the same people Wynter was counting on to help her locate the IV antibiotics her gravely ill friend, Julie, needs in order to live.

As the clock ticks down on Julie’s life, Wynter and Chase embark on a desperate search for medicine and answers. But what they find is not a nation on the cusp of recovery thanks to the promising new vaccine Wynter herself had a hand in creating, but one decimated by disease. What happened while they were underground?

With food and water in limited supply and their own survival in question, Chase and Wynter must venture further and further from the silo. Aided by an enigmatic mute named Otto, they come face-to-face with a society radically changed by global pandemic, where communities scrabble to survive under rogue leaders and cities are war zones. As hope fades by the hour and Wynter learns the terrible truth of the last six months, she is called upon once again to help save the nation she no longer recognizes—a place so dark she’s no longer sure it can even survive.

Fast-paced and taut, A Single Light is a breathless thriller of nonstop suspense about the risks of living in a world outside the safe confines of our closely-held beliefs and the relationships and lives that inspire us.

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TOSCA LEE OFFERS COMFORT, ENTERTAINMENT WITH NIGHTLY STORY TIME ON FACEBOOK LIVE

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New York Times and CBA bestselling author Tosca Lee has spent the last three weeks offering entertainment, comfort, and encouragement to the public during a nightly “Story Time with Tosca” at 9 Eastern on Facebook live. It started March 20 with a promise to read until shelter-in-place guidelines are no longer necessary… which means she currently has no idea when she’ll stop.

Lee has been reading from her 2014 ECPA Fiction Book of the Year winner, Iscariot—her bestselling novel about the life of the infamous disciple and ministry of Jesus Christ. The perennial Easter season favorite is read annually by some of her fans and was chosen in a vote the day before “Story Time with Tosca” began on March 20. Story Time happens on Tosca’s Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/AuthorToscaLee and everyone is welcome to check out past installments of Story Time live recordings plus take part in the live episodes.

Lee, the first runner-up to Mrs. United States 1998, jokes that she hasn’t worn makeup this many days in a row since her tenure as Mrs. Nebraska. She says the time has been heart-warming, with readers calling the time their favorite part of the day and a much-needed escape from the news and rigors of quarantine. “It’s been an unexpected blessing for my family in return,” Lee says. “A much-needed marker in days that otherwise feel as though they’re running together.” From days that, by her own admission, are a little extra surreal given how closely the news has mirrored her 2019 bestselling thriller, The Line Between.

FICTION MEETS REALITY

An outbreak in Washington… a run on essential supplies… schools closed… quarantined towns… borders shut down.

The Line Between: A Novel by [Tosca Lee]

The spate of recent headlines is also the plotline of Lee’s medical thriller, The Line Between, which released January, 2019 from Howard Books/Simon & Schuster—a year before COVID-19 arrived in the U.S. The book’s sequel, A Single Light (September, 2019, Howard Books/Simon & Schuster) comes to paperback August 17.

Watching the news one year after the release of The Line Between—a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for best mystery/thriller of 2019—Lee calls life “eerie and surreal.”

“Every now and then my husband and I just look at one another as we listen to the news—including the day the Canadian border shut down,” Lee says, of yet one more event she wrote about two years ago before the books went into print. “It’s a little eerie,” she admits.

Another one of the reasons Lee, herself, finds solace in Story Time with her readers.

The Line Between has been optioned by Radar Pictures (Jumanji) and Ed Burns’ Marlboro Road Gang Productions (Public Morals) and is in development for television as first reported by Deadline Hollywood: https://deadline.com/2019/01/edward-burns-radar-developing-the-line-between-thriller-novel-for-television-1202538907/

“[An] edge of your seat, heart-palpitating tale.”

Top Shelf Magazine, for A Single Light

Tosca Lee

Lee is the award-winning, New York Times, and CBA bestselling author of 11 novels including The Progeny, Firstborn, Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba, and The Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker. Her books have been translated into 17 languages and been optioned for TV and film.

Tosca received her B.A. in English from Smith College. A lifelong world adventure traveler, she lives in Nebraska with her husband and three of four children still at home. To learn more about Tosca, please visit ToscaLee.com.

Bohemian Outcasts

Tosca Lee Author Interview

Tosca Lee Author Interview

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.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Progeny: A Novel (Descendants of the House of Bathory Book 1) by [Lee, Tosca]

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.

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The Progeny

The Progeny: A Novel (Descendants of the House of Bathory Book 1) by [Lee, Tosca]

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

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A Single Light

A Single Light: A Thriller (The Line Between Book 2) by [Lee, Tosca]

It was early on a Monday morning at 4 am that I had gone through over one third of the book in one night. This book quickly became one of the best reads I have gone through in the past 3 months.

A Single Light begins with around 60 odd people forced to take shelter in a time vault due to the outbreak of a virulent epidemic. A runaway named Wynter and a former soldier turned bounty hunter, Chase are at the heart of the story. Both appear to be an unmatched pair as they have their own motivations and secrets. For the people in the vault, the only source of comfort and connection with the outside is periodic transmissions from Noah, the person who brings hope to the individuals. But all of a sudden, the link goes dark, causing to lose their composure. And when the time vault door opens all of a sudden, it begins a whole new set of unknown dangers to the group, stressed for many months. Infected animals, ghostly town, and people driven to the brink of anarchy. The support systems have failed, all semblance of order and law lying bare. What do you do? That’s where we find the characters in the story.

The story is intense and riveting as is the description of the dynamics at play between the different characters in a confined space. The notes that the story touches are really fundamental, fear, loss, joy but the presentation is remarkably somber and in line as to the way the plot is weaved. I really liked the way the author describes the gritty and raw emotions at play which I have seen only in a very few authors.

The best thing is that the author does not try to bend the story in a way that seems disjointed. It is a skill that is honed by working at the craft for many sleepless nights and long hours.

Though the story may not have political beliefs one may have, I wholeheartedly agree with what the author has penned about the need to break down the walls and be more exclusive. Normally a stickler for neat wrapped endings, I love the way the story concluded. I can’t wait for the next book.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B07P5JKYT8

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A Pandemic Rising

Tosca Lee Author Interview

Tosca Lee Author Interview

The Line Between follows an apocalyptic cult escapee who finds the end of the world is actually happening. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

In 2017, soon after Firstborn released, I met with my publisher in New York to talk about what was next. I had a short list of favorite story concepts—the idea of a cult escapee starting over and a pandemic rising from the permafrost (inspired by real headlines, scarily enough) among six or seven others. My publisher said, “I like both of those. I think you should put them together!”

It worked out strangely well! I wish I could take credit for the combination, but it was my publisher’s idea.

Wynter is an impressive character that I enjoyed watching develop throughout the novel. What were some ideas that drove her character development?

Thank you so much. Wynter’s a really intriguing character to me because she has so many challenges—she’s oppressed and imprisoned within this cult and when she finally gets out, she’s a complete fish out of water. She doesn’t know how to drive or work electronics, or much about how the outside world works at all. She struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (as I do) and has issues with PTSD. She’s not your usual hero with a “special set of skills.” But she never gives up. She’s also kind of funny, which I love about her.

The disease that comes out of the permafrost causes madness in its victims. How did you develop the idea for the disease in your novel?

My sister is a physician and also teaches medical school, so I spent some time picking her brain for just the right combination of different yet plausible, and very scary. The idea of a fast-track prion disease (best known for its Mad Cow variant) is exceptionally frightening. In humans, prion disease cause very slow deterioration and dementia usually over decades. There is no cure, it’s always fatal, and as of right now there’s no way to even test for it except for posthumously. A rapid version of that seemed like a very formidable foe.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Good question! I’m up for contract now, so we’re shopping a few ideas around. I really love these new concepts, so am very much looking forward to bringing them into the world.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Line Between: A Novel by [Lee, Tosca]

When Wynter Roth finally escapes from New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play: that the prophet they once idolized has been toying with the fate of mankind, and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter, herself.

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The Line Between

The Line Between: A Novel by [Lee, Tosca]

Wynter Roth has lived in an apocalyptic religious cult since she was 7. At age 22, Wynter manages to escape from the cult only to realize that the thing that she was afraid of all her life, the end of the world, is actually happening. A fatal disease, which makes people go crazy is spreading all over the world. Wynter embarks on a mission to save the world and help her niece escape from the cult.

The Line Between by Tosca Lee is a captivating apocalyptic thriller that held my attention from page one. The chapters alternate between the past and the present adding an extra layer of tension in a novel where the suspense is already high. There are plenty of questions that need answers and I was pleasantly surprised that answers came at a steady and pleasing rate that always satisfied me as the next question intrigued me.

The novel follows the life of Wynter Roth, a young 22 years old woman who just left a doomsday cult. Her character is relatable and I found myself empathizing with her as we learn how she fell prey to an evil preacher. As I learned more about her life through the many flashbacks I realized how much she changes. From an innocent and broken girl she turns into a brave and purposeful woman who is not afraid of anything. I liked that the change could be seen and could also be believed. The character building in this book is something I really enjoyed.

The cult leader Magnus Theisen is the protagonist of the story. He manipulates his followers and destroys other people’s lives, all to reach his own goal. He is a cruel man who even wants to use the disease for his benefit. His character is provocative but I felt he was not explored enough. I thought he was compelling and I wanted to learn more about him, maybe by telling a bit of the story from his perspective.

While the main characters are all alluring and thoughtfully developed, I thought that there were too many minor characters in the novel. Sometimes I found it difficult to follow who was who.

The Line Between is an engrossing story filled with action, religion, romance, and survival all at once. If you like layered apocalyptic stories, then this is for you.

Pages: 384 | ASIN:  B07GNTVY6L

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