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Featured Interviews

Most Read Interviews

All TopShelf Interviews

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1. You’ve had some exciting things happen since Top Shelf interviewed you just four months ago in September last year. Tell us the news! 

Yes! The CW network bought The Progeny! CBS is producing. It’s been super exciting to watch the process unfold, and to watch our showrunner/writer go from writing the summary, to the longer outline of the pilot, to the pilot script itself. Crazy how fast he’s able to turn everything around, and with so many people talking in his ear at once. It’s been so fun and educational, too. I’ve never seen this process unfold, and I’ve learned so much.

 

2. Your 10th novel, The Line Between, has just released from Simon & Schuster (congratulations!). Tell us about the story.

The Line Between is the story of Wynter Roth, a 22 year-old woman who’s been turned out of 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. For Wynter, it seems like the apocalypse she’s been taught to fear all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples and Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play.

It’s a novel of action, conspiracy, a touch of romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe. 

 

2. A cult escapee’s journey back to the outer world and a pandemic story seem like they would never work together, and yet they strangely do! How in the world did you end up with such a combination?

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 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.

 

3. Early reviewers—including NYT bestseller Jonathan Maberry and many more on Goodreads—have called the book frighteningly realistic. Why is that?

The book was inspired by actual headlines about diseases, bacteria, and microbes—even “zombie worms”—lying dormant in permafrost that is melting around the world today.  Scientists are concerned about what it might mean for these organisms to re-enter the world. Just three years ago, a reindeer carcass infected with anthrax thawed from the Siberian permafrost, infecting a nearby village and killing a little boy. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has already published reports of attempted cyberattacks on the electrical grid. That part isn’t fiction. Ted Koppel wrote a compelling and frightening book called Lights Out about the catastrophic consequences to our nation, should the grid ever succumb for more than a few days. Readers call the story frightening because these things are happening now, on some level, already. And it is scary.

 

4. Deadline Hollywood just ran a story on The Line Between—can you tell us about it?

Yes! Radar Pictures (Jumanji) and Ed Burns’ Marlboro Road Gang Productions (the same team as The Progeny) are developing it for TV. (Yay!!) 

 

5. What are you doing to celebrate the release of The Line Between?

Edits on the sequel. LOL

I did just finish a few pre-release stops in my home state at two independent bookstores (The Bookworm in Omaha, Nebraska, and Francie & Finch in Lincoln), at Nebraska Public Radio to record for the All About Books podcast, and a signing at my local Barnes & Noble—all with my author friends Nicole Baart and Kimberly Stuart. I love these ladies. We had far too much fun.

I’ll be at the famous Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale February 21 and plan a few more stops yet to be announced. And then it’ll be time to gear up for the release of the sequel!

 

6. Tell us a little about the sequel, A Single Light.

A Single Light starts up right where The Line Between ends. It’s hard to say much more than that without giving away spoilers, but I will tell you that A Single Light has a new character who is one of my favorite—if not the new favorite—characters I’ve ever written. It comes out September 17, and will be up for pre-order in February!

 

7. What’s next for Tosca Lee?

I’ve just turned in a concept to my agent for a new thriller. I’m very excited, and hope I get to tell you about it very soon. Until then, I’m cheering on the TV production teams and celebrating their successes as they move forward, and just savoring some time with readers. Because that’s what writing these books is about—readers, and our shared love of story. And that’s what story is for—connecting with others.