Published by Tor Books on January 17, 2017
Genres: New Adult, adult, Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
From acclaimed thriller-suspense novelists Heather Graham and Jon Land comes a story of action, mystery, and the endurance of young love.
Twenty-four hours. That's all it takes for the lives of two young people to be changed forever.
Alex Chin has the world on a plate. A football hero and homecoming king with plenty of scholarship offers, his future looks bright. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is preparing to graduate high school at the top of her class. She plans to turn her NASA internship into a career. When a football accident lands Alex in the hospital, his world is turned upside down. His doctor is murdered. Then, his parents. Death seems to follow him wherever he goes, and now it's after him.
Alex flees. He tells Samantha not to follow, but she became involved the moment she walked through his door and found Mr. and Mrs. Chin as they lay dying in their home. She cannot abandon the young man she loves. The two race desperately to stay ahead of Alex's attackers long enough to figure out why they are hunting him in the first place. The answer lies with a secret buried deep in his past, a secret his parents died to protect. Alex always knew he was adopted, but he never knew the real reason his birth parents abandoned him. He never knew where he truly came from. Until now.
Today, I am super excited to have the authors of The Rising, Heather Graham and Jon Land here at Book Briefs. Co-authored books always fascinate me because I love seeing how different collaborations affect the writing, and I love seeing a behind the scenes into how they shared the writing responsibilities for the book. So today, Heather and Jon have been kind enough to each share 5 things they learned while writing The Rising. And they have also been kind enough to offer up three finished hardcover copies of The Rising for a giveaway. So check out there guest post and enter the great giveaway at the bottom of the post.
THE RISING , written by acclaimed thriller-suspense novelists Heather Graham and Jon Land is the pulse-pounding adventure of a young man and woman racing to save our world from a terrible fate. An addictive read, this action-packed and mysterious novel tells the story of the endurance of young love, and how quickly two lives can be changed forever.
THE RISING combines Graham’s talent for writing suspense and romance with Land’s heart-pounding action sequences, making it nearly impossible to put down!
Thank you for being here today Jon and Heather!
5 THINGS WE LEARNED IN WRITING THE RISING
1. CHARACTERS REALLY ARE THE STORY!
HEATHER: The book features Alex and Samantha, a pair of high school seniors, who couldn’t be more different but find themselves drawn together by the common purpose of saving the world. I think it’s something we often come across in life—not so much love at first sight, but incredible admiration—and then caring more and more deeply as you come to realize just how wonderful another person is. Life can be so superficial. I think that it was important to us that Sam and Alex come together in a far deeper way—and that what talents and assets each has work to help them both grow. I always love that the thought that when you’re in love, it’s the person who is the object of your love who often helps make you a better person yourself!
JON: I echo Heather’s comments entirely. I’d also add that this is really a hallmark of her work and what has made her a master of romantic suspense. Not too far into the book (spoiler alert!), Alex loses the two closest people he has in the world. So part of his growing attraction to Sam is that she’s all he has left, and she sticks with him against his own protestations to get herself out of harm’s way. That reveals so much about both their characters and, for me, the real treat is watching Sam’s attraction to Alex growing from a simple high school crush to something much deeper than that. So they’re drawn together, initially, by necessity but, ultimately, by the enormity of what they’re facing that’s bigger than both of them.
2. GENRE DOESN’T MEAN WHAT IT USED TO!
HEATHER: I think the lines between genres are so blurred these days, THE RISING being a prime example of that. If the reader is emotionally vested in the characters, and those characters are in some kind of peril, then by nature that’s a thriller, however else you choose to classify it. I just don’t like splitting hairs between so-called genres, because everybody’s got their own definition of what separates one from another.
JON: It’s a true mix of genres, so much a hybrid I don’t even know how to classify it. Whereas all my other books are clearly pure thrillers, THE RISING has elements of sci-fi, young adult, romance, mystery—you name it. But I do think the “Thriller” category in general acts as a kind of umbrella for all of those, because it’s so big and broad. And at its heart, THE RISING is a really ambitious thriller. You can add, romance, you can add young adult, you can add science fiction, but ultimately this is a story about two heroes racing against time to save the world. So, structurally, it fits squarely into the classic thriller form, which is something both Heather and I pride ourselves on.
3. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT IN SCIENCE TO WRITE SCIENCE FICTION!
JON: Okay, confession time: I haven’t read a whole lot of sci-fi, though I have read some Bradbury and Heinlein. So I can’t honestly say those giants necessarily affected us as much as, say, the influence of David Morrell, Robert Ludlum, and Clive Cussler is all over my thrillers. I think writers like Bradbury and Heinlein were writing great stories that happened to be sci-fi. And they were also expert at using their work as metaphors for a lot of societal issues of their time in a comparable sense to someone like, say, Jack Finney in his classic Invasions of the Body Snatchers. Science fiction proved a great way to explore the themes that Heather and I wanted to. But I think having only the most rudimentary of scientific knowledge helped us in the sense it helped us include only the information the story needs to move it forward. Not so much that the reader gets overwhelmed with stuff he or she isn’t going to necessarily understand anyway.
HEATHER: There are often fine lines between horror, thriller, sci-fi, and much more. I spent my life as a huge fan of Richard Matheson and his work covered everything from straight drama to horror to sci-fi—a major example, of that, of course, being “I am Legend.” Also, Asimov—I was terrified as a child by the first story of his I read in a Reader’s Digest Treasure for Young Readers book! LOL. Really—did mummies come from alien technology? In all of these stories, though, the constant was that men and women were getting through life with very human emotion and behavior. There’s the old saying—no one can change other actions, they can only control their re-actions. That’s the core in our story—and we like to believe that Alex and Sam will be human, but the kind of humans who will rise not just to save themselves, but come to realize that what is happening doesn’t just touch their lives, but the world around them.
4. SOMETIMES TWO HEADS REALLY ARE BETTER THAN ONE!
JON: I can’t begin to tell you how much better this book is than if I had written it alone!! Here’s an example: Being a hardcore thriller writer, I had originally proposed that Samantha, who loves science and dreams of working at NASA, has parents who are vehemently anti-science. So to pursue her dream she has to sneak around and keep things from them. Fine for a hardcore thriller but Heather suggested a lighter touch by making Sam’s parents marijuana farmers who grow weed for dispensaries. And I can’t tell you how much better that worked and. Our strengths complimented one another’s perfectly and I don’t now what this book would’ve looked like absent the subtle, romantic touches Heather produced that fleshed out the fledgling relationship between Sam and Alex. I told her right from the beginning anything pertaining to romance was all hers!
HEATHER: Since I’d never collaborated on something this big before, it was a godsend learning how to let go and trust Jon when it sometimes came down to final checks and proofs. He’s actually way better than I am most of the time! Because we are usually working alone, we expect that we’ll always have a last look. Sometimes, it was super nice to think, wow, I don’t have to worry—I know that Jon has that, my back, our backs! And I told him right from the beginning that the scientific stuff and action scenes were all his!
5. PUBLISHING REALLY IS A TEAM EFFORT!
JON: Tor Books had partnered with NASA on a series of science-themed books aimed at educating kids on what NASA is all about and stimulate their interest in science. Our publisher, Tom Doherty, knew about our desire to work together and took us to lunch when we were both in New York, because he believed NASA presented the perfect opportunity for us to finally do that. The three of us mapped out an incredible amount of the book at the same lunch where the idea, the entire notion of us working together was conceived. The development process continued based on a back-and-forth between us. Talking out what was going to happen to the characters, along with where and when
HEATHER: And don’t forget Bob Gleason, our editor at Tor, who managed to set up these great trips to the Goddard Space Center for us. Amazing! I don’t think I would’ve had any interest in writing a book like The Rising if I hadn’t been so inspired by meeting and listening to the scientists down there.
JON: I actually couldn’t make those trips and feel I really missed out on something. Then we decided to set the book out West, closer to NASA’s Ames Center for Astrobiology, and both of us can’t wait to get out there someday. I’m still awe struck by the support we had from Tor right from the get-go. The confidence the company showed in a pair of writers who’d never written anything like THE RISING before. They went way out on a limb with us and that’s something you don’t see in publishing very often anymore.
“…this genre-blender has elements of a suspense thriller, but, at its core, the novel is 1950s-style science fiction…this is a treat for fans of retro genre mash-ups.”—Booklist
“…ambitious, technology-centered SF thriller…”—Publishers Weekly
“A mind-blowing, thrill-a-minute ride.” —Tess Gerritsen
“The authors of The Rising write in a manner comparable to James Patterson. The chapters are very short, making it easy to keep reading and hard to put down. I love James Patterson books, and I found this to be equally entertaining.”—Manhattan Book Review
“Human relationships are at the core of this juggernaut…Somewhere in the heavens, Rod Serling is looking down and applauding Heather Graham and Jon Land.”—Suspense Magazine
Check out the book trailer here, which was featured in USA TODAY.
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HEATHER GRAHAM is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare. She has been honored with awards from Walden Books, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, RT Book Reviews, and more. Visit her online at theoriginalheathergraham.com.
JON LAND is the USA Today bestselling author of thirty-eight novels, including the bestselling series featuring female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. He is also the co-author of the nonfiction bestseller Betrayal. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island and can be found on the web at jonlandbooks.com.