I’ve completed a new draft of my next novel, House of the Rising Sun, and sent it off to my agent. If you’re interested, read about the project below.

“Seth imagined all the minutes he’d lost sitting at traffic lights that were poorly-timed, or couldn’t detect the flow of traffic. He remembered the frustration of standing in long lines on election day, or being bumped from an overbooked flight to New Orleans, or being denied access to his bank account when the Web site was “down for maintenance.” At least three times a month he stood over the meat counter at The Fresh Market and examined cut after cut of perfect ribeye steaks, trying to discern a difference between them. As if any cut would taste better than another after he had cooked it to an exact internal temperature on his two-thousand-dollar infrared grill. Seth could see now, when it was too late, that what appeared to be a careless and chaotic society had in fact represented thousands of years of accumulated knowledge and organization that enabled millions of imperfect humans to live nearly on top of each other. His daily frustrations and disappointments with life had been misguided. He’d been spoiled by living in the most advanced civilization in human history.” –excerpt from House of the Rising Sun

One of the biggest risks modern humanity faces is the threat of electromagnetic pulse. An EMP is a sudden, powerful burst of electromagnetic energy, either natural or man-made, which carries the potential to destroy the delicate circuitry inside transistors and microchips. On a large enough scale, an EMP could wipe out a regional or even national electrical grid and possibly even neutralize many modern vehicles, which are difficult to start and run without their electronic controls.

In House of the Rising Sun, a supernova is responsible for the pulse, and the effects are immediate and dramatic. Planes fall from the sky, traffic grinds to a halt, and neighborhood grocery stores throughout the country and the world are depleted in hours. People with empty cupboards and pantries go immediately hungry.

THOMAS PHILLIPS, a newly-successful screenwriter, has just sold a film to Hollywood about an EMP, and the experience of writing the script frightened him into building a room filled with food and supplies. He also purchased a vintage 60s-era Mustang, and when the pulse happens, has just picked up actress SKYLAR STOVER from the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. His car continues to run while others around him fail, and the two of them just manage to get away as commercial airliners begin to crash near the airport. But even if the two of them can survive the aftermath of the pulse, do they really want to? What sort of life will they be left with if the power is never restored?

SETH BLACK, drowning in debt, has decided to take his own life in order to save his family from financial devastation. He’s in his own garage, engine running, when the pulse interrupts his plans. Seth and his wife, NATALIE, manage to buy groceries from a nearby store, but how long will they last? And will their suffering marriage survive the apocalypse?

AIDEN CHRISTOPHER, a burgeoning sociopath, finds new meaning in a post-Pulse world when the laws of society and civility go out the window. But how will he procure the supplies he needs to survive? He realizes a nearby Wal-Mart grocery distribution center might hold the answer, but he soon learns plenty of well-armed civilians have thought of the same idea. Will the first great, post-Pulse battle be fought there? Especially when PAIGE MILLER, a young woman with a gift for sharpshooting, has taken her sniper rifle to the roof of the warehouse?

In a world where modern convenience disappears without warning, and with no information or help coming, the culture quickly devolves into a tribal state. And so do individual relationships. How would you survive in such a world? And how does this fictional post-apocalyptic America reflect the state of our divided culture today?