Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: House of the Rising Sun by Richard Cox

Richard Cox

Genre: Techno Thriller / Science Fiction / Adventure
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Date of Publication: July 27, 2020
Number of Pages: 408 pages
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Both a frightening apocalyptic story set in the southern United States and a character-focused, deeply moving literary thriller.

What would happen if technology all over the world suddenly stopped working?

When a strange new star appears in the sky, human life instantly grinds to a halt. Across the world, anything and everything electronic stops working completely.

At first, the event seems like a bizarre miracle to Seth Black--it interrupts his suicide attempt and erases gambling debt that threatened to destroy his family. But when Seth and his wife, Natalie, realize the electricity isn't coming back on, that their food supplies won't last, they begin to wonder how they and their two sons will survive.

Meanwhile, screenwriter Thomas Phillips--an old friend of Natalie's--has just picked up Skylar Stover, star of his new movie, at the airport when his phone goes dead and planes begin to fall from the sky.

Thomas has just completed a script about a similar electromagnetic event that ended the world. Now, he's one of the few who recognizes what's happening and where it will lead.

When Thomas and Skylar decide to rescue Natalie and Seth, the unwilling group must attempt to survive together as the world falls apart. They try to hide in Thomas's home and avoid desperate neighbors, but fear they'll soon be roaming the streets with starving refugees and angry vigilantes intent on forming new governments. It's all they can do to hold on to each other and their humanity.

Yet all the while, unbeknownst to them, Aiden Christopher--a bitter and malignant man leveraging a crumbling society to live out his darkest, most amoral fantasies--is fighting to survive as well. And he's on a collision course with Thomas, Skylar, and the Black family...
Richard Cox was born in Odessa, Texas and now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His newest novel is House of the Rising Sun. Richard has also published The Boys of Summer, Thomas World, The God Particle, and Rift. He’s written for This Land Press, Oklahoma Magazine, and TheNervousBreakdown.com.

When he’s not writing or reading, Richard loves spending time with his wife and two girls. And hitting bombs.

He also wrote this bio in third person as if writing about someone else. George likes his chicken spicy!

by Richard Cox
Originally posted January 2019 to Medium.com

Since August I’ve been rewriting House of the Rising Sun, an effort undertaken after several months of tepid responses from publishing houses. You might think, when you’ve published four novels, it would be easy to sell your fifth…especially when the idea for the next one seems like such an obvious home run. But the thing you can’t ever forget, no matter how confident you are, is to ensure every scene and every page and in fact EVERY SINGLE WORD of your manuscript is the best possible product your mind can produce. Anything less is lazy and a recipe for failure.

When I first began to write this novel, I imagined an epic, post-apocalyptic tale of survival that would describe in detail all the ways modern civilization would be undermined if electric power and computer chips were fried by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). I knew I wouldn’t be the first author to tackle this subject, but after reading several novels built around the same concept, I was confident I would be the most talented author in the space. I imagined I would introduce an entirely new audience to this very real possibility and do it with a polished prose style, with nuanced attention to character and emotion the other novels were missing. But while it’s important to be confident in your work and your chances for success, being overconfident can blind you to weaknesses in your project. It can make it easy to forget that EVERY SINGLE WORD should be the best work you’re capable of producing.

To give you an example of what I mean, the first draft of House of the Rising Sun totaled just over 201,000 words. I considered this enormous figure a badge of honor because of the effort it had taken to produce such a lengthy novel over the course of year. Excruciating detail was important, I believed, because most readers would hardly realize the immediate impact of losing all their shiny gadgets, of suddenly finding no food at the local market. Even when early readers (like my wife) expressed concern about the tedious minutiae of walking 30 miles under the brutal sun, I didn’t listen. For some reason, I believed my epic battle to write the manuscript should become the reader’s epic battle to read it.

But the product you imagine when you begin sketching a new novel is almost never what emerges at the end of the process. And by now you think I would have learned this. Somewhere in all your preparation and research and hours of concentration lies a good story, at least in most cases, and your job as the author is to unearth that story, to cut it and shape it and polish it until three of the four C’s (cut, color, and clarity) reach the highest possible value. Only when those are satisfied does the fourth C, carat weight, enter the picture. There’s no point in writing a long, epic novel so dull and clouded with overwritten prose that readers can’t make their way to the end.

What I most enjoy about House of the Rising Sun is how the EMP interrupts and redirects the lives of my characters, whether those characters are happy or depressed or lost or determined or sociopathic. I discovered Station Eleven after I’d written a couple of drafts of my novel, and I was impressed with how Emily St. John Mandel managed to capture the way a flu pandemic shapes not only the exterior world, but the interior lives of her characters. Stephen King’s The Stand successfully mines similar territory and pairs it with the supernatural. House of the Rising Sun, in my view, falls somewhere between these two stories. It’s a horrifying and hyper-realistic story of the end of the world…with a sprinkle of Philip K Dick to keep the reader guessing about the true cause of the pulse. And it tackles modern gender issues against the backdrop of a world that becomes more like 1819 than 2019. In the words of one character: 
Women haven’t spent generations fighting for equality just to watch it all wink out of existence along with electricity.
(Want more? Continue reading on Medium.com.)
1st Winner: Signed copies of House of the Rising Sun and The Boys of Summer by Richard Cox
2nd Winner: Signed copy of House of the Rising Sun by Richard Cox
3rd Winner: eBook of House of the Rising Sun by Richard Cox
(US only)

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