by Toni Sandoval
We are so excited to be reviewing Christopher Rice’s brand new supernatural thriller The Heavens Rise. We were also thrilled to be able to interview Christopher. This seemed like such a perfect fit for the Halloween season! You can also check out the book trailer for The Heavens Rise, and there is info on some of Christopher’s California booksignings! Details on how to enter to win a copy of Heavens Rise at the end of this post.
The Heavens Rise By Christopher Rice
New York Times bestselling author, Christopher Rice, chillingly casts a shadow over the Louisiana Bayou, where an ancient and mysterious power has risen and attached itself to the lives of four teenagers, in his supernatural thriller debut, The Heavens Rise.
Eight years after the exposure to an ancient parasite that triggered mysterious powers within her and the unsolved disappearance of her family, Niquette Delongpree is forced to come out of the shadows and return to the home she abandoned, as an evil presence has awakened and threatens the lives of the loved ones she left behind. New Orleans becomes a dark, unsettling place as Marshall, and a young man who was exposed to the same mysterious power as Niquette, has awakened from his comatose state and has one thing on his mind: revenge. In order to protect the lives of Ben, her childhood best friend and Anthem, the boyfriend she left scared when she vanished, Niquette has no choice but use the same darkness that threatens the very existence of humanity in order to save it.
With his unique and fresh story, Christopher Rice brilliantly masters his approach to the supernatural genre. Using a panoramic approach through the voice of multiple characters at two different time periods, he has conveyed a well, all-around narration. He has certainly accomplished a dark, eerie tone that almost makes you want to put down the book in chills, but the propelling story and depth of his characters makes it impossible to do so.
Though it is rooted along a story of darkness, with multiple religious and controversy undertones, The Heavens Rise cannot be kept in the shadows.
Check out this book trailer for The Heavens Rise:
Use this link to purchase The Heavens Rise and a portion goes to help support KRL:
Interview With Christopher Rice:
KRL: What was it like transitioning from your earlier writing, to writing a horror/supernatural thriller?
CHRIS: Challenging. Frightening! I can’t stand supernatural works where the mythology seems inconsistent or incoherent, where it seems like the writer’s just pulling stuff out of their hat for visceral effect. And so the creation of a supernatural framework that had its own internal logic was a completely new challenge for me. But there was also a wonderful sense of returning to the type of material that so inspired me to write when I was younger, the worlds of writers like Stephen King and Robert MacCammon.
KRL: Was your mother an influence in making that switch at all?
CHRIS: To be honest, so many people discouraged me from writing supernatural for just that reason. Their line of thinking was, “If you think the comparisons were bad before, just you wait until you go to the dark side!” But our writing styles are very different– period. I write more like Stephen King than Anne Rice, to be frank. My style is gritty and contemporary. Hers is sweeping and historical as it wrestles with grand spiritual questions. The Heavens Rise is ultimately a book about determined humans teaming up to beat back a terrible supernatural evil.
KRL: When did you first begin writing?
CHRIS: I began writing with real passion as soon as I started to give up on my dreams of being an actor, which happened when I was a freshman at Brown University. My plan was to take the theater department there by storm; the theater department had other plans apparently. I didn’t get called back for a single audition. They always say, “If you can do anything other than acting and be happy doing it, then pick that as a profession.” So I did. And it was writing.
KRL: Did you mother’s writing influence your choice of career?
CHRIS: In the beginning, I planned to focus exclusively on plays and screenplays and I never thought I would write a novel. I shocked myself when I did.
KRL: When was your first book published?
CHRIS: A Density of Souls was published in 2000. I recently brought out an e-book edition with a new afterword that describes the dizzying publication process and how it changed my life.
KRL: Was it difficult to get published in the beginning?
CHRIS: Oh, gosh. No. Not with my last name! Maybe if I had kept it a secret–I don’t know. I’ve always been very upfront about that side of my career. I can’t say for certain that my first novel would have been published the way it was and when it was if I hadn’t been Anne Rice’s son.
KRL: What type of research did you have to do for The Heavens Rise?
CHRIS: I contacted a river boat pilot and he offered to take me out on a ship. It’s a fascinating world. The pilots are based in New Orleans and they go on call for several days at a time. They travel out to ships and pilot them through a certain stretch of the Mississippi, which can be a very treacherous river in places. Some of the current can literally turn a giant container ship around mid-stream if you’re not careful, and there’s dense population on both banks. We went out before dawn and I traveled with him from Destrehan down to New Orleans, which is about a 30 minute drive and a three to four hour trip on the river. The most frightening part was getting off the ship. A crew boat pulled up alongside this giant hulking beast and we had to go down a swaying metal rope ladder. Meanwhile both boats are still moving and if we fall in the water, we’re instant propeller food.
KRL: Can you tell us a little about the plot and main characters?
CHRIS: It’s about mind control. More specifically, it’s about a mysterious parasite that comes bubbling to the surface of an artesian well-fed swimming pool in the Louisiana swamp. If you’re exposed to this parasite, it takes up residence in your brain and gives you the ability to literally metabolize parts of other people’s souls. A byproduct of that process is that you can control their actions while this conduit is open. And of course, there’s a terrible price if you use the power irresponsibly. But I don’t want to give that part away. Two people are exposed to this parasite as teenagers, a beautiful young woman named Nikki Delongpre, and the handsome psychopath she’s snuck out to her family’s property to get back at her boyfriend with–Marshall Ferriot.
KRL: Where did you get the idea for this book?
CHRIS: I decided I wanted to write another book set in New Orleans, but I had no idea at the outset that it was going to be a supernatural thriller. I just knew I wanted to re-visit the city and as I started to outline this one character, Nikki Delongpre, I just had a gut level sense that there was something mysterious and different about her. Eventually, I realized she had a supernatural gift.
KRL: Can you see yourself writing more books in this genre?
CHRIS: Absolutely. I feel like this has been a great return to the type of novel that inspired me so much when I was young. I’m one third of the way through another supernatural thriller set in Louisiana.
KRL: Any fun or odd book-signing experiences to share?
CHRIS: A sixteen year old kid asked me to sign his stomach once. I started to do so, on auto-pilot before I realized how young he was. I lay awake that night in my hotel room waiting for his father to come beating down the door.
KRL: Do you outline? Or do you use some other way to keep track of the story?
CHRIS: I outline up to a point. Often, I’ll outline as I go, only staying a step or two ahead of where I am in the actual manuscript.
KRL: Do you write on a schedule?
CHRIS: It depends on the type of writing I’m doing. For my Internet radio show, THE DINNER PARTY SHOW WITH CHRISTOPHER RICE & ERIC SHAW QUINN (www.thedinnerpartyshow.com) I write sketches on a very tight schedule, to be turned around in a few days. With a novel, I try to hit 1,000 to 1,500 words when I sit down to write. And I find if it doesn’t happen close to first thing in the morning, it sputters and fizzles.
KRL: Anything else you would like to share?
CHRIS: The best thing you can do these days to support your favorite author is to pre-order their book before it comes out. The changing nature of the new digital marketplace for books has placed an incredible amount of importance on those initial sales.
KRL: Is there anything your fans would be surprised to learn about you?
CHRIS: If they follow me on Facebook, there is probably very little they don’t know about me already. I’m doughnut obsessed, I just stopped watching Honey Boo Boo and I promote the heck out of THE DINNER PARTY SHOW WITH CHRISTOPHER RICE & ERIC SHAW QUINN, which is about to celebrate it’s one year anniversary.
*Combined events with Anne Rice denoted by a star.
*LOS ANGELES, CA
Saturday, November 2, 2:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
189 The Grove Drive
*SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Tuesday, November 5, 7:00 p.m.
601 Van Ness
To enter to win a copy of The Heavens Rise, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Heavens,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 2, 2013. U.S. residents only.