Author Interview-Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee

About Tosca:

"Superior storytelling."
-Publishers Weekly

"One of the most gifted novelists writing today."
-Steven James, bestselling author 

THE LINE BETWEEN, Tosca's highly-anticipated new thriller, is out now! 

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of ten books, including the House of Bathory duology (THE PROGENY and FIRSTBORN—in development for TV at the CW network), ISCARIOT, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker. A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband. You can find Tosca at, on social media, or hanging around the snack table.  

Look for A SINGLE LIGHT, the follow-up to THE LINE BETWEEN, September 2019.

Marina Raydun: Your work is fearless—you wrote a first person novel about Judas! Where does the inspiration come from? Is there one topic you would never write about as an author? Why?

Tosca Lee: Ha! Well, don't think for a moment that there aren’t times when I’m completely terrified, because there are. Including most of the days that I’m on deadline.

The ideas are sometimes suggestions (in the case of Judas Iscariot and Elizabeth Bathory) and just curiosities on my part (in the case of Eve, and Lucian, the fallen angel in Demon).

There are definitely topics I wouldn’t want to touch—or, rather, minds I wouldn’t want to explore. Pedophiles. Hitler. There are just some places I don’t want to go. And that I know my readers, at least, don’t want to, either. 

Meanwhile, it was very interesting to explore the life of someone like Judas Iscariot. To imagine him as a child and, as an adult, as a product of his day. Strangely frightening and then revelatory to realize halfway through the book that I could see myself in him, or that in some aspects, I was writing my own story of seeking redemption and of my own agendas for God.

MR: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? 

TL: My very first one was to Tintagel, Wales, and all of the sites associated with King Arthur. (One of these days I’m going to write a story about that legend. It has been a life goal of mine for decades.) 

Probably my most meaningful one was to Israel, for Iscariot. My most recent one was to Hungary and Croatia to research the “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, and the Habsburg Empire, for The Progeny

MR: You hold a degree from Smith and you studied at Oxford. What is the first experience you had when you learned that language had power? 

TL: I think when I realized the emotional power that novels had over me. How I’d close the cover of a book and feel this intense longing to return to that world. It was almost a kind of pain, that wish that it was real, and that I could go back.

MR: Since so much of your work is deeply rooted in history, you must spend a lot of your time researching. Is that the most difficult part about your artistic process or is there something you find more challenging? 

TL: Research is definitely grueling. But probably the hardest part of my process is just outlining and writing that first draft. Before you do that, the concept of the story is shiny and perfect. When you start to write, it’s like pulling strings out from ten sweaters at once and trying to macramé them together. It’s a big mess. I have OCD. I don’t do well with messes. 

MR: How did publishing your first book change your writing process? 

TL: I think each part of the journey brings us a lesson to learn from. My first novel experienced a level of unexpected success. It was great. It was also very distracting and even daunting for me as I wrote my second novel. I kept thinking, “What if this one doesn’t measure up?” It’s the reason I so often advise aspiring writers to write their second—and third, and fourth—novels as they’re trying to publish their first.

MR: What’s the best and worst book review you’ve ever received?

TL: The best review is any review in which you can tell that the reader was deeply moved, very entertained, or just had to share their thoughts right then. Because that's what we read fiction for: to move and entertain us—whether it’s by scaring us, or making us cry, or laugh. We want to escape for a while. Sure, we might want to learn something along the way, but if that’s all we wanted, we’d all be reading nonfiction. So if the reader has felt transported, then I’m happy.  

The worst reviews are the vitriolic ones. The ones where a reader didn’t like the story, and they’re going to be nasty rather than constructive. I especially hate to see this happen to debut authors. Trust me, authors tear themselves down a thousand times an hour while they’re writing already. They don’t need more of that!

MR: If you could have drinks with any person, living or dead, who would it be? Why? 

TL: My mother’s mother. I never had the chance to meet her; she was killed before I was born.

And also Oprah. Because Oprah. 

MR: What is your favorite genre to read? 

TL: I really don’t have a favorite, though these days I read more suspense and thrillers because that’s what I’m writing. But I love historical fiction, and essays by authors like David Sedaris and Anne Lamott, suspense, romance, and fantasy and sci-fi.

MR: Is there a book that people might be surprised to learn you love?

TL: I dunno. My nickname growing up was “Weird Tosca,” so I’m not sure anything I do would surprise anyone. 

MR: What are you currently reading? 

TL: A World Lit Only By Fire by William Manchester.


More about A LINE BETWEEN:

In this frighteningly believable thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.

When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, 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.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness. 

Everything you want in a thriller.” 

—Alex Kava, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Breaking Creed 

“Beautifully written and deeply unnerving!

—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars

Be prepared to lose sleep.”  

—Brenda Novak, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Face Off 

The Line Between is in development for television! Learn more here:


 To learn more about Tosca Lee and her work, please visit