The inspiration for All Things Rise came about a few years ago when talk of the one percent was everywhere. I was walking through a busy New York City neighborhood when the idea for this book hit me. I was struck by the urban bustle around me. The entire city felt like a monument to consumerism. And while I love my time in NYC, it is a huge contrast to where I live in rural California. Cows and organic farms surround me there.
I also imagined how much money someone needed to live well in Manhattan compared to where I grew up in the Deep South. As I walked down the congested sidewalk I tried to visualize what the world would look like if the one percent stayed on course and economic inequity kept expanding, where would we end up? What would that world look like?
For All Things Rise I imagined one possible trajectory: a future where the one percent (ultra rich) separate from the Earth and live high in the sky, insulated from those less wealthy who remain on the ground. Coastal cities lose to the seas and the populations of the Earth suffer famine and large population die-offs due to contaminated water and disease. Oil has also peaked. In the future I envisioned, the electrical grid and oil powered industry and machines are gone for those on the ground. Sounds like an uplifting tale, right? Well, it actually is, because none of this upheaval takes place in All Things Rise. (Although, thanks to a suggestion from one reader – you know who you are – I’m thinking this would be a fun book to write.) All Things Rise takes place 150 years after this new reality has settled. In a time when those who live above the Earth and those who live on the ground have no contact with each other and haven’t for some time.
I’m a little worried this book will get categorized as science fiction when there’s very little science in it. It’s really about relationships. For those of you who aren’t into science fiction or fantasy, I want to assure you that most of this book takes place on the ground, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia. For readers who do like a little sci-fi in their romance novels, I think you’ll be happy, too.
All Things Rise is about what happens when two people from these different worlds meet, and how everything changes for them. As is often the case in the real world, fundamental change happens in seemingly insignificant ways. Nations, states, and cities rarely deviate from their course collectively. Change comes through the individual, through one person loving another person enough to modify the course of their lives. Whether the issue is sexual identity, race or religion, only through authentic encounters do people really change their perceptions. Eventually, their actions layered upon the actions of others, alter the course of history. In All Things Rise two worlds previously separated begin to overlap, and a great love story unfolds.
I think the more personal thread in this story is based on my own experiences. As an adult who grew up in the rural Deep South, I often find myself interacting in business environments with people from mostly urban experiences. Unfortunately, I’ve confronted prejudices in these environments because of my accent or just my general Southern sensibility. Some of these experiences get thrust upon Cole in All Things Rise.
Well, I think I’ll wrap up and let you draw your own conclusions about the book. I hope Cole, Audrey and Ava resonate with readers. I enjoyed getting to know these characters. Now that the book is finished, I find that I miss them greatly.
Oh, and one last note, which I also included in the acknowledgements in this first novel. I’d like to send out a special thanks to the original Missouri Vaun, my great-grandmother. I want you to know I have your typewriter and I’m taking good care of it.
Read an excerpt: http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/9781626393462.html
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