If there is one thing I like about being an indie author, it is having the freedom to dance to my own drum. Last spring, I faced a choice — start a third time-travel series or create a family saga I have wanted to write for years. Had I been bound by the rules of traditional publishing, I would have had to pick one or the other. Because I was not, I was able to do both. I was able to produce a work that takes readers down a different and compelling new road.
River Rising. Like the novels of the Northwest Passage and American Journey series, it follows contemporary time travelers to America’s past. Unlike The Mine and September Sky, it launches a series where my protagonists — two Arizona professors and their five grown children — march through time together. It begins a family saga that I hope readers will enjoy and embrace.
On December 1, 2017, Adam Carson, 27, is an engineer trying to hold a family together following the unsolved disappearance of his parents from a Sedona trail. Thrust into an uncomfortable role when he is still recovering from another loss, he inadvertently learns that his conventional parents aren’t so conventional after all. They are time travelers who, unbeknownst to family, friends, and authorities, have traveled to — and become stuck in — the 1880s.
Armed with the information he needs to find them, Adam convinces his younger siblings to join him on a rescue mission to the nineteenth century. While Greg, the adventurous middle brother, follows leads in Arizona and California, Adam, ambitious journalist Natalie, and high school seniors Cody and Caitlin do the same in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Like the residents of the bustling steel community, all are unaware of a flood that will destroy the city on May 31, 1889.
In River Rising, readers will see America in the heady, reckless days of the Gilded Age, when coal was king, robber barons ruled the roost, and railroads stretched from the industrial East to the untamed West. They will see five young adults adapt to challenges, find friendship and love, and grow in ways that surprise even themselves.
The 139,000-word novel, the first in the Carson Chronicles series, is my largest and most ambitious project to date. Inspired by the works of John Jakes, author of the celebrated North and South trilogy, it lays the foundation of a multi-genre series that will span nearly a hundred years and take readers across the United States and beyond.
Filled with history, fantasy, adventure, and romance, River Rising is a poignant, sometimes humorous, portrait of a family, a country, and a time. The novel, available as a Kindle book on Amazon.com and its twelve international sites, goes on sale today.