Tosca Lee’s writing has transported readers throughout time and to many different places.
From the dusty roads near Jerusalem to the back woods of Maine, Lee has taken fans on journeys that critics have described as intriguing, vivid and entertaining.
Now, Lee’s best-selling book, “The Progeny,” is being adapted for a TV drama developed by the CW Television Network. The network, launched in 2006-2007, is a joint venture between CBS and Time Warner’s Warner Brothers.
Lee, who lives in rural Fremont, is a New York Times Bestselling author. Her books — popular in the Christian market — have included novels centered on the lives of Judas Iscariot, the Queen of Sheba and Eve.
She would make the transition from Biblical fiction to modern-day thrillers and “The Progeny,” which came out in 2016.
The first in a two-book series, “Progeny” introduces readers to Emily Porter, a woman with amnesia who discovers she is the descendant of history’s greatest murderess, Elizabeth Bathory.
This story is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between Bathory’s descendants and a secret society dedicated to eradicating every one of them.
Porter will learn she’s being hunted for the sins of a royal ancestor who died centuries before she was born.
Chris Roberts is adapting Lee’s book for television and writing the script for the pilot episode. Previously, Roberts wrote episodes of “Orphan Black” for BBC America and served as supervising producer on Netflix’s “Frontier.”
Edward Burns, who co-starred in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” in 1996, will be executive producer on “The Progeny” show alongside several producing partners, released information states.
Hopefully in the next year, TV viewers will be able to see the show, Lee said, adding that it’s been exciting to have her books in development for television.
“I was fortunate to be able to attend several of the series’ pitch sessions in Los Angeles late July — including the one at the CW network, where it sold,” Lee said. “The entire process has been super interesting and the books are so lucky to have such a talented show runner/writer and producers behind it.”
Perhaps the most difficult part, Lee said, has involved not being able to talk about what’s going on — for such a long time.
“I feel like I spend half my time sitting on news I cannot share,” Lee said. “Meanwhile, I am grateful every day to get to write novels and entertain readers for a living, and very humbled to have such loyal and incredible fans.”
Lee’s fan base began building years ago and her interest in writing developed when she was a child. She was a third-grader when her story about a bulldog was published in a newsletter.
After college, Lee took a job writing for Smart Computing magazine. She would write novels, but getting one published wasn’t easy.
“I systematically got rejected by pretty much every Christian publisher in the market for six years,” she said.
Lee eventually sold a three-book deal and her novels would start winning awards and recognition. Her solo novels, like one about Judas, would become best-sellers in the Christian market.
In the meantime, she would be asked to write with internationally known author Ted Dekker for “The Books of Mortals” trilogy: “Forbidden,” “Mortal” and “Sovereign.”
The first two books with Dekker hit the New York Times Best-Sellers List.
Lee would write “The Progeny” over the course of three months.
While the story told in “The Progeny” is fiction, many elements are drawn from historical fact.
To accurately portray elements of her novel, Lee and her mother traveled to Croatia, Hungary, Bratislava, Vienna and Italy.
“All of those locations come into play in the next book, too,” she told the Tribune in a previous story.
In the sequel, called “Firstborn,” the main character is intent on killing a nemesis called the “Historian” and ending the war between the Progeny and the Scions. At the same time, she’s running from the law and struggling to control her growing powers.
Lee’s latest thriller, “The Line Between,” is set for release on Jan. 29 and is available for preorder.
This novel, a pandemic thriller, is the first of Lee’s books to take place in the Midwest — Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado.
The book tells about a young woman, Wynter Roth, who’s come out of an apocalyptic cult just in time for a pandemic to hit the United States. Roth believes this is the end she was always told about.
Lee has written a sequel, called “A Single Light,” which takes place almost entirely in western Nebraska, near Sidney and North Platte. This book is set to come out in September 2019.
Like “The Progeny” and “Firstborn,” both of Lee’s latest novels are published by Howard/Simon & Schuster and written upstairs in the farmhouse where she lives with her husband, Bryan Ritthaler. They married in 2016, when Lee became a wife and mother of four stepchildren.
“The kids have been so important to me, reminding me that writing is what I do, but it’s not who I am — and to have fun,” Lee previously told the Tribune.
As a writer of thrillers, Lee has learned to keep the rapid-paced, roller coaster ride going for readers.
Lee said she loves writing thrillers and likes to see how late she can keep readers up at night.
“We read fiction to escape or go on an adventure,” she said. “The fun part about thrillers for me is that they’re so high tension that they keeps the reader turning pages really fast … I think a really thrilling, fast-paced adventure is always a lot of fun.”