38-year-old bestselling Charlotte author has published his first solo novel

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With the release of his sixth novel, Nemesis, Charlottean Brendan Reichs is feeling much like an expectant father.

Nerves, excitement and quiet freak outs are at their peak for this week’s Nemesis release and the subsequent six-day, six-city book tour.

While this isn’t Brendan’s first book (he co-wrote The New York Times best-selling series Virals with his mother Dr. Kathy Reichs), Nemesis is his first solo project, which is apparently ushering in a special kind of nerves.

nemesis-book-cover

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

What’s the book about?

Nemesis is a YA thriller set in a pre-apocalyptic world, with two main characters who are repeatedly (yes, repeatedly) murdered and who, through the quest to solve the mystery of their predicament, uncover a government conspiracy even more nefarious than their own murders. Based on early reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, I expect Nemesis will catapult onto the best-seller lists quickly.

Where’s he going?

Brendan, age 38, kicked off the Nemesis and Friends book tour on Tuesday in Charlotte with local school visits and a book talk and signing with author Renee Ahdieh. At each city stop on the tour, he’ll welcome an impressive lineup of friends to join him, including Veronica Roth, James Dashner, Victoria Aveyard, Danielle Paige and Ryan Graudin.

I had the opportunity to chat with the Charlotte born and bred author — he went to South Meck High — about his experience writing Nemesis, the possibility of a screen adaptation, and his thoughts on setting one of his future book projects in Charlotte.

It’s clear that Brendan holds a deep affinity for Charlotte and his creative success is a boon for our city.

Nemesis is garnering high praise. How are you feeling this week?

I’m feeling energized while quietly freaking about last minute details. The usual pre-release jitters, although this time it’s 10 times worse.

Worse because it’s your solo debut?

Yes, plus I’ve been working on this project for over two years. I’ve poured a lot of time and energy into crafting the world of Nemesis, so I’m a little on edge about finally sending it out into the world. But in a good way!

The first book in the Virals series was published in 2010. How would you describe these last seven years? You’ve basically published a book a year, which is astounding.

It’s hard to believe, honestly. Sometimes I feel like an old hack, while at others times I feel like I’m just starting out. Honestly, both are true. I’ve been under contract for a book every year since 2009, so the past has been frenetic. But this is the best kind of busy, and Nemesis is the culmination of everything I’ve done that came before.

Can you comment on the news last year about Nemesis stirring up the rights market? Any chance of a screen adaptation?

We are working on that as we speak! I can’t really comment at this point, but hopefully soon after the release date I’ll have news to announce on that front. We are working hard to bring Nemesis to the big screen. Stay tuned…

Charlotte’s not known as a mecca for fiction writers. What keeps you here?

I’ve always loved this city. I was born here, but when I left for Wake in 1996, I didn’t ever really expect to be back. I lived in D.C. for six years, and during that time Charlotte bloomed behind my back. Moving back home was an easy decision. We’re a vibrant, young, exciting city, with a lot of good writers lurking about, I might add.

How have you seen Charlotte change since your younger days here?

Charlotte has grown exponentially, with world class venues for sport and the arts, a vibrant uptown, and a great eating and local brewery scene. When I was a kid at work with my dad on a Saturday, I used to play soccer in the street right at Trade and Tryon, because no one came down there on the weekend. Try that now!

Have you considered writing a novel set in Charlotte?

Charlotte is a bit of pickle to use as a setting because everything is so new, and typically books gravitate to the old and historical, like Charleston. But I’d love to set something in my hometown, mainly because I know it so well. There’s a hidden Charlotte that would be perfect for a thriller.

What hidden Charlotte are you referring to?

There are beautiful places like Wing Haven and Freedom Park, as well as sly, quiet corners in NoDa and other Uptown neighborhoods. The wider world might not know much about Charlotte, but there’s a lot to do, and plenty of places to get in trouble.

Have you filled out a bracket? Who’s in your Final Four?

Wake.

You picked Wake to win the whole thing?

I did.

You can also read more about Brendan in our How I Work series. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanReichs

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