Nemesis is a heart-pouding, enthralling read that will have you flying through the pages and rooting for characters Min and Noah. Here Brendan Reichs shares the inspiration behind the first book in his Project Nemesis series.
The creation of Nemesis has been a wild ride. The initial inspiration came to me, oddly enough, while I was watching an old 80s action movie, Highlander. I got this crazy idea that spiraled into other crazier ideas, and then they all kind of mashed together to form the story. Weirdly, the core of the original idea actually became the basis for the second book in the series, Genesis. I had a flash of insight about what I wanted to write, but then realized that a lot had to happen before I could get there. So I kind of came at the idea backwards, but was immensely pleased with how it all mapped out.
Nemesis is everything I love to write - a paranoid, shocking thriller that is (hopefully!) hard to predict. I’ve always loved conspiracy stories. I grew up on shows like the X-Files and Lost, so I wanted to recreate that feeling where everything is suspect, that things are happening around you that you can’t trust or explain, and where even the world you are inhabiting might not be what it seems. I knew I wanted to write something fast-paced, twisty, and deeply entrenched in a dark, multi-faceted conspiracy. So I ended up taking about three or four half-book ideas I’d been kicking around and forging them into one.
Nemesis has been a two-year labour of love (with a healthy dose of existential fear). As my solo debut, I wanted to come out swinging with an engaging thriller that would surprise readers. It just felt like the right time to write my own series. The basic idea for Nemesis had been percolating inside my head for a few years, and then suddenly the last pieces fell into place and the story needed to be written. It’s been wonderful to strike out on my own after co-authoring books with my mother, Kathy Reichs, but working with her taught me that books are made in revision. I had this mistaken belief that novels came out essentially fully formed, but I now understand that the editing process is crucial. This freed me to experiment and not be afraid to fail. Nemesis is the result of that professional growth.
In Nemesis, I wanted to experiment with the fundamental concept of the permanence of death. What would it feel like if that suddenly didn’t apply to you? How would you live your life? I wanted to explore the shock effect of a person dying many times, but having those deaths basically not count. But it’s not magical, supernatural, the afterlife, or anything like that. Min and Noah simply … reset, waking up in the woods a mile from their remote Idaho vacation town without a scratch on them. I think that, by the end of the story, everything folds in together in a way that the underlying theme of what it means to be alive really comes through. Of course, the readers will be the judge of that.
I also think that many of the themes in Nemesis resonate in today’s unstable political and media landscape, not the least being the current and pervasive atmosphere of paranoia and distrust. In Nemesis, Min and Noah are confronting a faceless, nameless, uncaring enemy with far more power than they possess, but they never stop fighting. I think we can all draw inspiration from that.
As I wrote Nemesis, I drew inspiration from the things I love to read, including a lot of speculative fiction - from Lord of the Flies to The Matrix. I was a huge reader as a teen. At an early age The Lord of the Rings was everything to me, especially in junior high. I ended up reading a lot of epic fantasy as a result, then sort of transitioned into science and tech thrillers by great authors like Crichton and Preston & Child. I think it’s that mix of story types that influences me today. I like fast-paced, edgy things that shock the system. I’ve always loved conspiracy books where the reader never knows what to expect next and the antagonists are as nuanced as the heroes. That’s what I try to do in Nemesis. I wanted to write something that I would love to read, and I wound up with this absurd little mind-bender. I hope everyone loves it as much as I loved crafting it.
See the full Project Nemesis series here.