What Lurks Under The World Beneath?

The World Beneath (Medium)My latest novel, The World Beneath, came out just a few days ago. It’s a brand new series, and I’ve been getting some questions about how and why I came up with it, so: here you go!

The novel follows Joe Tesla into the tunnels under New York City, since he lives in a Victorian house buried deep underneath Grand Central Station. I started writing it not long after I moved to Berlin a year and a half ago, and for months all I had was the first line “Subway tunnels breathe.”

Every time I rode the subway around Berlin I wondered whose story was hidden in that first line, and over time Joe Tesla appeared.  At first, I wrote his story in between stops, thumbing it into my iPhone. I quickly realized that he lived down there full time. Unlike me, he wasn’t passing through. His world was in the in-between spaces that we all ride through without thinking about.

Why was he there? Was he homeless? The more I learned about him, the more I realized that he was just the opposite. He wasn’t in the tunnels because he had nowhere else to go, he was in the tunnels because he couldn’t leave them. If he could overcome that, nowhere in the world would be denied to him. But he can’t.

I’ve visited New York City many times and was always fascinated by the beauty of Grand Central Station with its iconic clock. When I learned that the pillar inside the information booth has a door that leads to a secret room, I knew that it must lead to an elevator that would spirit Joe down to his house.

Joe stayed in the back of my mind while I wrote Innocent Blood with James Rollins, adding a scene or two to Joe’s story while I chased vampires around the world. James, being a former veterinarian who just got a pair of puppies, suggested that Joe have a dog and thus he acquired Edison, Joe’s best friend and his psychiatric service dog. A dog who looked similar to one I saw riding the Berlin subway with his owner.

I found Edison in that train car because I wrote big parts of this book while sitting on a subway seat, watching who got on and off, missing stops because I was too immersed in my story to notice.

The Berlin subway is a great place to writ e a book, because of the ring line that  circles the city center. This means that I can board, find a seat, and ride around for hours without ever having to leave the car. Also, there’s no Internet, so I can write in a focused cocoon without any e-distractions. Every time I’m stuck, I pack up my laptop and walk to the subway, ready to ride around until Joe’s next adventure is revealed to me.

20 Responses to “What Lurks Under The World Beneath?” Subscribe

  1. Kathleen November 29, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    I found it fascinating and really loved the book. Was there a Presidential train car? I hope we will not have to wait long for the next book.

  2. Cherei McCarter November 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    lmao! I did not realize that you wrote this while riding around in circles on the subway!! omg.. Talk about immersing yourself in the story! :)

  3. Rebecca Cantrell November 30, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    Hey, I’m a method writer. :)

  4. Barbara November 30, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    I’m always creeped out a bit by subways, no matter the city or country, so I’m looking forward to this. Sounds like a great read!

  5. rifka reichler December 27, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    Since the cover says ‘A Joe Tesla” novel will there be other novels about him ?

    • Rebecca Cantrell December 27, 2013 at 7:01 am #

      Yes! I’m hard at work on number two, and hope that Joe and Edison have many adventures ahead of them!

  6. Dasha Marshall December 27, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    I just finished the book (on Kindle). The first chapters had me leery, as it seemed to be going in one direction (and one I prefer not to read — medical thrillers), but then came Joe and Edison, and I found myself in a fast-paced thriller with characters I liked, details that seemed accurate, and believability. Joe’s limitations added a terrific twist, and the house… how cool is that?

    I look forward to the rest of the series. I hope you write fast.

    • Rebecca Cantrell December 27, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Thank you! I’m working hard on the next one! I expect I’ll have it out by next Christmas, at the very latest.

  7. Christian Hollyer December 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Is there a print version of this book coming out? I don’t like reading books on my phone or e readers, I prefer a real hard cover paper version. Just finished the latest sanguines book, it was a lot of fun, downloaded the short stories to my iphone to read next. Is there a new Hannah Vogel book coming soon? Hope so. Thanks for the books.

    • Rebecca Cantrell December 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      Yes, there is a paperback version of The World Beneath coming out by the end of January. As for Hannah, I’m working on the next one, and hope that it will appear in 2015.

      • Christian Hollyer March 14, 2014 at 5:16 am #

        Finished the paperback couple weeks ago. Great story, I really enjoyed the book and was very happy to get the hard copy. Keep up the great work. Look forward to reading you next novels in all of your series.

  8. Deidra Tucker December 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Loved this book- I devoured it in less than two days. Had all of my favorite mystery novel elements- bio-research, government intrigue, a secret underground world. Keep the Joe Tesla novels coming!

  9. Ann January 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    I just finished “The World Beneath”. I really enjoyed it. I’m disappointed there isn’t another, yet. I look forward to number two!

  10. Ginger January 9, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    Just finished your book! I couldn’t put it down! It definitely left me wanting more of Joe and faithful Edison! I have to admit it was hard to follow the colors at first but now I think of them every time a number comes up! I loved your collaboration with the Blood Gospels! Another series I could not put down! I have not read your Hannah series yet, so you can bet that’s what I will be reading until Joe & Edison’s next book! Thank you for the great read!

  11. Patti Joyner Richman February 9, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Sounds like all of the others, but having enjoyed
    The Hannah Vogel series, I also devoured this new
    Adventure and woke up during the night
    To read ! Just finished and am anxious to see
    The next book! Thank you so much for these
    Wonderful novels!
    Patt Joyner Richman

    San Francisco

  12. Georigana July 21, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Just finished -The World Beneath, 5 Stars, Two Thumbs up!! Can’t wait until the next novel comes out!! Oh, and this would make a killer movie!! You should look into it!!

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