Tosca Lee

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Tosca Lee
Tosca Lee.jpg
Born (1969-12-01) December 1, 1969 (age 47)
Roanoke, Virginia, United States
Occupation Author
Nationality American

Tosca Lee (born December 1, 1969) is a bestselling American author of historical novels and supernatural thrillers. She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, prodigious research and vivid imagery.


Lee was born in Roanoke, Virginia, United States to a Korean father and Caucasian American mother. Her father, Professor Emeritus Sang Moon Lee,[1] who had early aspirations of an opera career, named Tosca for his favorite Puccini opera.

As a young classically trained ballerina and pianist Lee pursued an early career in dance until injuries derailed hopes of a successful career.

Lee received her BA from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in English language and literature. She also studied international economics at Oxford University. While at Smith, Lee wrote her first novel—a story of the Stonehenge people of Salisbury plain (unpublished).[2]

She began writing professionally in 1992 for Smart Computing Magazine, during which time she co-authored two computer books. In the 1990s, Lee held two pageant titles, Mrs. Nebraska America 1996[3] and Mrs. Nebraska United States 1998,[4] and placed first runner-up to Mrs. United States. During this time she wrote as a freelancer and penned the majority of her second novel (unpublished).

After setting the pageant world aside, she went to work in 2003 for the Gallup Organization as a senior consultant to Fortune 500 companies.


Lee penned the novel that would later become Demon: A Memoir around 2000. It sold in 2006 in a multi-book deal after nearly six years of rejection. Once published it immediately garnered critical acclaim, including a nomination for the Christy Award.

Lee wrote her next novel, Havah: The Story of Eve, while traveling internationally as a consultant for the Gallup Organization and in the process of her divorce. Havah garnered a starred review from Publishers Weekly,[5] 4.5 stars from Romantic Times,[6] and solidified Lee’s reputation for meticulous research and scriptural interpretation. The two books weren’t without controversy from conservative readers — Demon for its darkly spiritual subject matter and Havah for its sensuality in the portrayal of Eve’s relationship with Adam.

In 2010, Lee left her position with Gallup and signed to write the post-apocalyptic Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller, Ted Dekker. Forbidden, the first novel in the series, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list in September 2011, as did the second installment, Mortal, in June 2012. Sovereign, the conclusion to the series, released June 2013 and became a bestseller in the Christian market. Iscariot, Lee’s highly anticipated novel about Judas, the disciple and infamous betrayer of Christ, released February 2013 after three publisher changes, three years of research and writing, and a five-year lull after the release of her last solo novel, Havah. Iscariot became a bestseller in the Christian market[7] where it also garners starred reviews.[8] Iscariot received the 2014 Christian Book Award for Fiction[9] and was named a Best in Christian Fiction Title of 2013 by The Library Journal.[10]

Lee admits she openly struggled with the idea of writing the first person novel about Jesus’ betrayer—not for reason of the protagonist but the sheer amount of research the project required. Her library consisted of more than 100 resources and a team of academics, theologians and historians.[11] The original manuscript exceeded 800 pages. Lee talks openly in interviews about her struggle to unearth the heart of the story after exhaustive research and the extensive edits it took to pare the book down to just over 300 pages.

Publishers Weekly praised Iscariot as “mind-bending Biblical fiction that dares to put readers in the mind of the most infamous character of Christian history" calling Lee's research and writing “impeccable and masterful.”[12] In 2014 Iscariot was named winner of the ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction.[13]

Lee's latest novel, "The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen" was released on September 9, 2014. This work continues to generate starred reviews.[14] It was named a Best of Christian Fiction selection by Library Journal,[15] and has appeared on best seller lists.[16] It was also named a finalist for the ECPA 2015 Christian Book Award for fiction.[17]

Lee continues her study of historically significant, maligned, and tortured characters in her new thriller, The Progeny, a supernatural suspense thriller centered around the fictional descendants of the "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Báthroy. Firstborn, the sequel to The Progeny, is set to release February, 2017 from Simon & Schuster.

Recurring themes[edit]

Lee is known for her depth of characterization and sympathetic rendering of traditionally maligned characters. Reviewers praise her lyrical prose, emotive settings and historical detail.


In addition to the United States, Lee’s novels have been published in the Netherlands, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Korea, Slovakia, Turkey, Poland, and the United Kingdom

  • Firstborn, May 2, 2017, Simon & Schuster
  • The Progeny, May 2016, Simon & Schuster
  • The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen, September 2014, Simon & Schuster
  • Iscariot: A Novel of Judas, February 2013, Simon & Schuster·
  • Havah: The Story of Eve, 2008, NavPress; Re-released by B&H Publishing 2010; Re-released by Simon & Schuster 2014
  • Demon: A Memoir, 2007, NavPress; Re-released by B&H Publishing 2010; Re-released by Simon & Schuster 2014

The Books of Mortals[edit]

with Ted Dekker:

  • Forbidden: September 2011, Hachette Book Group
  • Mortal: June 2012, Hachette Book Group
  • Sovereign: June 2013, Hachette Book Group


  • 2015 Finalist, ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction ("Legend of Sheba")[18]
  • 2014 A Library Journal Best of Christian Fiction Title of 2014 ("Legend of Sheba")[19]
  • 2014 Life is Story Runner Up (tie) for Best Biblical Fiction ("Legend of Sheba")[20]
  • 2014 ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction (Iscariot)[21]
  • 2014 Christian Retailers Retailer's Choice Award Finalist (Iscariot)<
  • 2013 A Library Journal Best Christian Fiction Title of 2013 (Iscariot)[22]
  • 2013 Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction[23]
  • 2013 ECPA Bestseller List (Sovereign)[24]
  • 2013 CBA Bestseller List (Sovereign)
  • 2013 CBA Bestseller List (Iscariot)
  • 2012 Christian Retailers Retailer’s Choice Award (Forbidden)[25]
  • 2012 ECPA Bestseller List (Forbidden, Mortal)
  • 2012 CBA Bestseller List (Mortal)
  • 2012 New York Times Bestseller List, Hardcover Fiction (Mortal)
  • 2012 Christy Award Finalist (Forbidden)
  • 2012 New York Times Bestseller List, eBook (Forbidden)
  • 2011 ECPA Bestseller List (Forbidden)[26]
  • 2011 NY Times Bestseller List, Hardcover Fiction, #17 (Forbidden)
  • 2009 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Bronze Award Winner (Havah: The Story of Eve)
  • 2008 Christy Award Finalist (Demon: A Memoir)[27]
  • 2008 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Silver Award Winner (Demon: A Memoir)[28]


  1. ^ University of Nebraska at Lincoln
  2. ^ "Faith and fiction". Smith Alumnae Quarterly.
  3. ^ Mrs. Nebraska America
  4. ^ Mrs. Nebraska United States
  5. ^ Publisher's Weekly
  6. ^ Romantic Times Review
  7. ^
  8. ^ Christian Fiction Reviews
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Iscariot Interviews
  12. ^ Publisher's Weekly
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ CBA News
  26. ^ Christian Book Expo
  27. ^ "The Christy Awards". Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  28. ^ "Book of the Year Award Winners". ForeWord Magazine.". Retrieved 2009-01-05.

External links[edit]