Jeff Larson, physician and scientist, just released his first novel, The Last Ten Degrees. The book is a hard science climate thriller set in 2036 that describes a changing landscape in the southwest, with temperatures of 130 degrees, water shortages, and a medical mystery.

The debut novel is 297 pages, including a map of the main character’s travels through Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. “Fans of Michael Crichton will enjoy the hard science aspects and those interested in climate change will find descriptions of the southwest in 2036 hard to put down,” Larson shares.

Scottsdale North News recently caught up with the new author to ask a few questions.

What was the inspiration for your novel?
Since I moved to Phoenix in 2008 I’ve become increasingly interested in the water issues facing Arizona and the southwest with climate change and the decreasing supply from the two reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. I wanted to write a description about what might happen in the future if we don’t get our water act together now.

Can you describe the main character?
The main protagonist, Dr. Stone, is an ego-driven genetic scientist who is creating a treatment for lung cancer. He decides to drive through parts of the southwest on his way to a phase III trial in Denver. Along the way he suffers water bandits and an incident that will change his life.

How was the process of self-publishing your book?
I took a course on publishing from ASU’s Piper Center over the summer that led me to choose self-publishing over a large publishing house. I worked with a self-publishing group in Denver, My Word Publishing, and they were extremely helpful in all aspects of the process.

First, I had to get the idea for the novel, and for a long time, I had wanted to write a hard science fiction book along the lines of a Crichton novel. I’ve been very interested in climate change in the southwest. Somehow, the idea of combining those two aspects just came to me one day, and I was able to flesh out the main chapters of the book. The book also contains many descriptions of locations that would be familiar to southwest residents, and are sites that I have personally visited.

I collaborated with my wife, who worked for a small publisher, and then worked with a copy editor in Denver to polish the manuscript. I then used a professional book designer to design the book’s interior layout and a cover that would appeal to readers. The designer then placed the novel into Amazon’s print-on-demand software. I had a virtual book launch with 30 participants and the rest is history!

The Last Ten Degrees is available on Amazon in paperback for $16.95 and also in an e-book format. Learn more at