Tag Archive for James Preller Upstander

An Author’s Guide to Simultaneously Reading BYSTANDER and UPSTANDER

After writing Upstander, a stand-alone prequel/sequel to Bystander, I had a vision. Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, if my publisher printed them up as one book? Kind of shuffled them together into one big fat novel.

Would it even work?

I thought to myself, yeah, it just might. Both are in 3rd person, and the shifting perspectives should be familiar to any experienced reader.

But why wait on the vagaries of publishing? They’ll never do it anyway. But we can. Here’s one method for reading the books simultaneously (not that you have to). There’s some scene overlap, from different perspectives, which might be interesting or redundant, I don’t know.



So if you are nutty enough to do this — and I hope that some of you are — here’s how I think it could work. Please let me know, Dear Nutty Reader, if you do it. Both books are also available on Audible, for you reading-with-my-ears people.



To Reading These Two Books Together

Upstander: Chapters 1-20

Bystander: Chapters 1-2

Upstander: 21

Bystander: 3-4

Upstander: 22-24

Bystander: 5-6

Upstander: 25

Bystander: 7-11

Upstander: 26-27

Bystander: 12-15

Upstander: 29-30

Bystander: 16

Upstander: 31

Bystander: 17-20

Upstander: 32

Bystander: 21

Upstander: 33

Bystander: 22

Upstander: 34

Bystander: 23-24

Upstander: 35-36

Bystander: 25-32

Upstander: 37

Bystander: 33-34

Upstander: 38




Do you think there should be a 3rd book that focuses on Griffin? I guess that depends on if anyone reads Upstander. I promise it won’t take me 10 more years to write. 

Visual learners might be impressed by my fancy chart. I paid a design company 500 balloons for this bad boy. Worth it, right?

A Battle You Know Nothing About

This idea, as articulated below, was one of the prime motivating factors in telling Mary’s story in Upstander. The sense that we never know what people are going through in their private lives. Be gentle with others, try not to judge too harshly.



Coming In One Week!


The big box of books finally arrived. Pub date is only a week away (May 11th). I’m proud of it; in this case, mostly for the Substance Use Disorder storyline. Mary’s older brother has problems with drugs and it’s tearing the family apart. There’s even a scene where a librarian administers Narcan. This book is a prequel/sequel to Bystander.

It’s a strange feeling when a book goes out, especially in the last few years, met by a distracted & indifferent world. The collective shrug. My hope, as always, is that readers find it and enjoy the reading experience. Upstander is a 2021 Junior Library Guild Selection.

May one good book lead to another.