So what's Dawn's Rise about?
Well there are two types of answers to this question. The first kind of answer is simple, which is a description of the plot of the novel. I'll return to that later. The second kind of answer is more complex, and far more interesting. For me, this question is about the themes involved in the novel.
I think the most prevalent theme in Dawn's Rise is Hope. The characters face incredible odds, and maintain hope at a time when every shred of hope is gone. Not just hope for the future, but the hope that they'll even live much longer. In fact I've gone out of my way to create circumstances of utter hopelessness. But despite everything I can throw at them, they persevere.
I have a little bit of Dickensian "Best of times/worst of times" going on as well. The book starts out in a utopian world, and degenerates into the worst possible world. I think this shows the fragility of the modern world, and how civilization is just a veneer. We're really only a couple steps away from devolving into prehistoric hunter/gatherers.
As far as what the novel is about, I think it's more important to discuss who the novel is about. My main character, the namesake of the novel, is Dawn Anami. (I came up with her name years before I named the novel) She's extremely tall, almost 6'7", which is purely the result of natural inheritance, and not any kind of future human growth technology. She doesn't have any super powers, or really any special skills at all. She's athletic, and is a locally ranked basketball and volleyball player. The one thing that is different about her are dreams and visions that begin coming to her. These visions are of a much different world, one where suffering and death are widespread. I've decided to let the reader decide whether these visions are something supernatural or the result of mental illness. I also think people should consider the idea that there is some third-party involvement.
Dawn never knew her father, and her mother died leaving her an orphan at age 10. Her Aunt watched after her, but in actuality Dawn watched after her Aunt, so became a fairly independent person at an early age. At the beginning of the novel, she is employed as a psychic at an agency that doled out fake prophesies. When she begins giving out true prophesies, and not only that, her customers began giving prophesies about her, she realizes that her life is not quite as simple and boring as it had seemed.
As the novel progresses, she is thrust into unique situations. As the world collapses around her, she emerges as a unifying figure, desperately trying to return the world to some kind of order, and to be able to save as many people as she can from the coming disasters.
Dawn Anami is probably the favorite character of any I've created. I've tried to create a person as opposite of myself as I can. She nice, sweet, empathetic, kind, pretty, strong, athletic, and sexy. I'm grouchy, uncoordinated, and dorky. If she has any kind of special power, it's the ability to get people to do what she wants. I have the same power in reverse: I can get people to do the opposite of what I want. Well hopefully that won't prevent me from getting this novel published.