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Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014


Please welcome Amy Impellizzeri to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Lemongrass Hope was published on October 8th by Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing.



Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Amy:  Thanks for having me!

I have always been a “writer” (And I have the vintage detailed diaries from childhood to prove it …) I love that Flannery O’Connor quote: “I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.” That’s always been me. Although, before I wrote Lemongrass Hope, I was a different kind of “professional” writer - a corporate litigator, in fact – and what I wrote for a living was very different than what I write now. In 2009, after thirteen years in that world, I left my career writing summary judgment motions, deposition outlines, and closing arguments, and returned to creative writing – both fiction and nonfiction.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Amy:  Are they really, truly, mutually exclusive?

If so, I have to align myself with the plotters. I need to know where I’m going in a general I-already-know-how-this-is-all-going-to-end way. In writing this novel, I did let the characters surprise me, and develop on their own. But I will often mull over the details of a scene, its dialogue, or an entire chapter for days before I actually put pen to paper.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Amy:  Easy. Putting it out there in the world.

For me, the writing itself is a compulsion and a necessity and generally the act of writing is one I LOVE. I wrote about this very issue recently on Caroline Leavitt’s blog. And while, I’m subject to all of the same challenges that other writers face – writer’s block, story structure problems, too many occasions of the same word in one manuscript (in Lemongrass Hope – everyone was “whispering” until I fixed the 143 word occurrences during the editing process) – it’s so hard to put anything I write out there, from articles, to blog posts, to my debut novel. Because it’s not just that I want people to like it – I want them to feel like it was genuinely worth their time to read. Really, what I’m trying to say is - I want them to LOVE it.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Amy:  Well certainly I am drawn to those who have done magical realism and done it so well. The great Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Yann Martel come to mind instantly. One of the most joyful moments I experienced on the road to publication of Lemongrass Hope was the day I obtained permission to reprint an excerpt of Life of Pi in my own novel. In terms of current contemporary fiction, I am a huge fan of Jojo Moyes, Jess Walter, and Caroline Leavitt, just to name a (very!) few.



TQ:  Describe Lemongrass Hope in 140 characters or less.

A haunting, unique story – both relatable AND magical – which explores those decisions about love and life that often give rise to some dramatic “What If’s?”



TQ:  Tell us something about Lemongrass Hope that is not in the book description.

Amy:  It will surprise you. Up until the very last page. If you haven’t read it yet, you don’t know what REALLY happens, no matter how many descriptions or reviews you have read to date. Trust me.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Lemongrass Hope? The novel is described by the publisher as "...a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel." Why add both elements of magical realism and time travel to a love story?

Amy:  The easy answer is that I had a very surreal dream a few years ago that haunted me and gripped me, and gave rise to the core magic that readers find in Lemongrass Hope. However, as the novel developed – as the love story developed - I really wanted to explore the concept of time travel in a new way that doesn’t involve time machines or flashy, abrupt transitions to the past. I wanted the transition to be seamless. I really wanted the reader to BELIEVE what had happened in the story. To lose themselves in the possibility.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Lemongrass Hope?

AmyLemongrass Hope takes place in three main regions – New York City and its suburbs; Botswana; and the Bahamas. I lived in the New York area for thirteen years and I have traveled to the Bahamas, but not Botswana (yet!) so my experiences in those first two places certainly informed certain sections of the novel. Years ago – before I started the novel - I read about the Elephant Sanctuary in Botswana and the marula forests, and was utterly fascinated. As I worked on the novel, that research was critical to the development of the story.



TQ:  In Lemongrass Hope who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Amy:  Dee was the easiest character to write. Even though she plays a small role, it’s a critical one. And I am absolutely mesmerized by her. She’s definitely a character that evolved completely on her own, with little help from me. I have fantasies about writing another book focusing entirely on her story – which I’m certain would be so very intriguing.

Rob Sutton was the hardest to write, and in fact, I had to spend a fair amount of time working on his character development during the editing process through some pretty hefty character arc exercises. Regardless of what you think about him in the final version of the novel, in the earlier versions, he was just … too unlikeable. That was never my goal for him, and so I spent a lot of time thinking about him, re-writing him, and working on him.




TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Lemongrass Hope.

Amy:
“Marula fruit,” she smiled. “You need marula drink instead of that,” she pointed to his glass of bourbon and he smiled again, straightened up and glanced over Dee’s head at the door again for the first time since Dee had sat down. “Yes,” he said. “That’s exactly why I’ve come here.”
“That’s how gambling works, Kate. To succeed, you can’t be too practical. Or too conservative.
“Ah, it’s the great inverse of life.” I clinked my glass on his.
Ian actually looked startled. “Inverse? Kate, it’s the precise analogy of life ….”


TQ:  What's next?

Amy:  I’m finishing up work on my first non-fiction book, entitled Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing) due out in Spring 2015. Which means that before year’s end, I can turn my attention to my next novel, and see which one of the two concepts that are sketched out (in true “planner’s” fashion) actually lends itself to a full-length novel. On one hand, I have been working out an idea that will be completely separate from Lemongrass Hope, and on the other – developing an idea that would explore one of my favorite Lemongrass Hope character’s back story . Stay tuned ….



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Amy:  THANK YOU!





Lemongrass Hope
Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, October 8, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 302 pages

Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014
Set in the past, and present, Lemongrass Hope is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel.

Lemongrass Hope weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope.

As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When she unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been like had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope, and her greatest fears.

Lemongrass Hope will draw you in with characters so relatable and real, you will cheer for them one moment and flinch the next. A tale that invites you to suspend disbelief—or perhaps decide to believe once and for all—in the potent power of love and connection over time and choice.

Oh, and the dress. There’s this lemongrass dress . . .





About Amy

Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 2014
Amy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator and author. After spending a decade at one of the top law firms in the country, Amy left in 2009 to advocate for working women, eventually landing at a VC-backed start-up company, ShopFunder LLC (formerly Hybrid Her - named by ForbesWoman as a top website for women in 2010 and 2011), while writing her first novel, Lemongrass Hope, which debuted as an Amazon Best-Seller (Fantasy/Romance and Fantasy/Time Travel) and her first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted, which is scheduled to be published by the American Bar Association in 2015.

Oprah's very first Book Club Selection Author and NYT #1 Best-Selling Author, Jacquelyn Mitchard, has said “Lemongrass Hope is that fine and fresh thing – a truly new story …. Amy Impellizzeri is a bold and tender writer, who makes the impossible feel not only real, but strangely familiar.” NYT Best-selling Author, Caroline Leavitt, called Lemongrass Hope: "haunting, mesmerizing and unforgettable." Foreword Reviews Magazine chose Lemongrass Hope as one of five exemplary titles in romance fiction featured in its fall issue of "Indies We Love!", and Lemongrass Hope has received acclaim from book reviewers, bloggers, and authors alike, including all 5-star reviews on Amazon. Amy's essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, and ABA's Law Practice today, among more. Amy currently lives in rural Pennsylvania where she works and plays and keeps up on all of the latest research confirming that large volumes of coffee are indeed good for you.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @AmyImpellizzeri


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts


It's time for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for October 2014!


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2014 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on October 24, 2014.

You can see the previous months' winners on the 2014 DAC page - here.



Vote for your favorite October 2014 Debut Cover
 
pollcode.com free polls





2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts
Cover art and design: Scott Biel; (boy’s face) Masterfile




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts
Cover Art by Chris McGrath



2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts


Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014


Please welcome Rebecca Alexander to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Secrets of Life and Death was published on October 7th by Broadway Books.



Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Rebecca:  I can’t remember not writing but after my children came along I stopped writing fiction. I came back to it about seven years ago as the kids grew up, and found a whole new enthusiasm for fiction, both reading and writing.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rebecca:  I’m a pantser! I so wish I was a plotter, it makes so much sense to plan a book out. I often feel like my characters are taking me out for an adventure. They surprise me all the time. I was recently writing about an archaeologist excavating a well and one of my characters fell in and died. I was so upset I cried. Edward Kelley basically told me his story, I wrote it down. I sometimes worry that I have an Elizabethan man talking inside my head…



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Rebecca:  Stopping and starting are tricky. I find it hard to stop when I’m on a roll, but if the story doesn’t come easily it’s hard to get back to it. I often get stuck right in the middle of a book and after a few frustrated days, I skip on to write the ending. That seems to help.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Rebecca:  I grew up with authors like Bram Stoker and Barbara Michaels, Dennis Wheatley and Edgar Allen Poe. I loved books with plenty of suspense, and a supernatural edge, even a bit of horror. The one book that drew me back into fantasy was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I wish I’d written that. I love contemporary fantasy too, especially Kelley Armstrong, but I also like female crime writers like Tess Gerritsen and Lisa Gardner, who write fantastic suspense.



TQ:  Describe The Secrets of Life and Death in 140 characters or less.

Rebecca:  Edward Kelley, sorcerer in Transylvania. Jackdaw Hammond, modern revenant – a soul held from heaven by sorcery. When their worlds collide...



TQ:  Tell us something about The Secrets of Life and Death that is not in the book description.

Rebecca:  Jack lives in a fifteenth century cottage, very like one I once stayed in. The cottage’s secret past provides a creepy place to imprison a dying child for magical reasons. The house I stayed in had a ‘priest hole’, a hideaway concealed space for Catholic priests to be hidden in during Tudor Protestant revivals. This one had been used for séances, and had a spooky atmosphere and was covered with scrawled messages. The cottage is in the Devon countryside and the centre of a centuries old rookery. I think the castle in Transylvania and the cottage in England help set the mood for the book.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Secrets of Life and Death? The novel is a genre blender. How would you describe the novel's genres/sub-genres?

Rebecca:  I started out writing a psychological thriller. I worked as a psychologist and wanted to explore the strange beliefs of deluded, untreated people with psychosis. My character would kidnap a child in the complete belief she was saving her life with sixteenth century sorcery. As the book developed, I started to believe it too, making it fantasy. But rather than explain all the fascinating research into John Dee and Edward Kelley I had done, I found it very easy to write their adventures alongside the contemporary, so a historical strand crept in. Then Jack found herself being drawn to Felix, and an unexpected emotional entanglement crept in. That’s what I mean by not plotted, I never meant to draw in so many genre elements.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Secrets of Life and Death?

Rebecca:  I read everything of Dee’s and Kelley’s I could find, and dozens of books about Dee. He was a fascinating man who was born in the reign of Henry VIII and died in the reign of James I eighty-two years later, having seen some of the most turbulent years in English history. I also spoke to some modern occultists, fascinating people who still research (and use?) some of the magical ideas Dee talked about. Finding out that Dee and Kelley had met Istvan Báthory, king of Poland and Transylvania, and uncle of Elizabeth Báthory. She was a sadistic serial murderer and discovering the connection was a gift to a writer. Elizabeth would have been about 25, and not yet started on her murderous path, and still a sympathetic character.



TQ:  In The Secrets of Life and Death who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Rebecca:  Jackdaw Hammond was the hardest. She is secretive, and had a very limited experience of the ‘real world’ and men. Finding herself in a friendship that might be a relationship makes her awkward, which was hard to find at first. Edward Kelley was the easiest, despite all the research. He was a trickster, who even manipulated the genius Dee. He was charming and glib but had come up from very humble beginnings, with only his charm and wits to keep him safe. I found him good company and have enjoyed following him through the sequels.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Secrets of Life and Death.

Rebecca:

The dark little room was like a prison cell. Stone walls glistened with damp and a lantern glowed from a rusty hook. Tales of kidnap, rape and murder crept into her mind.



TQ:  What's next?

Rebecca:  The sequel comes out in the UK in October, and the final book in the trilogy is in its editing underwear at the moment. I’m also writing a separate series about a younger Edward Kelley and a modern day independent, female archaeologist, who uncovers some of Kelley’s past while solving the riddle of a body in a well (A Baby’s Bones).



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Secrets of Life and Death
Broadway Books, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
(US Debut)

Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014
In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret--She's Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won't rest until they've taken the magic that keeps her alive....

In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...

As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.





About Rebecca

Interview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014
Rebecca Alexander is an urban fantasy, historical and crime writer, and recovering psychologist. She has brought up seven children, the youngest five in a haunted house in Devon surrounded by rooks and jackdaws. The birds and the children find their way into her novels. Her first book, The Secrets of Life and Death, will be published October 2014 by Broadway Books. It weaves the historical adventures of Edward Kelley, associate of the necromancer and sorcerer John Dee, with the fight to save a teenager’s life in the present day.






Website  ~  Twitter @RebAlexander1



Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014


Please welcome Alis Franklin to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Liesmith was published on October 7th by Hydra.



Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Alis:  Thank you so much for having me, it's great to be here! As to when I started writing... honestly, I can't ever remember not writing. Story exercises were some of my favourite things in kindergarten, and somewhere around then I got my first "publication credit"; an acrostic poem I wrote about a local river. It was collected in an anthology of work from local school children. I still remember most of the words to the poem (it started "Murmuring waters wash / Under, over and / 'Round") because I had to recite it at the book launch. Scary stuff!



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Alis:  Both, I guess. I'll tend to get an idea, let it churn around for a while, write it down as a rough outline, start writing the first draft, then go back to refine the outline if I run into plot walls. It depends on the story.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Alis:  Finding time to do it. Like most noob authors I have a day job, and also a husband, both of which take up good chunks of attention. So I have to grab writing time when it comes. Most of Liesmith was written on my iPhone, for example, when standing in queues at the grocery store or, well, sitting on the toilet. (No comments on that one, eh?)



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Alis:  Terry Pratchett blew my mind when I was a teenager. There's a real highwire balancing act between writing books that are "clever" and writing books that are "self-indulgent". Pratchett is extremely good at keeping on the "clever" side of that equation; his books are full of references and in-jokes, but I never feel like he's talking down to me if I don't "get" them. Plus he deconstructed fantasy for me so effectively I basically stopped being able to read anything else in the genre for years.

A bit later, Michael Marshall Smith (Spares, Only Forward) made me fall in love with unreliable narrators, first-person POV, and deft foreshadowing. Stephen King taught me the importance of character, and Poppy Z. Brite was the first time I'd ever seen queer sexuality depicted in a genre novel which was, again, mind-blowing, since I'd never seen anything before that allowed for gay characters in fiction that wasn't specifically about being gay.



TQ:  Describe Liesmith in 140 characters or less.

Alis:  "Reincarnated Goddesses, Anthropomorphic Archaeopteryxes, and the End of the World (Again), or, What I Did Over Summer" by Sigmund Sussman.



TQ:  Tell us something about Liesmith that is not in the book description.

AlisLiesmith is on third sweet romance, one third urban fantasy action-adventure, and one third wall-oozing horror.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Liesmith?

Alis:  I got really interested in Norse mythology as a teenager, partly due to growing up in a place called the Woden Valley. It was kind of a weird feeling to realise that the bus interchange I sat in every afternoon on my way home from school was named after the Viking god of death and wisdom, and it got me thinking about a place where gods really did name shopping malls after themselves.

The second element in Liesmith came from growing up geeky and studying computer science at university, and realising how much of tech culture is a mythology in its own right. I mean, in oldskool hacker circles, arguments over things like operating systems were called "religious issues" and "holy wars", and we still refer to things like the "Cult of Mac" nowadays. Plus I just kind like the idea that kids who grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons and watching Star Trek wouldn't be particularly phased by encountering things like magic and sentient non-humans. It's kind of what they've been prepping for their entire lives, after all!

Finally, the third element... well. Early on, I latched onto Loki as a favourite of all the Norse gods; he's an outsider, who doesn't always make great decisions, but is loyal in his own way and generally tries to help the gods up until the point he kinda... gets sick of it. But the character I was really fascinated by was his wife, Sigyn. We basically know nothing about her, other than the fact she stayed--at great cost to herself--with her husband after his exile from Asgard. I mean, Loki might spend an eternity being tortured in prison but at least he gets to have his revenge when he gets out. But what about Sigyn? She cares for her husband through all that time, so she must feel something for him, but we never know what it is. Is she resigned to his punishment? Does she think he deserved it? Is she with him out of fear or obligation... or is it love? And if it is love, how pissed off must she be over what happened...

... and what price would she pay to fix it?



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Liesmith?

Alis:  I read a lot of books on Norse mythology and played a bunch of video games. It was torture, honest.



TQ:  In Liesmith who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Alis:  Lain is the easiest to write. Partly because I've been writing in his POV for years, so I'm used to it, and also because I just find present-tense first person flows really easily. The hardest are probably the gods--Baldr, Sigyn, Loki and so on--because the florid Ye Olde Speake, while fun to indulge in, is way too easy to over over-write. It's also easier to do in present tense, so swapping between the present tense first-person (for Loki) and past tense third person (for Sigyn and Baldr) can be a little tricky.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Liesmith.

Alis:  There's a scene later on in the book where Lain quotes Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings ("fly you fools!"). It's not the line itself so much as the fact I got to have him say it while... well. When people read that scene, just remember Tolkien based Gandalf on the god Odin.

So basically yeah. I'm a huge dork, it's true.



TQ:  What's next?

Alis:  Next is a holiday! We're off round the world later this year. The Hubby is taking me to New York, I'm taking him to Iceland, and it's basically going to be awesome (albeit extremely cold). Plus a bunch of plane flights should (hopefully) give me some decent blocks of writing time; I owe my publisher some sequels for Liesmith in 2015, so... iPhones out and get typing!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Alis:  And thank you so much for having me!





Liesmith
Wyrd 1
Hydra, October 7, 2014
eBook, 308 pages

Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014
At the intersection of the magical and the mundane, Alis Franklin’s thrilling debut novel reimagines mythology for a modern world—where gods and mortals walk side by side.

Working in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.

Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?

As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.





About Alis

Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014
Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.











Website  ~ Twitter @lokabrenna  ~  Google+
Instagram  ~  Pinterest  ~  Tumblr


Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014


Please welcome Ethan Reid to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller was published on October 7th by Simon451.



Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Ethan:  As a kid, to be honest. This may sound corny, but I remember my mother helping me set up a lemonade stand when I was about seven. She baked cookies, helped get the table going, and then I spent the afternoon crafting comic books for sale alongside the treats. I only sold one, but I remember the gentleman to this day. Later, I was a bit of a punk in high school. I had an English teacher who wasn’t overly fond of me until we started with the writing portion of his class. He took me aside and told me I should think about being a writer. That continued through undergrad, and later in graduate school. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I don’t know how I would exist without it.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Ethan:  Oh, do I have to chose? I love the idea of being a pantser. Or maybe I just love the naughtiness of the word. I’m probably a plotter. My wife laughed at me when I replied to another interview saying I was meticulous in my plot creation. Obsessed was the term she used. I spend a lot of time plotting the manuscript out before I start writing. Besides really needing to know the end, I have certain elements each book part and chapter must contain before I sit down and start cranking away.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ethan:  Finding the time to shut out the rest of the world and just write? I love every aspect of writing, from creation to revision to getting notes from my editor and starting the process all over again. But the way a writing career works in today’s world, so much time gets spent in social media, etc, that I feel it interferes with writing. I rarely even find the time to blog, sadly.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Ethan:  I love this question! I have so many. Stephen King was huge for me when I was younger. Clive Barker. Anne Rice. Richard Matheson is one of my favorites. Such craft. Michael Crichton. Ray Bradbury. H.P. Lovecraft was a great inspiration. William Gibson. Joe R. Lansdale. Scott Smith. Of late I’ve been enjoying Andrew Pyper. Of course I also read the current biggies -- Susan Collins, George R.R. Martin.



TQ:  Describe The Undying.

Ethan:  After a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness, a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous undying who roam the crumbling city.

Jeanie arrives in Paris for New Year’s Eve, partying until midnight when the lights go out. By morning, fireballs rain from the sky and temperatures rise. Hearing word of a comet strike, her journey takes her from the Latin Quarter to the catacombs and the Louvre. Yet she knows the worst is yet to come as she’s the only person who has witnessed the pale, vampiric survivors.

These cunning beings are known as les moribund and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie stops at nothing to keep the infant safe and escape Paris—even if she must leave all hope of rescue behind.



TQ:  Tell us something about The Undying that is not in the book description.

Ethan:  Jeanie travels to Paris from Seattle with her good friend, Ben. A lot of the book centers around their relationship, and how they deal with the horrible events they are witnessing. They make their journey in the book with a group of friends they’ve met in Paris, one being an exchange student who lived with Jeanie for a short while. There is also a little bit of a love story.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Undying? Why did you set the novel in Paris, France?

Ethan:  I have family living in the Latin Quarter and have been lucky enough to travel to the city many times. I simply adore Paris. In part I wanted to convey that feeling of discovery one gets when they reach a new city in a foreign country for the first time. And then have it all come crashing down, when the you-know-what hits the fan.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Undying?

Ethan:  I had to research the catacombs, which isn’t as easy as one might think. And the history of Paris. I love adding little tidbits of history here and there. Jeanie is an Art History major, so she gets to give her own outlook on the city, and its fabulous history, as it is literally blown to bits before her. I enjoyed doing the technical research, too . I won’t give anything away, but after a worldwide electromagnetic pulse, communication – and how quickly humanity can reestablish those links – is paramount to survival.



TQ:  In The Undying who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Ethan:  At first I wanted to say Zou Zou, Jeanie’s Parisian exchange student. She has a lot of fire in her, born from a difficult life. She is also the yin to Jeanie’s yang early on, and as the story progresses, must lean more and more on Jeanie to try and live through the day. When I just read that last part aloud to my wife, she told me I was way off and that my voice is better within Ben. I guess Ben is in some ways my hardest yet easiest character to write, given how complicated he is. I’ve found Ben can also be a lynchpin for readers. In the end, Ben is Ben. He can’t change who he is.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Undying.

Ethan:  Can I start with the top? Here’s the first paragraph in Chapter One:

Her flight from Seattle arrived in Paris on New Year’s Eve, touching down at Charles de Gaulle Airport shortly after noon. Enough time to negotiate customs, catch the train to the Latin Quarter, find the hotel and unpack -- even split a bottle of red wine with her travel companion, Ben Rosenfeld, before heading out for the party. After the last twelve months, saying goodbye to a shit year was exactly what the doctor ordered. 

And the next few lines come from the morning after New Year’s, when Jeanie awakes after the city-wide blackout to find the power still out:

Jeanie awoke to a headache and the rolling sound of crashing waves.

The hotel room was so dark, she thought it was still night. With a groan, she sat up, her temples throbbing in protest. Stupid, she thought, not downing her mandatory three glasses of water after an evening of indulging, afraid of what may lurk in Parisian pipes. 

Guessing the odd noise was the morning commute, she grabbed her father’s watch from the nightstand. 8:42 a.m. Jeanie sighed. She should ring Ben, meet for the hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast before ten. Instead, she fell back and pulled the duvet tight. Being on vacation meant she could do what she wanted, when she wanted, darn it. 

Everything heats up rather quickly after that.



TQ:  What's next?

Ethan:  I’m off to the NY Comic Con in New York, appearing on a panel two days after The Undying‘s release date. I’ll be at the Simon451 booth, if anyone wants to drop by! I’m also editing the second book in The Undying series, set for a 2015 release, while writing the third.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ethan:  You bet, thanks for sharing!





The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller
The Undying 1
Simon451, October 7, 2014
eBook, 272 pages

Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014
THEY HAVE COME FROM THE STARS…
In this riveting apocalyptic thriller for fans of The Passage and The Walking Dead, a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness and a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous “undying” who now roam the crumbling city.

Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.

By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get. As they attempt to flee the burning Latin Quarter—a harrowing journey that takes them across the city, descending deep into the catacombs, and eventually to a makeshift barracks at the Louvre Museum—Jeanie knows the worst is yet to come. So far, only she has witnessed pale, vampiric survivors who seem to exert a powerful hold on her whenever she catches them in her sights.

These cunning, ravenous beings will come to be known as les moribund—the undying—and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie will stop at nothing to keep the infant safe and get out of Paris—even if it means facing off against the moribund and leaving Ben—and any hope of rescue—behind.





About Ethan

Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014
Photo by Mitja Arzenšek
Ethan Reid received his BA in English with Writing Emphasis from the University of Washington and his MFA from the University of Southern California’s MPW Program, where he studied under author S.L. Stebel, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Sy Gomberg, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Frank Tarloff. Ethan is a member of the Horror Writers Association, the International Thriller Writers and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Ethan currently lives in Seattle.





Website ~ Twitter @WriterEthanReid ~ Facebook




Interview with Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant - October 7, 2014


Please welcome Karina Sumner-Smith to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Radiant, the first in the Towers Trilogy, was published on September 30, 2014 by Talos.



Interview with Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant - October 7, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Karina:  I started writing seriously when I was thirteen, after falling into a writing “flow state” for the very first time. The real world fell away; I was truly in the fantasy world of my imagining, seeing the characters, listening to them talk – and scribbling as fast as I could to keep up. I’d never experienced anything like it before. I decided then and there that I was going to be an author, and started trying to get published shortly thereafter. (Of course, the journey from there to here took twenty years!)



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Karina:  Pantser. I actually think that many authors’ processes rightly belong somewhere between those two extremes, but I definitely live near the pantsing end of the scale. I do enjoy freewriting about a scene or character before diving into the next big story arc, but find that my experience is more like driving into the light from a car’s headlights than having a map for the whole trip.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Karina:  Finding the discipline to write consistently – especially on those days when the words refuse to flow.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Karina:  Oh, so many! When I was learning to write, I studied the works of Octavia Butler and Sean Stewart, trying to figure out what made their books so elegant and captivating. Usually, though, I’d just end up caught up in the story again, and forget to analyze entirely.

While I try to read widely, my heart truly lives in the fantasy genre. A few of my current favorites include Robin McKinley, Guy Gavriel Kay, Daryl Gregory, Michelle Sagara, Laini Taylor, and Mike Carey.



TQ:  Describe Radiant in 140 characters or less.

Karina:  A homeless girl in a magic-run city attempts to save the ghost of a girl who hasn’t died.



TQ:  Tell us something about Radiant that is not in the book description.

Karina:  At its heart, Radiant is the story of a very unlikely friendship that develops between two young women. There are so many things about the world that I hope to explore in more detail in future works, but this is really a character story about love and sacrifice and the connection between two people from wildly different places and backgrounds.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Radiant? Please tell us a bit about how your magical system works in Radiant.

KarinaRadiant is actually based on a short story I published a number of years ago, “An End to All Things.” It was written in a blaze of inspiration – but even after it was published, the characters stayed with me. I knew that there was more to Xhea and Shai’s story, and more to their world. Since I don’t plot my work out in advance, the only way to know what happened next was to keep writing.

As for the magical system, the novel takes place in a world where everything runs on magic. Magic is currency and identification; you need magic to open doors, to buy food, to call a taxi.
Everyone generates some magic – some just a little, some in unthinkable quantity – but the magic that your body creates is something that you cannot change. Being rich is not a thing you earn, it’s a thing that you are, while poverty is literally in your blood. And into this world comes Xhea, the main character, who has no magic at all.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Radiant?

Karina:  My favorite kind: all about the apocalypse! While the novel itself takes place many years after a new civilization has risen from the ruins of our world, much of the story is set in the Lower City, where people live in crumbling buildings on the ground rather than in the floating Towers above. I wanted to get all those little details of decay and destruction right – and make sure that any deviations from what “should” happen were planned consequences of the world and its magic, rather than accidents.

The workings of the City and Lower City were also very much influenced by the daily news. Radiant is a fantasy novel, yes, but it’s also all about poverty and economics and corporate warfare. (And ghosts. Lots of magic and ghosts.)



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Karina:  I think that the easiest and hardest both was Xhea, the main character. In some ways, writing from Xhea’s point of view was effortless; the ways she saw her world, the rhythms of her thoughts and voice, were always so clear to me. Yet her life had never been an easy one, and her character was definitely shaped by her years of poverty and ostracization. It was a tough balance trying to write the character authentically – her mistrust and defensive reactions and the hurt underneath it all – while still trying to keep her accessible and sympathetic for the reader.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoliery lines from Radiant.

Karina:

Before her the ground was black and grey, the cracked roadway darkened by the shadow of her bowed head and slumped shoulders. She stared at the image she cast—no face, no will, only a puppet to the sun’s slow fall. Just the shape of a girl where no light fell.



TQ:  What's next?

KarinaRadiant is the first in a trilogy, and books two and three, Defiant and Towers Fall, are both due out in 2015. I’m so excited to share these stories, and hope that Xhea and Shai find readers who love them as much as I do.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Karina:  Thank you for having me!





Radiant
Towers Trilogy 1
Talos, September 30, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant - October 7, 2014
Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast—no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating Towers.

When a rich City man comes to her with a young woman’s ghost tethered to his chest, Xhea has no idea that this ghost will change everything. The ghost, Shai, is a Radiant, a rare person who generates so much power that the Towers use it to fuel their magic, heedless of the pain such use causes. Shai’s home Tower is desperate to get the ghost back and force her into a body—any body—so that it can regain its position, while the Tower’s rivals seek the ghost to use her magic for their own ends. Caught between a multitude of enemies and desperate to save Shai, Xhea thinks herself powerless—until a strange magic wakes within her. Magic dark and slow, like rising smoke, like seeping oil. A magic whose very touch brings death.

With two extremely strong female protagonists, Radiant is a story of fighting for what you believe in and finding strength that you never thought you had.





About Karina

Interview with Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant - October 7, 2014
Photo by Lindy Sumner-Smith
Karina Sumner-Smith is a fantasy author and freelance writer. Her debut novel, Radiant, will be published by Talos/Skyhorse in September 2014, with the second and third books in the trilogy following in 2015.

Prior to focusing on novel-length work, Karina published a range of fantasy, science fiction and horror short stories, including Nebula Award nominated story “An End to All Things,” and ultra short story “When the Zombies Win,” which appeared in two Best of the Year anthologies.

Though she still thinks of Toronto as her home, Karina now lives in a small, lakefront community in rural Ontario, Canada, where she may be found lost in a book, dancing in the kitchen, or planning her next great adventure.



Website  ~  Twitter @ksumnersmith  ~  Goodreads  ~  Pinterest

Interview with Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - October 6, 2014


Please welcome Rajan Khanna to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Falling Sky will be published on October 7th by Pyr.



Interview with Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - October 6, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Rajan:  I've been telling stories my whole life but the first time I can actually remember writing a whole story was in 7th grade, for an assignment. It was a horribly cliche and moralistic tale, filled with elements lifted from D&D, but it is the first actual written story that I can remember. As for the why, as mentioned I've always told stories -- through action figures, roleplaying games, whatever. I had all these ideas inside my head so once I realized I could capture them in stories it put me on the path to writing.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rajan:  I am mostly a pantser. Part of the joy of writing for me is figuring out the story, and even being surprised by it. However, I will say that after working on novels, I now appreciate the benefits of having a road map to work from, especially for longer works.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Rajan:  Aside from never seeming to have enough time, I'd say it's sometimes seeing the ending to a work. Because I don't outline, sometimes I jump into a story without knowing where it will go. Sometimes that means not knowing the ending for months. Or more. Luckily, as was the case with Falling Sky, sometimes it just seems to fall into place.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Rajan:  Roger Zelazny, Fritz Leiber, and Michael Moorcock are three of my favorites and influences. I'm also a fan of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Dune is probably my favorite SF novel. Contemporary writers include Richard Morgan, Jeff VanderMeer, China Mieville, George R. R. Martin, and Gene Wolfe, and Jeffrey Ford is my favorite writer of short stories.



TQ:  Describe Falling Sky in 140 characters or less.

Rajan:  I hate talking about my own book so I'm going to quote Tad William's blurb: " It’s a fast ride, scary and twisty-turny, and it also has plenty of airships, zombies, and sarcasm, three of the best things in the world."



TQ:  Tell us something about Falling Sky that is not in the book description.

Rajan:  I sometimes base character's physical appearances on actors. That is not the case with Ben, my POV character, but it was the case with two of my secondary characters, Diego and Claudia, who are based on two of my favorite actors. I don't want to give away who they are based on, but I will provide clues. The actor who inspired Diego is mostly known for his television roles but has appeared in movies, including two recent Marvel movies. The actor who inspired Claudia has likewise done both television and movies but has also done video game voices as well. Most of her work has been in science fiction. I wonder if anyone will be able to guess...



TQ:  What inspired you to write Falling Sky? How would you describe the genre(s) of the novel?

RajanFalling Sky is based on a short story of the same name that I wrote at the Clarion West Writers Workshop back in 2008. I had a vague sense of a story where people lived predominantly in the sky, using airships to get around, to avoid something on the ground. One night that became a story and the response to that story was largely that it should be expanded into a novel.

In terms of genres, it is a bit of a mishmash. The setting is post-apocalyptic, taking place after a pandemic which has regressed most of humanity into bestial creatures called Ferals. It's not steampunk at all, but it does have airships. The Ferals are not zombies but bear a little resemblance to their undead counterparts. And it draws as well from thrillers with a touch of western and noir in there as well.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Falling Sky?

Rajan:  I mostly did research into modern airships and the geography of the western U.S. Not to downplay the research at all, but setting it in the near future meant that I had a bit more freedom (compared with other projects set in the past which have to stand up to more scrutiny).



TQ:  In Falling Sky who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Rajan:  Ben is the POV character and there's more than a little of me in Ben so I'd say he was the easiest. Other than him, I had a lot of fun with Claudia. As for the hardest, I think that it took me the longest to connect with the character of Rosie. I could visualize her pretty well, I had a good sense of her, but she wasn't coming through very well. Turned out I had to give her a little more space and that definitely helped.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Falling Sky.

Rajan:
"The thing you have to understand for this to all make sense is that Miranda’s a little crazy. Back in the Clean, they would have called her idealistic, but back in the Clean idealistic wouldn’t have gotten you killed. Or maybe it would. I’ve never been too good at history."



TQ:  What's next?

Rajan:  I have a few projects that I'm working on at the moment. One of those is a sequel to Falling Sky. I'm also working on a young adult mystery novel. Then there are a few more projects after those including a weird western and something that might turn into a horror novel.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Rajan:  Thank you so much for inviting me.





Falling Sky
Pyr, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 260 pages
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

Interview with Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - October 6, 2014
Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that's not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he's ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters-whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.





About Rajan

Interview with Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - October 6, 2014
Photo by Ellen B. Wright
Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of a New York-based writing group called Altered Fluid. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer magazine, GUD, and several anthologies, and has received Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror and the Year’s Best Science Fiction. He writes for Tor.com and LitReactor.com and his podcast narrations have appeared on sites such as Wired.com, Lightspeed magazine, Escape Pod, Podcastle, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Rajan also writes about wine, beer, and spirits at FermentedAdventures.com. He currently lives in New York.



Website  ~  Twitter @rajanyk




2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts


2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts


There are 10 debuts (so far) for October. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The October debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite October cover for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on October 15th.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery  @  gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2014 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for September. The list is correct as of the day posted.

Note:  Updated to include The Protectors by Trey Dowell.



James Tadd Adcox

Does Not Love
Curbside Splendor Publishing, October 14, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 200 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Set in an archly comedic, alternate-reality Indianapolis that is completely overrun by Big Pharma, James Tadd Adcox's debut novel chronicles Robert and Viola's attempts to overcome loss through the miracles of modern pharmaceuticals. Their marriage crumbling after a series of miscarriages, Viola finds herself in an affair with the FBI agent who has recently appeared at her workplace, while her husband Robert becomes enmeshed in an elaborate conspiracy designed to look like a drug study.




Forrest Aguirre

Heraclix and Pomp: A Novel of the Fabricated and the Fey
Underland Press, October 7, 20114
Hardcover and eBook, 280 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Heraclix and Pomp, Aguirre’s first full-length novel, explores the ideas of identity and immortality through the eyes of a man-like golem and a time-bending fairy who can barely grasp the idea of now, much less the dangers of what’s to come.

Before being sewn-together, Heraclix was dead—merely a pile of mismatched pieces, collected from the corpses of many troubled men. And Pomp was immortal—at least, so she thought. That was before her impossible near-murder at the hands of the necromancer, Heraclix’s creator. But when playing God, even the smallest error is a gargantuan weakness. When the necromancer makes his, Heraclix and Pomp begin their epic flight.

As they travel from Vienna to Prague to Istanbul and, even, to Hell itself, they struggle to understand who and what they are: who was Heraclix before his death and rebirth? What is mortality, and why does it suddenly concern Pomp? As they journey through an unruly eighteenth century, they discover that the necromancer they thought dead might not be quite so after all. In fact, he may have sealed his immortality at the expense of everyone alive . . .

Heraclix and Pomp is a richly textured and decadent read, filled with Baroque ideology and Byzantine political intrigue. Fans of fantasy and historical fiction alike will revel in Aguirre’s layered prose and vivid characterizations. Heraclix and Pomp brings the surreal and the macabre to one of history’s most violent eras, and it does so in a voice sure to resonate among this season’s best new releases.




Rebecca Alexander

The Secrets of Life and Death
Broadway Books, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
(US Debut)

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
In modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret--She's Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won't rest until they've taken the magic that keeps her alive....

In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...

As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.




Trey Dowell

The Protectors
Simon 451, October 7, 2014
eBook, 240 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
An enthralling debut, The Protectors offers a dark twist on the classic superhero story as fallen hero Scott McAlister embarks on a globe-hopping chase to stop his former teammate—and ex-lover—gone rogue.

Don’t call him a superhero.

Heroes change the world. Scott McAlister? On a good day, he manages to change out of sweatpants.

It wasn’t always like this. Scott used to be leader of the Protectors, the world’s one and only squad of superheroes. It was a decent gig, but far from the shiny force for good the UN advertised. He could abide the publicity stunts, the lies, the ham-fisted government handlers—but when one of the Protectors died under his command, it was too much. Wracked with guilt, Scott stepped down and into an early retirement.

Now, five years later, a desperate CIA chief shows up on Scott’s doorstep with a polite request and a cadre of shock troops to ensure that Scott accepts. His ex-teammate and ex-lover, Lyla Ravzi, has gone rogue. The former Protector has the ability to control minds, and she’s no longer interested in “protecting.” She wants world domination.

Scott’s mission is simple: Find Lyla and stop her. The messy little details are up to him. It’s the last thing Scott needs after five years spent trying to forget the Protectors and to get over Lyla, but the alternative is worse.

As he closes in on his target, Scott is forced to confront his past and face a chilling reality: Can he save the world and the woman he once loved? Or will he have to choose?




Alis Franklin

Liesmith
Wyrd 1
Hydra, October 7, 2014
eBook, 308 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
At the intersection of the magical and the mundane, Alis Franklin’s thrilling debut novel reimagines mythology for a modern world—where gods and mortals walk side by side.

Working in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.

Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?

As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.




Amy Impellizzeri

Lemongrass Hope
Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, October 8, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 302 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Set in the past, and present, Lemongrass Hope is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel.

Lemongrass Hope weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope.

As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When she unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been like had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope, and her greatest fears.

Lemongrass Hope will draw you in with characters so relatable and real, you will cheer for them one moment and flinch the next. A tale that invites you to suspend disbelief—or perhaps decide to believe once and for all—in the potent power of love and connection over time and choice.

Oh, and the dress. There’s this lemongrass dress . . .




Rajan Khanna

Falling Sky
Pyr, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 260 pages
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that's not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he's ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters-whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.




Mike Meginnis

Fat Man and Little Boy
Black Balloon Publishing, October 14, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Two bombs over Japan. Two shells.

One called Little Boy, one called Fat Man. Three days apart. The one implicit in the other.

Brothers.

The winner of the 2013 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize, Fat Man and Little Boy pulses with magical realism in an unprecedented approach to its tragic subject matter.

In this powerful debut novel, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan are personified, born on impact as human beings—as a Fat Man and a Little Boy. Their small measure of humanity is a cruelty the brother bombs must suffer. Given life from death, they travel west from Japan to France and later to America. Their journey is one of surreal and unsettling discovery, and author Mike Meginnis transforms these symbols of mass destruction into beacons of longing and hope.




Ethan Reid

The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller
Simon451, October 7, 2014
eBook, 272 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
THEY HAVE COME FROM THE STARS…
In this riveting apocalyptic thriller for fans of The Passage and The Walking Dead, a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness and a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous “undying” who now roam the crumbling city.

Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.

By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get. As they attempt to flee the burning Latin Quarter—a harrowing journey that takes them across the city, descending deep into the catacombs, and eventually to a makeshift barracks at the Louvre Museum—Jeanie knows the worst is yet to come. So far, only she has witnessed pale, vampiric survivors who seem to exert a powerful hold on her whenever she catches them in her sights.

These cunning, ravenous beings will come to be known as les moribund—the undying—and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie will stop at nothing to keep the infant safe and get out of Paris—even if it means facing off against the moribund and leaving Ben—and any hope of rescue—behind.




Martin Rose

Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell: A Horror Novel
Talos, October 28, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 232 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Vitus Adamson is falling apart. As a pre-deceased private investigator, he takes the prescription Atroxipine hourly to keep his undead body upright and functioning. Whenever he is injured, he seeks Niko, a bombshell mortician with bedroom eyes and a way with corpses, to piece him back together. Decomposition, however, is the least of his worries when two clients posing his most dangerous job yet appear at his door looking for their lost son.

Vitus is horrified to discover the photo of the couple's missing son is a picture-perfect reproduction of his long dead son. This leads him to question the events of his tormented past; he must face the possibility that the wife and child he believed he murdered ten years ago in a zombie-fugue have somehow survived . . . or is it just wishful thinking designed to pull him into an elaborate trap?

Unfolding like a classic film noir mixed with elements of a B-movie, Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring Hell is an imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective genre and a new twist on the zombie novel. In Vitus Adamson, you will find a protagonist you can care about and invest in as he takes you through his emotional journey of betrayal and quest for redemption.


Interview with Peyton Marshall, author of Goodhouse - September 30, 2014


Please welcome Peyton Marshall to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Goodhouse is published today by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Peyton a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Peyton Marshall, author of Goodhouse - September 30, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Peyton:  For me, writing came out of reading. I loved to read as a child and often I felt a bigger connection with the stories than I did with reality.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Peyton:  I’d love to be a plotter. But I can’t stick to an outline. I get caught up in a scene and then write something that destroys all of my best-laid plans. I long for predictability and surety in writing but perhaps that’s only because I experience it so rarely.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Peyton:  Finding the time. Or allowing myself to have the time to make mistakes—to explore.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Peyton:  I’m an omnivore. My dad got me hooked on historical military fiction, on adventure stories, on history books. But I like to read classic novels—and pulpy ones, as well. Recently, I read The Goldfinch, and I’m not sure which category that fits into.



TQ:  Describe Goodhouse in 140 characters or less.

PeytonGoodhouse is a book about how society treats its most vulnerable constituents. It's a book about how hope can endure—and survive—trauma.



TQ:  Tell us something about Goodhouse that is not in the book description.

Peyton:  Despite the fact that Goodhouse is set in a speculative future and despite the fact that the novel’s protagonist, James Goodhouse, is subject to the pressures of a very different world—the book is really about James struggle to reach outside the confines of his childhood, to define his own truth. It’s about the difficulties of doing this—within the confines of a system.



TQ:  In Goodhouse, who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Peyton:  Bethany was the easiest to write. I wanted to her to stand in contrast to James’ world, to be somebody for whom he would have no context.

Often, I just got out of the way and let her talk—let her be her devious, determined, and unpredictable self.

In some ways, Bethany’s father was the hardest character to write. I couldn’t decide how to build him. I kept changing my mind about his motivations. It was almost as if the character was withholding information from me, the writer; it wasn’t until the end when the plot really came together that I fully understood him, understood where things had been going all along.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Goodhouse.

Peyton:  The boys are preparing to go out on their first day in the community:

        “Just keep your mouth shut,” Owen said. “And look really grateful, no matter what they say. And don’t touch anything,” he said. “They hate that and it’s hard to do when they have candy dishes and little glass elephants and once this kid had a plastic box full of ants that he said he was farming.”
        I stared at him. “Farming?” I asked. “For food?”
        “Who knows,” he shrugged. “It’s always a freak show and they write detailed reports about you afterwards and staff pays a lot of attention to them.”



TQ:  What's next?

Peyton:  A trip to Morocco.

I’m moving overseas for six months with the family. Should be interesting. I’ve already started another book and I look forward to sitting in a café in Marrakech—drinking that strong coffee.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Peyton:  Thank you!





Goodhouse
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 30, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Peyton Marshall, author of Goodhouse - September 30, 2014
A bighearted dystopian novel about the corrosive effects of fear and the redemptive power of love.

With soaring literary prose and the tense pacing of a thriller, the first-time novelist Peyton Marshall imagines a grim and startling future. At the end of the twenty-first century—in a transformed America—the sons of convicted felons are tested for a set of genetic markers. Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state—removed from their homes and raised on "Goodhouse" campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. Goodhouse is a savage place—part prison, part boarding school—and now a radical religious group, the Holy Redeemer’s Church of Purity, is intent on destroying each campus and purifying every child with fire.

We see all this through the eyes of James, a transfer student who watched as the radicals set fire to his old Goodhouse and killed nearly everyone he’d ever known. In addition to adjusting to a new campus with new rules, James now has to contend with Bethany, a brilliant, medically fragile girl who wants to save him, and with her father, the school’s sinister director of medical studies. Soon, however, James realizes that the biggest threat might already be there, inside the fortified walls of Goodhouse itself.

Partly based on the true story of the nineteenth-century Preston School of Industry, Goodhouse explores questions of identity and free will—and what it means to test the limits of human endurance.





About Peyton

Interview with Peyton Marshall, author of Goodhouse - September 30, 2014
Photo by Mike Palmeri
Born in 1972 in Pennsylvania, Peyton grew up near Washington DC -- in a wooded, leafy town that is now part of the sprawling DC metroplex. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Before enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Peyton spent many years remodeling Craftsman-style homes.

​Her work is rooted in ideas about love and the potential brutalities of human life -- in the ways people misunderstand each other. Goodhouse is her first novel.


Website ~ Twitter @PeytonMMarshall




2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge.


Rajan Khanna

Falling Sky
Pyr, October 7, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 260 pages
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna
Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.

Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that's not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he's ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.

This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters-whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.


Interview with Amy Impellizzeri, author of Lemongrass Hope - October 24, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October DebutsInterview with Rebecca Alexander, author of The Secrets of Life and Death - October 13, 2014Interview with Alis Franklin, author of Liesmith - October 11, 2014Interview with Ethan Reid, author of The Undying: An Apocalyptic Thriller - October 9, 2014Interview with Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant - October 7, 2014Interview with Rajan Khanna, author of Falling Sky - October 6, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge - October DebutsInterview with Peyton Marshall, author of Goodhouse - September 30, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna

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