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2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan


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


Chrysler Szarlan

The Hawley Book of the Dead
Ballantine Books, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan
For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.


Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014


Please welcome Carol J. Perry to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Caught Dead Handed, the first Witch City Mystery, was published on September 2, 2014 by Kensington. This is Carol's adult debut.



Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014




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

Carol:  I probably started writing fiction when I was in the first grade! But my first published effort was my middle grade novel “Sandcastle Summer” in 1988. I’d been a non-fiction writer for a long time, writing articles for magazines and newspapers, when I met a writer who’d written a book for youngsters and I thought-- “I could do that!” At the time I was researching an article for Southern Travel magazine about the world’s tallest sandcastle which was being built near my home in Florida. That became the background for the book. It was followed by several other novels for young people, as well as a couple of biographies.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Carol:  I always begin as a plotter—that is, I know what the beginning, middle and end should be. . .but a pantser as far as filling in the details.



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

Carol:  The most challenging thing for me is time management. My books for this series are all about 90,000 to 100,000 words. I have six months to produce a finished book, so I try to set a reasonable word count for every day, allowing time at the end for the editing process.



TQ:  How different is it writing adult fiction versus YA fiction?

Carol:  There’s not too much difference in writing adult vs. YA for me. I like both genres.



TQ:  Describe Caught Dead Handed (A Witch City Mystery 1) in 140 characters or less.

Carol:  Lee Barrett faces a deep disappointment – a dilemma – a drowning – a decision – a drama – a delightful date – a devilish development – a dreadful death – a disaster – a deception – and finally – a dynamite discovery!



TQ:  Tell us something about Caught Dead Handed that is not in the book description.

Carol:  I named the character River North after the North River which flows through Salem. That’s something probably nobody except people from Salem, and readers of The Qwillery will know!



TQ:  What inspired you to write Caught Dead Handed? Why did you set the novel in Salem, Massachusetts?

Carol:  Salem Massachusetts, known world wide as “the witch city,” is my birthplace and a city I know well. It’s a never-ending source of story ideas. . . witches, ghosts, old buildings, a famous seaport, twisty narrow streets, hiding places, historical events. . .Salem has it all!



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Caught Dead Handed?

Carol:  I researched Tarot cards, crystals, scryers, the Salem witch trials, TV studios, camera operation, psychic terms and vocabulary. I also used maps and Google Earth a lot to be sure I had streets correctly plotted. I went to Salem and photographed landmarks and restaurants and a hotel to be sure my descriptions were accurate.



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

Carol:  The easiest character to write was probably Lee, since the story is told from her point of view, so I had to be in her head all the time. The hardest one to write was George because he is so complex. Of course it was wonderful fun to write about O’Ryan the cat, who’ll be an important character in all of the books in this series. Aunt Ibby is fun too because she’s a combination of my favorite aunt and my dear ex-mother-in-law.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from Caught Dead Handed.

Carol:  Here’s one I like. Page 158:

“We’d made the turn onto Winter Street, and even that familiar stretch of road, with its mellow brick sidewalks, fine old homes and sturdy trees, had somehow been turned into a scary, alien place. Leafless branches clawed at a starless sky and long, wavering shadows stretched from between darkened buildings.”



TQ:  What's next?

Carol:  Next in the Witch City Mystery series is “Tails, You Lose” It’s due out in April of 2015. Lee, O’Ryan and Aunt Ibby, along with Lee’s hunky boy friend Pete Mondello, face some more adventures as Lee takes a job in haunted school.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Caught Dead Handed
A Witch City Mystery 1
Kensington, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
(Adult Debut)

Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014
She's not a psychic--she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it's home. This October she's returned to her hometown--where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives--to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it's starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch--especially when O'Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer--or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .



A peak at Tails, You Lose (Witch City Mystery 2) coming 2015:

Tails, You Lose
A Witch City Mystery 2
Kensington, March 31, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages


Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014
Her instincts may be killer--but can she catch one this wicked?

After losing her job as a TV psychic, Lee Barrett has decided to volunteer her talents as an instructor at the Tabitha Trumbull Academy of the Arts--known as "The Tabby"--in her hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. But when the school's handyman turns up dead under seemingly inexplicable circumstances on Christmas night, Lee's clairvoyant capabilities begin bubbling to the surface once again.

The Tabby is housed in the long-vacant Trumbull's Department Store. As Lee and her intrepid students begin work on a documentary charting the store's history, they unravel a century of family secrets, deathbed whispers--and a mysterious labyrinth of tunnels hidden right below the streets of Salem. Even the witches in town are spooked, and when Lee begins seeing visions in the large black patent leather pump in her classroom, she's certain something evil is afoot. But ghosts in the store's attic are the least of her worries with a killer on the loose. . .





About Carol

Interview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014
Carol J. Perry knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer. A voracious reader, whose list for Santa consisted mostly of book titles, she never lost sight of that goal. While living in Florida, Carol was on assignment for Southern Travel Magazine, preparing an article on the world’s largest sand castle which was being built near her home. That combination of events inspired her first young adult novel, Sand Castle Summer. That book was soon followed by half a dozen more.

Carol has always been an avid reader of mysteries. Her debut mystery novel is set in Salem and involves O’Ryan, a most mysterious cat, several witches and some strange Halloween happenings. Appropriately enough, this Salem-born author celebrates her birthday on Halloween Eve! Carol and her husband Dan live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with two cats and a Black Lab.

Website


Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014


Please welcome Sylvia Izzo Hunter to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Midnight Queen is published on September 2, 2014 by Ace. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Sylvia a very Happy Publication Day!


Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014



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

Sylvia:  Hi, and thank you! I'm delighted to be here :)

I don't really remember when I started writing; if you ask my mom, she'll tell you that I've been making up stories and inflicting them on people basically since I learned to talk, and at some point I started writing them down. Creative writing assignments were always my favourite thing. I also started writing fanfiction long before I had ever heard the term "fanfiction". For instance, I may be the only person ever to have written All of a Kind Family fic -- at least, I'm the only one I know -- but I spent almost the whole of Grade 6 doing that, in a very big stack of exercise books. Pro tip for teachers: do not assign your students to write a novel unless you are REALLY SURE that's what you want!

I started writing this particular book because of a conversation that I started overhearing in my head (don't look at me like that; it happens!) between two people in a garden. Which, not coincidentally, is one of the places where THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN does in fact start.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Sylvia:  Um … let's say I'm trying to become more of a plotter and leave it at that, okay?



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

Sylvia:  Plot! Hands down, it's plot. (Well, that and carving out time to write in the first place.) That probably sounds weird, but: I'm good at the mechanics of writing (in my day job, I'm an editor), I enjoy worldbuilding, and I only occasionally struggle to work out what a character is about. I'm always coming up with interesting premises and really cool first lines. But then what? What are these characters I like so much going to do? Where in this really cool setting I just thought up is there going to be a story? One of the hardest writing tasks for me is doing a synopsis, because synopses are completely made of plot.



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

Sylvia:  In terms of the language and the setting, this book in particular owes quite a lot to Jane Austen, who is in fact one of my favourite authors, and in some of the characters there are echoes of my favourite Austen novel, Persuasion. I won't pretend that my book is as clever as any of hers, though.

My favourite authors are those I can re-read. I almost hesitate to start making a list because we could be here a long time … but here goes. In no particular order, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jo Walton, Kate Elliott, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Sarah Rees Brennan, Violette Malan, Naomi Kritzer, T.H. White, Marie Brennan, Georgette Heyer, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Rutu Modan, Gabrielle Roy, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, André Norton, Holly Black, Goscinny & Uderzo, Madeleine L'Engle ...

Yeah, I'm just going to stop now.



TQ:  Describe The Midnight Queen in 140 characters or less.

Sylvia:  Magic, mystery, mayhem, and marriages, set in a Europe where Christianity never really took off.



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

Sylvia:  There is a lot of music in this book, and it's not just for decoration. All the songs in it are real ones (or are based on real ones).



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Midnight Queen? What attracted you to Regency England for a setting?

Sylvia:  Well, as I mentioned earlier, one day I overheard these two characters having a conversation in my head. One of them was a university student, and for some reason he was working in the garden. The other was the daughter of some important person whom the student was, for whatever reason, worried about. I didn't know much about them to begin with, but I did know their names! At first I thought the setting was sort of Edwardian, but the more I wrote about these characters the clearer it became that they belonged in an earlier, more mannered and agrarian age -- or, at least, to a world without steamships and a comprehensive rail network. And of course, as generally happens to me, their world turned out to have magic in it.

So the worldbuilding does owe a lot to Regency England, but there are some pretty crucial differences -- the first and most obvious of which are, of course, the very different borders of the Kingdom of Britain (which includes what in our world are bits of France, but does not include Scotland) and the fact that this kingdom has a king, not a Prince Regent. The absence of Christianity as a load-bearing wall in the edifice of society is also a crucial difference: some of the things we take for granted are shifted around a bit, or approached from a different angle, because of that change.

I'm not sure how to answer the question "Why the Regency-ish setting?" except to say that these characters wanted their story told in that kind of voice, and as soon as I worked that out, the writing got easier. I expect that makes me sound a bit unhinged, but it's the best I can do!



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

Sylvia:  To keep the voice/style on track, I did a sort of continuous-loop Austen re-read for quite a while, and also spent some quality time with the OED Online. I read books about social customs and etiquette (and food and clothing and crockery) in Regency England, and did a lot of research online. I researched Roman wedding customs, Roman and Celtic gods and goddesses, Greco-Roman temple architecture, contredanses, and the history and micro-geography of Oxford colleges (particularly Balliol, which is in many ways the model for Merlin College). I drew lines on Google Maps, researched types of carriages and who used them, and pestered horse-loving friends for equine and equestrian information. I acquired an English-Breton phrasebook, a book on classically influenced interior decorating in Regency England, a Welsh phrasebook, and a great big Latin vocabulary file (and I threw myself on the mercy of some friends who have actually formally studied Latin, who helped me avoid some fairly embarrassing faux pas). Also, I once proofread a book on the topic of ceramics and society in the Regency period, and the author generously gave me a comp copy, which I used quite a bit for visual references.

And then I mixed it all together, stirred briskly, and made a bunch of stuff up.



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

Sylvia:  I found both Sophie and Gray very easy to write, but perhaps easiest of all was Joanna -- whom I originally intended to be a minor character who would provide a bit of comic relief in one chapter and a bit of drama in the next, then exit stage left to make way for the main plot, and who instead marched into the book, grabbed onto the plot with both hands, and refused to be shifted. Joanna might actually be my favourite character (but don't tell any of the others!). The only bit of her that gave me trouble was her name, which, as you'll have noticed if you know your etymologies, is completely inappropriate to a non-Biblically-influenced world, and which I tried and tried to change but couldn't. You will not be surprised to hear that Joanna is an extremely persistent person who really knows her own mind (and also where her towel is).

The character I had most trouble with is probably Sophie and Joanna's sister Amelia. Whereas many of the other characters had very strong personalities right up front, Amelia didn't -- but I didn't want to write her as stock footage of Every Young Woman in an Austen Novel Whom I Dislike. There's more to Amelia than may at first appear.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite lines from The Midnight Queen.

Sylvia:  When I thought about this, I realized that most of my favourite lines belong to Joanna. Here she is summarizing her father's approach to ethics and fair play:

"Father can scarcely manage not to cheat at chess, if he sees any possibility of losing; what might he do in a contest whose outcome truly mattered?"



TQ:  What's next?

Sylvia:  Well, right now I'm working on the sequel to The Midnight Queen -- it hasn't yet got a real title -- which continues the adventures of Sophie, Gray, Joanna, et al. a couple of years later. After that, book three!

On the back burner I've got a kind of quirky fantasy novel set in present-day Toronto, where I live, and one day I want to write the "Jewish colony in space" story that includes this line:

Even were we all wise, all women of understanding, it would still be our duty to tell the story of the departure from Earth. And the more one tells of the departure from Earth, the more is she to be praised.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sylvia:  And thank you for having me! :)





The Midnight Queen
A Noctis Magicae Novel 1
Ace, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014
In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…





About Sylvia

Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014
Author Photo by Nicole Hilton
Sylvia Izzo Hunter was born in Calgary, Alberta, but now lives in Toronto with her husband, daughter, and their slightly out-of-control collections of books, comics, and DVDs.



Website

Twitter @sylwritesthings





Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014


Please welcome Angus Watson to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Age of Iron will be published on September 2, 2014 by Orbit.



Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014




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

Angus:  At school, because they made me. Then, at boarding school I used to spend a lot of time composing hilarious and brilliantly written (I thought) letters to friends at other schools (this was way before email). The first time I wrote something big for pleasure was backpacking round India for three months when I was nineteen. I wrote a book full of observations on India, travelling, travellers and my life so far. That book was stolen from a train between Varanasi and Delhi on my second last day in India.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Angus:  I’m sort of a mix. I have a general overarching plot with an endpoint, but then I plot in chunks of maybe five chapters at a time as I go along. Then I don’t usually stick to that plot.



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

Angus:  Probably that there’s so much of it. I’m about halfway through writing book three of the series now and it seems that I’ve been sitting at my desk writing for about ten lifetimes.



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

Angus:  There are loads and they are varied, but since this is an American blog, I’ll give you my favourite Americans – Carl Hiaasen, John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, Patrick De Witt, Stephen King and of course George R R Martin.



TQ:  Describe Age of Iron in 140 characters or less.

Angus:  Lazy ageing warrior, beautiful fierce archer and weird magical child unite to defend Britain from Caesar’s unstoppable dark legions



TQ:  Tell us something about Age of Iron that is not in the book description.

Angus:  The lazy ageing warrior has a very serious fight with a chimpanzee.



TQ:  What inspired you to write Age of Iron? What is the Iron Age? What attracted you to the Iron Age as a period setting?
Angus:  I wrote an article on Iron Age hillforts for a British newspaper. There are loads of these gigantic forts – ditches and ramparts dug around the flattened top of a hill - all over Britain. The Iron Age was a busy, massive, but totally unknown part of British history despite being relatively recent (it runs from roughly 2800 to 2000 years ago. The pyramids in Cairo are 4500 years old). Walking on a hillfort with an expert called Peter Woodward, I asked him if the British Iron Age was like Conan the Barbarian, full of muscle-bound warriors rescuing virgins from snake temples. He said that as far as we know, yes. I decided to write a novel set in the period there and then.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Age of Iron?

Angus:  Because the ancient Brits didn’t write, we know very little about the Iron Age and there are just a few books on it. I read all of them, and visited a load of hillforts. The next two books in the trilogy focus more on Rome and the Romans. There are tons of books written about that, so I was able to do a lot more book based research.



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

Angus:  Dug was probably easiest, because he’s a naturally lazy man in his early forties who finds himself living a busy life and looking after others. That’s not miles away from me. The hardest are probably all the minor characters, because each of them has to actually be a character with loves, hates, a back story etc, so it slows down the writing a lot to have to stop and work them out every time a new one pops up.



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

Angus:  ‘Dug fled’. Is my favourite line. Another one picked at random is: ‘Big badgers’ balls,’ said Dug. ‘I don’t like the look of this.’



TQ:  What's next?

Angus:  I’m finishing off the Age of Iron trilogy at the moment and should be done by February 2015. After that I’m thinking of sending some of the surviving characters to prehistoric north America, where there may be a war going on, possibly between humans and bigfoots. I’m not just saying this because you’re American, but I do love the States and would love an excuse to spend more time there. I already go there quite often with my wife to drive, hike, eat and take photos. We go less now we have baby, but he has already been to Las Vegas and hiking in the desert. He’ll be one next month.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Angus:  You’re welcome, thanks for asking me along!





Age of Iron
Iron Age Trilogy 1
Orbit, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 576 pages

Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014
LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE MADE.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution.

Now Dug's on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­-- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that might get them all killed . . .





About Angus

Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 2014
Photo by Nicola Watson
ANGUS WATSON is an author and journalist living in London. He's written hundreds of features for many newspapers including the Times, Financial Times and the Telegraph, and the latter even sent him to look for Bigfoot. As a fan of both historical fiction and epic fantasy, Angus came up with the idea of writing a fantasy set in the Iron Age when exploring British hillforts for the Telegraph, and developed the story while walking Britain's ancient paths for further articles. You can find him on Twitter at @GusWatson or find his website at: www.guswatson.com.

Website  ~  Twitter @GusWatson


2014 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts





There are 13 debuts (so far) for September. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The September 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 September cover for the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on September 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.




Siobhan Adcock

The Barter
Dutton Adult, September 4, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

A heart-stopping tale as provocative as is suspenseful, about two conflicted women, separated by one hundred years, and bound by an unthinkable sacrifice.

The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.

Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.

On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.

As Siobhan Adcock crosscuts these stories with mounting tension, each woman arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making, tinged with love and fear and dread. What will they sacrifice to save their families—and themselves? Readers will slow down to enjoy the gorgeous language, then speed up to see what happens next in a plot that thrums with the weight of decision—and its explosive consequences.




Maria Alexander

Mr. Wicker
Raw Dog Screaming Press, September 16, 20414
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 236 pages

Alicia Baum is missing a deadly childhood memory.

Located beyond life, The Library of Lost Childhood Memories holds the answer. The Librarian is Mr. Wicker — a seductive yet sinister creature with an unthinkable past and an agenda just as lethal. After committing suicide, Alicia finds herself before the Librarian, who informs her that her lost memory is not only the reason she took her life, but the cause of every bad thing that has happened to her.

Alicia spurns Mr. Wicker and attempts to enter the hereafter without the Book that would make her spirit whole. But instead of the oblivion she craves, she finds herself in a psychiatric hold at Bayford Hospital, where the staff is more pernicious than its patients.

Child psychiatrist Dr. James Farron is researching an unusual phenomenon: traumatized children whisper to a mysterious figure in their sleep. When they awaken, they forget both the traumatic event and the character that kept them company in their dreams — someone they call “Mr. Wicker.”

During an emergency room shift, Dr. Farron hears an unconscious Alicia talking to Mr. Wicker—the first time he’s heard of an adult speaking to the presence. Drawn to the mystery, and then to each other, they team up to find the memory before it annihilates Alicia for good. To do so they must struggle not only against Mr. Wicker’s passions, but also a powerful attraction that threatens to derail her search, ruin Dr. Farron’s career, and inflame the Librarian’s fury.

After all, Mr. Wicker wants Alicia to himself, and will destroy anyone to get what he wants. Even Alicia herself.




Chloe Benjamin

The Anatomy of Dreams
Atria Books, September 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook,  320 pages

Long-listed for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

“A sly, promising and ambitious debut.” —Publishers Weekly

“Chloe Benjamin is a great new talent.” —Lorrie Moore, author of Bark: Stories

It’s 1998, and Sylvie Patterson, a bookish student at a Northern California boarding school, falls in love with a spirited, elusive classmate named Gabe. Their headmaster, Dr. Adrian Keller, is a charismatic medical researcher who has staked his career on the therapeutic potential of lucid dreaming: By teaching his patients to become conscious during sleep, he helps them to relieve stress and heal from trauma. Over the next six years, Sylvie and Gabe become consumed by Keller’s work, following him from the redwood forests of Eureka, California, to the enchanting New England coast.

But when an opportunity brings the trio to the Midwest, Sylvie and Gabe stumble into a tangled relationship with their mysterious neighbors—and Sylvie begins to doubt the ethics of Keller’s research, recognizing the harm that can be wrought under the guise of progress. As she navigates the hazy, permeable boundaries between what is real and what isn’t, who can be trusted and who cannot, Sylvie also faces surprising developments in herself: an unexpected infatuation, growing paranoia, and a new sense of rebellion.

In stirring, elegant prose, Benjamin’s tale exposes the slippery nature of trust—and the immense power of our dreams.




Deborah Blake

Wickedly Dangerous
A Baba Yaga Novel 1
Berkley, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
(Fiction Debut)

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…




Beth Cato

The Clockwork Dagger
Harper Voyager, September 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.

Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.




Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician
The Paper Magician 1
47North, September 1, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook,224 pages

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

From the imaginative mind of debut author Charlie N. Holmberg, The Paper Magician is an extraordinary adventure both dark and whimsical that will delight readers of all ages.




Sylvia Izzo Hunter

The Midnight Queen
A Noctis Magicae Novel 1
Ace, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…




Peyton Marshall

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

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.




Lauren Oliver

Rooms
Ecco, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
(Adult Debut)

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.




Carol J. Perry

Caught Dead Handed
A Witch City Mystery 1
Kensington, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
(Adult Debut)

She's not a psychic--she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it's home. This October she's returned to her hometown--where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives--to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it's starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch--especially when O'Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer--or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .




Gregory Sherl

The Future for Curious People
Algonquin Books, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

“Comic and Exuberant . . . A fine and tender tale for anyone who has tried to let go of the past and envision the future while falling in love.” —Rhonda Riley, author of The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

What if you could know your romantic future? What if an envisionist could enter the name of your prospective mate into a computer that would show you a film of your future life together?

In The Future for Curious People, a young librarian named Evelyn becomes obsessed with this new technology: she can’t stop visiting Dr. Chin’s office because she needs to know that she’ll meet someone and be happy one day. Godfrey, another client, ends up at the envisionist’s office only because his fiancée insisted they know their fate before taking the plunge. But when Godfrey meets Evelyn in the waiting room, true love may be right in front of them, but they are too preoccupied—and too burdened by their pasts—to recognize it.

This smart, fresh love story, with its quirky twists and turns, ponders life’s big questions—about happiness, fate, and our very existence—as it follows Evelyn and Godfrey’s quest for the elusive answers.

“A love story about love stories . . . The pages burst with laugh-out-loud scenes and crisply original set-ups. I loved it!” —Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine

“Somewhere between Jorge Luis Borge’s ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’ and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind you will find Gregory Sherl’s warm, intelligent debut novel.” —Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State

“Enormously appealing . . . Evelyn and Godfrey are two unforgettable characters you’ll root for and remember long after you’ve read the last page of this wildly  original, deeply moving novel.” —Mindy Friddle, author of Secret Keepers



Karina Sumner-Smith

Radiant
Towers Trilogy 1
Talos, September 30, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Note: Radiant's publication date had been moved to
       October 7th and then to September 30.

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.



Chrysler Szarlan

The Hawley Book of the Dead
Ballantine Books, September 23, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.




Angus Watson

Age of Iron
Iron Age Trilogy 1
Orbit, September 2, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 576 pages

LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE MADE.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution.

Now Dug's on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­-- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that might get them all killed . . .




2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato


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


Beth Cato

The Clockwork Dagger
Harper Voyager, September 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato
Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.

Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner


The winner of the August 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Monster's Wife by Kate Horsley with 44 votes equaling 43% of all votes. The Monster's Wife is published by Barbican Press


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner
Artwork by Jason Anscomb of Rawshock Design




The Final Results

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner




The August 2014 Debut Covers

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner


Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the September Debut covers starting on September 15, 2014. Look for the list of September's Debuts on September 1st.


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith


2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith


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


Karina Sumner-Smith

Radiant
Towers Trilogy 1
Talos, September 23, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith
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.


Note: This is the actual cover!


Interview with Lauren Owen, author of The Quick - August 21, 2014


Please welcome Lauren Owen to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Quick was published on June 17, 2014 by Random House.







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

Lauren:  Thank you! I started writing when I was quite young, just for fun – I didn’t know that you could be a writer as a job, I just found it really enjoyable to come up with new ideas for characters and stories.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Lauren:  I love to plot, and I have a lot of fun writing elaborate plans before I start writing. I definitely like to have a journey mapped out before I begin. But once I do actually commence writing I usually deviate wildly, and have to rewrite my plans to match what I’ve written.



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

Lauren:  The most challenging thing is probably pushing through moments of doubt, the writing slumps. There are times when I feel like I’m getting nowhere – the best solution is to carry on writing, but that feels like the last thing I want to do. If I can’t bully myself into pushing on, I find the other thing that helps is spending a lot of time reading.



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

Lauren:  I am very influenced by the writing of the nineteenth century, which I loved growing up – many of my favorite authors are drawn from this period, including Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins, and Oscar Wilde.



TQ:  Describe The Quick in 140 characters or less.

Lauren:  A gothic mystery set in late-Victorian London. A woman searches for her brother, who has vanished under sinister circumstances.



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

Lauren:  Two characters visit the premiere performance of Lady Windermere’s Fan in London, and Oscar Wilde makes a brief cameo appearance.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Quick? Why did you set the novel in Victorian London?

Lauren:  I find the Victorian period absolutely fascinating – particularly the later decades of the era, where a lot of the old certainties were beginning to crumble, and new ideas and inventions were emerge. The Quick is to a great extent a response to the gothic fiction of this era – books like Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Beetle, which brought the gothic genre to late-nineteenth-century London.



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

Lauren:  A lot of my research was done in the library – I was lucky enough to have access to the British Library some of the time, which was a wonderful opportunity to look up details on 19th century life. I also visited a couple of places in London which still have some similarities to their Victorian incarnations – the Natural History Museum, and Kensal Green graveyard.



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

Lauren:  Liza was one of the easiest characters to write, because in spite of her unusual circumstances she also has a number of typical child feelings – she wants to be important and brave, she wants approval, she’s frightened, she wants her mother.
Mould was one of the harder characters to write, simply because his narrative strand includes a lot of explication – I ended up having to cut a lot of superfluous detail.



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


Lauren:  Two of my favourite lines from Chapter One, which I think illustrate the relationship between the siblings Charlotte and James, and one of the major themes of the book:

‘They would lie all night like that, snug as the pair of pistols that lived in the blue-lined case in Father’s study.’

And:

‘The library was full of treasures.’



TQ:  What's next?

Lauren:  I’m currently working on a sequel to The Quick, which will continue the story into the next century.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Lauren:  Thank you!





The Quick
Random House, June 17, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 544 pages

For fans of Anne Rice, The Historian, and The Night Circus, an astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London

1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.

In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.





About Lauren

LAUREN OWEN studied English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2009 Curtis Brown prize for the best fiction dissertation. The Quick is her first novel. She lives in northern England.



Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014


Please welcome Stephanie Feldman to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Angel of Losses was published on July 29th by Ecco.



Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014




I don't have a lot in common with Marjorie, the young literature scholar who narrates The Angel of Losses, but there is this: we're both obsessive researchers. Early in the book, she describes her summer in the university library:

“My back ached and my ribs were tender from hugging the books so close. I wasn’t burdened, though. I was driven. Obsessed. If I found one useful sentence, one fact, in four hundred pages, I felt triumphant, like I had pulled a rare fossil from the desert.”

       She's describing me, as well, as I prepared to write this book. The early phase of a writing project is my favorite: I become a collector of possibilities, with no editing, no paring down, no choices that require discarding a great detail or line of dialogue or image.
       When I began researching my story, I was looking for Wandering Jews. I had fallen in love with the legendary immortal--sometimes sinister, sometimes tragic--I had discovered in gothic novels, but I didn't want to employ the anti-Semitic tradition that bore him. (His name doesn’t indicate faith; “Jew” signals rejection of Christ, and being “Other.”) So I decided to take him in what would be, ironically, a new direction: I would make him Jewish.
       I found many similar figures: Benjamin of Tudela, the Spanish Jew who documented his travels across Europe and the Orient in the eleventh-century; the prophet Elijah, who appears anonymously to help good people in need in folklore; and Rabbi Akiba, the second-century political leader and mystic who, according to legend, attempted to enter paradise, which is forbidden to mortals.
       I learned that mystics like Akiba practiced angel magic--using names and formulas to command angels. So I began reading whatever I could find about Jewish angels. I was prepared to continue my furious note-taking and photocopying; I worked as if I were Marjorie, writing a dissertation instead of a novel.
       Except here's the thing about Jewish angels: there is no canon. No scholar ever systematized the variety of claims about angels in the Bible, rabbinical texts, and folklore from the far reaches of the globe. Instead, there is an abundance of competing thought.
       Some sources claim that angels are perfect expressions of God’s intentions; others that they can misbehave. Some grant them human personalities; others insist they embody forces, like creation or pestilence. Some say each person has two guardian angels, while others give us four. Some say the first angels numbered 70, one for each nation on earth. Some say angels are made of half fire and half water.
       At first, I was frustrated—how could I create a character that honors such a wildly diverse tradition? But the big, messy nature of the subject was actually a gift. I didn’t need to serve the Angel; instead, the Angel served me, my characters, and their journeys.
       Yode’a, the Angel of Losses himself is referenced in a letter from the 18th-century Eastern-European rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. It is believed that the rabbi invented him.
       And with that—an evocative name, a concept, and no history to attend to—I was done with my angel research. I created him anew, using a few stray “facts” I’d picked up before abandoning my reading. My angel isn’t a cosmic force, but a personality with his own intentions. He has perfect knowledge of the universe, except for one thing: he doesn’t know when the Messiah will return, when God will redeem the fallen world.
       After the book went to press, someone contacted me. She had seen the title, and she knew about Rabbi Nachman’s—my—angel. Apparently there’s more about him, all in Hebrew, a language I don’t read.
       A part of me is curious, but mostly I’m content with not knowing. Not knowing is what allowed me to write this book.





The Angel of Losses
Ecco, July 29, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014
The Tiger's Wife meets The History of Love in this inventive, lushly imagined debut novel that explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters

When Eli Burke dies, he leaves behind a mysterious notebook full of stories about a miracle worker named the White Rebbe and the enigmatic Angel of Losses, both protectors of things gone astray and guardians of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God.

Years later, when Eli's granddaughter Marjorie stumbles upon his notebook, everything she thought she knew about her grandfather—and her family—comes undone. To learn the truth about Eli's origins and unlock the secrets he kept, Marjorie embarks on an odyssey that takes her deep into the past, from the medieval Holy Land to eighteenth-century Venice and Nazi-occupied Lithuania. What she finds leads her back to present-day New York City and her estranged sister, Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's past.

Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.





About Stephanie

Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014
Stephanie Feldman is a graduate of Barnard College. She lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband and her daughter. For more on her writing and inspiration, visit her at: http://stephaniefeldman.com/.









Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @sbfeldman  ~  Pinterest
2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler SzarlanInterview with Carol J. Perry - September 5, 2014Interview with Sylvia Izzo Hunter, author of The Midnight Queen - September 2, 2014Interview with Angus Watson, author of Age of Iron - September 1, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - August 2014 Winner2014 Debut Author Challenge Update - Radiant by Karina Sumner-SmithInterview with Lauren Owen, author of The Quick - August 21, 2014Guest Blog by Stephanie Feldman, author of The Angel of Losses - August 18, 2014

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