The Qwillery | category: 2015 DAC | (page 3 of 21)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner

The winner of the October  2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Conspiracy of Angels by Michelle Belanger from Titan Books with 67 votes equaling 71% of all votes.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner

The Results

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner

The October 2015 Debut Covers

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner

Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the November Debut covers starting on November 15, 2015.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Here & There by Joshua V. Scher

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Here & There by Joshua V. Scher

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Joshua V. Scher

Here & There
47North, November 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 587 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: Here & There by Joshua V. Scher
It was supposed to be a simple proof of concept. The physics were sound. Over one hundred teleportation experiments had already been successfully performed...

Debate rages over whether the Reidier Test’s disastrous outcome resulted from human error, government conspiracy, or sabotage. No one has actual knowledge of the truth. But hidden from the public eye, there exists a government report commissioned from criminal psychologist Dr. Hilary Kahn, chronicling the events that took place.

Dr. Kahn disappeared without a trace.

Now her son Danny has unearthed and revealed the report, fueling controversy over the details of Reidier’s quest to reforge the fabric of reality and hold his family together. Exposed with little chance of finding his mother, Danny goes underground to investigate. But nothing can prepare him for what he discovers.

In this thrilling saga, a paradigm-shattering feat may alter humanity’s future as quantum entanglement and teleportation collide.

Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Conspiracy of Angels

Please welcome Michelle Belanger to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Conspiracy of Angels, the first novel in the Shadowside series, is published today by Titan Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Michelle a Happy Publication Day.

Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Conspiracy of Angels

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Michelle:  I started writing because there was no other choice. Words and stories clamored in my head and they all wanted out. I made my first professional sale at seventeen and I haven't looked back since. Although my initial aspirations were in fiction, I found a very comfortable place for myself writing non-fiction for many years. My Dictionary of Demons, released through Llewellyn Worldwide in 2010, remains one of my most popular works. It's in its seventh or eighth printing now. I love the detective-work of intensely research-based non-fiction, but the urge to tell stories never went away. When the Shadowside series began taking shape, I got so invested in the characters and their world that I knew it was time to make a change.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Michelle:  I'd love to be a straight-up plotter -- it always seems like it would be easier. Certainly, I start out that way, mapping out my stories in broad strokes, usually scene by scene. But in the end, the characters demand hybridization. Just when things get intense, they veer off in a direction I didn't foresee, and it's too exciting not to follow where they lead. As a writer, it's really delightful for me when the characters become so real that they can catch me off guard. I think allowing for some wiggle room for those kinds of twists enlivens the story.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Michelle:  With fiction writing, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities. When I write non-fiction, sense and structure are so straight-forward. Facts are facts, and there's a clear and certain way in which to arrange them. But with fiction, every story could be a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. There are so many roads not taken, what-ifs, and might-have-beens. Each and every character faces choices that can change them and thus change the direction of the story. Even when I start with a map of the action, all those possibilities sing out and it can be hard to resist the temptation to explore. I'll admit -- every once in a while, I indulge my curiosity and write an alternate scene just to see how those might-have-beens play out.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Michelle:  Like so many who grow up to be writers, I started out as an early and voracious reader. For as long as I can remember, I've had a penchant for the weird and macabre, so one of my early favorites was the short story collection October Country by Ray Bradbury. His tales really spoke to me, maybe because he shared my Midwestern roots, but also for his subtle juxtapositions of the familiar and the strange. Bradbury is directly responsible for my love of Urban Fantasy. As a teen, I discovered Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain series, and I was hooked. Current favorites include (but are in no way limited to!) Jim Butcher, Robin Hobb, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Seanan McGuire. Max Gladstone also blew me away with his Dracula short, "A Kiss with Teeth."

TQDescribe Conspiracy of Angels in 140 characters or less.

Michelle:  No memory. Sixty bucks to his name - and a tribe of warring angels out to do worse than kill him. Zachary Westland's having a hell of a day.

TQTell us something about Conspiracy of Angels that is not found in the book description.

Michelle:  Cleveland, Ohio is awesome. Seriously. It's an urban fantasist's dreamland. We've had Rockefeller, Langston Hughes, Thomas Edison, and Elliot Ness all living and working here. Saudi sheiks travel halfway across the world to get treated at our hospitals. There are salt mines 1800 feet under the city, epic disasters that inspired headlines like "They Died Crawling," a tangled mafia history, world-renown museums with collections that should make you green with envy -- and that's to say nothing about the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. Half my trouble is deciding which delicious nuggets of local color to weave into the world and which to save for later.

TQWhat inspired you to write Conspiracy of Angels, your first fiction novel?

Michelle:  I was sitting outside this haunted house, waiting for a local shaman to finish a ceremony to clear the ghosts -- like you do when your day job involves chasing spirits on international television -- and I started thinking about how my life had come to resemble another person's idea of fiction. And I indulged in a little game of what-if. What if this part of my life were a novel? Who would the characters be? What kinds of adventures might they have if clearing hauntings and hunting ghosts were as cool and showy as viewers wanted them to be on reality TV? Zack came out of that, and Sal and Remy soon followed. Before I knew it, I was writing furiously, and the Shadowside was born.

TQWhat appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

Michelle:  Urban Fantasy holds up a darkened mirror so we can explore our current world and all of its foibles. The settings in UF revolve around cities you can find on a map right here and now, and most authors in the genre do the research to make those cities as real as possible. That unflinching verisimilitude opens the door for so many subplots relevant to the very human experiences that help to make characters vital and relatable. Juxtaposed against the supernatural elements integral to the genre, those human experiences can really shine.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Conspiracy of Angels?

Michelle:  The short answer is a lot, but then, coming from non-fiction, research is sort of my thing. I've written about vampires, demons, ghosts, and psychic phenomenon, and in the Shadowside all these things converge where I can have fun with them. I very freely mine my previous research, building the supernatural elements of Zack's world on the bones of real occult practices and beliefs. As mentioned earlier, the verisimilitude inherent in Urban Fantasy really appeals to me. When a character uses a gun, readers expect that experience to reflect how a person would use the same gun in the real world. Get the little details wrong, and for many readers, that breaks the immersion. In a similar vein, drawing upon established elements of the paranormal and occult helps to build immersion so, when I veer into the realm of the truly fantastic, it has much more impact.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Michelle:  Hands-down, the easiest character to write is Lil. Known as the Lady of Beasts, she's what you'd get if you crossed Jessica Rabbit with Deadpool - only without his penchant for breaking the fourth wall. Brash and outspoken, she delights in weaponizing the expectations of people around her -- and she's already got a pretty deadly arsenal. Everything moves more swiftly when she's on the scene. The fact that my main character Zack never knows which way to jump when she's around is just a bonus.

The character who presents the biggest challenge is Terael. He's a disembodied spirit tied to a statue at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He is completely inhuman, thousands of years old, and a little unhinged as a result. His dialogue reflects this, and I go for a lilting kind of sing-song pattern when he speaks -- almost, but not quite, blank verse. Getting the right mix of informative and inscrutable can take a few tries.

TQWhich question about Conspiracy of Angels do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Michelle:  On the back of the book, Saliriel is described as transsexual. How much does that play into the story?

Honestly, about as much as the fact that Sal has blond hair. Sal's been running around in the same body since the court of the Medicis. She is old, she is powerful, and she has finally found herself in an age where the technology exists to make her outside match how she perceives herself within. As can be expected, everyone who encounters her has different opinions on her choice, just like in the real world. But, also as it is in the real world, that choice is merely one facet of who she is.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Conspiracy of Angels.

Michelle:  For lyricism, this line from the beginning of Chapter Six remains one of my favorites: "Once in a while I passed houses, but they were an acre back or more, their lights shaping dim constellations in an otherwise starless night."

For sheer Zack-ness, I'd have to pick this, from Chapter Thirty-Two: "He was stronger than me, which only figured. As a vampire, he had an automatic edge -- faster, stronger, more fashionably inclined."

TQWhat's next?

Michelle:  Right now, I'm focusing on the Shadowside series. The second book, Harsh Gods, is already done, and I'm currently working on book three, The Resurrection Game. I can't get enough of Zack's world.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michelle:  Thank you for the opportunity to dish a little about the Shadowside!

Conspiracy of Angels
Shadowside 1
Titan Books, October 27, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Michelle Belanger, author of Conspiracy of Angels
When Zachary Westland regains consciousness on the winter shores of Lake Erie, his memories are gone. All he has are chaotic visions of violence and death… and a business card for Club Heaven. There Zack finds the six-foot-six transexual decimus known as Saliriel, and begins to learn what has happened.

Alarming details emerge, of angelic tribes trapped on Earth and struggling in the wake of the Blood Wars. Anakim, Nephilim, Gibburim, and Rephaim—there has been an uneasy peace for centuries, but the truce is at an end.

With the help of his “sibling” Remiel and Lilianna, the lady of beasts, Zack must stem the bloodshed before it cannot be stopped. Yet if he dies again, it may be for the final time.

About Michelle

Michelle Belanger is a nonfiction author, a member of the vampire community, and a psychic seen regularly on the television series Paranormal State. She’s been featured on programs on HBO, the History Channel, and CNN Headline News, and teaches classes around the country on dreamwalking, energy exchange, and spirit communication.

Website  ~   Facebook  ~   Twitter @sethanikeem  ~  Pinterest

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Night Clock by Paul Meloy

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Night Clock by Paul Meloy

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Paul Meloy

The Night Clock
Solaris, November 10, 2015 (US/Canada)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Night Clock by Paul Meloy
An incredible debut novel that will move and terrify you, as reality itself is threatened by a world just beyond our own.

And still the Night Clock ticks...

Phil Trevena’s boss is an idiot, his daughter is running wild, and his patients are killing themselves. There is something terrible growing in Phil that even his years as a mental health worker can’t explain - until he meets the enigmatic Daniel, and learns of the war for the minds of humanity that rages in Dark Time, the space between reality and nightmares measured by the Night Clock.

Drawn into the conflict, Phil and Daniel encounter the Firmament Surgeons, a brave and strange band that are all that prevents the nightmarish ranks of the Autoscopes overrunning us. The enemy is fuelled by a limitless hatred that could rip our reality apart. To end the war the darkness that dwells in the shadow of the Night Clock must be defeated...

Paul Meloy’s extraordinarily rich debut novel introduces us to a world just beyond our own, shattering our preconceptions about creativity and the human mind, and presenting us with a novel like no other.

Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

Please welcome Max Wirestone to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss will be published on October 20th by Redhook.

Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Max:  This is actually my very first book, so just I started just over a year ago. I wrote UNFORTUNATE DECISIONS when I was doing collection development for my library, and I noticed that my geek readers and mystery readers overlapped on their book taste a lot, even though there were no books that scratched both itches. I thought I'd dig up a geek-themed mystery to add to the library, but I couldn't find anything. The book I was looking for didn't seem to exist, which was unbelievable to me.

So, I wrote it.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Max:  I am a panster through and through. Even when I try to plot, things go off the rails. I feel like comic writing is like doing a good improv, except that you are doing all the parts and you can go back if you mess up. Things usually get very silly, very quickly.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Max:  I have a tendency to go too big. My first drafts always start off with too many characters, and I have to cut them down as I go.. (The first draft of this interview had three people in it.) I get there, but my path is littered with bodies along the way.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Max:  My heart belongs to the stylists-- Raymond Chandler, P.G. Wodehouse, Ngaio Marsh, Raymond Carver -- writers that you instantly recognize because they have voices that jump right out at you. It's funny, because they don't necessarily have voices that that are similar to each other. I think perhaps I just appreciate their confidence. Also, most of them are funny, especially Raymond Chandler, who really doesn't get enough credit for his comedy writing. .

TQDescribe The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss in 140 characters or less.

Max:  An inept detective; a stolen weapon from an online game, a Jigglypuff cap and MURDER.

TQTell us something about The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss that is not found in the book description.

Max:  The climax of the book takes place at a Con, and is a very loving send-up of Con culture, both good and bad. If you've ever gone to an overcrowded con and thought about killing someone, this is the book for you.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss?

Max:  Aside from just thinking that it would be a nice addition to my library, I really wanted to have a book that was for geeks, by geeks. I often feel that geek characters get consigned to being sidekicks, or else they have their actions commented on by disapproving non-geek characters. I was sort of thinking: to hell with all that. Dahlia Moss is a book that's supposed to feel like you're at ComicCon or PAX-- a safe, warm, crazy place where you know that you're among your own people. It's like a hug, or perhaps a Vulcan salute, assuming the Vulcan in question was drunk and prone to saying things like "I love you, man."

TQWhat is your current favorite MMORPG?

Max:  The best MMO still is World of Warcraft, which is an unimaginative answer, but quantifiably true. My all time favorite, though, was City of Heroes, which I thought was a wonderful, weird, game that that really let players be creative. You really could spend days in the character generator, inventing your own superhero with ridiculous powers and insane cosplay. My main character in that game was Hester Prynne, who had hellfire themed powers. Her costume was ridiculous, with flames running up her legs and, of course, a scarlet 'A'. I remember running into a player who who role-playing as Sir Issac Newton and thinking: these are my people.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss?

Max:  Don't laugh, but I read quite a bit about Pokemon. One thing I was careful about was making sure that Dahlia didn't have exactly the same geek interests that I did, and let her have her own geek hobbies. To be sure, this was all deeply pleasurable research.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Max:  I find Charice, Dahlia's somewhat overdramatic roommate, very easy to write. As the parent of a four-year-old, I think I'm generally tamping down on chaos and so it's very freeing, as I do when I write Charice, to just let it run free.

The trickiest character is Detective Anson Shuler, whom I adore, but runs absolutely ram shod over any notion of plot I have. He was initially supposed to be in a single scene and then disappear forever-- his name is a Magic the Gathering joke, which should give you an idea how much currency I expected him to have-- and yet each time I revised the novel he made more space for himself. This continues to be true in the sequel. I quite like writing him, but it can be frustrating when he does not steer the novel in the direction I would want.

TQ Which question about The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Max:  I keep anticipating the question: "Just who the hell do you think you are?" which I feel certain that someone will pose, probably while throwing a drink at me. It hasn't happened yet, however. Maybe we could do it anyway, just so I won't be nervous anymore.
TQ: Just who the hell do you think you are? (throws drink, which is tricky to manage over the internet)

Max: I'm no one! No one I tell you! (sobs)
Wow, that was actually really freeing. I'm glad we did it. I feel liberated.

TQ Note: No authors were harmed virtually or otherwise in the posing of that question.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines/paragraphs from The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss.


I got up and Nathan stood quickly, stashing his bento box back into his bag. I was all but

physically shuffling him out the room, but he was stalling me. If he were a Pokémon,

this would have been where he revealed his super-effective stat reduction on me. He made pouty

eyes and scratched at his neck.

This worked surprisingly well.

“Don’t laugh, but I kind of wanted to hang out with a private detective,” he explained.

His embarrassment lasted nanoseconds, and he was bright again. “Makes you feel like you’re in

on something. You know, put the squeeze on the old up and down. Derrick the gin mill.

Hoosegow the bean shooters.”

“You’re just stringing together nonsense words.”

“Maybe,” said Nathan. “But you have to grant that I’ve got the cadence down.”

TQWhat's next?

Max:  There at least two more books coming up in the Dahlia Moss series. Astonishing Mistakes will come out next year, and is a riff on the alpha-male culture of fighting game tournaments. Also I make fun of Twitch a lot-- the streaming service, not the hip-hop dancer. Charice gets engaged, Shuler gets sloshed, and Dahlia is knocked off a steamboat. It's a good time.

I'm also brewing up a fantasy novel that's lightly inspired by It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Instead of Ethel Merman, there's a talking skeleton. (As I consider that sentence I realize it looks like some kind of madlib, but this is actually a thing that is happening.)

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery!

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Redhook / Orbit, October 20, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.

The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she's not living her best life. But that's all about to change.

Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she's offered a job. A job that she's woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she's just the girl to deal with them.

About Max

Interview with Max Wirestone, author of The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Photo by Elizabeth Frantz
Max Wirestone is a librarian in a small New Hampshire town. He lives in New England with his editor-husband and his non-editor son. Find him @maxwires.


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

M.H. Boroson

The Girl with Ghost Eyes
Talos Press, November 3, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson
It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes—the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father—and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.

Interview with Nadine Darling, author of She Came From Beyond!

Please welcome Nadine Darling to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. She Came From Beyond! was published on October 13th by The Overlook Press.

Interview with Nadine Darling, author of She Came From Beyond!

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Nadine:  My goodness, thank you so much for having me! I've always written, for as long as could actually write. My mom was a big reader; my first trip out was a trip to the library. I remember she and my sister discussing books and there was such an importance there, and I was very drawn to that, to how consumed they were by books. I remember my mom telling us the ending to Stephen King's Pet Semetary, for instance. I must have been all of six. And I still remember the ending, not reading it, but the way she described it. I had my little fan-fiction down, too, in middle and high school. I'm glad it doesn't exist anymore but it was super earnest. My Lost Boys fan-fiction. Young Guns. And years and years of Backdraft fan-fiction. Of course we didn't call it fan fiction then, and there was no real means to share it. I just thought I was a nerd. And, I was, really.

TQAre you a plotter, pantser or hybrid?

Nadine:  I just go. I sit, I put on my music, and I get the words on the paper. I'll go back later and clean it up, but I am a big advocate for just writing whatever it is in an almost stream of consciousness way.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Nadine:  Time. I have a one year old, a two year old, a six year old and four stepkids aged 12-19. Which is probably why I write the way I do, as though something is chasing me. I don't have the luxury of meandering through it.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Nadine:  Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, Myfanwy Collins.

TQDescribe She Came from Beyond! in 140 characters or less.

Nadine:  Oh, gosh. "Dumbass falls in love. Plus movies. Good times. Oregon."

TQTell us something about She Came from Beyond! that is not found in the book description.

Nadine:  I will tell you something very special about it. Its publication date is the two year anniversary of my mother's death from a brain tumor. My editor told me October, and I looked at all the Tuesdays in October, one of which was the 13th. I thought, hmmm. And of course that was the date. Of course.

TQ: What inspired you to write She Came from Beyond! ?

Nadine:  I was a short story writer, and I was interested in writing a novel because I didn't know if I could do it. I was afraid it would be choppy and that it would have no flow, so I just sort of took it chapter by chapter. I was as surprised as anyone! I wanted to write about being a stepmother because it's so strange, it's such a strange role to play. My stepkids have a mother and a father who are completely present and loving, so that makes what I do a sort of a glorified babysitting, kind of. At least when they were babies. Now we're friends. The evolution of it is very mysterious and beautiful. My relationship with my stepkids is incredibly complex and rewarding.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for She Came from Beyond! ?

Nadine:  Not much. I wrote about things that I know a lot about- Oregon, bad movies, being pregnant, mental illness, being in love. It flowed fairly naturally.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Nadine:  The easiest was Easy, the main character! She was me, in a lot of ways, with all her flaws and anxieties and the way that the things in her life were always reminding her of vague references from movies or songs, or whatever. My sister, Kelly, and I we have a Simpsons quote for everything. Everything. And if I'm alone and I can't tell anyone about it- that's the absolute worst! The hardest character was Harrison's- Harrison is the male lead- wife, Joan, because she was super complex, a character unlike any I'd ever met. She was patched together from different people, like my dad and my dad's dad and even myself. She's really smart and funny but she has limitations, and yet she's really honest about those limitations. I never knew what she was going to do from chapter to chapter, and she's absolutely nothing like my husband's ex-wife, whom I adore.

TQWhich question about She Came from Beyond! do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Nadine:  Well, hmmmm. I guess I'd like someone to ask about the writing of it, the finding of an agent, and the selling of the book, so I could tell them not to worry about it. It's scary, right? Sometimes people talk to me as though I've walked on the moon when they talk about publishing, and it's not like that because, at least for me, it happened very gradually. And it should be fun. There is rejection, and that part of it can be discouraging, but I completely believe that it's within reach. It's the old cliche: attitude is everything.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from She Came from Beyond!.

Nadine:  I can't, I'm so sorry. I'd love to, but I don't actually have a copy of the book with me, or even a galley! The lines that I like, though, are the ones that I forgot I'd wrote that make me laugh. Sometimes I can see a little swagger in a line and I like that because I know that when I wrote it, I wrote for myself and not for effect or whatever. I like the section I wrote about the fictional Oregon town where the story takes place, Troubadour. The town is a character, always broke, always lovable.

TQWhat's next?

Nadine:  Top secret! No, not really. A trilogy. Very cool. More about Troubadour. Maybe some character overlapping. I like easter eggs. I want people to read the new books and then go back to SCFB! and say, "wait a minute...."

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Nadine:  It has been my pleasure! Thank you, again!

She Came From Beyond!
The Overlook Press, October 13, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages

Interview with Nadine Darling, author of She Came From Beyond!
A darkly comic debut novel, a hilariously told story of love, attachment, anxiety, and nerd culture.

Easy Hardwick has it made. At just about thirty, she’s got a tumbledown cottage in small-town Oregon and an uncomplicated acting gig as the space-babe eye candy on a sci-fi parody show. She spends her downtime online, bickering with fans and fellow culture vultures about film trivia and relishing her minor-but-satisfying celebrity.

Enter Harrison. What begins as a jocular online flirtation spills into a messy IRL affair, and Easy finds herself pregnant with twins and sharing her home with the love of her life…plus the teenage daughter, baby son, and slightly unhinged, soon-to-be-ex wife she kind of didn’t totally know he had.

Easy may play a space ditz in hot-pants on TV, but her voice is restlessly intelligent, negotiating the absurdities of a world lived onscreen and online and striving to make sense of heady problems: love affairs, ex-wives, teen girls, eating disorders, and whether cannibalistic flies count as zombies. Like the captive great white shark that sets Easy’s story in motion, Nadine Darling’s writing has got teeth. Her pointed, precise dialogue, empathetic insights, and live-wire observations elevate this novel from zany domestic drama to outlandish comic masterpiece. She Came From Beyond! is an audacious, fresh debut from a writer to watch.

About Nadine

Nadine Darling's short fiction has appeared in Night Train, Edifice Wrecked, Eyeshot, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Per Contra. She lives in Boston with her family.

Website  ~  Tumblr  ~  Twitter @darling_nadine

Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards

Please welcome Matthew Kressel to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. King of Shards was published on October 13th by Arche Press.

Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Matthew:  I've always lived in my head, making up stories for my own entertainment, even before I knew what I was doing. Eventually, after many delays, I took a class at the New School in Manhattan on writing Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. It was taught by the late Alice K. Turner, who introduced me to constructive critique. She connected me to the writers group Altered Fluid that I'm still a member of today.

TQAre you a plotter, pantser or hybrid?

Matthew:  Both methods work for me, depending on the project. I tend to overthink plots when I "pants" it, so I've found that plotting helps me reign in my tendency for too much complexity (I love detail). On the other hand, there is a wonderful sense of freedom when you are flying by the seat of your pants and not knowing if you will fly straight into a wall or into the clear blue sky. I usually have an ending in mind before I begin either way.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Matthew:  Mostly, it's a time thing. I freelance, so I'm used to jumping between projects, but certain writing projects like novels take a huge amount of directed focus. When I'm jumping between multiple tasks for work and personal life, I find that it's harder to return to that state of hyper focus the novel needs. Ultimately, it's about me setting aside time each day for just that one task.

TQYou are also an editor. How does this affect or not your own writing?

Matthew:  I used to edit a 'zine called Sybil's Garage from 2003 to 2010, but I don't edit anymore. Though I would like to edit one or more anthologies in the future, it's not part of my immediate goals. Editing allowed me to view the process from the other side of the transom. It became very clear to me that if you don't hold the editor's attention at every moment, she's going to pass on your story. If you have hundreds of stories to read per month, you are not going to wade through the slow parts of someone's story waiting for it to get good. So in my writing, having that in mind, I realize you have to hook the reader from the beginning and hold her attention throughout. It's harder, of course, but it's made me a better writer.

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Matthew:  I started off as a kid reading the usual suspects. Asimov, Clarke, Niven, King, Lovecraft, Heinlein. Today some of my favorite authors are Jeffrey Ford, Kelly Link, Kim Stanley Robinson, Laird Barron, N.K. Jemisin, Mercurio D. Rivera. I love M.R. James and Poe and Shirley Jackson and....I could go on.

TQDescribe King of Shards in 140 characters or less.

Matthew:  An anonymous saint and a demon king join forces to save the cosmos from the legion of hell.

TQTell us something about King of Shards that is not found in the book description.

Matthew:  It is partly based on several esoteric Jewish myths, some of which I explore on my blog series 36 Days of Judaic Myth:

TQWhat inspired you to write King of Shards? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Matthew:  I love the myth of the Lamed Vav, which says that there are thirty six anonymous saints who sustain the world. If any one of them cease to be righteous, the world would be destroyed. They are so hidden and anonymous that you or I could be one and not know it. It says you never know if the person whom you meet is one of these saints, so you should treat all people as if they are one. And I thought to myself, somewhat insidiously, if they sustain the world, what would happen if someone killed them all? Eventually a plot arose in my mind of a horde of clever demons trying to kill the Lamed Vav in order to bring power and life to their long suffering world. That's how King of Shards was born.

What I love most about writing fantasy is the absolute freedom. In fantasy, you are not bound by ordinary rules of space and time, and thus anything is possible.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for King of Shards?

Matthew:  I researched heavily into various Judaic myths and folklore, and also into pre-Judaic Assyrian and Babylonian myths. A lot of these folktales and so-called apocryphal stories were appropriated from earlier cultures and religions and re-framed into the Judaic concept of reality. So you get cool things like the Babylonian night succubi "lilitu" becoming the terrifying Lilith, who later becomes a potent symbol of female independence and feminism. You get to learn that along with the Leviathan of the sea and the Behemoth of the land, there is the Ziz, an enormous bird whose wingspan goes from one end of the world to the other, and whose legs are so tall that if you dropped a hammer at their top, it would take seven years before it hit the ground. And I got to learn about the Shamir worm, which is a magical worm that can crack apart the hardest stone just by its mere touch and was used to construct the ancient Jerusalem Temple. And I read how King Solomon enslaved Ashmedai, the demon king, in order to find the location of the Shamir worm. There are so many wondrous treasures like these.

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Matthew:  I found Ashmedai the most fun. His voice came naturally to me. He's angry because his creator destroyed his world and almost killed him too. But he survived -- by the skin of his teeth. And now he's angry and wants justice. He's so determined that he'll do anything to get his way, even if that means killing anyone who gets in his path. Righteous indignation is a powerful motivating force. Daniel, on the other hand, was the most difficult for me. He's a Lamed Vavnik -- a saint -- though he doesn't know it at first. By nature, he's humble and kind, a do-gooder. That doesn't exactly make for an exciting character, and so I needed to have him change his behavior throughout the story without sacrificing his core morality. I never wanted him to become truly evil, merely corrupted, so it was a fine line to toe.

TQWhich question about King of Shards do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Matthew:  Who is the cover artist? His work is amazing!

The cover artist is Leon Tukker. He's an art student from the Netherlands and his work is amazing. He's only just started with this stuff and he's clearly got talent. I think more people should be aware of him, and I expect you'll be seeing his stuff on more covers soon. Check out his portfolio at:

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from King of Shards.


Not where the hell, Daniel, the demon thought, but which one.

One city’s rubble is the next city’s foundation.

TQWhat's next?

Matthew:  So I have two stories coming out soon. "Demon in Aisle 6" about a high-school kid who sees a demon in his mega-store where he works, comes out in Nightmare Magazine in November. And "The Problem of Meat" about interdimensional beings that eat our emotions, is coming out in the reboot of Grendelsong at the end of October around Halloween. Other than that, I'll be working on the sequel to King of Shards.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Matthew:  Thank you so much for letting me participate!

King of Shards
The Worldmender Trilogy 1
Arche Press, October 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards
Across the ineffable expanse of the Great Deep float billions of shattered universes: the Shards. Populated with vengeful demons and tormented humans, the Shards need Earth to survive just as plants need water. Earth itself is kept alive by thirty-six righteous people, thirty-six hidden saints known as the Lamed Vav. Kill but a few of the Lamed Vav and the Earth will shatter, and all the Shards that rely upon it will die in a horrible cataclysm.

When Daniel Fisher is abducted on his wedding day by the demon king, Ashmedai, he learns he is a Lamed Vav, one of the hidden righteous upholding the world. The demon Mashit has usurped the throne of demonkind from Ashmedai and has been systematically murdering the Lamed Vav. On a desert-covered Shard teeming with strange creatures, pursued by a fearsome demon army, Daniel and Ashmedai, saint and demon, must join forces to stop Mashit before she destroys all of existence. Daniel’s survival means he must ally with evil Ashmedai. Yet who but a saint—a Lamed Vav—can save the world?

About Matthew

Interview with Matthew Kressel, author of King of Shards
Photo by Christine Kressel
Matthew Kressel is a multiple Nebula Award-nominated writer and World Fantasy Award-nominated editor.

His novel, King of Shards, debuts October 13, 2015 from Arche Press, an imprint of Resurrection House.

His story “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye” was a 2014 Nebula Award nominee for Best Short Story.

His story “The Sounds of Old Earth” was a 2013 Nebula Award nominee for Best Short Story. The story also made the 2013 Locus Recommended Reading List.

His short stories have or will appear in such publications as Lightspeed, Nightmare, Clarkesworld,, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Interzone, Electric Velocipede, Apex Magazine, and the anthologies Naked City, After,The People of the Book, and The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, as well as other markets.

In 2011 Matthew was nominated for World Fantasy Award in the category of Special Award, Non-Professional for his work editing Sybil’s Garage.

In 2003 he started the speculative fiction magazine Sybil’s Garageand the stories and poetry therein have received multiple honorable mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. Under the rubric of Senses Five Press, Matthew published Paper Cities, which won the 2009 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology.

Matthew co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction reading series at the famous KGB Bar alongside veteran speculative-fiction editor Ellen Datlow. The monthly series highlights luminaries and up-and-comers in speculative fiction.

Matthew has been a long-time member of Altered Fluid, a Manhattan-based writing group. He is also obsessed with the film Blade Runner.

When he’s not writing, Matthew designs websites, which he has done for Stanford University, Columbia University, the magazines Weird Tales, Fantasy, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, writers Genevieve Valentine, Nicholas Kaufmann, Chris Willrich, and many others. He has coded applications and websites for ADP, Alliance Bernstein, and Nikon, among others. He also administers office computer networks. If you’re interested in his IT services, you can check out his business website here.

WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter @mattkressel ~ Google+ ~ Pinterest

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Grudging by Michelle Hauck

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Grudging by Michelle Hauck

The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.

Michelle Hauck

Birth of Saints 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 17, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Grudging by Michelle Hauck
A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power.  And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.

Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod

Please welcome Adrian Barnes to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Nod was published on September 1st by Titan Books.

Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Adrian:  When I was a kid, books made me feel alive--and amazed. Each new book was-and is--like that. I guess I sort of cried, ‘Me too! Me too!’ and so I did my best to join in!

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Adrian:  A bit of both, I guess. I tend to have a master plan and character or two, but after that I keep adding ‘stuff’ to make the stories cooler, funnier, and weird. My idea has always been to create novels as jammed full of...stuff! This includes stories, philosophy, and description.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Adrian:  I love the thought before I write and I adore endless editing, so I suppose it’s the actual writing that gets in the way as a necessity between the two!

TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Adrian:  Invariably I give credit to Lewis Carroll, a man who blew the entire world up for me...something for which I eternally adore and respect. His two Alice books are more real than the world we see around us.

I have also always loved Harlan Ellison, the SF man who also loved Alice and who also blew our visions of life apart, replacing it with something bigger and truer. He never tried to copy life as ‘real’. Rather he would take us take us beyond ‘normal’ to something much larger. When I was a teen I had read one of his stories but wanted more! He wasn’t in the library or books near me, so I took the bus downtown and searched the stores of old books for weeks. Eventually I found six or seven of his!

TQDescribe Nod.

Adrian:  Paul wakes up one morning only to discover that no one in the world has slept in the last 8 hours. Well, a few dozen people around the world had slept--and no one knows why they were left alone. That day the newspapers blabbed that science says that we all go insane after two weeks awake. And after four weeks, we’ll all die--or be killed. Theories spread like cancers as to what brought this to our world: disease, poison, drugs, aliens, and even God. And Paul? He watches it all happen and writes it down. A book he calls NOD.

TQTell us something about Nod that is not found in the book description.

Adrian:  Paul’s book, called NOD, is about the history of ancient words. The book is stolen by a local man, who sees it as a vision of the future and begins to start a new vision of life. All around Paul, a version of NOD begins to appear, even as the world begins to die.

TQWhat inspired you to write Nod? Did you set out to write a dystopian SF novel? Why apocalypse via sleep deprivation?

I suppose I find the world sort of crazy and doomed given the way we all act and I wanted to come up with a metaphor for what I see each day. We all act as though ‘life goes on’. But it just doesn’t. Not really. And we don’t want to face that. Why? Big stuff!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Nod?

Adrian:  I read up on the basic knowledge about human insomnia, of course. Sadly, there are some people who fail to sleep for two weeks and it’s horrible, but we study them and try to learn more about how our brains, under massive pain, cope. In fact, the ‘death at thirty days’ is a guess from doctors. No one has lived longer than two weeks. But in our crazy busy world, I’m sure we’ll get there one day...

TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Adrian:  The easiest character to write was Paul because, ahem, he’s a lot like me. He thinks and writes a lot! The worst? Paul’s partner, Tanya. I knew I would have to make her suffer and I felt guilty the whole time. The good news is, if I finish NOD 2...Tanya will get a second chance at life, despite her death.

TQWhich question about Nod do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Adrian:  Everyone asks me, ‘why couldn’t they sleep?’ and were sort of angry about that. I guess I wish someone would ask the questions ‘why can’t we sleep’ in a way. If that makes sense...

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Nod.

Adrian:  “She turned and walked out of the room. I watched her go with a miser’s attention. Each remembered detail of her face was precious to me.” These words, I suppose, apologize to Tanya in all her pain...

TQWhat's next?

Adrian:  Next for me is my new novel, Satan A La Mode, which comes out in December 2015. It’s my attempt to write a modern version of Alice in Wonderland: I aspire to create whimsy, seriousness, humour, poetry, politics, and so on. This new book is illustrated by the amazing artist Yuliya Kashapova. She is my partner on this project and has provided 75 pieces of art that go as far as, well, Alice in Wonderland.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Titan Books, September 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod
Dawn breaks over Vancouver and no-one in the world has slept the night before, or almost no-one. A few people, perhaps one in ten thousand can still sleep, and they've all shared the same golden dream. A handful of children still sleep as well, but what they're dreaming remains a mystery. After six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis will set in. After four weeks, the body will die. In the interim, panic ensues and a bizarre new world arises in which those previously on the fringes of society take the lead. One couple experience a lifetime in a week as he continues to sleep, she begins to disintegrate before him, and the new world swallows the old one whole...

Interview with Adrian Barnes, author of Nod
Adrian Barnes was born in Blackpool, England but moved to Canada in 1969. He teaches English at Selkirk College, British Columbia. He is married with two children. He received an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University and Nod is his first published novel.


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