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2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Froelich's Ladder by Jamie Duclos-Yourdon


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Froelich's Ladder by Jamie Duclos-Yourdon


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Jamie Duclos-Yourdon

Froelich's Ladder
Forest Avenue Press, August 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 248 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Froelich's Ladder by Jamie Duclos-Yourdon
Froelich nurses a decades-old family grudge from his permanent perch atop a giant ladder in this nineteenth century madcap adventure novel. When he disappears suddenly, his nephew embarks on a rain-soaked adventure across the Pacific Northwest landscape to find him, accompanied by an ornery girl with a most unfortunate name. In their encounters with Confederate assassins, European expatriates, and a general store magnate, this fairytale twist on the American dream explores the conflicts between loyalty and ambition and our need for human connection, even at the highest rungs.

Interview with Stephanie Knipper, author of The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin


Please welcome Stephanie Knipper to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin was published on August 2nd by Algonquin Books.



Interview with Stephanie Knipper, author of The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin




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

Stephanie:  Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be here.

I started writing when I was in third grade. A poet came to our school. She gave each of us journals and held “workshops” for several weeks. I loved it! I was already a big reader, but it wasn’t until meeting her that I realized someone had actually written all those books I loved. I still remember the wonder I felt when I realized that I could do that too.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Stephanie:  I’m definitely a panster! I’ve tried plotting but it just doesn’t work for me. Once I have the character(s) in mind and a bit of the story-line, I start writing. In general I only have the characters, a setting, and the vaguest notion of plot when I start writing.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Stephanie:  Well, I have six kids so finding the time to write while managing all of them is definitely the hardest thing! Other than that, the first draft always makes me want to pull my hair out. I’m always relieved when that first draft is finished, because that’s when I can really start to see the shape of the book.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Stephanie:  So many things. I’m inspired by great stories, genre doesn’t matter. If I fall in love with the characters, I’ll keep reading. Music inspires me. Often I’ll hear a song and it will trigger a story idea. I especially love American folk music. Patty Griffin is a particular favorite of mine right now. I also derive a great deal of inspiration from the land around me. I come from a long line of Kentucky farmers, and although as a society, we’ve become somewhat removed from the land, I always feel better with my hands in the dirt. But most of all, I’m driven to write because I’m a mother. I found my voice, and the issues that matter most to me after I had children. Several of my children have special needs. Through them, I’ve learned that although some of us might seem “different”, we’re more alike than we realize.



TQDescribe The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin in 140 characters or less.

Stephanie:  Estranged sisters reunite to care for a girl with both severe special needs and the ability to heal people.



TQTell us something about The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin that is not found in the book description.

Stephanie:  The book is as much a love song to the land of Kentucky as it is about the love of family.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin? What appeals to you about writing a contemporary novel "...with a touch of the magical..."?

StephanieThe Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin was inspired by two events in my life. The first was the birth of my son. My husband and I endured several years of infertility when I finally got pregnant without medical intervention. We were overjoyed, but our happiness was short-lived. I went into preterm labor, and our son was delivered 10 weeks early.

He was little but fine. I, however, wasn’t so lucky. I had developed peritonitis, a life-threatening abdominal infection. I was on life-support and spent six weeks in the hospital. I was later diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. After I recovered, I started wondering what it would be like if my story hadn’t had a happy ending. What if instead of a manageable illness like Crohn’s, I was diagnosed with something fatal? What would it be like for a child to grow up knowing her birth had (indirectly) caused her mother’s death?

The story didn’t fully form though until a few years later. My husband and I decided we wanted more children, but given my history, pregnancy wasn’t an option for us. We decided to adopt from China. We were matched with a little girl who had a small heart condition that had been surgically corrected. We flew to China in December of 2005 and met our daughter, Grace.

When we got there, we realized that something was very wrong with Grace. Her needs were much more severe than had been stated. We were faced with the decision to either leave her in China where she would likely be labeled as unadoptable and left to die, or bring her home and face the unknown.

We brought her home. I secretly hoped that we would be that family you hear about where love magically makes everything better. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Grace was diagnosed with tuberculosis, fitted with ankle braces, started having seizures, and was diagnosed with severe developmental delays and autism.

It took a long time for me to adjust, and honestly I spent most of that first year with Grace in tears, overwhelmed by all of her needs. But gradually, life improved, and I started thinking about my story idea again. But this time I wondered, What if the child losing her mother was a child like Grace? How would a child with severe special needs cope with a sick mother? With that thought, the character of Antoinette was born, and the rest of the story fell into place.

Antoinette’s magical ability to heal didn’t come into play until later. One of the things that people with special needs face is a lack of control. My daughter Grace can’t control her own body. She can’t speak. She can’t use a fork or a spoon to feed herself. She’s twelve and still in diapers. Often, this lack of control over her life frustrates her.

Antoinette has similar challenges when it comes to controlling her body and speaking. I wanted to give her something that she had control over in her life. That’s where the healing ability came into play. Antoinette can’t say the words, “I love you, Mommy,” but she can express that love by attempting to heal her mother.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin?

Stephanie:  I was already a gardener when I started writing the book, but I wanted a deeper understanding of flower growing so I enrolled in a Master Gardener certification course through my county extension center. In addition, the character of Lily is fascinated by the Victorian language of flowers so I spent a lot of time researching meanings for various flowers. I also talked to several people dealing with physical and/or mental difficulties in order to accurately portray the characters of Antoinette and Lily.



TQIn The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Stephanie:  Antoinette was definitely the easiest. This might seems strange given her limitations, but she is modeled after my daughter, Grace, who is severely disabled. While writing Antoinette, I pictured my daughter, Grace, which made it easy for me to get into Antoinette’s mind.

Lily was probably the hardest character to write. She’s very analytical and has a strong aptitude for numbers—the exact opposite of me! In addition, when writing Lily, I had to tap into the pieces of my life that I wasn’t particularly proud of; for example, the fear and anxiety I felt when we discovered that our daughter Grace was disabled. To do Lily’s character justice, I had to wade into my darker emotions and that was uncomfortable at times.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin?

Stephanie:  I never consciously choose to include or exclude any issue when I’m writing. The characters dictate what shows up in the story. In this case, Antoinette is severely disabled, so the way she interacted with society and conversely, the way society interacted with her were issues that made their way into the story. In addition, the book is very much about what it feels like to be “different” which is something that I think a lot of people have felt. You don’t have to be disabled to be excluded, and I wanted very much to explore the pain caused by not fitting in.



TQWhich question about The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Stephanie:

Question: Are you Team Will or Team Seth?
Answer: I could never pick just one. I love them both!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin.

Stephanie:  

         “You’re the only one who sees me. Not my messed-up family. Just me. Do you know what a gift that is? To be able to be myself around someone?”
         “Everyone’s life is hard in some way. Yours just happens to be easier to see than most.”



TQWhat's next?

Stephanie:  Right now I’m finishing up my second novel and starting to work on the third.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Stephanie:  Thank you for having me!






The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
Algonquin Books, August 2, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Stephanie Knipper, author of The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
In the spirit of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers--and with a touch of the magical--The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin is a spellbinding debut about a wondrously gifted child and the family that she helps to heal.  

Sisters Rose and Lily Martin were inseparable when growing up on their family’s Kentucky flower farm yet became distant as adults when Lily found herself unable to deal with the demands of Rose’s unusual daughter. But when Rose becomes ill, Lily is forced to return to the farm and to confront the fears that had driven her away.

Rose’s daughter, ten-year-old Antoinette, has a form of autism that requires constant care and attention. She has never spoken a word, but she has a powerful gift that others would give anything to harness--she can heal with her touch. She brings wilted flowers back to life, makes a neighbor’s tremors disappear, and even changes the course of nature on the flower farm.

Antoinette’s gift, though, comes at a price, since each healing puts her own life in jeopardy. As Rose--the center of her daughter’s life--struggles with her own failing health and Lily confronts her anguished past, the sisters, and the men who love them, come to realize the sacrifices that must be made to keep this very special child safe.

Written with great heart and a deep understanding of what it feels like to be different, The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin is a novel about what it means to be family and about the lengths to which people will go to protect the ones they love.

“This is the kind of book that invites you home, sits you down at the kitchen table, and feeds you something delicious and homemade. You will want to stay in this world where new relationships bloom out of broken ones, sisters find one another again, and miracles really do occur.” —Tiffany Baker





About Stephanie

Interview with Stephanie Knipper, author of The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
Stephanie was born and raised in Kentucky, where her love of books began at a young age. Her mother fostered that love with weekly trips to the library. Though they struggled financially, Stephanie's mother always made sure she had books. At the same time, Stephanie's father began cultivating her love of the land. He taught her the best time to harvest blueberries and which plants tolerated the thick Kentucky soil.

Stephanie's twin loves of literature and land would shape her life. She went on to major in English at Northern Kentucky University (later earning her Master's degree in English from the same university), and she studied to become a Master Gardener.

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin is Stephanie's debut novel. The title character, a young non-verbal girl, was inspired by Stephanie's daughter, Grace. Stephanie and her husband adopted Grace from China in 2005 unaware that she had several severe special needs.

Stephanie lives in Kentucky with her husband and six children, five of whom were adopted from China with various special needs. She is currently at work on her second novel.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @sknipper

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts


2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts


There are 13 debut novels for August including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian, and more.

Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The August 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 August cover for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on August 15, 2016.

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 2016 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for August 2016 The list is correct as of the day posted.

Updated to include Welcome to Deadland by Zachary Tyler Linville.



Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire
Kingmaker Chronicles 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER…

“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.




Lily Brooks-Dalton

Good Morning, Midnight
Random House, August 9, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
For readers of Station Eleven and The Snow Child, Lily Brooks-Dalton’s haunting debut is the unforgettable story of two outsiders—a lonely scientist in the Arctic and an astronaut trying to return to Earth—as they grapple with love, regret, and survival in a world transformed.

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.

As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton’s captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.




Georgia Clark

The Regulars
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, August 2, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
(Adult Debut)

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
A fierce, feisty, and “wonderfully entertaining” (Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies) debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular girls who suddenly have their fantasies come true…or do they?

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well...gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:

What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

Wildly irreverent, blatantly sexy, and observed with pitch-perfect wit, The Regulars is fresh “compulsive reading from a bright new voice” (Brenda Bowen, author of Enchanted August) in fiction, perfect for fans of Jennifer Close and Kevin Kwan.




Jamie Duclos-Yourdon

Froelich's Ladder
Forest Avenue Press, August 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 248 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
Froelich nurses a decades-old family grudge from his permanent perch atop a giant ladder in this nineteenth century madcap adventure novel. When he disappears suddenly, his nephew embarks on a rain-soaked adventure across the Pacific Northwest landscape to find him, accompanied by an ornery girl with a most unfortunate name. In their encounters with Confederate assassins, European expatriates, and a general store magnate, this fairytale twist on the American dream explores the conflicts between loyalty and ambition and our need for human connection, even at the highest rungs.




Brian Lee Durfee

The Forgetting Moon
The Five Warrior Angels 1
Saga Press, August 30, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 800 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
A massive army on the brink of conquest looms large in a world where prophecies are lies, magic is believed in but never seen, and hope is where you least expect to find it.

Welcome to the Five Isles, where war has come in the name of the invading army of Sør Sevier, a merciless host driven by the prophetic fervor of the Angel Prince, Aeros, toward the last unconquered kingdom of Gul Kana. Yet Gault, one of the elite Knights Archaic of Sør Sevier, is growing disillusioned by the crusade he is at the vanguard of just as it embarks on his Lord Aeros’ greatest triumph.

While the eldest son of the fallen king of Gul Kana now reigns in ever increasing paranoid isolationism, his two sisters seek their own paths. Jondralyn, the older sister, renowned for her beauty, only desires to prove her worth as a warrior, while Tala, the younger sister, has uncovered a secret that may not only destroy her family but the entire kingdom. Then there's Hawkwood, the assassin sent to kill Jondralyn who has instead fallen in love with her and trains her in his deadly art. All are led further into dangerous conspiracies within the court.

And hidden at the edge of Gul Kana is Nail, the orphan taken by the enigmatic Shawcroft to the remote whaling village of Gallows Haven, a young man who may hold the link to the salvation of the entire Five Isles.

You may think you know this story, but everyone is not who they seem, nor do they fit the roles you expect. Durfee has created an epic fantasy full of hope in a world based on lies.




Paul Jenkins

Curioddity
St. Martin's Press, August 30, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
Will Morgan is a creature of habit—a low-budget insurance detective who walks to and from work with the flow of one-way traffic, and for whom imagination is a thing of the distant past. When a job opportunity enters the frame in the form of the mysterious Mr. Dinsdale—curator of the ever so slightly less-than-impressive Curioddity Museum—Will reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing box of levity (the opposite of gravity). What he soon learns, however, is that there is another world out there—a world of magic we can only see by learning to un-look at things—and in this world there are people who want to close the Curioddity museum down. With the help of his eccentric new girlfriend Lucy, Will will do everything he can to deliver on his promise to help Mr. Dinsdale keep the Curioddity Museum in business.

Curioddity is Paul Jenkins’ debut novel... exciting, fast-paced, and uncanny. A must-read.




Forrest Leo

The Gentleman
Penguin Press, August 16, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
A funny, fantastically entertaining debut novel, in the spirit of Wodehouse and Monty Python, about a famous poet who inadvertently sells his wife to the devil–then recruits a band of adventurers to rescue her.

When Lionel Savage, a popular poet in Victorian London, learns from his butler that they’re broke, he marries the beautiful Vivien Lancaster for her money, only to find that his muse has abandoned him.Distraught and contemplating suicide, Savage accidentally conjures the Devil — the polite “Gentleman” of the title — who appears at one of the society parties Savage abhors. The two hit it off: the Devil talks about his home, where he employs Dante as a gardener; Savage lends him a volume of Tennyson. But when the party’s over and Vivien has disappeared, the poet concludes in horror that he must have inadvertently sold his wife to the dark lord.

Newly in love with Vivian, Savage plans a rescue mission to Hell that includes Simmons, the butler; Tompkins, the bookseller; Ashley Lancaster, swashbuckling Buddhist; Will Kensington, inventor of a flying machine; and Savage’s spirited kid sister, Lizzie, freshly booted from boarding school for a “dalliance.” Throughout, his cousin’s quibbling footnotes to the text push the story into comedy nirvana.

Lionel and his friends encounter trapdoors, duels, anarchist-fearing bobbies, the social pressure of not knowing enough about art history, and the poisonous wit of his poetical archenemy. Fresh, action-packed and very, very funny, The Gentleman is a giddy farce that recalls the masterful confections of P.G. Wodehouse and Hergé’s beautifully detailed Tintin adventures.




Zachary Tyler Linville

Welcome to Deadland
Nerdist, August 9, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 350 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
In a thrilling debut from Nerdist, a ragtag group of survivors struggles to hold onto hope.

A widespread disease has ravaged humanity―symptoms include: animalistic rage, violent outbursts, and a ravenous hunger for human flesh. The few people left are thrust together to fight for their lives, before the world becomes overrun by the infected. Asher, Wendy, and Rico try to reach an abandoned theme park, hoping for sanctuary. Although fear of the infected is ever-present, the group finds themselves facing some very human concerns, as well as new adversaries.

Asher is Wendy’s only friend, and she fears that she’ll lose him if he ever discovers the dark secret she’s been harboring. Reeling from heartbreak, Asher clings to Wendy as he struggles to heal. Rico is a seventeen-year-old rebel used to ditching school and partying all night―but can he outgrow his debauched behavior in order to protect a six-year-old boy who has suddenly fallen under his care? These three will have to overcome their own demons in order to save not only themselves, but the last vestiges of humanity.




Stephanie Knipper

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
Algonquin Books, August 2, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
In the spirit of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers--and with a touch of the magical--The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin is a spellbinding debut about a wondrously gifted child and the family that she helps to heal.  

Sisters Rose and Lily Martin were inseparable when growing up on their family’s Kentucky flower farm yet became distant as adults when Lily found herself unable to deal with the demands of Rose’s unusual daughter. But when Rose becomes ill, Lily is forced to return to the farm and to confront the fears that had driven her away.

Rose’s daughter, ten-year-old Antoinette, has a form of autism that requires constant care and attention. She has never spoken a word, but she has a powerful gift that others would give anything to harness--she can heal with her touch. She brings wilted flowers back to life, makes a neighbor’s tremors disappear, and even changes the course of nature on the flower farm.

Antoinette’s gift, though, comes at a price, since each healing puts her own life in jeopardy. As Rose--the center of her daughter’s life--struggles with her own failing health and Lily confronts her anguished past, the sisters, and the men who love them, come to realize the sacrifices that must be made to keep this very special child safe.

Written with great heart and a deep understanding of what it feels like to be different, The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin is a novel about what it means to be family and about the lengths to which people will go to protect the ones they love.

“This is the kind of book that invites you home, sits you down at the kitchen table, and feeds you something delicious and homemade. You will want to stay in this world where new relationships bloom out of broken ones, sisters find one another again, and miracles really do occur.” —Tiffany Baker




Christopher Steinsvold

The Book of Ralph
Medallion Press, August 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
A message appears on the moon. It is legible from Earth, and almost no one knows how it was created. Markus West leads the government’s investigation to find the creator.

The message is simple and familiar. But those three words, written in blazing crimson letters on the lunar surface, will foster the strangest revolution humankind has ever endured and make Markus West wish he was never involved.

The message is ‘Drink Diet Coke.’

When Coca-Cola denies responsibility, global annoyance with the beverage-industrial complex becomes indignation. And when his investigation confirms Coca-Cola’s innocence, Markus West becomes one of the most hated men on Earth.

Later, five miles above the White House, a cylinder is discovered floating in the night. It is 400 feet tall, 250 feet in diameter, and exactly resembles a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Nearly everyone thinks the cylinder is a promotional stunt gone wrong, just like the lunar advertisement. And this is exactly what the alien in the cylinder wants people to think.

Ralph, an eccentric extraterrestrial who’s been hiding on the moon, needs Markus’s help to personally deliver a dark warning to the White House. Ralph has a big heart, a fetish for Andy Warhol, and a dangerous plan to save the world.

Looking upon the cylinder, Markus realizes we are not the ones in control. The unexpected guest becomes the host, and somehow humans never belonged: “We are the homeless orphans peeking through the banquet window. We are the frills of the universe gazing upon something unspeakably more central than ourselves.”




K. B. Wagers

Behind the Throne
The Indranan War 1
Orbit, August 2, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
"Excellent SF adventure debut." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

Hail Bristol has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire.

When she is dragged back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir, she finds that trading her ship for a palace is her most dangerous move yet.




Noah Wareness

Meatheads, or How to DIY Without Getting Killed
ChiZine Publications, August 9, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 300 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
Youth of today don't know fuckall of history. They’re just swinging through the bank vaults on liana vines, setting bonfires, throwing shurikens at hogs. Born here and talking like the yuppies came to us. Like humped in overnight cross the freeway with brain sludge mustaches and the air all mergency broadcasts. Fact is yuppies built this town. Their money brought in mowers for the jungle, insta freeway mix to stop the rivers. We’re the mutants here. We’re the mutants here, and it’s our crew’s got the crazy story. . . .

Punks on acid keep on yelling past the bamboo fence, yelling stupid revelations. Maybe all the corpses in Kaliforonia did wake up once, but that’s history, and no one cares enough to care. You’ve got this sweet bedroom overlooking the radioactive swamp, it’s one short suspension bridge to the spam factory, and kids are calling Meatheads the best band in the world. Still. You miss the days when nobody came to your shows, nobody was feeding you the innerest secret mysteries of Lost Angeles, and they hadn't formed a single death cult in your honor. Lately it’s all last-minute brain transplants, telepathic silkscreen ink and tripping by accident into electrostatic ghost vortexes. It’s like drinking palm wine solves nothing anymore, and you can barely remember when the way of the samurai just meant chopping shit up with swords. . . .




Keith Yatsuhashi

Kojiki
Angry Robot Books, August 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
Every civilization has its myths. Only one is true.

When eighteen year old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”

Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfil her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows and chaos envelops the city. As Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession – that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honour her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.

File Under: Fantasy [ Gods and Guardians / A Father’s Secret / Longing for More / Cosmic Reinvention ]

2016 DAC Cover Wars - July Winner


The winner of the July 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine from Tor Books with 34% of all votes.

The Jacket Art is by Stephan Martiniere with Jacket Design by Peter Lutjen.


Arabella of Mars
The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 1
Tor Books, July 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Jacket Art: Stephan Martiniere
Jacket Design: Peter Lutjen

2016 DAC Cover Wars - July Winner
Since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, he proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in a flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby, a young woman who is perfectly content growing up in the untamed frontier. But days spent working on complex automata with her father or stalking her brother Michael with her Martian nanny is not the proper behavior of an English lady. That is something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

However, when events transpire that threaten her home on Mars, Arabella decides that sometimes doing the right thing is far more important than behaving as expected. She disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company, where she meets a mysterious captain who is intrigued by her knack with clockwork creations. Now Arabella just has to weather the naval war currently raging between Britain and France, learn how to sail, and deal with a mutinous crew…if she hopes to save her family remaining on Mars.

Arabella of Mars, the debut novel by Hugo-winning author David D. Levine offers adventure, romance, political intrigue, and Napoleon in space!





The Results

2016 DAC Cover Wars - July Winner





The July 2016 Debut Covers

2016 DAC Cover Wars - July Winner

Interview with Jen Williams, author of The Copper Promise


Please welcome Jen Williams to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Copper Promise was published on July 5th in North America by Angry Robot.



Interview with Jen Williams, author of The Copper Promise




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

Jen:  Like most writers, I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember – the first Christmas and birthday presents I can remember asking for were a typewriter and a desk (nerdy child, nerdy grown-up). I wrote a number of grim short stories as a young adult, usually involving someone getting eaten by cats at the end, but never thought I had the stamina to write a book. One day in my early twenties I came home from a particularly rubbish day at work and decided that to make myself feel better, I would write a scene that had been hanging around in my head for weeks. The scene grew, and spawned other scenes, and after about a year and a half I had a book. A terrible, wonky mess of a book, but still. From then on writing books was all I wanted to do.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Jen:  I tend to start with a very rough plan, and a lot of detailed character notes. My books are very character driven, so for me the most important starting point is knowing everything I can about them, and I like to have some idea of how they change over the course of the story. From there though, I let the first draft guide me, and often the final draft barely resembles the plan I started with. I recently took down the planning post-its from my corkboard for a new novel I’m writing called The Ninth Rain, and as I read them back I was amused by how much of my plan never made it into the book.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jen:  Maintaining stamina, I think. Writing a novel is a marathon rather than a sprint, and it involves a lot of work over a long period of time, and often throughout a lot of that time you are very unsure of what you are doing. I usually have a crisis of confidence about halfway through the first draft, and it can be very hard to throw yourself back into the work when you know you’ve still got a very long way to go. However, I’ve learnt that this period of uncertainty pops up with every book, and I’ve started to get quite good at ignoring it. In the end, writing a book requires you to be incredibly stubborn in a lot of ways, and that’s certainly a character trait I have.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Jen:  This is always a tricky question to answer, because I think often the things that really influence us slip under our skin and become invisible threads holding our work together – they’re there, and they’re vital, but they’re very difficult to see. Certainly Terry Pratchett has been a big influence. When I was a young person, the Discworld was fantasy to me, and those books taught me how important humour is. Likewise, reading Stephen King as a kid instilled in me the idea that readability is key – you want the reader to come on a journey with you, so don’t make it difficult for them. The Copper Promise was specifically influenced by Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories (the book is essentially a love letter to that sort of sword and sorcery) and the video game Dragon Age. I hadn’t written any ‘traditional’ fantasy for a long time, and Dragon Age gave me a kick up the butt, while reminding me that it’s totally possible to write funny modern fantasy that also features dungeons and dragons.



TQDescribe The Copper Promise in 140 characters or less.

Jen:  A pair of mercenaries accidentally awaken an elder god bent on destroying the world. And then things get worse.



TQTell us something about The Copper Promise that is not found in the book description.

Jen:  The dragon/elder god has a bunch of minions called the brood army. They are murderous dragon women, who cause all sorts of trouble, but also go through a sort of identity crisis…Huge fun to write, but very tricky to squeeze into the blurb.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Copper Promise? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

Jen:  I wanted to write something that had all the stuff I’ve always loved about fantasy – adventure, wild magic, outlandish monsters, dungeons, flashy weapons etc. Basically, I wrote it to please myself. I’ve always loved fiction that transports the reader to an entirely new world, and fantasy is the genre where you can take that to its extreme. I love creating new worlds, new histories and then exploring them.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Copper Promise?

Jen:  I sampled a lot of mead. Does that count?



TQIn The Copper Promise who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jen:  Wydrin, the wisecracking rogue, was certainly the easiest to write. Her voice has always been very clear to me, and it’s just a case of being quiet and listening to her. Sebastian, the knight who is her business partner and closest friend, was much trickier. Seb has a lot of internal conflicts; deeply honourable and kind, he also has a lot of reasons to be very angry. Seb’s journey through the books is not a straightforward one, and it was always important to me that although he makes some bad decisions, it’s vital that the reader understands why he makes them, and feels empathy for him.



TQWhich question about The Copper Promise do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Jen:

Q: Which bit of The Copper Promise always makes you smile when you read it?

A: Ah well, I’m so glad you asked that! There’s a scene where Wydrin forces Lord Frith to jump from the top of a tower, and it makes me laugh every time. That sounds pretty weird out of context, but honestly it amuses me so much.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Copper Promise.

Jen:

‘I changed my mind. It’s been a slow morning and I am easily bored. You, fresh meat. Would you like to die first?’ She held up one of her daggers, showing it to the youngest guard. ‘This one is called Frostling, and the other is Ashes.’
          ‘That’s the Copper Cat,’ he blurted. ‘She’ll kill us all, and take our bodies back to Crosshaven to feed to the Graces!’
          Triumphant, Wydrin turned to smile at Sebastian.
          ‘And you said that rumour wouldn’t stick –‘



TQWhat's next?

Jen:  Currently I’m in the middle of writing the first book of a new trilogy. It takes place on an entirely new world, with new characters, and so far it’s been a lot of fun. The first book is called The Ninth Rain.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Copper Promise
Copper Cat 1
Angry Robot, July 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Interview with Jen Williams, author of The Copper Promise
There are some tall stories about the caverns beneath the Citadel – about magic and mages and monsters and gods.

Wydrin of Crosshaven has heard them all, but she’s spent long enough trawling caverns and taverns with her companion Sir Sebastian to learn that there’s no money to be made in chasing rumours.

But then a crippled nobleman with a dead man’s name offers them a job: exploring the Citadel’s darkest depths. It sounds like just another quest with gold and adventure … if they’re lucky, they might even have a tale of their own to tell once it’s over.

These reckless adventurers will soon learn that sometimes there is truth in rumour. Sometimes a story can save your life.

File Under: Fantasy  [ Beware of the Gods | Dungeon Crawlers | The Brood Rises | Prince of Wounds ]





About Jen

Interview with Jen Williams, author of The Copper Promise
Jen Williams lives in London with her partner and their cat. She started writing about pirates and dragons as a young girl and has never stopped. Her short stories have featured in numerous anthologies and she was nominated for Best Newcomer in the 2015 British Fantasy Awards.

You can find Jen online at her website: sennydreadful.co.uk, on Twitter @sennydreadful and on Facebook.




Note: The Copper Cat series is published in the UK by Headline. The 3 novels are already published there.

Interview with K.S. Merbeth, author of Bite


Please welcome K.S. Merbeth to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Bite was published on July 26th by Orbit.



Interview with K.S. Merbeth, author of Bite




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

KSM:  Hi, thanks for having me! I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. As a kid I always had my face in a book and dreamed about being an author someday. I started writing my own stories in elementary school, and never stopped. My head is always full of ideas and characters and plots. I feel like I need to get them down on the page for my own peace of mind.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

KSM:  I’m a hybrid. When I first get an idea, I like to jump right in while I’m excited about it. After I word-vomit out the first few chapters, I pause and figure out where I’m going with it. As far as plotting, I use what I’ve heard called the “road trip” technique. I like to know where the story begins, where it ends, and some of the major stops along the way, but I figure out everything else as I go. It helps me maintain the sense of adventure while preventing me from getting lost.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

KSM:  The hardest thing for me is sticking with one idea. I have a long list of stories I’d love to write, and my brain would gladly jump around writing bits and pieces of each, but I’d never get anything finished that way. I’ve become a lot more disciplined over the years, but new ideas are still very tantalizing.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

KSM:  Mostly, I just try to write the kinds of books I’d want to read – and I’m a picky reader. I like to be surprised. I like things that are fresh and different and thought-provoking. I like complicated morality and main characters who aren’t really “heroes” in a traditional sense. Whenever I’m reading, or watching a movie, or playing a game, I’m always thinking about what is working or not working for me in the story, and I bring that with me whenever I sit down to write.



TQDescribe Bite in 140 characters or less.

KSM:  In a brutal desert wasteland, a girl finds a family in a crew of outlaws, and they cause a shitload of trouble.



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

KSM:  While there’s a lot of violence and grit and horror in Bite, there’s also quite a bit of humor! Of course it’s very dark humor that mostly revolves around cannibalism and similarly unsavory topics, but still, I think the story will get more than a couple laughs out of readers.



TQIn the About section on your website (here) you say that Bite is, in part, "...inspired by my love of villains... ." Who are some of your favorite villains? What else inspired Bite?

KSM:  Ooh, there are so many! I love Harley Quinn and the Joker, Bellatrix Lestrange, Gogo Yubari, Negan from the Walking Dead... I have a soft spot for female villains, and for villains that are both evil and funny. As far as other inspiration, I really love the post-apocalyptic setting, but I wanted to take it in a direction that hadn’t been explored before. It’s a setting ripe for violence and villainy, and as soon as I started to wonder about the “bad guys” in such a bleak world, the story began to come together.



TQWhat appeals to you about writing post-apocalyptic SF?

KSM:  I love the gritty, high stakes nature of the setting. The world has fallen apart, civilization has collapsed, and everyone is doing whatever they can to survive. In a world like that, you can really dig into the darker parts of human nature and explore exactly how far people will go to stay alive.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Bite?

KSM:  I did a lot of research into how people would survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Growing up in Arizona, it wasn’t too hard to imagine the desert-like setting and what kind of survival challenges it would pose, but I wanted to include as much realism as I could. I researched things like heatstroke and dehydration, the longevity of various kinds of canned food, and how water would be purified.



TQIn Bite who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

KSM:  Kid was the easiest to write. Her voice came really naturally – in part, I think, because her narration is so deeply entwined with the story in my mind. Bite wouldn’t be the story that it is without Kid telling it. I also relate to her because she’s not some badass or killing machine. She’s just a girl who’s figuring out where she belongs in the world.

The crew’s leader, Wolf, was the hardest for me. He wasn’t difficult to write on a surface level, but it was harder to figure out who he is beneath all the profanity and ridiculous one-liners, and harder still to get him to show it a little over the course of the book.



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

KSM:

Q: Have you ever drawn inspiration from an unexpected source?

A: What a coincidence, this sets me up perfectly for a story I’ve been dying to tell! ;)

Early into the first draft of Bite, I was working on it at home. I had put Kid in a pretty shitty situation – dying of dehydration and separated from most of the crew – and was puzzling over how to get her out of it. While I was brainstorming, my little brother (who was 12 or 13 at the time) asked me what I was working on. I gave him a quick run-down, and he listened and nodded and advised, in a very serious voice: “You should put a lizard in it.”

And, just like that, I knew how to write myself out of the corner I was stuck in. Thanks, Lucas!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Bite.

KSM:  Here’s an excerpt!
     “Is that a map?” I ask. I can’t read a word of it, but I recognize the shapes of mountains and roads.
     “Again with the stupid questions,” Wolf says. “Of course it’s a damn map. See, it’s got all the towns and shit.”
     “Wow.” This piece of paper holds more of the world than I’ve ever seen, not that it means much. Before I left town, I knew other places like it existed, but certainly not their locations or names. “You guys made this?”
     “Got it off a caravan,” Pretty Boy says.
     “So you stole it?”
     “It doesn’t count as stealing if they’re dead,” Wolf objects.
     “I think it still counts if you killed them for the map…”
     “I never said we killed them,” he says. “And no. That would count as looting, ain’t that right?”
     “Isn’t that worse than stealing?”
     “Whatever.”


TQWhat's next?

KSM:  Expect a sequel to BITE next year!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Bite
Orbit, July 26, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Interview with K.S. Merbeth, author of Bite
Kid is trying to survive in a world gone mad.

Hungry, thirsty and alone in a desert wasteland, she's picked up on the side of the road by Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy - outlaws with big reputations and even bigger guns.

But as they journey across the wild together, Kid learns that her newfound crew may not be the heroes she was hoping for. And in a world that's lost its humanity, everyone has a bit of monster within them...





About K.S. Merbeth

Interview with K.S. Merbeth, author of Bite
Photo by Mauri Mobray
Debut author K.S. Merbeth is obsessed with SFF, food, video games, and her cat and resides in Tuscon, Arizona.











Website  ~ Twitter @ksmerbeth


Facebook



2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Lily Brooks-Dalton

Good Morning, Midnight
Random House, August 9, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
For readers of Station Eleven and The Snow Child, Lily Brooks-Dalton’s haunting debut is the unforgettable story of two outsiders—a lonely scientist in the Arctic and an astronaut trying to return to Earth—as they grapple with love, regret, and survival in a world transformed.

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.

As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton’s captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.

Interview with Hayley Stone, author of Machinations


Please welcome Hayley Stone to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Machinations is published on July 26th by Hydra. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Hayley a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Hayley Stone, author of Machinations




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

Hayley:  I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It’s at the core of who I am. I don’t remember a time before, or a reason why, to be honest. I started writing from such a young age—about as soon as I learned how to put words together. My earliest stories were done on an old Windows 95, through a program called Paint, Write, and Play. I’m sure my mom still has the print-outs somewhere, haha! From there, I transitioned into writing fanfiction, starting with Jonny Quest and eventually moving on to Legend of Zelda and Star Wars.

Actually, now that I think about it, the reason why I started writing was a love of characters: it was the literary equivalent of creating imaginary friends. In the case of fanfiction, I didn’t want those stories I loved to stop, so I began to make up my own.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Hayley:  I’m a panster at heart. I liken it to jumping out of an airplane and figuring out how to open your parachute on the way down. Beyond the thrill of encountering new characters and unexpected twists, I feel pantsing allows for a more natural story progression, and permits the characters to drive the story instead of the other way around. I also love discovering what scenes and relationships grow out of the story organically.

This isn’t to knock plotting, of course! With my sequel, Counterpart, I did write a synopsis about a third of the way through to give myself a kind of road map. And generally speaking, I usually hold an idea in my head of where I’m trying to get to. Still, the journey itself is often a mystery before it’s down on the page. I like it that way.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? How does being a poet influence or not your prose writing?

Hayley:  This probably goes hand-in-hand with the previous question, but plotting. Ugh.

Being a pantser, I don’t outline if I can help it, which means I tend to hold a lot of scenes in my head at any one time. It can be a challenge to get them down on the page in the right order, and as a consequence, I always run the risk of following the wrong plot bunny down the wrong hole. I’m very particular about pacing, which makes it frustrating to end up with an unnecessary, tangential scene. There have been times when I’ve had to arm-wrestle my plots to get the story to read the way I want it to read.

Being a poet has improved my prose writing tenfold. In fact, one of the things I recommend to writers who are struggling to define their voice or liven up their writing style is to study poetry. Good prose, like good poetry, has a rhythm to it. A musicality. It paints clear and vivid images in the reader’s mind—or should, when done right. Adopting some of these poetic techniques solves a lot of pacing issues within a scene, too, as you learn when to draw out a description and when to cut it short.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Hayley:  Oh, geez. All sorts of things, really!

Books, obviously. I read voraciously, and oftentimes outside of my genre, hoping to gleam some inspiration from totally unrelated subject matter. Movies and video games are another; the latter is a medium that can do tremendously cool things with story. Take a look at any BioWare game, for an example of what I mean.

More than that, though, I’d have to say history informs a lot of my writing. You can learn so much about people, places, and the nature of conflict from the past.



TQ Describe Machinations in 140 characters or less.

Hayley:  A clone competes with the legacy of her dead progenitor to lead the resistance against machines intent on wiping out humanity.



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

Hayley:  The story takes place in Alaska!



TQWhat inspired you to write Machinations? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Hayley:  Thinking back, I believe it was a combination of the Doctor Who episode, “The Almost People,” and the anime Girl With the Third Eye. Both deal with clones or doppelgangers who believe they’re the real thing—or that they could be. This idea floated around my brain for some time until finally coalescing in a dream where I was watching another version of myself be with the people I loved…and with my blessing!

When I woke up, I immediately began to wonder about the circumstances around something like that happening, and Machinations was born. The machines were actually a bit of an afterthought; they showed up in the first paragraph, and I went with it.

Science fiction, to me, is a vehicle to explore human struggles. It’s taking a cool concept like killer robots or FTL travel or aliens, and asking, “What about the people? What are the people doing? How are they surviving or taking advantage of this situation?” Science fiction offers both an escape and a grounding of sort; it lifts a person out of their mundane life—but, amidst all the craziness, also points out flaws in a contemporary system, or offers a solution to a present-day problem. I love its versatility.



TQDo you deal with Asimov's Laws of Robotics in Machinations?

Hayley:  Not explicitly. Countless films and books have already shown that those laws can be overruled or broken, so I didn’t feel the need to go into detail about how they it happened in Machinations world.

Suffice to say, Machinations follows the current trajectory of present-day robotics, with autonomous weapons on the battlefield and a booming technological arms race ultimately leading to the creation of both benevolent and harmful artificial intelligences. I think this fellow has also shown with his thought experiment that at the end of the day, Asimov’s Laws are—to quote Captain Barbossa of Pirates of the Caribbean fame—“more of what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Machinations?

Hayley:  I researched Alaskan geography and weather, its pipelines, autonomous weaponry, bunker busters, electromagnetism—all sorts of stuff! Writing a book is always an adventure, in that respect. You can prepare ahead of time all you want, but even if you’re an expert in the subject, you’ll still run into something you don’t know and have to pause to look it up. It’s a constant learning process.



TQIn Machinations who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Hayley:  It’ll probably come as no surprise that the easiest character to write was the main character, Rhona. We have a similar stubbornness in the face of opposition, and the same gallows humor.

The hardest… hmm. Probably Rhona’s former lover, Camus. Whereas Rhona wears her heart on her sleeve, Camus tends to keep his locked inside a vault. As a more methodical and calculating personality type, it was sometimes a challenge to indicate what he was thinking, especially from Rhona’s outside perspective. His body language, consequently, provides the most vital clues to his feelings.



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

Hayley:

Question: What books would Machinations feel most at home sitting beside on a shelf?

Answer: The Confluence series by Jennifer Foehner Wells. Also, while they’re not science fiction, I think Machinations and Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series would strike up some delightful banter. Their protagonists would get along.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Machinations.

Hayley:

      Something’s punctured his side, judging by the way he’s hunched over, but I can’t tell how bad the injury is because his dark jacket is soaking up most of the blood. “Go. I will distract them. I will cover your escape.”
      A terrible, nameless feeling grips me. I search his eyes for the goodbye he isn’t saying. “And who will cover yours?”

***

      I stare, wide-eyed and dry-mouthed, as light and shadow fall over the machine’s still, metal face. It’s even more disturbing up close for its carnivorous look. A cool, raptor glare, designed to inspire fear, with optics red as the eyes of a monster. They are frozen in their last adjustment, half-extended toward me like a camera’s zoom lens. Everything being recorded, analyzed, and sent back to the higher echelon—the intelligence that rules the machines.
      The optics click, and I feel the movement like a foot in the gut. Back online.



TQWhat's next?

Hayley:  Right now I’m finishing copyedits for the sequel to Machinations, Counterpart, which comes out October 11th this year. So if you’re a fan of the first book, you won’t have to wait long to read the second! I’m also working on an epic fantasy that I can’t talk about just yet.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Hayley:  Thanks so much for having me!






Machinations
Machinations 1
Hydra, July 26, 2016
eBook, 374 pages

Interview with Hayley Stone, author of Machinations
Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.




Upcoming

Counterpoint
Machinations 2
Hydra, October 11, 2016
eBook

Interview with Hayley Stone, author of Machinations
The high-intensity sci-fi thriller series that began with Machinations continues as reincarnated insurgent Rhona Long faces off against the one enemy she can’t outwit: her own clone.

The machines believed their extermination of the human race would be over as quickly as it began. They were wrong. As the war against extinction intensifies, people are beginning to gain the upper hand.

Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought back to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good.

But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.





About Hayley

Interview with Hayley Stone, author of Machinations
Hayley (H. N.) Stone is a writer who lives in Rocklin, California. She recently graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor’s degree in history—a subject she believes offers a wealth of story inspiration as well as a powerful look into what makes us human.

While at CSUS, she had the pleasure of studying under award-winning poet, Joshua McKinney, who introduced her to a love of poetry, and taught her the value of precise language. Her blank verse poem, “Cinderella Comes Out of Egypt,” was published in the 2014 Calaveras Station Literary Journal, and her free verse poem, “On the Reservation,” appeared in the 2015 edition.

Her debut adult sci-fi, Machinations, releases from Hydra/Random House on July 26th, 2016. Its sequel, Counterpart, is also coming later in the year.

With an eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, Hayley has contributed to manuscripts such as The Paper Magician series (47North) by Charlie N. Holmberg, and Inconceivable (Curiosity Quills) by Tegan Wren. She served as a judge for the 2015 and 2016 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, and is currently an acquiring editor for the Romance imprint of Anaiah Press.

Hayley loves to hear from readers and writers.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @hayley_stone

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge.


Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire
Kingmaker Chronicles 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER…

“Cat” Catalia Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods—and her homicidal mother—have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm—until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Froelich's Ladder by Jamie Duclos-YourdonGuest Blog by Amanda Bouchet, author of A Promise of FireInterview with Stephanie Knipper, author of The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin2016 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts2016 DAC Cover Wars - July WinnerInterview with Jen Williams, author of The Copper PromiseInterview with K.S. Merbeth, author of Bite2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-DaltonInterview with Hayley Stone, author of Machinations2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

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