close

The Qwillery | category: 2017 DAC | (page 1 of 14)

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!


The Qwillery is thrilled to announce the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover of the Year - The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren with 38% of the votes.

The cover art is by Sebastien Hue.

For more about the cover for The Caledonian Gambit:


The Caledonian Gambit edged out Muddy Waters (Otherwhere 1) by Sara O. Thompson with cover art by Eugene Teplitsky by 31 votes!




The Caledonian Gambit
Talos, May 23, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!
The galaxy is mired in a cold war between two superpowers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth. Thrust between this struggle are Simon Kovalic, the Commonwealth’s preeminent spy, and Kyle Rankin, a lowly soldier happily scrubbing toilets on Sabea, a remote and isolated planet. However, nothing is as it seems.

Kyle Rankin is a lie. His real name is Eli Brody, and he fled his home world of Caledonia years ago. Simon Kovalic knows Caledonia is a lit fuse hurtling towards detonation. The past Brody so desperately tried to abandon can grant him access to people and places that are off limits even to a professional spy like Kovalic.

Kovalic needs Eli Brody to come home and face his past. With Brody suddenly cast in a play he never auditioned for, he and Kovalic will quickly realize it’s everything they don’t know that will tip the scales of galactic peace. Sounds like a desperate plan, sure, but what gambit isn’t?

The Caledonian Gambit is a throwback to the classic sci-fi adventures of spies and off-world politics, but filled to the brim with modern sensibilities.




The Results

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!





The 2017 DAC Cover Wars Monthly Winners

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts


2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts



Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2017 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on January 5, 2018.

Vote for your favorite December 2017 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December Debuts

Interview with Craig Cliff, Author of The Mannequin Makers


Please welcome Craig Cliff to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Mannequin Makers is published on December 12th by Milkweed Editions.



Interview with Craig Cliff, Author of The Mannequin Makers




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

Craig:  Thanks for having me.

I’ve always written. Being alone and making things up — being the boss of the page — was a kind of powertrip. Somewhere between the ages of 16 and 21 I got serious about writing for an audience, though it took at least another five years for maturity caught up to ambition.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Craig:  A total hybrid. I’ve tried both. I have the abandoned manuscripts to prove it.

Nowadays I won’t start writing until I have some sort of schematic that shows how all the elements fit together (for The Mannequin Makers this was a PowerPoint slide with lots of colored boxes and arrows). Something with the shape of the novel, some key events, but still a lot of questions to answer. And once I start, I’m free to go in other directions.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Craig:  With novels, it is sustaining everything -- my energy, the narrative voice, the reader’s interest – over what is usually two or three years of work.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Craig:  I never take off my novelist’s hat, so everything I consume - books, movies, video games, the aggravations of social media – winds up shaping my own work. Even the worst book has some redeeming feature, be it a lesson in what NOT to do, a new way out of an old bind, or a turn of phrase that unlocks something I’d felt but not yet been able to say.



TQDescribe The Mannequin Makers in 140 characters or less.

Craig:  A father raises his twins to perform as the perfect mannequins and trump his rival, a former figurehead carver and castaway.



TQTell us something about The Mannequin Makers that is not found in the book description.

Craig:  Eugen Sandow, the strongman who appears in early on in the novel and whose influence is felt through rest of the story, actually did tour New Zealand in 1902-03, I just made him perform an extra show. He was a fascinating dude. The first body-builder, in many respects. You can watch him flex in one of Thomas Edison’s first films on YouTube.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Mannequin Makers?

Craig:  I had a bunch of ideas – a father raising his children to be living mannequins, a shipwreck in the Southern Ocean, something centred on Eugen Sandow - that I didn’t know would or could fit together, but they had three things in common. They needed to happen in the past. They seemed so far beyond my own experience and what I’d written previously (a.k.a. A CHALLENGE). And they felt like the sorts of scenarios or characters I’d encountered in the kinds of books I devoured as a kid: Dickens, Verne, Dumas. The more I looked into department stores and clipper ships and physical culture, the more connections I found and the harder it became to not take up the challenge.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Mannequin Makers?

Craig:  I read. A lot. Books on all the stuff I just mentioned (and more), but also a lot of newspapers from the time period, which were thankfully all digitised and searchable online by the time I started. I travelled around the parts of the South Island here in New Zealand, where the novel opens and closes, but I didn’t go to other major settings – Scotland, Sydney, the sub-Antarctic islands - while writing the book. I made do with photos, maps, documentaries, first-hand accounts and my own imagination.
The highlight was being taken behind the scenes at our national museum and getting to touch items from the old castaway depot on Antipodes Island, like the “looter’s suit” that I later dressed one of my characters in.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Mannequin Makers.

Craig:  Covers are weird. This is the fourth cover for this book. The New Zealand and Australian editions are like a game of spot the difference and there’s a Romanian translation. The US one goes in a very different direction. I like how, once you read about ‘human mannequins’ on the back cover, those tools on the front seem more sinister. That’s kind of how the novel works too: things often appear sinister on second glance.



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

Craig:  The easiest: Avis, who narrates the second part of the novel. For some reason her voice for me clicked early. Perhaps it was all the reading I’d been doing set in that time period. Perhaps it was the diary entry form and/or her extreme ignorance thanks to how she has been raised. After a few days of channelling this sixteen year old female from a hundred years ago, I started to worry it was coming too easily and I was, in fact, writing rubbish. And some of that first rush of words did need to be pared back. But it was still much less work than the other narrators.
The hardest was Eugen, Avis’ brother. He narrates the final section and is looking back on events that took place more than half a century before. He’s changed a lot since then (for starters: he’s learnt to read and write) but he hasn’t changed in other ways as well. It took a long time before I felt he was really talking when I saw his words on my screen.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Mannequin Makers?

Craig:  Any novel worth its salt has something to say about the time in which it is written. So even though the setting is historical, The Mannequin Makers talks about the place of art and artistry within a capitalist society, the dynamics of power and the power of empathy – issues and ideas that are still pressing today.

You can also read it as a manual in how not to raise your kids.



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

Craig:  Q: You liveblogged the day you attempted to write at least 6,376 words on the novel’s first draft. How much of those words made it into the final book? Would you ever do it again?

A: Quite a lot survived, actually. Maybe 75%? It’s not like I wrote a large but terrible scene that had to be cut the next day. Would I spend 16 hours straight while writing a first draft again? No way. It took me a week to recover. Better to write 1,000 good words every day until the end!



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Mannequin Makers.

Craig:  Since I mentioned my struggles to get Eugen’s voice right, how about the first few sentences from his section, to show what he ended up sounding like?

‘Every winter I’m surprised when the wattle blooms. This year even more so for the battering we took in May and June. But somehow the buds clung to their branches as the easterlies clobbered the coast and our waves, shunted on by the king tide, gouged the beach from Collaroy baths to North Narrabeen.’



TQWhat's next?

Craig:  I’m working on a novel about fatherhood, Hollywood and a levitating Franciscan friar. It’s set in 2017 and 2019, but dips back into the seventeenth century, when San Giuseppe da Copertino was doing his thing.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Mannequin Makers
Milkweed Editions, December 12, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Craig Cliff, Author of The Mannequin Makers
Playfully literate and strikingly original, an unforgettable debut novel about art, imitation, and obsession.

Excitement is rare in the small town of Marumaru, New Zealand. So when a young Maori man arrives on the morning train one day in 1903—announcing the imminent visit of a famous strongman—the entire town turns out to greet him, save one. Colton Kemp, a department store window-dresser, is at home, watching his beloved wife die in premature childbirth. Tormented by grief, he hatches a plan to make his name and thwart his rival, the silent and gifted Carpenter: over the next sixteen years he will raise his newborn twins in secrecy and isolation, to become human mannequins in the world’s most lifelike window display.

From this moment of calamity emerges a work of masterful storytelling, at once wildly entertaining and formally ambitious. The novel leaps fearlessly from the epistolary to the castaway narrative to the picaresque, as Kemp’s plot goes awry and as he, his children, and the Carpenter converge in the New Zealand hinterland.

The Mannequin Makers is an adventure-filled and thoroughly delightful yarn, introducing one of international literature’s most promising young talents to American audiences.





About Craig

Interview with Craig Cliff, Author of The Mannequin Makers
Craig Cliff is the author of The Mannequin Makers, a novel, and A Man Melting, a collection of short stories, which won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. Both were previously published in New Zealand. In 2012 he was a judge for the inaugural Commonwealth Story Prize, and he is the recipient of a Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. He writes a column for the Dominion Post about his double life as a writer and public servant in Wellington, New Zealand.

Website  ~  Twitter @Craig_Cliff  ~  Blog


Interview with K Arsenault Rivera, author of The Tiger's Daughter


Please welcome K Arsenault Rivera to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Tiger's Daughter was published on October 3rd by Tor Books.



Interview with K Arsenault Rivera, author of The Tiger's Daughter




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

K Arsenault Rivera:  The first thing I can remember writing is a story about the itsy bitsy spider. I named him Joaquin, and this was his totally dramatic backstory. I was maybe six at the time. It never really slowed down from there—I used to write new endings for things we’d read in class and hand them out to my friends on looseleaf!



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

K:  A hybrid! I like to have the major story beats in my head and a strong idea of my protagonist and her arc when I finally sit down to write. That said, I find a lot of joy in spontaneous creation. If a scene veers too far from the outline I tend to go with it. Sometimes your outline doesn’t quite match up with who the characters are at that particular moment, and since I’m such a character focused writer I like to let them lead a little.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

K:  Y’know, for someone who loves epic fantasy and sweet swordfights, I struggle a lot when it comes to fight scenes. It’s part of a larger issue—diction and cadence are important to me. Taking the time to think up the right metaphor for the occasion, or the right tone for a piece to have—all of these things fascinate and challenge me. I think the tone of a work is just as important as its characters, and in some cases more important than its setting.

Which brings us back to fight scenes. I can’t seem to get through one without using the word ‘slam’ at least four times. And fight scenes are so important in Tiger! They’re all over! What’s been helping me lately—a tip from one of my good friends—is to approach writing fights the way I approach writing horror. Focus more on the slow build up of things and the mood of the scene than the actual actions themselves, that’s been my strategy on the current project.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

K:  For Tiger I was specifically trying to recreate the feel of my favorite Classics: the Iliad and the Odyssey (I know, I’m really basic). I wanted to do a big, sweeping story, one that spanned decades; a story as epic as it was gay.

To keep the tone of the book appropriately epic I like to read poetry before I start work for the day; I keep coming back to If Not, Winter, and The Ink-Dark Moon in particular.

Of course, the other major influence on Tiger is my fascination with Gothic novels. The epistolary style and my gratuitous use of commas and em dashes are, I think, a direct result of how many times I read Dracula as a teen.

And I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t say that shows like Revolutionary Girl Utena and Avatar: The Last Airbender didn’t play a huge role in Tiger, too.



TQDescribe The Tiger's Daughter in 140 characters or less.

K:  Two princesses from rival nations are fated to fight a traitor god together. They weren’t fated to fall in love, but they do anyway.



TQTell us something about The Tiger's Daughter that is not found in the book description.

K:  I’m a huge fan of Hyakunin Isshu. All of the chapter titles from Shefali’s perspective are lines from a poem found there. In Phoenix Empress, I took a bit of a different approach with Shizuka’s—in general I have a lot of fun with chapter titles.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Tiger's Daughter?* What appeals to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

K:  Barsalai Shefali started her life as one of my roleplay characters! The whole of Tiger was a way to make my backstory interesting for my GM to read. I’m kind of notorious in my roleplay group for overly long character backstories and campaign fanfiction. Shefali’s isn’t even the longest character backstory I’ve ever written—but it was the one I thought best lent itself to a novel-shaped object.

I wouldn’t necessarily call Tiger historical fantasy so much as historically inspired. Even then it’s not a one-to-one sort of deal in a lot of respects. Shefali’s mother, for example, led a life much like Genghis Khan’s—but Shizuka’s mother has no historical parallel. That said I’ve always been a huge fan of Guy Gavriel Kay’s work.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Tiger's Daughter?

K:  Obviously a setting like Tiger’s requires a lot of research. For the Qorin I turned to Jack Weatherford’s Secret History of the Mongol Queens and Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. There was a lot more poetry involved in the creation of Hokkaro: Ink-Dark Moon again and the Hyakunin Isshu come to mind, as well as The Tale of Genji. Romance of the Three Kingdoms has also been a long time favorite of mine, and I started a new read of it before really getting to work on Tiger.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Tiger's Daughter.

K:  So, true story, my editor Miriam (who is incredible, by the way) first showed me the thumbnails for my cover while we were huddled on the street outside Books of Wonder. The thumbnails—just the thumbnails—were so beautiful I started crying like a total dork right there and then. For the next five months I told everyone how amazing they were, and I think they got sick of hearing about it, but I mean—look at that cover!

Jaime Jones, who has also painted some of my favorite Magic: The Gathering cards, is the artist. It’s not really something directly from the novel but it definitely could be—the girls make a lot of long journeys throughout, all on horseback. Shizuka, especially, is spot-on with how I’ve always pictured her—the red and gold, that defiant look on her face. Shefali’s coat also looks especially fluffy. And the horses! God, I could go on about the cover forever.



TQIn The Tiger's Daughter who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

K:  Shefali was the easiest for me, which is fortunate, since we spend most of our time in her head. I’m not as quiet as she is, but I have a lot of the same hesitation around crowds and new people, the same idealistic outlook. Although, unlike her, I think I’d implode if I had to live in the woods for more than two days, and I’ve never ridden a horse!

Shefali’s brother Kenshiro gave me the most trouble. First off, I’m an only child, so sibling dynamics have always been something I’ve admired from a distance. Second, Kenshiro makes some pretty terrible decisions over the course of the novel. It’s hard to see him in a sympathetic light because of that—but those decisions also come from a place very dear to my heart. Unlike his sister, Kenshiro has never felt like he belonged in either Hokkaro or among the Qorin. His constant struggle to fit in and be liked is something I see a lot of myself in, as well as his clashing sense of identity. The hard part was writing him so that the audience didn’t hate him on sight.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Tiger's Daughter?

KTiger was from the beginning a queer love story, and from the beginning a story centering people of color. Even when it was a character backstory this much was true. When I translated that backstory into a full novel, those aspects were important to me—I wanted to write both the kind of fantasy novel I wanted to read.

On top of the main queer romance there are also lots of queer side characters, too. It isn’t necessarily a big deal, except for Shizuka and Shefali themselves, but that’s because they’re young for most of the novel.



TQWhich question about The Tiger's Daughter do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

K:  Hey K! If you were going to stat out your heroines for Pathfinder, what classes would they be?

I talked about this with my friend Paul once! He made a good case for a Ranger Shefali, which I agree with. Your other option for her would be a cavalier, I think, but that doesn’t allow you to have an animal companion—and Shefali’s not going anywhere without her horse. Shizuka is a bit harder to pin down—I think I’d go with a paladin, but even that’s not quite right.

Stats wise, Shefali is high wisdom, con, and dex; low cha. Shizuka is high cha, dex, and very, very low wisdom.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Tiger's Daughter.

K:

“Home, for me, means two things. The first is you. Above all, you are my white felt ger, you are my bright red door, and you are my warm fire. But if I cannot have you, then I will have silver—the silver of the steppes’ swaying grass, the silver of winter, the silver clouds coloring Grandmother Sky.”

“I am Burqila Alshara. O-Shizuru entrusted me with the care of her daughter. If you doubt me, you are welcomed to try and stop me. I have killed in front of my children before.”



TQWhat's next?

KThe Phoenix Empress, out in July! It picks up right where Tiger left off. This time, we spend most of the novel in Shizuka’s head as she tells her wife about the War of Ink-on-Water.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

K:  Of course! Thank you for having me!





The Tiger's Daughter
Their Bright Ascendency 1
Tor Books, October 3, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Interview with K Arsenault Rivera, author of The Tiger's Daughter
K Arsenault Rivera's debut, The Tiger's Daughter, the beginning of a new epic fantasy trilogy

"Rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth...simply exquisite.” —V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of the Shades of Magic series

Indie Next List October 2017 Pick
Paste Magazine's 10 Most Anticipated Books in October 2017
io9's Best Books Coming in 2017
The Verge's SF/F Books to Read in October 2017
BookRiot's Most Anticipated Titles of 2017
Medium's Most Anticipated Books of 2017
Bookish's Fall 2017's Hottest SF/F Books

Even gods can be slain

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach—but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.
Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.
This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.
A crack in the wall heralds the end…two goddesses arm themselves…K Arsenault Rivera's The Tiger’s Daughter is an adventure for the ages.





About K Arsenault Rivera

Interview with K Arsenault Rivera, author of The Tiger's Daughter
Photo by Charlie Fernandez
K Arsenault Rivera was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, but moved to New York when she was a toddler. When not managing a nutritional supplement store in Brooklyn, K is an avid participant in the roleplaying community, from which she drew inspiration for her debut novel, The Tiger’s Daughter. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her partner.










Website  ~  Twitter @arsenaultrivera





Upcoming

The Phoenix Empress
Their Bright Ascendency 2
Tor Books, August 28, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with K Arsenault Rivera, author of The Tiger's Daughter
The Phoenix Empress, the sequel to K Arsenault Rivera' the wildly buzzed about The Tiger's Daughter, an epic historical fantasy in the vein of Patrick Rothfuss and Naomi Novik

"Rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth...simply exquisite.” —V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of the Shades of Magic series on The Tiger's Daughter

The Tiger's Daughter was...
Indie Next List October 2017 Pick
Paste Magazine's 10 Most Anticipated Books in October 2017
io9's Best Books Coming in 2017
The Verge's SF/F Books to Read in October 2017
BookRiot's Most Anticipated Titles of 2017
Medium's Most Anticipated Books of 2017
Bookish's Fall 2017's Hottest SF/F Books

Since she was a child, the divine empress O Shizuka has believed she was an untouchable god. When her uncle, ruler of the Hokkaran Empire, sends her on a suicide mission as a leader of the Imperial Army, the horrors of war cause her to question everything she knows.

Thousands of miles away, the exiled and cursed warrior Barsalyya Shefali undergoes trials the most superstitious would not believe in order to return to Hokkaran court and claim her rightful place next to O Shizuka.

As the distance between disgraced empress and blighted warrior narrows, a familiar demonic force grows closer to the heart of the empire. Will the two fallen warriors be able to protect their home?

2017 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts


2017 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts



There are 4 debut novels for December.

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

The December 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 December cover for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on December 15, 2017.

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 2017 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for December 2017 The list is correct as of the day posted.



Craig Cliff

The Mannequin Makers
Milkweed Editions, December 12, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
     Literary Fiction, Historical, Magical Realism

2017 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
Playfully literate and strikingly original, an unforgettable debut novel about art, imitation, and obsession.

Excitement is rare in the small town of Marumaru, New Zealand. So when a young Maori man arrives on the morning train one day in 1903—announcing the imminent visit of a famous strongman—the entire town turns out to greet him, save one. Colton Kemp, a department store window-dresser, is at home, watching his beloved wife die in premature childbirth. Tormented by grief, he hatches a plan to make his name and thwart his rival, the silent and gifted Carpenter: over the next sixteen years he will raise his newborn twins in secrecy and isolation, to become human mannequins in the world’s most lifelike window display.

From this moment of calamity emerges a work of masterful storytelling, at once wildly entertaining and formally ambitious. The novel leaps fearlessly from the epistolary to the castaway narrative to the picaresque, as Kemp’s plot goes awry and as he, his children, and the Carpenter converge in the New Zealand hinterland.

The Mannequin Makers is an adventure-filled and thoroughly delightful yarn, introducing one of international literature’s most promising young talents to American audiences.





Richard Jeffries

Arachnosaur
Lyrical Underground, December 26, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 238 pages
     Horror / Thriller

2017 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
Desert Swarm

After his superior officers are killed in action, Corporal Josiah Key assumes command of the 3rd Battalion, Marine Raiders. In the tiny village of Shabhut, Yemen, while trying to put the blast on ISIS forces, an even deadlier enemy emerges: ancient, unreasoning creatures who tear into both U.S. troops and terrorists without mercy, leaving brutally dismembered corpses in their wake.

They are known as the Idmonarchne Brasieri, giant prehistoric spiders roused from millennia-long slumber by power-mad terrorists. These aptly-named ‘Arachnosaurs’ are hungry. They’re angry. And they have declared war against all of humanity . . . whose days might just be numbered unless Key and his unit can stop them.

Arachnosaur





Pamela Kopfler

Better Dead
A B&B Spirits Mystery 1
Kensington, December 26, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook,
    Paranormal Cozy Mystery

2017 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
As the owner of a charming Louisiana bed and breakfast, Holly Davis believes in South-ern hospitality—but she draws the line at welcoming the ghost of her cheating husband . . .

Burl Davis checked out of this life a little earlier than expected—before Holly could serve him with divorce papers over his extramarital flings. Unfortunately, it was not before he nearly bank-rupted her beloved B&B, Holly Grove, a converted plantation that has been in her family for gen-erations. Holly would never wish anyone dead, but three months later she's feeling a lot more relief than grief.

Until Burl's ghost appears as an unwelcome guest. Before his spirit can move on, her not-so-dearly departed needs Holly’s human help to bust up the drug smuggling ring he was involved with. She has reservations, to say the least, but agrees to assist him if he’ll make a show of haunt-ing the B&B to draw in visitors. But when Holly’s former love, Jake McCann, mysteriously resur-faces in town and checks in, she has to wonder if her B&B is big enough for the ghost of her hus-band and the very real physical presence of her old flame . . .





Steven Savile

Glass Town
St. Martin's Press, December 5, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
     Contemporary Fantasy

2017 Debut Author Challenge - December Debuts
Steven Savile is an international sensation, selling over half a million copies of his novels worldwide and writing for cult favorite television shows including Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Stargate. Now, he is finally making his US debut with Glass Town, a brilliantly composed novel revolving around the magic and mystery lurking in London.

There's always been magic in our worldWe just needed to know where to look for it

In 1924, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. She disappeared during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s debut, Number 13, which itself is now lost. It was the crime of the age, capturing the imagination of the city: the beautiful actress never seen again, and the gangster who disappeared the same day.

Generations have passed. Everyone involved is long dead. But even now their dark, twisted secret threatens to tear the city apart.

Joshua Raines is about to enter a world of macabre beauty, of glittering celluloid and the silver screen, of illusion and deception, of impossibly old gangsters and the fiendish creatures they command, and most frighteningly of all, of genuine magic.

He is about to enter Glass Town.

The generations-old obsession with Eleanor Raines’s unsolved case is about to become his obsession, handed down father-to-son through his bloodline like some unwanted inheritance. But first he needs to bury his grandfather and absorb the implications of the confession in his hand, a letter from one of the brothers, Isaiah, claiming to have seen the missing actress. The woman in the red dress hadn’t aged a day, no matter that it was 1994 and she’d been gone seventy years.

Long buried secrets cannot stay secrets forever. Hidden places cannot stay hidden forever.

The magic that destroyed one of the most brutal families in London’s dark history is finally failing, and Joshua Raines is about to discover that everything he dared dream of, everything he has ever feared, is waiting for him in Glass Town.

Interview with Ash Fitzsimmons, author of Stranger Magics


Please welcome Ash Fitzsimmons to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Stranger Magics is published on November 21st by Harper Voyager Impulse.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Ash a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Ash Fitzsimmons, author of Stranger Magics



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

Ash:  Thank you for having me! I’ve always loved reading, and writing gradually became an extension of that. I wrote my first novel at nineteen, and I was hooked.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ash:  When I first tried my hand at long-form fiction, I was a pure pantser—I had ideas and general thoughts about scenes, but I felt my way along. With time, I’ve become a plotter. I may not map out every moment in the story before I begin, but I like to have more than a notion of where I’m headed and how I’m getting there. If nothing else, plotting helps me memorialize ideas for scenes I may not write for months, and it’s always nice to go back to your notes and have one of those, “Oh yeah, right,” moments when you think you’re stuck.

Of course, there’s always room for improvisation in writing, and characters tend to surprise you. Once you get to know your cast, some of those carefully plotted chapters begin to unravel. I’ve found that while you can try to force a plot upon characters, it seldom ends well.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ash:  Finding enough time! I’m the sort of person who needs to stay at it daily—I get antsy when I’m away for too long, and the story starts to become stagnant in my mind. But responsibilities don’t disappear just because I’d like to spend some quality time with my computer, which can lead to a lot of odd-hours work and a touch of guilt every time I turn on the television.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Ash:  I’ve always had a fondness for the fantastic. Fairy tales, mythology, folklore, urban legends, science fiction, horror, and fantasy have long been staples of my bookshelves.



TQDescribe Stranger Magics in 140 characters or less.

Ash:  A lovelorn half-fae bookseller, his amoral brother, a smartass wizard, and an ersatz knight race to save magic and the world. We may be doomed.



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

AshWizard is an ungendered term in the story, and my wizard protagonist is a talented young woman who’s peeved that she’s been unjustly prevented from using much of her power. But that may be about to change…



TQWhat inspired you to write Stranger Magics? What appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy? What do you think is the continuing appeal of stories about the fae?

Ash:  There are so many current interpretations of the fae, ranging from benevolent (or at least benign) to malicious, making them fairly malleable for story purposes. But even when they look like us, they remain something other, which I think is a large part of their appeal.

As for Stranger Magics, it began as a bit of rumination: take an ancient being with extraordinary power, mostly human sensibilities, and a strong aversion to iron, plop him down in the modern world, and what would he do with himself? The rest of the story and its setting gradually came forth.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Stranger Magics?

Ash:  I revisited the folk and fairy tales I knew, looked into the mythology surrounding the older interpretations of fae creatures, dusted off my Shakespeare, and used all of that as a jumping-off point. On a more nuts-and-bolts note, once into the story, I spent considerable time on Google Maps, trying to plot routes (sometimes from nonexistent places!) and keep a plausible timeline. Juggling multiple time zones can be tricky.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Stranger Magics?

Ash:  The cover design is by Alicia Tatone, and I love how it turned out. An old book is featured heavily in the story, and…nope, no spoilers!



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

Ash:  Toula, the wizard, was probably the easiest character for me to write. She seemed to appear fully formed—blue-tipped hair, attitude, and all. Robin, a faerie, was less forthcoming, but since he’s at best an annoyance to every other character in the story, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he was sometimes difficult to pin down.



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

Ash:  “This is your first novel, right?”

Published novel? Absolutely. But as I mentioned, I wrote my first novel back in college. It was a 270,000-word doozy, a great learning experience for me but unpublishable at the time. That realization came as a disappointment back then, but in retrospect, I’m glad that novel wasn’t “The One.” After all, writing is like any other skill: it takes work and plenty of practice, and your first attempt will probably not be your best product. By my count, and depending on whether I choose to remember an unfortunate cycle of short stories, Stranger Magics is my thirteenth novel-length work.



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

Ash:  Sure thing. Robin to Colin, in a moment of brotherly…well, tolerance:

He stood, took a long last draw, then stubbed the cigarillo out and threw it toward the street. “You’re a high lord of Faerie,” he said, clasping my shoulder. “Try to act like it. Right now—and I’m quite serious about this—you’re embarrassing me.”


TQWhat's next?

Ash:  While nothing is set in stone yet, I’d love to continue the story begun in Stranger Magics. We’ll see!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ash:  Thank you!





Stranger Magics
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 21, 2017
eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Ash Fitzsimmons, author of Stranger Magics
No one holds a grudge quite like a faerie . . .

All Colin Leffee wants is to be left alone: to run his used bookstore in peace, and to quietly drink himself to sleep every night in an attempt to drown out the memories of eight-hundred-plus years of existence.

Unfortunately, when a sullen teenage changeling is flung out of Faerie and onto his doorstep, the long-suffering, wayward son of Titania knows his dreams of solitude are dust. Colin—or Lord Coileán, as he is known to the Faerie court—must track down Meggy, the love of his life, and figure out how her child ended up in Titania’s clutches to begin with.

But with family, it’s never simple. He finds Meggy, only to see her yanked into Faerie—and the doors between the realms slammed and locked behind her. Now, it’s not just her life& at stake . . . but the fate of magic itself.

Always the loner, Colin reluctantly joins forces with an intensely stubborn wizard, a young priest-in-training who fancies himself a knight, and his half brother Robin (the last most definitely not by choice) on a quest to reopen the doors and restore the balance between the realms. And with exiled queen Mab plotting in the shadows to take Titania’s throne, and the wizards of the governing Arcanum hiding their own agenda, Colin can’t be sure whom to trust—or whether he’ll live long enough to see the mission through.





About Ash

Interview with Ash Fitzsimmons, author of Stranger Magics
Photograph courtesy of Art Meripol
When not writing fiction, ASH FITZSIMMONS is an appellate attorney and an unrepentant car singer. Visit her at www.ashfitzsimmons.com.














Facebook



2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts



2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2017 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on December 9, 2017.


Vote for your favorite November 2017 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts
Cover design by Will Staehle





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts
Cover design by Lisa Marie Pompilio
Cover photo by Getty Images





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts
Cover illustration © Adam S. Doyle
Cover design by Jacqueline Nasso Cooke
Cover design © Prometheus Books





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts
Cover design by Alicia Tatone
Cover photos by © Michael Steden/Shutterstock (book); 
© MrVander/Shutterstock (star burst)





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts
Cover artwork and design by Keith Negley





2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November Debuts
Cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill
Cover photographs: house by Francey/Sutterstock.com;
stars by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

Interview with Tracy Townsend, author of The Nine


Please welcome Tracy Townsend to The Qwillery as part of the of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Nine is published on November 14th by Pyr.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Tracy a very Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Tracy Townsend, author of The Nine




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

Tracy:  Thanks for having me! I started writing when I was very young -- second or third grade -- and my earliest projects were all comics, mostly featuring talking animals in Sunday morning funnies-type situations. I read broadly, everything from Beverly Cleary to Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. By the time I was in middle school, I’d graduated into creating what folks today would call fan fic, though I don’t know that I knew the term or if it was really widely in use in the early 90s. My first major project was a James Bond fan fic novella written entirely in longhand in a spiral notebook that was supposed to have been for history notes. I wrote because I admired certain storytellers and I wanted to understand how they created these remarkable things I admired so much. I’d gone to writing workshops and been in writing clubs, but all but the best of those experiences felt like the blind leading the blind. The only way to figure out how the magic was done was to crawl up inside the stories and reverse engineer them myself, in my own way. I kept in the habit throughout high school, writing episodic series on demand for friends with really specific tastes, and writing short stories featuring characters my friends and I played in tabletop RPGs. I loved writing to my friends’ prompts best of all; it was this perfect gift for them I could create, something we shared together. It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized I really wanted to write professionally. Prior to meeting some really formative peers and instructors there, it had always just been something I was good at, but felt like a bit of an impostor actually doing.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Tracy:  Oh, I’m definitely a hybrid -- just one trouser leg on at any given time. I tend to start with a very vivid concept or character, and I start building up scenes and situations to explore it. I keep myself moving by jumping from each clearly visualized moment to the next. After I’ve built a good head of steam doing that, I step back to review what I’ve created and figure out what pulls it all together. What are the events I’m focused on, and how are plot beats coming into being? Do I have things in the right order? What’s the throughline? It’s during that pause, answering those questions, that I plot out the gaps in my narrative, and only then do I resume writing. The fact that I love writing in close third from multiple characters’ points of view means this kind of hop-around drafting process works when I’m getting a project off the ground. The downside is that knitting all the pieces together can be intensely surgical -- and sometimes leads to dead ends, scenes that end up on the proverbial cutting room floor. I admire writers with fast, efficient plotting and drafting processes, but I’ve never been able to create a project that interests me if I have to imagine the whole narrative from a cold start.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Tracy:  I work full time as a teacher at a public boarding school for gifted students. I know a lot of other writers who are also teachers and parents, too, of course, but the particular kind of school where I teach involves a level of hands-on stewardship of the students -- involvement in their clubs, their social events, their lives in the early and late hours of the work day -- that’s pretty atypical. Everyone struggles to achieve work-life balance. But in a lot of senses, my work is my life, and I tend to wear myself down serving both masters. I can’t stand disappointing people, so if something’s going to get short shrift when time and energy are at a premium, it will almost always be me.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Tracy:  I grew up reading comics (X-Men, Elfquest, Wolverine, Bone) and playing tabletop board games, so my whole youth revolved around variations on the “mismatched people bound by circumstance save the world” theme. I love that trope and there’s always some piece of it in anything I write. I love it because it’s much less about the “save the world” stuff and really more about a given story’s take on “found family.” I grew up far away from my nearest relatives, aside from my parents and brother, and so the “family” I turned to most often was the family of friends I collected, through school and writing and general geekdom. The way people who love each other because they chose each other bond, and how those bonds push and pull at them just as fiercely as blood-bonds, fascinates me because it’s so much a part of my lived experience. My husband teases me all the time about plot just being my excuse to get people in a room being emotional at each other. Really, he’s not wrong.



TQDescribe The Nine in 140 characters or less.

Tracy:  2 ret. mercs & a teen thief are nobody's 1st choice heroes, but when God's lab book is stolen, its 2nd best or seconds left 2 save humanity



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

Tracy:  I wrote The Nine to be a fantasy work that mashes up a lot of my favorite things -- political machinations, conspiracies, heists, found family, “mandatory unretirement,” steam- and clockpunk stylings, redemption arcs, interspecies conflict, gray morality. That’s far more than back cover copy alone could address, sure. But the thing I’m proudest of was Publishers Weekly’s review of The Nine’s “nearly flawless writing.” I about fell out of my chair in shock -- and relief that the effort had been recognized! I wanted to give my readers a feeling of prose-level care and craft that no back cover copy can effectively promise. I wanted to make a beautiful monster. It’s up to everyone else to decide if I succeeded.



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

Tracy:  The idea for The Nine actually comes from Talmudic legend: the lamed wufniks, which Jorge Luis Borges writes about briefly in his Book of Imaginary Beings. Reading Borges piqued my interest and got me reading the Talmud and Kabbalah for details that eventually became important to the idea of the fate of mankind resting on the shoulders of a kind of “sample” population.

It’s only through a genre like fantasy that I could take my next thought -- that this seemed like a very strange cosmological variation on a scientific experiment -- and turn that into the premise of a novel. I love the slipperiness of fantasy, how it bends everyday logic and supplants it with its own sets of rules of conditions. It can be heroic, cautionary, escapist, political, pessimistic, or hopeful. I knew The Nine needed to be fantasy because I needed to bend and break a lot of rules and fuse together a lot of different visual and narrative styles to pull it off. But really, much more than it being the right tool for this particular story, it was the one I wanted most to explore and push into the shape I desired. They say you should write the book you wish was already out there for you to read. The Nine is the book I needed and wanted but never quite found.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Nine?

Tracy:  Oh, God, so much research. I researched autopsies and human anatomy. I researched Gothic architecture. I researched early photographic technologies, and deadly toxins, and period hats and footwear, guns and ammo, rappelling gear, and particle physics. And all of that was before my first round of revisions.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Nine.

Tracy:  Adam Doyle (whose amazing portfolio of work you can find here) was my cover artist, and I couldn’t be happier. I hope he does the art for the rest of the series. He’s done covers for Chuck Wendig and Maggie Stiefvater (which was great for my six degrees of publishing separation ego, let me tell you) and illustrations for Fantasy Flight Games. That last credit was hugely exciting for my friends and me, because we’ve played many of the games he’s contributed to. Adam starts with sketches and ultimately creates paintings which are later rendered into the cover images. That’s what gives The Nine’s cover that murky, swirling depth. If you look closely, there are a lot of smaller images buried in the background of the city behind the pictured characters -- gears and pipes and skulls, great atmospheric notes. Adam read the book in manuscript form and asked me for some additional information about the named character from it so he could refine his vision of individual figures. I’ve never asked him if he had a specific moment from the book in mind for the cover, but honestly, that’s because I feel I already know the answer, down to chapter and page. This “Avengers, assemble!” moment featuring Rowena, the Alchemist, and Anselm really helps focus the sprawling narrative around the characters whose actions will do the most to shape its outcome.



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

Tracy:  Often, my easiest character to write is Anselm. He’s easy because his way of seeing other people is so entirely alien to me. He’s a cynical, manipulative, self-assured egoist, smart and acid-tongued -- the sort of person you want on your side because it’s too dangerous having him against you. Writing characters less like me is easier than the ones more like me, because I think of it as deep character acting. (I worked in theater quite a bit years ago, and though I’m an indifferent actor, I’m a very good line coach, and in a lot of ways, that’s what writing a close POV really is -- line coaching yourself as author.) When the character itself chafes me, I’m more conscious of the need to stay in character, and that keeps me focused.

Haadiyaa Gammon, on the other hand, is very hard for me to write most days. I understand her completely, and even relate to the pressures she feels. That makes me work harder to ensure I’m examining her choices thoughtfully. She’s done things she regrets, but did them because she didn’t trust anyone else to do the right thing in her place. Gammon isn’t afraid of the sacrifices it takes to serve the pragmatic good or of being the bad guy for the right cause. I’ve been there, in my own way.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Nine?

Tracy:  I don’t even think twice about “including social issues” in my writing because if I’m doing my job right, they’re already there. Part of the reason genre fiction is so powerful is that it defamiliarizes the conditions of our world, or extrapolates them through thought experiment, or supplants them with foreign elements, all with the hope of giving us insight into human nature. Authors and readers stare down a funhouse mirror of reality through so-called “escapist” fiction. Genre has always done this, to varying degrees. It’s just begun to do it more overtly in recent years, which is what makes it seem to some readers as if “social issues” are suddenly everywhere. They always were there. Now, authors are simply doing more to highlight them in their narratives.

As for this book, the world of The Nine is full of the problems caused by plutocracy, imperialism, xenophobia, and exceptionalist ideas of power and influence. Sometimes, these issues are present the way air in a room is. Other times, they’re spoken of directly. Since the crux of the plot is about mankind’s survival -- whether it can prove itself worthy of its place in existence -- I have to hold humanity accountable for what it’s done. That’s where the anxiety about our fate really lies. Are we worth it? Do we deserve this world? Is it too late to make good on the ills we’ve done, as individuals or as a people?



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

Tracy:  You know, nobody asks about character names, and I wish they would. There’s a specific story behind almost every one. I agonize over names. They do a lot to form a character, and often to Easter egg in details about who or what they really are. Probably the best name story of all is Rare’s.

Rare is an important secondary character in The Nine, and part of the web of happenstance and conspiracy that pulls the three main characters (Rowena, Anselm, and the Alchemist) together. I was listening to an excellent BBC radio drama production of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris at the time I was first drafting The Nine. There was a character whose name I kept hearing as “Rare.” (Important to remember here that the actors all had quite perfect English accents, and so the rhotic pronunciation was strongly in evidence throughout the recording.) I thought it was simply marvelous that this character -- a love interest central to the main character’s emotional trauma -- had such a lovely, unusual name. I also knew the character I was writing at the time was going to be at the center of a lot of bad emotional history for the main characters in The Nine. It was perfect, so like a good little magpie, I stole the name.

Much later, long after the first draft was complete, I was in a used bookshop and saw a copy of Solaris on the shelf. I grabbed it and started leafing through, only to discover that the character in question’s name was actually Rhea. The actors’ rhotic “r” following the “a” had totally thrown me. But by then, I was too attached to Rare being Rare to possibly rename her.



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

Tracy:  It’s up to readers to find where these moments come from. This first one is for the sheer pleasure of banter: “Turpitude is my problem, not degeneracy. A law-abiding life was out of the question from the start.”

This second comes from a moment a little further on: “He could feel his convictions yawning like an unknotted purse, dropping in bits and pieces from his mental vault.”



TQWhat's next?

Tracy:  It’s time for The Nine’s sequel! It has a working title and hopefully it doesn’t change along the way, but I’ll be keeping it secret for at least awhile longer. You can expect to hear more about the series and what’s in store for its characters soon. For now, suffice it to say the drama surrounding the missing book, the Ecclesiastical Commission, and the aigamuxa and lanyani species is far from resolved. Pursuing its loose ends will take the characters outside of Corma, the city setting for the first book, and into the rest of the world the so-called Grand Unity shaped.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tracy:  Thank you! I’d love to hear from your readers. Talk to me via email at tracy at tracytownsend dot net or on Twitter (@TheStorymatic).





The Nine
Thieves of Fate 1
Pyr, November 14, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Tracy Townsend, author of The Nine
A book that some would kill for…

Black market courier Rowena Downshire is doing everything she can to stay off the streets and earn enough to pay her mother’s way to freedom. But an urgent and unexpected delivery leads her face to face with a creature out of nightmares.

The Alchemist knows things few men have lived to tell about, but when a frightened and empty-handed courier shows up on his doorstep he knows better than to turn her away. What he discovers leads him to ask for help from the last man he wants to see—the former mercenary, Anselm Meteron.

Reverend Phillip Chalmers awakes in a cell, bloodied and bruised, facing a creature twice his size. Translating a stolen book that writes itself may be his only hope for survival; however, he soon learns the text may have been written by the Creator himself, tracking the nine human subjects of his Grand Experiment. In the wrong hands, it could mean the end of humanity.

This unlikely team must try to keep the book from those who would misuse it. But how can they be sure who the enemy is when they can barely trust each other? And what will happen to them when it reveals a secret no human was meant to know?





About Tracy

Interview with Tracy Townsend, author of The Nine
Photo by Jennifer Bronson
Debut author Tracy Townsend holds a master’s degree in writing and rhetoric from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from DePauw University, a source of regular consternation when proofreading her credentials. She is chair of the English Department at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, an elite public boarding school, where she teaches creative writing and science fiction and fantasy literature. She has been a martial arts instructor, a stage combat and accent coach, and a short-order cook for houses full of tired gamers. Now she lives in Bolingbrook, Illinois with two bumptious hounds, two remarkable children, and one very patient husband. Her short story “Late Arrivals” was published by Luna Station Quarterly in March 2016.


Website  ~  Twitter @TheStorymatic  ~  Facebook



2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner


The winner of the September 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Astonishing Thing by Sandi Ward from Kensington with 31% of the votes.


The Astonishing Thing
Kensington, October 31, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner
In her inventive, sometimes bittersweet, ultimately uplifting debut, Sandi Ward draws readers into one extraordinary cat’s quest to make sense of her world, illuminating the limits and mysterious depths of love . . .

Pet owners know that a cat’s loyalty is not easily earned. Boo, a resourceful young feline with a keen eye and inquiring mind, has nonetheless grown intensely devoted to her human companion, Carrie. Several days ago, Carrie—or Mother, as Boo calls her—suddenly went away, leaving her family, including Boo, in disarray. Carrie’s husband, Tommy, is distant and distracted even as he does his best to care for Boo’s human siblings, especially baby Finn.

Boo worries about who will fill her food dish, and provide a warm lap to nestle into. More pressing still, she’s trying to uncover the complicated truth about why Carrie left. Though frequently mystified by human behavior, Boo is sure that Carrie once cared passionately for Tommy and adores her children, even the non-feline ones. But she also sees it may not be enough to make things right. Perhaps only a cat—a wise, observant, very determined cat—can do that . . .

Wonderfully tender and insightful, The Astonishing Thing explores the intricacies of marriage and family through an unforgettable perspective at the center of it all.





The Results

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner





 The October 2017 Debuts

2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts


2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts




There are 12 debut novels for November.

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

The November 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 November cover for the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on November 15, 2017.

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 2017 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for November 2017 The list is correct as of the day posted.



S. A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass
The Daevabad Trilogy 1
Harper Voyager, November 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 522 pages
     Historical Fantasy

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to question all she believes. For the warrior tells her an extraordinary tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling birds of prey are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say to be careful what you wish for . . .





Ash Fitzsimmons

Stranger Magics
Harper Voyager Impulse, November 21, 2017,
eBook, 400 pages
     Urban Fantasy

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
No one holds a grudge quite like a faerie . . .

All Colin Leffee wants is to be left alone: to run his used bookstore in peace, and to quietly drink himself to sleep every night in an attempt to drown out the memories of eight-hundred-plus years of existence.

Unfortunately, when a sullen teenage changeling is flung out of Faerie and onto his doorstep, the long-suffering, wayward son of Titania knows his dreams of solitude are dust. Colin—or Lord Coileán, as he is known to the Faerie court—must track down Meggy, the love of his life, and figure out how her child ended up in Titania’s clutches to begin with.

But with family, it’s never simple. He finds Meggy, only to see her yanked into Faerie—and the doors between the realms slammed and locked behind her. Now, it’s not just her life& at stake . . . but the fate of magic itself.

Always the loner, Colin reluctantly joins forces with an intensely stubborn wizard, a young priest-in-training who fancies himself a knight, and his half brother Robin (the last most definitely not by choice) on a quest to reopen the doors and restore the balance between the realms. And with exiled queen Mab plotting in the shadows to take Titania’s throne, and the wizards of the governing Arcanum hiding their own agenda, Colin can’t be sure whom to trust—or whether he’ll live long enough to see the mission through.





Dennis Glover

The Last Man in Europe
The Overlook Press, November 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 256 pages
     Fiction, Biographical

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
What was Orwell’s world like? Is Orwell’s world still our world? Is Big Brother still watching you?

April, 1947. In a run-down farmhouse on a remote Scottish island, George Orwell begins his last and greatest work: Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Forty-three years old and suffering from the tuberculosis that within three winters will take his life, Orwell comes to see the book as his legacy—the culmination of a career spent fighting to preserve the freedoms which the wars and upheavals of the twentieth century have threatened. Completing the book is an urgent challenge, a race against death.

In this masterful novel, Dennis Glover explores the creation of Orwell’s classic work, which for millions of readers worldwide defined the twentieth century, and is now again proving its unnerving relevance. Simultaneously a captivating drama, a unique literary excavation, and an unflinching portrait of a writer, The Last Man in Europe will change the way we understand both our enduringly Orwellian times and Nineteen Eighty-Four.





Robert Guffey

Until the Last Dog Dies
Night Shade Books, November 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
     Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic,
     Satire, Humorous

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
A young stand-up comedian must adapt to an apocalyptic virus affecting people’s sense of humor in this darkly satirical debut novel.

What happens when all humor is wiped off the face of the Earth?

Around the world, an unusual viral plague is striking the population. The virus attacks only one particular section of the brain. It isn’t fatal, but it results in the victim’s sense of humor being obliterated. No one is immune.

Elliot Greeley, a young stand-up comedian starving his way through alternative comedy clubs in Los Angeles, isn’t even certain the virus is real at first. But as the pandemic begins to eat away at the very heart of civilization itself, the virus affects Elliot and his close knit group of comedian friends in increasingly personal ways.

What would you consider the end of the world?

Until the Last Dog Dies is a sharp, cutting satire, both a clever twist on apocalyptic fiction and a poignant look at the things that make us human.





Daniel A. Hoyt

This Book Is Not For You
Dzanc Books, November 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
      Literary Fiction

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
Utilizing an innovative mashup of genres, ranging from pulp fiction, dark comedy, and metafiction, This Book Is Not for You charts the actions of nineteen-year-old Neptune, a misfit and punk haunted by the death of his parents. Having fallen in with an anarchist group determined to blow up a university building, he steals the dynamite instead, igniting an entirely different brand of trouble: the murder of his mentor; a three-way manhunt; and the mystery of the Ghost Machine, a walkman that replays snippets from his own twisted past.

Told in a nonstop chain of Chapter Ones, Daniel Hoyt’s debut novel explores the clash between chaos and calm, the instinct for self-destruction and the longing for redemption.





Megan Hunter

The End We Start From
Grove Press, November 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 160 pages
     Literary Fiction, Dystopian

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
A Fall 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection

"The End We Start From is strange and powerful, and very apt for these uncertain times. I was moved, terrified, uplifted—sometimes all three at once. It takes skill to manage that, and Hunter has a poet's understanding of how to make each word count."—Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring 


Preempted by publishers around the world within days of the 2016 London Book Fair, The End We Start From heralds the arrival of Megan Hunter, a dazzling and unique literary talent. Hunter’s debut is a searing original, a modern-day parable of rebirth and renewal, of maternal bonds, and the instinct to survive and thrive in the absence of all that’s familiar.

As London is submerged below floodwaters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety. They head north through a newly dangerous country seeking refuge from place to place. The story traces fear and wonder as the baby grows, thriving and content against all the odds.

The End We Start From is an indelible and elemental first book—a lyrical vision of the strangeness and beauty of new motherhood, and a tale of endurance in the face of ungovernable change.

"Virginia Woolf does cli-fi."¯Independent (UK)





Ruth Emmie Lang

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
St. Martin's Press, November 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
     Contemporary Fantasy, Magical Realism,
     Paranormal

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
"Told with brains and heart" —Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment

"Bristles with charm and curiosity" —Winston Groom, New York Times bestselling author of Forrest Gump

"A wholly original and superbly crafted work of art, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a masterpiece of the imagination." —Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author of The Life List and Sweet Forgiveness

"Charlotte's Web for grown-ups who, like Weylyn Grey, have their own stories of being different, feared, brave, and loved." —Mo Daviau, author of Every Anxious Wave

Finding magic in the ordinary.

In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places. From freak storms to trees that appear to grow over night, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best and at worst, a danger to himself and the woman he loves. But Mary doesn’t care. Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.





Andrea Lawlor

Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl
Rescue Press, November 1, 2017
Trade Paperback, 240 pages
      Fantasy, Magical Realism

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
It’s 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown to Provincetown and finally to San Francisco—a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure.

Andrea Lawlor’s debut novel offers a speculative history of early ’90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation. Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.





Fonda Lee

Jade City
The Green Bone Saga 1
Orbit, November 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages
     Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
     (Adult Debut)

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
Award-winning author Fonda Lee explodes onto the adult fantasy scene with Jade City, an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kungfu, set in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.

Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for — and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone — even foreigners — wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones — from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets — and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.





Kari Maaren

Weave a Circle Round
Tor Books, November 28, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
     Contemporary Fantasy, Science Fiction,
     Time Travel, Coming Of Age

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
Discover your inner child once again in this debut fantasy adventure for fans of Madeleine L'Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, and E. L. Konigsburg.

When the unexpected moves in next door, anything can happen in Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren's debut in this YA-friendly fantasy adventure.

Freddy doesn’t want people to think she’s weird. Her family makes that difficult, though: her deaf stepbrother Roland’s a major geek, and her genius little sister Mel’s training to be the next Sherlock Holmes. All Freddy wants is to survive high school.

Then two extremely odd neighbors move in next door.

Cuerva Lachance and Josiah definitely aren't normal. Neither is their house, which defies the laws of physics. Neither is Freddy’s situation, when she suddenly finds herself stuck thousands of years in the past with her very, very weird neighbors. And that’s only the beginning.


“I adored this brilliant book from start to finish. It left me reeling with delight and I can't wait for the rest of the world to get as lost in its pages as I was.” —Charles de Lint

“I'd have loved this book when I was twelve, and I love it now.” —Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy-Award winning author Jo Walton





Ruby Namdar

The Ruined House
Harper, November 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages
     Literary Fiction

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
"In The Ruined House a ‘small harmless modicum of vanity’ turns into an apocalyptic bonfire.  Shot through with humor and mystery and insight, Ruby Namdar's wonderful first novel examines how the real and the unreal merge.  It's a daring study of madness, masculinity, myth-making and the human fragility that emerges in the mix."

—Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin
 
Winner of the Sapir Prize, Israel’s highest literary award

Picking up the mantle of legendary authors such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, an exquisite literary talent makes his debut with a nuanced and provocative tale of materialism, tradition, faith, and the search for meaning in contemporary American life.

Andrew P. Cohen, a professor of comparative culture at New York University, is at the zenith of his life. Adored by his classes and published in prestigious literary magazines, he is about to receive a coveted promotion—the crowning achievement of an enviable career. He is on excellent terms with Linda, his ex-wife, and his two grown children admire and adore him. His girlfriend, Ann Lee, a former student half his age, offers lively companionship. A man of elevated taste, education, and culture, he is a model of urbanity and success.

But the manicured surface of his world begins to crack when he is visited by a series of strange and inexplicable visions involving an ancient religious ritual that will upend his comfortable life.

Beautiful, mesmerizing, and unsettling, The Ruined House unfolds over the course of one year, as Andrew’s world unravels and he is forced to question all his beliefs. Ruby Namdar’s brilliant novel embraces the themes of the American Jewish literary canon as it captures the privilege and pedantry of New York intellectual life in the opening years of the twenty-first century.





Tracy Townsend

The Nine
Thieves of Fate 1
Pyr, November 14, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
     Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales,
     Legends and Mythology

2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts
A book that some would kill for…

Black market courier Rowena Downshire is doing everything she can to stay off the streets and earn enough to pay her mother’s way to freedom. But an urgent and unexpected delivery leads her face to face with a creature out of nightmares.

The Alchemist knows things few men have lived to tell about, but when a frightened and empty-handed courier shows up on his doorstep he knows better than to turn her away. What he discovers leads him to ask for help from the last man he wants to see—the former mercenary, Anselm Meteron.

Reverend Phillip Chalmers awakes in a cell, bloodied and bruised, facing a creature twice his size. Translating a stolen book that writes itself may be his only hope for survival; however, he soon learns the text may have been written by the Creator himself, tracking the nine human subjects of his Grand Experiment. In the wrong hands, it could mean the end of humanity.

This unlikely team must try to keep the book from those who would misuse it. But how can they be sure who the enemy is when they can barely trust each other? And what will happen to them when it reveals a secret no human was meant to know?

2017 Debut Author Challenge - COVER OF THE YEAR!2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - December DebutsInterview with Craig Cliff, Author of The Mannequin MakersInterview with K Arsenault Rivera, author of The Tiger's Daughter2017 Debut Author Challenge - December DebutsInterview with Ash Fitzsimmons, author of Stranger Magics2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November DebutsInterview with Tracy Townsend, author of The Nine2017 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Winner2017 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×