The Qwillery | category: 2018 Debut Author Challenge | (page 3 of 8)


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Lauren C. Teffeau, author of Implanted

Please welcome Lauren C. Teffeau to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Implanted was published on August 7th by Angry Robot.

Interview with Lauren C. Teffeau, author of Implanted

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

LCT:  A horrible fantasy novel in my early teens. It was full of wish fulfillment and the worldbuilding was illogical at best, nonexistent at worst. I’m happy to say I’ve improved dramatically since then.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

LCT:  I’m a plotter, though how strict I am depends on the project. I want to ensure even when I have the entire story worked out in my head that there is some space for the unexpected, for the story elements to breathe, and in some instances surprise me.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

LCT:  In the past year, I’d say it’s been the difficulty in tuning out the noise of the larger world. I have lots of projects I’d like to work on or revisit, but it’s been harder than usual for me to quiet my mind to focus for long periods.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

LCT:  I took a screenwriting class in college. I was a bit of a film buff and wanted to see how things worked on the other side of the camera, so to speak. The emphasis on structure, dialogue, and action have been extremely formative and have provided the backbone to just about everything I’ve done since.

TQDescribe Implanted using only 5 words.

LCT:  Cyberpunk, adventure, gadgetry, couriers, and communication

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

LCT:  There’s a romantic subplot that I’m rather proud of.

TQWhat inspired you to write Implanted? What appeals to you about writing Cyberpunk?

LCT:  I’ve always enjoyed cyberpunk as a genre, but while those stories made me think, they didn’t necessarily make me feel welcome. I wanted to write something that wasn’t as emotionally sterile as other entries in the cyberpunk genre but still present an interesting examination of technology and where it’s taking us.

TQWhat is Cyberpunk and in your opinion what elements are essential to a Cyberpunk story?

LCT:  Cool tech, some sort of mystery (often originating in the corporate or government sectors of society), and some implicit or explicit commentary on technology and humanity’s relationship to it.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Implanted?

LCT:  Lots in bits and pieces over the years. I researched art nouveau and sustainability practices to get a better handle on the architecture of my domed city. I took a look at cybersecurity practices. I also included a lot of worldbuilding assumptions that can be mapped back to my social science background in information science, data curation, and mass communication as a graduate student and later on as a university researcher. I also never turn down the opportunity to consume the latest espionage thriller, no matter what the medium.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Implanted.

LCT:  The cover was created in consultation with Angry Robot’s Marc Gascoigne and the rest of the graphics team at Argh! Nottingham. I think cyberpunk as a genre is particularly hard to represent well on covers given the abstract nature of the concepts. In the case of Implanted, we wanted something captivating and landed on the human eye (that hopefully readers can’t stop looking at) and hint at some of the gadgetry you’ll find in the book thanks to the eye’s digital overlay. Combined with a bold and compelling title font, I hope it not only signals the cyberpunk genre to readers but that it's an exciting read as well.

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

LCT:  My main character Emery was easily the hardest. She valiantly fought me over the course of successive drafts. Sometimes I had trouble uncovering her motivations or pinning down her voice, but I eventually brought her to heel. I am the author after all. One of the easiest and (most enjoyable) character to write was Emery’s handler Tahir. He seems like he’s bit stuck-up and by-the-book but underneath his prickly exterior, he's a big softy.

TQDoes Implanted touch on any social issues?

LCT:  Besides technology and sustainability, I also delve quite a bit into inequality. Not simply in terms of who has money and who doesn’t, but what that money can buy—in particular neural implants and access to the network they're connected to that dictate just about everything in the domed city.

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

LCT:  Why blood as a data transmission vehicle? Well, for starters, recent research shows that tons of information can be encoded in DNA (frex: So it seemed like using blood could be a practical solution in a world where information networks can’t be trusted. It was also a way to inject something fundamentally human into a high-tech future.

TQGive us your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Implanted.


Rik simply lets the silence build, the connection between us alive with feeling. Synching can be surprisingly intimate, depending on how a user customizes their implant settings. The length of delay between thought and message. Whether or not nonverbals should be broadcasted. The priority of the interaction over other tasks and contacts. We’ve become so attuned to one another over the years, now our connection practically vibrates with what’s left unsaid. My doubts, his certainty, yes, but also a desire for more – a strange sort of friction as we run up against the limitations of our current configuration, like a snail that’s outgrown its shell.

TQWhat's next?

LCT:  I’m hard at work on a few sekrit projects, which may or may not include a sequel to Implanted. My website is the best way to stay up-to-date with what’s going on with me.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

LCT:  It was my pleasure!

Angry Robot, August 7, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Lauren C. Teffeau, author of Implanted
The data stored in her blood can save a city on the brink… or destroy it, in this gripping cyberpunk thriller

When college student Emery Driscoll is blackmailed into being a courier for a clandestine organisation, she’s cut off from the neural implant community which binds the domed city of New Worth together. Her new masters exploit her rare condition which allows her to carry encoded data in her blood, and train her to transport secrets throughout the troubled city. New Worth is on the brink of Emergence – freedom from the dome – but not everyone wants to leave. Then a data drop goes bad, and Emery is caught between factions: those who want her blood, and those who just want her dead.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Under the Dome | Blood Courier | Disconnected | Bright Future ]

About Lauren

Interview with Lauren C. Teffeau, author of Implanted
Photo courtesy of Kim Jew
Photography Studios
Lauren C. Teffeau lives and dreams in the southwestern United States. When she was younger, she poked around in the back of wardrobes, tried to walk through mirrors, and always kept an eye out for secret passages, fairy rings, and messages from aliens. Now, she writes to cope with her ordinary existence. Implanted is her first novel.

Website  ~  Twitter @teffeau

Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods

Please welcome Jay Schiffman to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Game of the Gods was published on July 10th by Tor Books.

Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Jay:  It was a fourth-grade poem about “progress.” I decided to write about farms and cities. I have it memorized, so here it goes:

Everything’s always moving.
There’s no time to stop.
No bench to sit on.
No one to grow crop.

Not a field, nor a meadow.
Not a tractor, just a car.
Everything’s always moving.
But we’re not going too far.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Jay:  83.67% pantser, 10.91% plotter, 5.42% unknown.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jay:  In terms of the logistics of writing, time and place are important to me. I can be very finicky about the setting. Generally speaking, I like to write in the morning with a cup of coffee at my desk. I’m a creature of habit, so if you make me start writing in the afternoon, coming down from a caffeine high, sitting uncomfortably in a noisy restaurant, I probably won’t be productive.

In terms of the mechanics of writing, the biggest challenge is writing about things we all do every day. I have the literary luxury of rarely having to write a lot about characters washing their faces or eating toast, but sometimes it comes up even in a sci-fi action adventure like mine. The key is to avoid being cliché, while also conveying the truisms that underlie the most mundane aspects of life.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Jay:  I read a lot of science fiction, see a lot of science fiction movies, and watch a lot of science fiction television. So, obviously whatever is going on in science fiction, I’m influenced by it. But I am also a huge politics junkie. I am passionate about the current state of American politics—particularly the lack of truth, fact-based reasoning, and meaningful political discourse—and this has greatly influenced Game of the Gods. But even more importantly, it is strongly impacting what I want to write about next.

TQDescribe Game of the Gods with only 5 words.

JayA man fights for his family. (Sorry, six words, but I’m not great at math and writing is all about breaking rules).

TQTell us something about Game of the Gods that is not found in the book description.

JayGame of the Gods is a story about a flawed hero, Max Cone. His flaws are many, but one of his more interesting flaws is that he acts as though he’s completely detached, completely above it all. Max claims he abhors all of the trappings of power, including awards and titles, yet he wraps himself in them. Max’s identity is built on a set of rigid formalities—he’s a revered military Commander, an esteemed Judge, a leader who everyone believes is a man of great character. He is boxed-in not just by what others think, but what he believes they need him to be. But when his family is taken from him, these layers of detachment, duty, and convention slowly start to peel away and he begins to understand his true self.

TQWhat inspired you to write Game of the Gods? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Jay:  I grew up loving Kurt Vonnegut and reading everything he ever wrote. I also read all the great dystopian novelists—Huxley, Bradbury, Orwell to name a few. I didn’t necessarily start out writing Game of the Gods thinking it would be science fiction. But early on in the process, I realized I was writing in this rich tradition, and I came to understand that science fiction is the perfect vehicle for telling an action adventure that touches on big political issues. I mostly wanted to entertain people with a fast-moving plot with lots of twists and turns and political intrigue. Clearly, politics and the idea of the hero against the world were huge influences for me. But at the same time, I grew up reading science fiction novels and watching Steven Spielberg movies that were just fun. The “fun” part of sci-fi was a huge influence as well.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Game of the Gods?

Jay:  One of the characters in my novel is a mathematical genius. I am not. Truth be told, calculus was an enormous struggle for me, and although my graduate studies required me to take statistics, game theory, and some calculus, I remembered very little of it. So, I wanted to make sure I understood the mathematical concepts that were addressed in the book—irrational numbers, pi, infinite numbers, etc. This same character also explains concepts relating to time and space, and I similarly had to do research on the scientific underpinning of those concepts. I didn’t read Einstein’s Theory of Relativity—it was more “Space & Time for Dummies”—but it did require me to hurt my brain a little.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Game of the Gods.

Jay:  The cover is a gloved hand reaching up to the heavens. It is an insignia that the leader of the Nation of Yerusalom, the Holy Father, used. It represents the idea of humankind reaching for the heavens.

TQIn Game of the Gods who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jay:  Two of the most important characters in the book are the Holy Father, the religious and political leader of the Nation of Yerusalom, and Max Cone, a former military commander and High Judge in the Federacy. The Holy Father was the easiest to write while Max, the narrator and central figure in the story, was the hardest.

The Holy Father is a conniving, manipulative character whose intentions are hard to discern. But he articulates a clear and consistent view of the world. Although I purposefully wanted his motivations to be unclear to the reader, I also wanted him to speak with a singularly coherent and uniform voice. It was easy to write this character, because he was extremely disciplined and guarded in what he said to others.

To the contrary, Max, who narrates in the first person, freely shares his everchanging motivations with the reader. His views of the world are in flux and this presented a challenge for me. I wanted Max’s internal confusion and the instability in his beliefs to come through to the reader. This was at times challenging because I needed to balance Max’s core qualities with how he was adapting to new circumstances.

TQDoes Game of the Gods touch on any social issues?

JayGame of the Gods touches on a number of political and social issues, but one that I hope the reader thinks deeply about is the importance of family in comparison to the importance of religion, political affiliation, and other larger transcendent relationships. This theme permeates the book, and many of the characters have strong views on the role of family versus the role of larger institutions like nations or religions. There is no right answer to this polemic, but it’s one that I hope the reader considers.

TQWhich question about Game of the Gods do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: Do you wish you did something different in terms of how you wrote Game of the Gods?

A: I am not the kind of person to generally look backwards, but I wish I had read Margaret Atwood’s 2017 introduction to The Handmaid’s Tale before I started writing Game of the Gods. I only read this new introduction recently. In it, Atwood describes a set of rules she created to guide her through the writing process. I wish I had made a similar set of rules. I have already started drafting a set of rules like this and will use it for my next novel.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Game of the Gods.


“Trust comes slowly to most—especially those who have perfected the art of judgment.”
                                --The Holy Father to Judge Max Cone

“To win the Game of the Gods, men only need to know one thing. Gods need men more than men need gods.”
                                --Anther Vrig, Chancellor, National Freedom Force

TQWhat's next?

Jay:  I have a well-developed sequel in my mind, but at the same time, I am very interested on working on a new idea I have about gangs, religion, and politics in near future America. I am truly torn about which to write next, but I’m sure I will decide soon.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Game of the Gods
Tor Books, July 10, 2018
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods
"The dystopian novel is alive and well in the blisteringly effective Game of the Gods. Jay Schiffman breathes life into a moribund genre and ends up crafting a sly, shrewd and stunning take on a darkly depraved future that is every bit the equal of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and the Divergent series. Schiffman's striking vision serves up a cloud-riddled tomorrow featuring just enough silver linings to provide hope to an otherwise bleak landscape. A must read for fans of classics like Judge Dredd and Doc Savage." --Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series

Jay Schiffman's Game of the Gods is a debut sci-fi/fantasy thriller of political intrigue and Speilberg-worthy action sequences in the vein of Pierce Brown's Red Rising.

Max Cone wants to be an ordinary citizen of the Federacy and leave war and politics behind. He wants the leaders of the world to leave him alone. But he’s too good a military commander, and too powerful a judge, to be left alone. War breaks out, and Max becomes the ultimate prize for the nation that can convince him to fight again.

When one leader gives the Judge a powerful device that predicts the future, the Judge doesn’t want to believe its chilling prophecy: The world will soon end, and he’s to blame. But bad things start to happen. His wife and children are taken. His friends are falsely imprisoned. His closest allies are killed. Worst of all, the world descends into a cataclysmic global war.

In order to find his family, free his friends, and save the world, the Judge must become a lethal killer willing to destroy anyone who stands in his way. He leads a ragtag band of warriors—a 13-year old girl with special powers, a mathematical genius, a religious zealot blinded by faith, and a former revolutionary turned drug addict. Together, they are the only hope of saving the world.

About Jay

Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods
Photo by Abbie Sophis
Jay grew up in an unremarkable New York City suburb playing basketball, watching Steven Spielberg movies, and reading everything that Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. As a kid, it was obvious what Jay’s two main passions were—writing and arguing. So, eventually, he would become a lawyer.

Jay went to the University of Michigan where he studied English and Political Science. After that, Jay received a law degree and Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University. He wrote his dissertation on competing theories of tolerance in American law and politics. He taught at NYU, published academic papers, and was a Bradley Fellow in American Government. Jay found the academic life a little too academic and so he committed himself to practicing law.

As an attorney, Jay worked on a wide variety of issues. He started as a Law Clerk to a United States Judge before joining his first firm. As a practicing attorney, Jay worked on civil rights, children’s issues, commercial litigation, constitutional law, criminal law, and federal death penalty cases. Towards the end of his legal career, he spent a lot of time visiting prisoners in detention centers. Jay worked many hours with individuals accused of murder and awaiting death penalty trials. In the confined spaces of these detention centers, he learned two important things—there’s a lot of humanity in people who do inhumane things and never take for granted the fact that you get to leave.

When his first daughter was born, Jay decided to leave law and start his first business, an educational learning company for children. A few years later, he sold that company to a large private equity firm. Jay had caught the entrepreneurial bug. Since founding his first company, Jay has been involved in a number of successful businesses in the digital, educational, technology, and consumer goods spaces.

Website  ~  Twitter @JaySchiffman  ~  Facebook

Interview with Rich Larson, author of Annex

Please welcome Rich Larson to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Annex was published on July 24th by Orbit.

Interview with Rich Larson, author of Annex

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Rich:  Glad to be here. Before I could actually read or write, I would sometimes get my older sisters to transcribe the stories I liked to tell them. The earliest one I can remember involved pyramids, hot air balloons, sword fights, gun fights, King Tut and Spider-Man.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Rich:  I write by the seat of my pants, which is fine for short stories but potentially disastrous for novels.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Rich:  I think the most challenging thing for me is actually sitting down and getting the words out. It's very easy to procrastinate without a boss or an office. I'm procrastinating right now, actually, by answering these interview questions.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Rich:  Lots of stuff. A few authors include Kenneth Oppel, Megan Whalen Turner, K.A. Applegate and William Nicholson. A few specific works include Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis and Feed by M.T. Anderson.

TQDescribe Annex with only 5 words.

Rich:  Kids fighting aliens -- darker Animorphs.

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

Rich:  It's actually pretty good.

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

Rich:  The aesthetic of the ruined city and floating biomechanical pods was something that came to me while I was high around Christmas time several years ago. The character of Violet was from an old unfinished post-apocalyptic short story with parasitic zombies. Those two elements both went into a short story called "Mother Mother," which never saw publication and eventually spun out into Annex, which is more or less a love letter to the books I loved as a kid, including Animorphs, The Thief Lord, Shade's Children, Coraline and A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I write science fiction because it lets me be extremely creative and because I've always liked wondering about the future. I feel like it can do anything literary fiction can do, but also do it on the Moon, which is much better.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Annex?

Rich:  Not a whole lot of research was required for the setting, since it's a fictional amalgamation of a couple different cities I've lived in. For the characters, details about Violet's transition came from reading people's personal stories and anecdotes on Reddit, whereas Bo's memories of Niger were basically my own. I did have to get my dad to check my Hausa spelling.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Annex.

Rich:  Gregory Manchess did the cover, and it looks good as hell. The texture really pops in real life.

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

Rich:  I'd say Bo was easiest, because his motivation is very simple: he wants to rescue his sister. Hardest was Violet, and I already know there are some things I'll do better in the next book.

TQDoes Annex touch on any social issues?

RichAnnex touches on issues that to me are personal -- outsiderhood, family, loneliness -- but might bleed into the social as well.

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

Rich:  I wish someone would ask me to autograph it. I will. I'll totally autograph it.

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

Rich:  This is from a conversation between Violet and one of the invaders in their virtual reality:

"If you were adrift in the ocean with no home to return to, and you found the only island in that ocean that you could make into a home, what would you do?" her not-mom asked, voice grating. "If there were animals on the island, simple apes with simple tools, what would you do? Would you keep sailing and sailing until you were dead?"

Violet paused. Thought about it. "No," she said. "But when an ape bashed my head in with a rock, I'd know I had it coming."

TQWhat's next?

Rich:  I'm supposed to turn in the sequel to Annex this October -- it's going very slowly and painfully right now -- and at the end of October my debut short story collection Tomorrow Factory will be coming out from Talos Press. Before then, in terms of short stories, I'll have a near-future tragedy in Analog and a West African military cyberpunk type story in

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Rich:  Thanks for having me! If anyone is interested in finding free stories / supporting my work, drop by

The Violet Wars 1
Orbit, July 24, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Interview with Rich Larson, author of Annex
In Rich Larson’s astonishing debut Annex, two young kids are the only ones who can fight off the alien invasion.

“A thrilling and imaginative entry into the alien invasion genre with two fierce and desperate young protagonists you won’t be able to stop rooting for.”–Fonda Lee, Nebula-nominated author of Jade City

When the aliens invade, all seems lost. The world as they know it is destroyed. Their friends are kidnapped. Their families are changed.

But with no adults left to run things, young trans-girl Violet and her new friend Bo realize that they are free to do whatever they want to to do and be whoever they want to be.

Except the invaders won’t leave them alone for long…

This thrilling debut by one of the most acclaimed short form writers in science fiction tells the story of two young outsiders who must find a way to fight back against the aliens who have taken over their city.

About Rich

Rich Larson was born in Galmi, Niger, has studied in Rhode Island and worked in the south of Spain, and now lives in Ottawa, Canada. Since he began writing in 2011, he’s sold over a hundred stories, the majority of them speculative fiction published in magazines like Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Lightspeed, and His work appears in numerous Year’s Best anthologies and has been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, French and Italian.

Annex, his debut novel and first book of The Violet Wars trilogy, comes out in July 2018 from Orbit Books. Tomorrow Factory, his debut collection, follows in October 2018 from Talos Press. Besides writing, he enjoys travelling, learning languages, playing soccer, watching basketball, shooting pool, and dancing salsa and kizomba.


Coming in October

The Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction
Talos, October 16, 2018
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Rich Larson, author of Annex
Twenty-three stories from one of speculative fiction’s up-and-coming stars, Pushcart and Journey Prize-nominated author Rich Larson.

Welcome to the Tomorrow Factory.

On your left, post-human hedonists on a distant space station bring diseases back in fashion, two scavengers find a super-powered parasite under the waves of Sunk Seattle, and a terminally-ill chemist orchestrates an asteroid prison break.

On your right, an alien optometrist spins illusions for irradiated survivors of the apocalypse, a high-tech grifter meets his match in near-future Thailand, and two teens use a blackmarket personality mod to get into the year’s wickedest, wildest party.

This collection of published and original fiction by award-winning writer Rich Larson will bring you from a Bujumbura cyberpunk junkyard to the icy depths of Europa, from the slick streets of future-noir Chicago to a tropical island of sapient robots. You'll explore a mysterious ghost ship in deep space, meet an android learning to dream, and fend off predatory alien fungi on a combat mission gone wrong.

Twenty-three futures, ranging from grimy cyberpunk to far-flung space opera, are waiting to blow you away.

So step inside the Tomorrow Factory, and mind your head.

2018 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts

2018 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts

There are 5 debut novels for August.

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 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on August 15, 2018.

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 2018 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for August 2018. The list is correct as of the day posted.

Christina Dalcher

Berkley, August 21, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
One of Entertainment Weekly’s and SheReads’ books to read after The Handmaid’s Tale
One of Good Morning America’s “Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer”

Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning…

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

…not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

Ling Ma

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August 14, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
Maybe it’s the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma’s offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance.

Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend.

So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies cease operations. The subways screech to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.

Candace won’t be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They’re traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?

A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.

Joshua Mattson

A Short Film About Disappointment
Penguin Press, August 7, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
An ingenious novel about art and revenge, insisting on your dreams and hitting on your doctor, told in the form of 80 movie reviews

In near-future America, film critic Noah Body uploads his reviews to a content aggregator. His job is routine: watch, seethe, pan. He dreams of making his own film, free from the hackery of commercial cinema. Faced with writing about lousy movies for a website that no one reads, Noah smuggles into his work episodes from his trainwreck of a life.

We learn that his apartment in Miniature Aleppo has been stripped of furniture after his wife ran off with his best friend—who Noah believes has possessed his body. He’s in the middle of an escalating grudge match against a vending machine tycoon with a penchant for violence. And he’s infatuated with a doctor who has diagnosed him with a “disease of thought.” Sapped by days performing the labor of entertainment, forced to voice opinions on cinema to earn his water rations, Noah is determined to create his own masterpiece, directed by and starring himself.

Written by a debut novelist with a rotten wit and a singular imagination, A Short Film About Disappointment is a story about holding on to a scrap of hope in a joyously crummy world of nanny states and New Koreas.

Lauren C. Teffeau

Angry Robot, August 7, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
The data stored in her blood can save a city on the brink… or destroy it, in this gripping cyberpunk thriller

When college student Emery Driscoll is blackmailed into being a courier for a clandestine organisation, she’s cut off from the neural implant community which binds the domed city of New Worth together. Her new masters exploit her rare condition which allows her to carry encoded data in her blood, and train her to transport secrets throughout the troubled city. New Worth is on the brink of Emergence – freedom from the dome – but not everyone wants to leave. Then a data drop goes bad, and Emery is caught between factions: those who want her blood, and those who just want her dead.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Under the Dome | Blood Courier | Disconnected | Bright Future ]

Drew Williams

The Stars Now Unclaimed
The Universe After 1
Tor Books, August 21, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - August Debuts
Think big guns, smugglers, epic space battles, and a telekinetic girl with all the gifts.

Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages.

Hot on her trail is the Pax—a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the pulse.

Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers.

And that's just the beginning . . .

Interview with Michael Mammay, author of Planetside

Please welcome Michael Mammay to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Planetside is published on July 31st by Harper Voyager.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Michael a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Michael Mammay, author of Planetside

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Michael:  I wrote some in college. I had a couple of funny essays published in The Pointer, at West Point. While I’ve known that I wanted to write fiction since I was about 18 or 19, I never really started to do it seriously until much later in life.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Michael:  I definitely started out as a pantser, and probably still am, though I do plot certain elements. So maybe a hybrid? I tend to write to events. So I might pants the first act, but I have a pretty good idea what the end of that act looks like. Then I’ll write to the midpoint. So I kind of plot out what each quarter of the book looks like. But inside of scenes, I’m definitely a pantser. Half the time I get characters together, they do something I don’t plan for them to do. It keeps things interesting.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Michael:  Not immediately hating what I’ve written. It took me a long time to believe that Planetside is good. Even past the point where I knew it was going to be published, which is of course ridiculous. So when I write new stuff--and at the time I write it, it’s not as good--I hate it. Depending on the day, I either hate it a little, or I hate it a lot. I rely a lot on other people to help me know what is good and what needs work. I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, because I don’t obsess over it. It’s more like a thing where it only affects me when I think about it. But yeah, I’m highly critical of my own work.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Michael:  I read a lot. While I mostly read sci-fi and fantasy, I also teach literature, so I’m pretty well read in the classics, too. For Planetside, the two biggest influences weren’t sci-fi at all. The thing I was reading that got me to start writing Planetside was reading Gone Girl. I’d been writing third person, and was reading GG and it has this amazing first person voice that just punches you in the face from the first chapter. I knew immediately that that’s how I needed to write Planetside. I sat down that night and banged out a chapter which I sent to a few readers. That fast…just sent them a draft. Their reaction to it was all the motivation I needed. There’s also a lot of Heart of Darkness influence in it.

TQDescribe Planetside using only 5 words.

Michael:  NCIS in space combat zone

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

Michael:  It’s actually got some pretty funny parts. It’s not a comedy by any means, but Carl Butler, the main character, doesn’t take himself too seriously, even when the situation around him might be pretty dire. He can be a sarcastic bastard.

TQWhat inspired you to write Planetside? What appeals to you about writing Military SF?

Michael:  I did three year-long tours in Iraq, and another year in Afghanistan, so writing Military SF comes pretty natural to me because the characters are real. None of them are based on real people, but for people who have served in combat, they’re going to recognize a lot of these people. As far as the book itself, the ideas mostly came from my time in Afghanistan. I didn’t do a front line job there, so not the combat part of the book. More the politics and the command structure, and how those people work with each other (real life was nowhere near as dysfunctional as it is in the book!)

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Planetside?

Michael:  I spent a long time in the army. Seriously, I’m pretty light on the science in this book, so I didn’t do a ton of research. I did research stars, and what type would support life. Recently I went to a conference called Launchpad (sponsored by SFWA) and learned a ton of science stuff, so I think there will be more in later books.

TQHow does the military in Planetside differ (or not) from your own experiences with the U.S. Army?

Michael:  The thing that really comes from my time in the army is the relationships between the characters. That’s pretty real. Officers are in charge and enlisted follow orders from them, but it’s more subtle than that. There’s not an undying loyalty to a cause or unwavering support. They know who the boss is, and they treat him with respect, but it’s a two-way street. Good leaders also give respect, and the people they lead feel it, and do better because of it. The other thing that I think comes across, I hope, is I tried to write how it feels to be in a situation where bad things are happening. What it feels like when something explodes. In the combat scenes, I wanted to put the reader as close to it as I could.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Planetside.

Michael:  I love my cover. Sebastien Hue did the art, and I think it’s just beautiful. It kind of provides a big picture of the setting, though a part you never seen in the novel. Planetside is set on a space station orbiting a planet, with a war going on down below. The cover shows part of the station and a distant view of the planet, both of which, in the book, you see from closer up. Butler is inside the station and he’s down on the planet.

Only one side of the war has space technology, so if you’re on the station, you’re kind of away from the war zone. This leads to a situation where there are really two different war experiences…the support of the war, spaceside, and the shooting war, planetside. This isn’t unlike some of our current conflicts where some soldiers are in base camps and others are out on missions. That’s another aspect I wanted to capture, and I think from a larger perspective that’s something the cover shows.

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

Michael:  Butler was the easiest. He just spoke to me from day one. It’s his story, and he told it to me. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. The hardest, I think…there are two. I’m writing about Dr. Elliott in some detail for another site, so I’ll go with Lex Alenda here. Lex was hard to write because I didn’t know her role in the story when I wrote the first draft. First off, in the first draft, she was a man. When I changed her to a woman in a later draft, she got some life. She went from being just a character who Butler used to do basic errands to a three-dimensional person who had her own thoughts on things and played her own role in the greater story. She develops a lot throughout, and the relationship between her and Butler has a lot of depth. Trying to get their scene together at the end right was something I had to go back to several times…it was probably the hardest scene to get right.

TQDoes Planetside touch on any social issues?

Michael:  There are definitely some colonialism issues. Humans have basically taken over a planet with life on it because they want the resources. I don’t spend a ton of time with that, but it’s there, underlying everything. We’re not necessarily the good guys.

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

Michael:  Well my favorite question to answer is when people ask me how much of this is real, and happened to me while I was in the army. I get a real serious look on my face and say ‘All of it. It’s all true. I went to a distant planet and fought aliens.’ Seriously, though, there are a lot of twists in Planetside, so almost anything I say here is going to be a spoiler, and I don’t want to do that. I love talking about the book with people after they read it. There are always great questions.

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

Michael:  Oh man, that’s tough. I’ve been working on other books for so long now. Here’s one where Butler is describing what it feels like to come out of sedation after space travel:

I’m not sure what to compare it to, as it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever done. I had one colleague compare it to finishing a twenty-kilometer run, combined with a hangover and vertigo.
   In other words, it sucks.

Another non-spoilery one that I really like is an interchange between Butler and a reporter named Karen Plazz, where she’s trying to get information from him and he’s being a bit of a dick, trying to avoid the questions. I really like these two characters together.

“So what can you tell me about the attack?” asked Plazz.
I shrugged. “Certainly nothing you don’t know.”
“But you’re in danger.”
I looked around suspiciously. “Am I?”
“You have three armed soldiers walking with you.”
I glanced over at my guards. “Yeah, but I don’t think they’re that dangerous.”
“You’re avoiding the question.”
“I really am.”

TQWhat's next?

Michael:  Planetside 2 (not it’s real name) is done and with my editor, and I expect that will come out next year. It’s the further adventures of Carl Butler, a couple years after the events of Planetside. I’m on a two book deal, so right now I’m working on a couple different projects that I want to write; developing the concepts, doing the research, and writing the pitches. Which will get written and when depends on a lot of different factors, but I’m excited about both of them.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery!

Harper Voyager, July 31, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Michael Mammay, author of Planetside
--“PLANETSIDE is a smart and fast-paced blend of mystery and boots-in-the-dirt military SF that reads like a high-speed collision between Courage Under Fire and Heart of Darkness.” – Marko Kloos, bestselling author of the Frontline series

--“Not just for military SF fans—although military SF fans will love it—Planetside is an amazing debut novel, and I’m looking forward to what Mammay writes next.” – Tanya Huff, author of the Confederation and Peacekeeper series

--“A tough, authentic-feeling story that starts out fast and accelerates from there.” – Jack Campbell, author of Ascendant

--“Definitely the best military sci-fi debut I’ve come across in a while.” – Gavin Smith, author of Bastard Legion and Age of Scorpio

A seasoned military officer uncovers a deadly conspiracy on a distant, war-torn planet…

War heroes aren't usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it's something big—and he's not being told the whole story. A high councilor's son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated—but there's no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command.

The colonel quickly finds Cappa Base to be a labyrinth of dead ends and sabotage: the hospital commander stonewalls him, the Special Ops leader won't come off the planet, witnesses go missing, radar data disappears, and that’s before he encounters the alien enemy. Butler has no choice but to drop down onto a hostile planet—because someone is using the war zone as a cover. The answers are there—Butler just has to make it back alive…

About Michael

Interview with Michael Mammay, author of Planetside
Photo by Lisa K. Davis
Michael Mammay is a retired army officer and a graduate of the United States Military Academy. He has a master’s degree in military history and is a veteran of Desert Storm, Somalia, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his family in Georgia.


Twitter @MichaelMammay

Interview with Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes

Please welcome Thea Lim to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. An Ocean of Minutes is published on July 10th by Touchstone.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Thea a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Thea:  I once wrote a whole novel on my mother's Word Perfect program about an underground motorcycle club in 1993.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Thea:  A hybrid. I make a very skeletal outline, because I need to have some sense of where I'm going, but the only thing that will really let me know whether or not my plot is going to work is test-driving it -- by writing it. So I don't spend too much time drawing up a plan, because it's never long before I have to make a new one.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Thea:  The writing part. I once heard ZZ Packer say that writing is like being in marriage counselling, except with a total stranger. That sounds about right.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Thea:  Cityscapes, and trying to write about my life, and process the things that have happened -- but without it looking like I'm writing about myself in the slightest.

TQDescribe An Ocean of Minutes using only 5 words.

Thea:  LDR but 1991 to 1998. (I used an acronym and cheated.)

TQTell us something about An Ocean of Minutes that is not found in the book description.

Thea:  The whole thing is an analogy for immigration. It's been described as a dystopic novel -- and I'll take it! -- but I actually think of it as allegorical fiction. I wanted to offer a different view of our own world, rather than a future, more dire world. This world is already dire enough.

TQWhat inspired you to write An Ocean of Minutes? What appeals to you about writing a time-travel novel?

Thea:  If, for example, vampire movies are always about sex, and zombie movies are always about the economy, time travel stories are usually about fate -- trying to undo it, but failing. But my favourite time travel narratives are about time itself -- the human instinct to try to dig in our heels and make it stop, kill change, even though we know it's hopeless. (The 1998 film After Life, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- which is totally a time travel movie if you think about it -- are good examples.) It's hard these days to write something totally new, so my strategy was to try and combine two well-worn genres into something else. I wanted to write a work of migration lit (inspired by writers like Jhumpa Lahiri and Maxine Hong Kingston), combined with time travel. In what way does the past feel like another country? In what way is returning to an old home like travelling through time?

TQWhat sort of research did you do for An Ocean of Minutes?

Thea:  I visited Galveston and Buffalo, two cities I love, that are like spiritual twins, on either ends of the country. Both are cities trying to outrun time (Galveston dealing with natural disaster, and Buffalo dealing with economic disaster), and both have a sense of faded history that echoes through each day. I interviewed an upholsterer (She owns Maple Leaf Furnishings in Toronto if you are looking to get a chair recovered) so that I could properly write about Polly's time working at the Hotel Galvez. And I read many first-person accounts of migrant work, many of them wrenching and sad, like El Contrato, a documentary about tomato farmers in Ontario, or this comic strip about Almaz, a domestic worker from Ethiopia who sought work in Saudi Arabia, or the book Underground America, about migrant workers to the US.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for An Ocean of Minutes.

Thea:  The cover was designed by Scott Richardson, who is a really well-known Canadian designer (who happens to be a novelist himself!), so I was very lucky to have him. I loved how he worked in the Texas horizon, and the subtle touches to indicate that the book tells the story of our world, but a slightly off-kilter variant -- the slant of the skyline, and the two mirrored shores, side by side but forever apart, like parallel timelines.

TQIn An Ocean of Minutes who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Thea:  Norberto was the easiest to write, even though he makes some terrible choices. I knew that I wanted him to offer a kind of inverted version of Polly's suffering, so I had a clear model to follow, and just his overall personality -- so gloomy and vulnerable and hopeful still -- spoke to my heart. Frank was the hardest to write. He was mysterious to the end. It wasn't until I wrote the sections where he retrieves Polly's lost furniture, and where his mother throws an anniversary party -- they were late-stage additions! -- that I really figured out who he was.

TQWhich question about An Ocean of Minutes do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


Q: What's your favourite part of the book?

A: The second last chapter, when (very mild spoiler) Polly sees her childhood home for the first time since 1980.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from An Ocean of Minutes.


"They will have a September wedding, so their anniversary doesn't change. Their guests will blow bubbles instead of throwing rice, rice is bad for birds. They will have something of her mother's there --her bicycle or her rocking chair. In another universe, this timeline becomes actual. In their universe, the vial breaks, the virus spreads, the borders are closed. Frank gets sick."

"But what could she do? She kept laughing in the evening light, which is what people do when monstrous epiphanies surface in their minds. You cannot put life on hold to have a moment of grief, so every second, half the people in the world are split in two. This is what they mean by life goes on, and the worst is that you go along too."

TQWhat's next?

Thea:  I'll be appearing this Friday at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, with the writer Jessica Wilbanks, to celebrate the US launch of An Ocean of Minutes!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

An Ocean of Minutes
Touchstone, July 10, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes
In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Station Eleven, a sweeping literary love story about two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

An Ocean of Minutes is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story about the endurance and complexity of human relationships and the cost of holding onto the past—and the price of letting it go.

About Thea

Interview with Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes
Photo by Elisha Lim, © Thea Lim
Thea Lim’s writing has appeared in publications including the Southampton Review, the Guardian, The Millions, Salon, and others. She has an MFA from the University of Houston, and she has received multiple awards and fellowships for her work, including artists’ grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.  She grew up in Singapore and now lives in Toronto with her family.

Website  ~  Twitter @thea_lim

Interview with Christopher Ruocchio, author of Empire of Silence

Please welcome Christopher Ruocchio to The Qwillery, as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Empire of Silence was published on July 3rd by DAW.

Interview with Christopher Ruocchio, author of Empire of Silence

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Christopher:  Thank you for inviting me! It’s hard to say exactly. I began writing in second grade. My friends and I would play make believe on the playground (it started out with them all playing as Dragonball Z characters with myself as Batman—I wasn’t allowed to watch DBZ, you see). It fell to me to catalog the events of the week, and as my friends discovered football and social skills, I just kept writing. I think the first thing I ever finished was what amounted to a handwritten piece of The Legend of Zelda fanfiction with the serial numbers filed off. I did finish a novel in about the ninth grade, but being wise for a high schooler, I put it in a box in my attic and have not thought of it since.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Christopher:  A hybrid, certainly, but with more plotter than pantser. That said, Empire of Silence’s development was far more organic than its sequel. I was working on “a book” since I was about eight, and so I had all the time in the world to make things right. That book eventually became Empire, but not without about fourteen years of false starts and mistakes. For the sequel—which I have finished—I composed about 60 pages of outline, which I then proceeded to only look at with one eye. Artists must have a plan, in my opinion, and a structure, but they should always keep one eye open to inspiration, and some of the best moments in both Empire and its sequel came to me in the heat of the moment.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Christopher:  Sitting still! I tend to find excuses to stand up and move about or to get distracted cleaning my room, but I bought a standing desk recently and that’s helped curb the worst of my meandering. I’m also not very keen on the revision part of the process. Writing new material is easy, but to go back through and pull out pieces and to try and look at plot threads or character arcs distributed through the book sometimes feels like playing four-dimensional chess. That being said, Hemingway was dead on (I believe it was Hemingway) when he said that all writing is rewriting. Onerous a task though it may be, revision is the most crucial part of this enterprise, and editors are unsung heroes (or heroines, as is more often the case)!

TQYou are the Assistant Editor at Baen Books. How does being an Editor affect (or not) your own writing?

Christopher:  The most prominent effect my job’s had on my writing is on my writing time. When I wrote Empire, I was a waiter and a college student, which is a much more forgiving schedule for someone trying to write a book than any 9-5 office job. I wake up at about 6 AM each morning to write before work, and then again after. Those are long days (though much shorter days than those of factory workers, so I remain very grateful—both to my employer and the factory workers). Most of the other effects of my work with Baen have been procedural. I know how the book-publishing process works, and so I’ve been spared the plague of doubts and questions that seem to afflict many newer writers. It’s taught me the importance of being on time, and of clear and quick responses to emails (both as a writer and editor). I think I’m learning to be a better client in relation to my agents and publishers, and a better publishing employee relative to the authors I’ve had the privilege of working with.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Christopher:  Gosh, what hasn’t! The book’s been compared to Dune and The Name of the Wind, which was surreal hearing someone else say out loud. Frank Herbert certainly has been a large influence on me, and I wanted the book to start someplace familiar. The Name of the Wind comparison has more to do with the fact that they’re both first person narratives, though while I do enjoy Mr. Rothfuss’s work—he’s one of the finest prose stylists working today—his work wasn’t a factor in my choice of narrative-style. I was practically born a Star Wars fan, one of the last to experience the franchise before the prequels swept in. Stargate and the Alien films are also perennial favorites—though I never cared much for Star Trek, I will confess. Tolkien was and is absolutely foundational for me, as he was for so many. There has never been a finer writer in all of genre fiction. Being a child of the 1990s, I was also very much influenced by anime/manga. Cowboy Bebop is an all-time favorite, and Akira and Ghost in the Shell have played a role as well (though more in informing Empire of Silence’s sequel than Empire itself). I’m also a great fan of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk, which I’m rather afraid may not bode well for the well-being of my characters. Video games also played a role. Tales of Symphonia was nearly as foundational for me as some of the books I read, if not more so, as were games like Baten Kaitos and Lost Odyssey. In addition to that, I’m an ardent fan of classic literature: Elizabethan drama/poetry, the Romantics, and even Greek theater. History as well. People are quick to note the Roman influences on my worldbuilding, but there are echoes of Byzantine, Spanish, and British Imperial history in this book, as well as some Qing Dynasty China. And lastly, I was raised Roman Catholic—and while my feelings about theology are conflicted enough to fill an entire book—it would be a mistake to imagine that upbringing had no impact on my thinking.

TQDescribe Empire of Silence using only 5 words.

Christopher:  “A love-letter to classic SF.”

(Hyphenated words count as one, right?)

TQTell us something about Empire of Silence that is not found in the book description.

Christopher:  I think it’s quite funny some of them time. Make no mistake: it’s quite a serious book, but there’s enough social comedy elements in places to relieve that. Hadrian is extremely grandiose and formal, and the rest of the cast constantly needles him for it—as does Hadrian himself. I also think it has a lot of heart to it. You can lose sight of that focusing on all the larger-than-life galactic politics and the like, but I consider myself a very character-centric writer and Hadrian’s relationships with the rest of the cast—warts and all, Hadrian is far from perfect—are what I think holds the story together.

TQWhat inspired you to write Empire of Silence? What appeals to you about genre blending - Space Opera and Epic Fantasy?

Christopher:  I’ve always wanted to write. As I say, since I was eight-years-old to be a novelist has been the sum of my professional ambition. Empire simply grew up with me. There was no apple falling out of the tree moment: I just wanted to write a heroic adventure story like I enjoyed when I was a kid, but one that paid homage to the more “complex” stories I’d grown to love as a teenager. As to genre blending, I don’t think I ever thought about it. Fandom’s obsession with genre reminds me of metalheads’ insistence on their love for hyper-specific, micro-genres. The distinction between black metal and power metal, for instance, is totally opaque and arcane to outsiders, and is thereby meaningless. (It’s also so obscure that people don’t want to get into it). Genre fiction is going that way. Some readers will only read epic fantasy, but not urban fantasy, for example. On principle. My question is: How long before realize we’re on our way to creating as many genres as there are writers and give up the whole system? Stepping down off my soapbox, I had a story I wanted to tell, and that story had both fantasy and space opera elements. I thought, “Hey, it’s worked before!” and went about writing it. I hope that fans of both space opera and epic fantasy will find something to love about it!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Empire of Silence?

Christopher:  I haven’t done much by way of formal research. The truth is, I’m constantly reading something or watching something else, and if you’ll forgive me for boasting, I have an excellent memory for facts, such that I can retain at least the gist (but very often the precise wording and even the tone) of anything I hear after just one exposure. I’m very taken with all the lectures and podcast interviews available now with all sorts of experts on subjects from psychology to biology to ancient history. One has to be careful to vet one’s sources, of course, but it’s not uncommon I’ll get through two or three lectures a day as I drive and make dinner and so on. There’s a Greek Orthodox icon carver called Jonathan Pageau I’ve watched a lot of recently, for example, he discusses literary and visual symbolism in the early Christian tradition and how ideas embedded in these ancient icons still persist in popular culture today (he once compared Shrek to The Bacchae by Euripides. Yes, really). I tend to float from topic to topic as it catches my interest. I never know what might be of use and how. There’s a great channel called Invicta which covers Roman military history in exquisite detail. We live in an age of unprecedented access to educational material for even the most idiosyncratic interests, and I mean to take full advantage of the opportunity!

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Empire of Silence.

Christopher:  The US cover was done by the immensely talented Sam Weber, who did the art for the Dune Folio Edition, as well as Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and the tenth anniversary edition of The Name of the Wind. I’ve adored his work for years and feel very fortunate to have gotten to work with him. It doesn’t so much depict a moment in the novel as it does evoke the world and feel of the text. It shows my hero, Hadrian, in sort of a lordly, formal set of armor. Mr. Weber balanced the futuristic nature of the setting with the historical influences my worldbuilding draws from Imperial Rome and Victorian Britain. He’s depicted against the dark of space, with two moons to help signify that this is science fiction we’re dealing with (and because the planet Emesh, where most of the book takes place, has two moons). He stands with his sword towards the ground—an unknown hand clutching the blade, looking up as if for some word. We were slightly inspired Pollice Verso, the famous Gerome painting of the gladiator looking up at Caesar’s box for the order to spare or kill his beaten opponent.

TQIn Empire of Silence who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Christopher:  Hadrian has been easiest, far and away. Since he is our narrator, I spend more time in his head than any other character and am more familiar with him the rest of the cast. I’ve also got more space in the text to flesh him out than any other character. The most difficult character by far was Valka Onderra, a xeno-archaeologist who disagrees with Hadrian’s world view at practically every given opportunity. The two have a very antagonistic relationship in the book, which is complicated by Hadrian’s trying very hard to stay on her good side, so every scene she’s in becomes a complex mire of negotiating complex emotions and verbal combat. I think the end result was worth the headache, however. Several early readers seem to really like her!

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

ChristopherIt seems like a lot of your writing relies on reusing old ideas/tropes. Why the homages? Shouldn’t SF/F always be something new?

This thread’s come up in a few of the early reviews, and it’s been bothering me because, yes, I do lay on the homages very heavy at the beginning of this novel. As I say, I wanted the book to start out somewhere familiar, to give audiences a window into the kind of story I’m telling, if only to give them a false sense of security because the book will take us somewhere quite different than the beginning might lead one to suspect. If you look at the great successes in recent years, especially in the film industry, say, none of those things are original. Nonetheless, the industry so often gets fixated on writers who are going to “smash” tropes or “break” a genre. I’ve yet to see one really succeed. For me, doing something different in this day and age means less experimentation, and more focus on telling a story as well as I can. Scotch tobacco ice cream may appeal to foodies, but the average person with a sweet tooth would still rather have vanilla or mint chocolate. And that’s not to say I’m not experimenting, but if you’re going to blend genres the way I am, you need those classic ingredients or the fact this is a blend might go unnoticed.

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

Christopher:  I’ll pick two at random:

“We live in stories, and in stories, we are subject to phenomena beyond the mechanisms of space and time. Fear and love, death and wrath and wisdom—these are as much parts of our universe as light and gravity. The ancients called them gods, for we are their creatures, shaped by their winds.”

“But there are other powers that move our world, powers greater than man. Powers that, like time and tide, wait for none. Even Emperors, like starlight, bend to the blackest forces of natural law.”

TQWhat's next?

Christopher:  I’ve just finished the sequel to Empire of Silence—well, the first draft of it, anyway—and have turned that in to my editor. I’m starting work outlining book 3, which I plan to have done by the time revision notes for book 2 come in. Hadrian and his story will be with me for a few years yet! In addition to that, I’ve just finished compiling stories for a reprint anthology called Space Pioneers with Baen’s Editor Emeritus, Hank Davis. It’s just what the name says on the tin: a collection of older stories about people braving the environs of space. We’ve got stories by Niven and Pournelle, Sturgeon and Heinlein and so on. Hank has an archival memory of everything in SF up until the ‘80s, and there are some real gems in this anthology. I’m also working on an original story/novelette to include in the book as well! That’ll be along in December!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Christopher:  It’s been a pleasure! Thank you!

Empire of Silence
The Sun Eater 1
DAW, July 3, 2018
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 624 pages

Interview with Christopher Ruocchio, author of Empire of Silence
Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.

It was not his war.

The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives—even the Emperor himself—against Imperial orders.

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.

Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

About Christopher

Interview with Christopher Ruocchio, author of Empire of Silence
Photo © Paul Ruocchio
Christopher Ruocchio is the author of The Sun Eater, a space opera fantasy series from DAW Books, as well as the Assistant Editor at Baen Books, where he co-edited the military SF anthology Star Destroyers, as well as the upcoming Space Pioneers, a collection of Golden Age reprints showcasing tales of human exploration. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where a penchant for self-destructive decision-making caused him to pursue a bachelor’s in English Rhetoric with a minor in Classics. An avid student of history, philosophy, and religion, Christopher has been writing since he was eight years old and sold his first book —Empire of Silence— at twenty-two. The Sun Eater series in available from Gollancz in the UK, and has been translated into French and German.

Christopher lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he spends most of his time hunched over a keyboard writing. He may be found on both Facebook and Twitter at @TheRuocchio.

Twitter @TheRuocchio ~ Facebook

Interview with TJ Berry, author of Space Unicorn Blues

Please welcome TJ Berry to The Qwillery as part of  the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Space Unicorn Blues was published on July 3rd by Angry Robot.

Interview with TJ Berry, author of Space Unicorn Blues

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

TJ:  The first thing I ever wrote was a Famous Five fan fiction story when I was ten years old. I was living in Hong Kong, and British boarding school books and the Famous Five were all the rage among the primary school crowd. Five Go Off in a Caravan was life-changing for me. I couldn’t imagine that four children and their dog were allowed to go off on their own and camp near the circus for the summer, solving actual crimes. My mother wouldn’t even allow me to walk to the corner store on my own.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

TJ:  I’m a hybrid writer. I always start with a question instead of an outline. In Space Unicorn Blues it was, “Is humanity worth saving?” Outlines are excellent for honing a story, but for what I call the zero draft, I aim to be expansive. I give myself permission to write anything related to the story. This includes scenes out of order, tangents about minor characters, and even alternate endings. The goal at this stage is to shut off my inner editor and allow for every possibility on the page.

Before the next draft, I outline the story into a cohesive shape, making notes about what needs to be added and deleted. I also write a synopsis to ensure the story makes sense from start to finish. As rewrite, I mold the text to fit the new outline and this is usually where I find the heart of the story. I make a few more passes to add description, exposition, and pull out themes, then send it off to an editor who tears it all apart and the process starts from the beginning.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

TJ:  I have an aversion to exposition and description, just ask my editor. My early drafts look like screenplays—with chapters full of only dialogue and stage directions. I have to spend a lot of time ensuring that the backstory that’s in my head ends up on the page and the locations I create are actually laid out for the reader.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

TJ:  Even though I primarily write science fiction, most of my writing influences come from the horror world. I grew up on Stephen King novels. When I was twelve, I found Cujo in the trash after my mother had thrown it away in disgust. It was mesmerizing. I put aside my Babysitter’s Club books and plowed through King’s entire back catalog instead.

I add visceral horror in the early stages of everything I write—there’s a lot of daily life that’s downright horrific. I edit most of the more disturbing pieces out of my science fiction work; though in this book you’ll find remnants in some scenes involving Gary and his horn.

TQDescribe Space Unicorn Blues using only 5 words.

TJ:  Bizarre, complex, conflicted, science fantasy.

TQTell us something about Space Unicorn Blues that is not found in the book description.

TJ:  If you were ever curious about the purpose of the bug-eyed alien “greys” that purportedly visit Earth, Space Unicorn Blues has an answer for you. One thing that always terrifies me about the idea of alien visitations is not that they’re malicious, but that they’re apathetic. It’s much easier to fight an aggressive alien threat than it is to try to prove your entire species should be worthy of consideration as thinking beings.

TQWhat inspired you to write Space Unicorn Blues? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

TJ:  I wrote Space Unicorn Blues out of spite. My lovely husband was trying to console me after yet another rejection on a bizarre short story and he suggested that I write more “normal” stories. Instead of following his advice, I turned around and resolved to write the most outlandish story I could dream of. The joke was on both of us when I sold the book.

Science fiction is invaluable as a way for humans to extrapolate future paths of current actions from within the safety of fiction. Our speculative storytelling can be a warning of dire things to come or a beacon of hope during dark times. Also, I like space.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Space Unicorn Blues?

TJ:  Not only did I do a tremendous amount of research on my own, I also hired several experts and sensitivity readers to help ensure my characters were as accurate as possible. For example, Captain Jenny Perata has used a wheelchair for the last decade. It was important to have a disabled person read the book to ensure that Jenny’s experience using a chair in space was handled with accuracy and respect.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for Space Unicorn Blues?

TJ:  The cover was a collaboration between Angry Robot’s publisher, Marc Gascoigne and artist Lee Gibbons. I absolutely love how it conveys the seriousness of space and technology while also suggesting the unpredictable outlandishness of the magical creatures who are also in the story. There’s even an asteroid to suggest Gary’s faster-than-light starship, the Jaggery.

TQIn Space Unicorn Blues who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

TJ:  I’m always able to slip into Jenny Perata’s voice quite easily. She’s strong, smart, and swears like a sailor. She’s tremendous fun to write. Gary Cobalt is a character that I dearly love, but he is also very difficult to write. He’s so lawful good—without much moral ambiguity—that it takes a bit more work to keep his point of view from getting too strident. In fact, I originally had most of the book in his voice and during rewrites I took those chapters and gave them to Jenny. Sorry, Gary!

Cowboy Jim’s head is a terrible place, which is why he gets only one chapter in this book. I’m currently working on the sequel, which has a lot of Jim’s point of view and he’s a downright despicable person.

TQDoes Space Unicorn Blues touch on any social issues?

TJSpace Unicorn Blues takes on a couple of big social issues. First, it asks what responsibility colonizers have toward the people they have colonized, displaced, and exploited. Second, the book asks if humans are capable of sharing the universe with other creatures at all. I don’t think we come to a tidy resolution on either of those questions, but it definitely grapples with them throughout the story.

TQWhich question about Space Unicorn Blues do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

TJ:  I wish someone would ask where the Sisters of the Supersymmetrical Axion live. The answer is that they have a fortified abbey on an island in the middle of an ocean planet. It’s steeped in magic and weirdness and I hope to be able to bring readers there someday.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Space Unicorn Blues.

TJ:  "Harboring silent resentments was like stabbing yourself and hoping the other person died."

“Humans were never more persistent than when they were in the wrong."

TQWhat's next?

TJ:  I’m working on a sequel to Space Unicorn Blues which is, for the moment, totally secret. I can say that we’re going to pick up with Jenny, Gary, Ricky, and Jim where we left off in the first book. There are a lot of questions which need to be resolved, daring escapes to be had, and it wouldn’t be space opera without few explosions in orbit.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

TJ:  Thank you for having me!

Space Unicorn Blues
The Reason 1
Angry Robot, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with TJ Berry, author of Space Unicorn Blues
A misfit crew race across the galaxy to prevent the genocide of magical creatures, in this unique science fiction debut.

Humanity joining the intergalactic community has been a disaster for Bala, the magical creatures of the galaxy: they’ve been exploited, enslaved and ground down for parts. Now the Century Summit is approaching, when humans will be judged by godlike aliens.

When Jenny Perata, disabled Maori shuttle captain, is contracted to take a shipment to the summit, she must enlist half-unicorn Gary Cobalt, whose horn powers faster-than-light travel. But he’s just been released from prison, for murdering the wife of Jenny’s co-pilot, Cowboy Jim… When the Reason regime suddenly enact laws making Bala property, Jenny’s ship becomes the last hope for magic.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Rocks in Space | Stand Up to Reason | The Human Experiment | Last Unicorn ]

About TJ

Interview with TJ Berry, author of Space Unicorn Blues
Photo by Landon Harris
TJ BERRY grew up between Repulse Bay, Hong Kong and the New Jersey shore. She has been a political blogger, bakery owner, and spent a disastrous two weeks working in a razor blade factory. TJ co-hosts the Warp Drives Podcast with her husband, in which they explore science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her short fiction has appeared in Pseudopod and PodCastle.

Website  ~ Twitter @tjaneberry

Interview with Francesco Dimitri, author of The Book of Hidden Things

Please welcome Francesco Dimitri to The Qwillery, as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Book of Hidden Things is published on July 3rd by Titan Books.

Please join The Qwillery in wishing Francesco a Happy Publication Day!

Interview with Francesco Dimitri, author of The Book of Hidden Things

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?

Dimitri:  Thank you for having me! I remember it very clearly: I wrote it at eleven or so, and it was a short story with a nameless character drawing a parallel between the battle of Waterloo and the ineluctable fate of humanity. Yeah, I was an intense kid.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Dimitri:  A total pantser on the first draft, a moderate plotter on the others. To me, a ‘story’ is people doing stuff. You put specific people in a specific situation and see what happens. If you have the right characters, and you are honest about what they do and how they feel, what happens is your story. Then you go back and tidy it up.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Dimitri:  Having a life while I am working on a first draft. Everything that is not the book is annoying. There are moments in which I truly hate myself for needing food and sleep.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Dimitri:  Other books, yes, and films, sure, and TV series, of course, not to mention songs. But mostly people. I am a very sociable guy (when I am not writing a first draft): I enjoy being with other humans, listening to them. I don’t want my stories to be about other stories, books concerning other books. I want to write echoes of real life, with all its messiness, confusion, and glory.

TQDescribe The Book of Hidden Things in 140 characters or less.

Dimitri:  Your best friend disappeared. He did some nasty things. He might also be a saint. What do you do?

TQTell us something about The Book of Hidden Things that is not found in the book description.

Dimitri:  It is a very sensuous book. I really, really like being alive, and I wanted this story in particular to communicate the joys of food, scent, sex, even against the backdrop of pretty dark events. It is mind-boggling how fine-tuned to physical pleasures we are, and how often we deny them to ourselves for no good reason whatsoever.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Book of Hidden Things? What appeals to you about writing Contemporary Fantasy?

Dimitri:  The very idea of magic is wonderful. We have this word, that sometimes is a metaphor, sometimes is not, sometimes indicates a theatrical performance, sometimes is shorthand for love, sometimes is cheesy, sometimes terrifying. It is a maddenly vague, beautiful word. Magic to me is a topic on its own, rather than a tool to explore other topics. I want readers to feel the possibility of it, its strangeness and beauty. And I just find it easier to do that against a contemporary backdrop.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Book of Hidden Things?

Dimitri:  It is set in the place where I grew up. My main sources were memory, friends, and family.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Book of Hidden Things.

Dimitri:  It is beautiful and upsetting. It is so perfect that, had I not written the book first, I would write it now just for it to have that cover. Julia Lloyd, the artist, got perfectly well what I was trying to do, and came out with a work that is brazen but not gimmicky, a rare balance.

TQIn The Book of Hidden Things who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Dimitri:  The easy one was Tony, because I see the world like him: at the end of the day, what matters to a good life are family and friends. You stick to them and they stick to you. The hardest… well. The landscape, I would say. I wanted to make the landscape a character, which required a touch of lyricism and a lot of restrain, and it was very easy to mess up. I hope I didn’t. All I can say is, I tried.

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Book of Hidden Things?

Dimitri:  There are social issues echoing through the book – organised criminality, the taken-for-granted sexism of the place and of people’s gaze - but this is a book about personal matters, and I wanted to keep it close and personal. A lot of social issues would go away if only we were better adjusted grown-ups.

TQWhich question about The Book of Hidden Things do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Dimitri:  The question is, ‘was it a pleasure to write?’, and the answer is, ‘yes, and I hope it is going to be a pleasure to read.’

TQGive us one or two of your favourite non-spoilery quotes from The Book of Hidden Things.

Dimitri:  A gentleman does not quote himself.

TQWhat's next?

Dimitri:  I am putting the last touches on a nonfiction book on sense of wonder. Very soon I will start writing my next novel, but I tend not to talk about stuff that is not finished or at least almost there…

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Dimitri:  Thank you, guys!

The Book of Hidden Things
Titan Books, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook,

Interview with Francesco Dimitri, author of The Book of Hidden Things
Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.

A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can’t go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss’s daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, which promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.

Francesco Dimitri's first novel written in English, following his career as one of the most significant fantasy writers in Italy, will entrance fans of Elena Ferrante, Neil Gaiman and Donna Tartt. Set in the beguiling and seductive landscape of Southern Italy, this story is about friendship and landscape, love and betrayal; above all it is about the nature of mystery itself.

About Francesco

Interview with Francesco Dimitri, author of The Book of Hidden Things
Francesco Dimitri is an Italian author and speaker living in London. He is on the Faculty of the School of Life. He is considered one of the foremost fantasy writers in Italy, and his works have been widely appreciated by non-genre readers too. A film has been made from his first novel, La Ragazza dei miei Sogni. The Book of Hidden Things is his debut novel in English.

Twitter @fdimitri

July 2018 Releases

Here is The Qwillery's list of novels, etc. being published in July 2018. If there is something that we've missed, please leave a comment below. Any genre mistakes are ours. Leave a comment below if you feel that the genre is wrong. Also note that this list is always under revision. Publication dates change. We try to keep this as accurate as possible. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the US. Check The View From Monday each week for each week's updated release list.

July 2018 Releases

Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

July 1, 2018
Thoreau's Microscope Michael Blumlein SF - Collection
Enticing the Dragon (e) Jane Godman PNR
Haunted (e)(ri) Heather Graham PNR - Harrison Investigation Series 1
Very Important Corpses (h2tp) Simon Green SupM - An Ishmael Jones Mystery 3
The Black Wolf (e) Linda Thomas-Sundstrom PNR
Harlequin Nocturne July 2018 Box Set: The Black Wolf\Enticing the Dragon (e) Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Jane Godman

July 2, 2018
Oak & Thorns (e) Yasmine Galenorn PNR - Wild Hunt 2

July 3, 2018
The Complete Psychotechnic League, Vol. 3 Poul Anderson SF - Psychotechnic League
Space Unicorn Blues (D) TJ Berry SF/SO/AC - The Reason 1
Pack Mike Bockoven SupTh/H/Noir
Out in the Open (h2tp) Jesús Carrasco Dys/LF
The City of Brass (h2tp) S. A Chakraborty F - The Daevabad Trilogy 1
Wrath of Kings Glen Cook DF/F - Chronicle of the Dread Empire
The Boyfriend from Hell (ri) Avery Corman PsyTh/R
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints Larry Correia
John Ringo
UF - Monster Hunter Memoirs 3
The Book of Hidden Things (D) Francesco Dimitri CF/Sup/LF
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection Gardner Dozois (Ed) SF - Anthology
Enticing the Dragon Jane Godman PNR
Madame Zero: 9 Stories Sarah Hall LF/MR - Short Stories
City of Lies (D) Sam Hawke F - The Poison Wars 1
The Bear and the Paving Stone Toshiyuki Horie LF/Psy - Japanese Novellas 5
Marked Benedict Jacka UF - An Alex Verus Novel 9
The Calculating Stars Mary Robinette Kowal SF/AH/HSF - Lady Astronaut 1
Heroine's Journey Sarah Kuhn UF/HuF/RF - Heroine Complex 3
Heroine Worship (tp2mm) Sarah Kuhn UF/HuF/RF - Heroine Complex 2
A Fading Sun (tp2mm) Stephen Leigh F/HistF/FairyT/FolkT/LM - Sunpath 1
Caught in Time Julie McElwain M/TT - Kendra Donovan Mysteries 3
The Pre-War House and Other Stories Alison Moore SS/LF/Psy/H
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls: Stories Alissa Nutting SS/Surreal - Art of the Story
Wolf's Mate Katie Reus PNR - Crescent Moon 7
Empire of Silence (D) Christopher Ruocchio SF/SO/F/HSF - Sun Eater 1
The Empire of Ashes Anthony Ryan F- The Draconis Memoria 3
Black Chamber S. M. Stirling AH/SF/Espionage - A Novel of an Alternate World War 1
Age of War Michael J. Sullivan F - The Legends of the First Empire 3
The Black Wolf Linda Thomas-Sundstrom PNR
Wonderbook (Revised and Expanded): The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction Jeff VanderMeer Writing
When the English Fall (h2tp) David Williams SF/AP/PA/Dys/HSF
Tide of Battle Michael Z. Williamson SF - Collection
Embers (e) Suzanne Wright PNR - Dark in You 4
Lost Gods (D) Micah Yongo F/DF/SupTh

July 10, 2018
River of Bones Taylor Anderson AH/SF - Destroyermen 13
Paternus: Wrath of Gods Dyrk Ashton F - The Paternus Trilogy 2
Heart of Granite James Barclay SF/F - Blood & Fire 1
A Grand Tour Collection: Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Tales of the Grand Tour, Powersat, Mercury, Titan, Mars Life, Leviathans of Jupiter, Farside, New Earth (e) Ben Bova SF/SO - Grand Tour Series
The Naming of the Beasts Mike Carey SupTh/Occ/Sup/UF/GH - Felix Castor 5
I Only Killed Him Once Adam Christopher SF/PI/Noir - Ray Electromatic Mysteries 3
Crusade Andy Clark SF - Black Library Summer Reading
The Final Frontier: Stories of Exploring Space, Colonizing the Universe, and First Contact Neil Clarke (Ed) SF - Anthology
The Rat Catchers' Olympics (h2tp) Colin Cotterill M/Cr/Hist/MR - A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery 12
Black Legion (h2tp) Aaron Dembski-Bowden SF - Black Legion 2
William Shakespeare's Jedi the Last: Star Wars Part the Eighth Ian Doescher SF/SO - William Shakespeare's Star Wars 8
Awaken the Darkness Dianne Duvall PNR - Immortal Guardians Series 8
Deep Roots Ruthanna Emrys SF/HistF - The Innsmouth Legacy 2
Resurrection (h2tp) John French SF - The Horusian Wars 1
The Lost Country William Gay Southern Gothic
Graveyard Mind Chadwick Ginther H/DF/GH/CF
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman Theodora Goss F - The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club 2
Suicide Club: A Novel About Living (D) Rachel Heng LF/Dys/FL
City of Secrets Nick Horth F - Black Library Summer Reading
The Promise of Space and Other Stories James Patrick Kelly SF - Collection
Assault on Black Reach Nick Kyme SF - Black Library Summer Reading
Provenance (h2tp) Ann Leckie SF/HSF/SO
An Ocean of Minutes (D) Thea Lim LF
Ulrika the Vampire Nathan Long F - Warhammer Chronicles 7
The Truants (h2tp) Lee Markham H
A Wild Cards Collection: The Fort Freak Triad: Fort Freak, Lowball, High Stakes  (e) George R. R. Martin SF/SH - Wild Cards
Metamorphica: Fiction Zachary Mason LF/LM
It's Not the End and Other Lies Matt Moore SF - Collection
Spinning Silver Naomi Novik F/FairyT
Reincarnation Blues (h2tp) Michael Poore CF/LF/FR
Hammerhal Josh Reynolds F - Black Library Summer Reading
Soul Wars Josh Reynolds F - Soul Wars 1
The Life and Adventures of Joaquí­n Murieta: The Celebrated California Bandit John Rollin Ridge Hispanic & Latino Fiction/FolkT/LM
Game of the Gods (D) Jay Schiffman SF/Dys
Infinity's End Jonathan Strahan (Ed) SF - Anthology
Death Of A Clone Alex Thomson SF
Sin of Damnation Gav Thorpe SF - Black Library Summer Reading
The Spin Saga Trilogy (e) Robert Charles Wilson SF/HSF/PA - Spin
Schisms James Wolanyk SF - Scribe Cycle 1
Wolf King Chris Wraight SF - Black Library Summer Reading

July 11, 2018
Nothing Really Matters in Life More Than Love Agustí­n Fernández Paz
Pablo Auladell (Tr)
F - Anthology - Small Stations Fiction 14
The Need for Air: A Original (e) Lettie Prell SF

July 12, 2018
The Steam Pump Jump (e) Jodi Taylor SF/TT - The Chronicles of St. Mary's

July 13, 2018
The Promise of Air/The Garden of Survival Algernon Blackwood LF/F

July 16, 2018
Playing with Fire (e)(ri) Gena Showalter CFR - Tales of an Extraordinary Girl 1

July 17, 2018
Son of the Night Mark Alder HistF
The Wrong Heaven Amy Bonnaffons SS/HU
Competence Gail Carriger F/Gaslamp/HistF/RF/P - Custard Protocol 3
Spellslinger Sebastien de Castell F/Hu/CoA - Spellslinger 1
The Cloven Brian Catling F/HistF/LF - Vorrh 3
Kill the Farm Boy
Delilah S. Dawson
Kevin Hearne
F/HU/FairyT - The Tales of Pell 1
Mystic Dragon Jason Denzel F - The Mystic Trilogy 2
One of Us Craig DiLouie CF/LF/MR
Mad Amos Malone: The Complete Stories (e) Alan Dean Foster F/W - Collection
Maze Master Kathleen O'Neal Gear Th/AP
The Mere Wife Maria Dahvana Headley LF/CF/CW
Dark Paths Markus Heitz F - The Legends of the Alfar 3
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2018 Edition Rich Horton (Ed) SF - Anthology
Apocalypse Nyx Kameron Hurley SF/GenEng/HSF
Rose Madder (ri) Stephen King H/Sus
Four Dominions Eric Van Lustbader SupTh - The Testament Series 3
Constance Verity Saves the World A. Lee Martinez CF - Constance Verity 2
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown Seanan McGuire UF/CF - Ghost Roads 2
Slaying It (e) Chloe Neill PNR/UF - Chicagoland Vampires Novella
The War in the Dark (D) Nick Setchfield F/SF/Th
The Hidden World Melinda Snodgrass SF/SO - Imperials 3
Baby Teeth (D) Zoje Stage PsyTh/H/FL
Skullsworn: A Novel in the World of The Emperor's Blades Brian Staveley F - Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
The Expert System's Brother Adrian Tchaikovsky SF/GenEng
The Wild Dead Carrie Vaughn SF/AP/PA - The Bannerless Saga 2
The Sea of Sorrows (ri) Michelle West F - The Sun Sword 4
The Riven Shield (ri) Michelle West F - The Sun Sword 5
The Sun Sword (ri) Michelle West F - The Sun Sword 6
The Uncrowned King (ri) Michelle West F - The Sun Sword 2
The Broken Crown (ri) Michelle West F - The Sun Sword 1
The Shining Court (ri) Michelle West F - The Sun Sword 3
2001: An Odyssey in Words: Honouring the Centenary of Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Birth Ian Whates (Ed)
Tom Hunter (Ed)
SF - Anthology
Condomnauts Yoss
David Frye (Tr)

July 19, 2018
From the Depths: and Other Strange Tales of the Sea Mike Ashley (Ed) H - Tales of the Weird

July 24, 2018
Castellan David Annandale SF - Castellan Crowe 2
Record of a Spaceborn Few Becky Chambers SF/SO - Wayfarers 3
Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr (h2tp) John Crowley MR/HistF
Enforcer: The Shira Calpurnia Omnibus Matthew Farrer SF - Shira Calpurnia Omnibus
The Serpent Sarah Fine UF - The Immortal Dealers 1
The Rift Frequency (h2tp) Amy S. Foster SF - The Rift Uprising Trilogy 2
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard David A. Goodman MTI/SF - Star Trek
The Darker Lord (e) Jack Heckel F/HU - Mysterium Series 2
Horrorology Stephen Jones (Ed)
Clive Barker (Illus)
Born of Blood Sherrilyn Kenyon SF - The League: Nemesis Rising 13
Annex (D) Rich Larson SF/AC/AP/PA -The Violet Wars 1
Hearthfire Emmie Mears F - Stonebreaker 1
Gather the Daughters (h2tp) Jennie Melamed CoA/Dys/LF
High Voltage (h2mm) Karen Marie Moning PNR/FR/P - Fever 10
Binti (ri) Nnedi Okorafor SF/AC/SO - Binti 1
Binti: The Night Masquerade (ri) Nnedi Okorafor SF/AC/SO - Binti 3
Binti: Home (ri) Nnedi Okorafor SF/AC/SO - Binti 2
Sword of Power Oliver Pötzsch
Jaime McGill (Tr)
F - The Black Musketeers 2
City of Endless Night (h2tp) Douglas Preston Lincoln Child Sus/Occ/Sup/H/Pol - Agent Pendergast
Sons of the Hydra Rob Sanders SF - Alpha Legion 0
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome John Scalzi CyP/MedTh
Jaghatai Khan: Warhawk of Chogoris Chris Wraight SF - The Horus Heresy: Primarchs 8
Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) Timothy Zahn SF/MTI - Star Wars: Thrawn 2

July 26, 2018
Redemption's Blade: After The War Adrian Tchaikovsky F

July 27, 2018
Born to the Blade: The Complete Season One (e) Michael Underwood
Marie Brennan
Cassandra Khaw
Malka Older
F - Born to the Blade

July 30, 2018
Krewe of Hunters Collection Volume 7: Dying Breath\Dark Rites\Wicked Deeds (e) Heather Graham SupTh/PNR - Krewe of Hunters Series 21

July 31, 2018
Portents: A Collection of Cainsville Tales Kelley Armstrong F - Cainsville Collection
Clementine: A Song for the End of the World John T Biggs MR/GenEng/PA - Clementine 1
Zero Day (h2tp) Ezekiel Boone H - The Hatching Series 3
The Core (h2mm) Peter V. Brett F - The Demon Cycle 5
Shadow's Bane Karen Chance UF - Dorina Basarab 4
Keepers Brenda Cooper SF/AP/PA - Project Earth 2
The Marvellous Equations of the Dread: A Novel in Bass Riddim Marcia Douglas LF/MR
Red Vengeance (tp2mm) Brendan DuBois SF - Dark Victory 2
Pale as Death Heather Graham RS/SupTh/PNR/GH - Krewe of Hunters 25
Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction (3rd Edition) James Gunn HC/SF
Stranger in a Strange Land (ri) Robert A. Heinlein SF/AC/LF
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Robert A. Heinlein SF/Pol
Punishment: A Thriller Scott J. Holliday PP - Detective Barnes 1
Dragonsworn (h2mm) Sherrilyn Kenyon FR/P/UF - Dark-Hunter Novels 21
Dark Light: Dawn Jon Land
Fabrizio Boccardi (Creator)
The Gathering Edge (h2mm) Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
SF - Liaden Universe 20
Swords Against Death (ri) Fritz Leiber F
Arabella The Traitor of Mars David D. Levine SF/SP - The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 3
Planetside (D) Michael Mammay SF
Wychwood (tp2mm) George Mann F/M
The Predator: Hunters And Hunted Official Movie Prequel James A. Moore MTI/SF/AC - Predator
A Study in Honor Claire O'Dell SF
A Dune Companion Donald E. Palumbo Series Editor C.W. Sullivan III (Editor) Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy 62
I Am Legend As American Myth: Race and Masculinity in the Novel and Its Film Adaptations Amy J. Ransom HC/SF/F
Dreadful Company Vivian Shaw CF/P/UF - A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel 2
Ant-Man: Natural Enemy: A Novel of the Marvel Universe Jason Starr MTI/SH - Marvel Novels 5
Armistice: The Hot War (h2mm) Harry Turtledove AH/SF - The Hot War 3
A Wolf Apart Maria Vale PNR/FR - The Legend of All Wolves 2
The Future Is Blue Catherynne M. Valente F - Collection
The Killing of Worlds (ri) Scott Westerfeld SF/SO - Succession 2
Gears and God: Technocratic Fiction, Faith, and Empire in Mark Twain's America Nathaniel Williams HC/SF
Quillifer (h2tp) Walter Jon Williams F - Quillifer 1
The Descent of Monsters JY Yang F - The Tensorate Series 3

D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator

AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Woman
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
Fict - Fiction
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humor
HuF - Humorous Fantasy
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
MU - Mash Up
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
RF - Romantic Fantasy
RS - Romantic Suspense
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SS - Short Stories
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
Interview with Lauren C. Teffeau, author of ImplantedInterview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the GodsInterview with Rich Larson, author of Annex2018 Debut Author Challenge - August DebutsInterview with Michael Mammay, author of PlanetsideInterview with Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of MinutesInterview with Christopher Ruocchio, author of Empire of SilenceInterview with TJ Berry, author of Space Unicorn BluesInterview with Francesco Dimitri, author of The Book of Hidden ThingsJuly 2018 Releases

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