close

The Qwillery | category: 2019 DAC

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2019 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on July 31, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite July 2019 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Illustration by Kathleen Jennings
Cover design by Christine Foltzer





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art by Yoshi Yoshitani





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover design by Lauren Panepinto
Cover illustration by Karla Ortiz





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover design by Adam Auerbach
Cover photo of stars courtesy of Shutterstock





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art by Mikio Murakami





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover design by Lisa Marie Pompilio
Cover illustrations by Shutterstock

2019 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts




There are 9 debut novels for July.

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

The July 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 July cover for the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on July 15, 2019.



Naomi Booth

Sealed
Titan Books, July 2, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

Heavily pregnant Alice and her partner Pete are done with the city. Alice is haunted by rumors of a skin-sealing epidemic starting to infect the urban population. She hopes their new remote mountain house will offer safety, a place to forget the nightmares and start their family. But the mountains and their people hold a different kind of danger. With their relationship under intolerable pressure, violence erupts and Alice is faced with the unthinkable as she fights to protect her unborn child.

Timely and suspenseful, Sealed is a gripping modern fable on motherhood, a terrifying portrait of ordinary people under threat from their own bodies and from the world around them.





Tom Chatfield

The Gomorrah Gambit
Mulholland Books, July 23, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 Pages
(Fiction Debut)

With dark technology hollowing out global privacy, an elite hacker enters the belly of the beast in this “gripping, intelligent, and stylist” international conspiracy thriller (Sophie Hannah, author of Closed Casket).

Azi Bello is an amiable outsider with a genius for hacking. Having spent the better part of his life holed up in a shed in his backyard, Azi has become increasingly enmeshed in the dark side of the internet. With the divide between online and offline worlds vanishing, so too is the line between those transforming civilization through technology and those trying to bring it to its knees. Dark networks rule. Someone with the right connections can access to anything imaginable, and power is theirs for the taking-although even they can’t know what kind of bargain they’ve struck.

Tipped off by a secretive young woman named Munira, Azi sets out to unravel the mysterious online marketplace known as Gomorrah, sacrificing his carefully constructed privacy in the process. Munira’s life is spiraling out of control: her cousins recruited to work for a terrorist state that’s hunting them both, her destiny in Azi’s hands. Her desperation drags Azi into the field where, working together, the two uncover an unimaginable conspiracy.

As pressure mounts, Azi has no choice but to take on the ultimate infiltration. In an age when identities can be switched at will and nobody is who they seem, how far will he go to end the nightmare?





Kimi Eisele

The Lightest Object in the Universe
Algonquin Books, July 9, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

“A triumphant story for anyone with a shred of faith left in the human spirit.” —David McGlynn, author of One Day You’ll Thank Me

What if the end times allowed people to see and build the world anew? This is the landscape that Kimi Eisele creates in her surprising and original debut novel. Evoking the spirit of such monumental love stories as Cold Mountain and the creative vision of novels like Station ElevenThe Lightest Object in the Universe imagines what happens after the global economy collapses and the electrical grid goes down.

In this new world, Carson, on the East Coast, is desperate to find Beatrix, a woman on the West Coast who holds his heart. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be saved by an evangelical preacher in the middle of the country. While Carson travels west, Beatrix and her neighbors begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could be, in fact, a bright beginning.

Without modern means of communication, will Beatrix and Carson find their way to each other, and what will be left of the old world if they do? The answers may lie with a fifteen-year-old girl who could ultimately decide the fate of the lovers.

The Lightest Object in the Universe is a moving and hopeful story about resilience and adaptation and a testament to the power of community, where our best traits, born of necessity, can begin to emerge.





Kerstin Hall

The Border Keeper
Tor.com, July 16, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

"Beautifully and vividly imagined. Eerie, lovely, and surreal"—Ann Leckie

She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.

In The Border Keeper, debut author Kerstin Hall unfolds a lyrical underworld narrative about loss and renewal.

Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.

The Border Keeper spins wonders both epic—the Byzantine bureaucracy of hundreds of demon realms, impossible oceans, hidden fortresses—and devastatingly personal—a spear flung straight, the profound terror and power of motherhood. What Vasethe discovers in Mkalis threatens to bring his own secrets into light and throw both worlds into chaos.





Suyi Davies Okungbowa

David Mogo, Godhunter
Abaddon, July 9, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 360 pages

LAGOS WILL NOT BE DESTROYED

The gods have fallen to earth in their thousands, and chaos reigns.

Though broken and leaderless, the city endures.

David Mogo, demigod and godhunter, has one task: capture two of the most powerful gods in the city and deliver them to the wizard gangster
Lukmon Ajala.

No problem, right?





H. G. Parry

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep
Redhook, July 23, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

The ultimate book-lover’s fantasy, featuring a young scholar with the power to bring literary characters into the world, for fans of The Magicians, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and The Invisible Library.

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.





Rudolfo A. Serna

Snow Over Utopia
Apex Book Company, July 16, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 180 pages

Snow Over Utopia is a genre bending short novel of apocalyptic fantasy, sci-fi psychedelia, and doom metal.

In an age of savage science powered by black-mass, and thrown away bio-matter leaked into an underground sea lit by the heart of the great tree, a girl named Eden loses her rare blue eyes. Escaping her fanatical and sadistic slave masters with her eyes in a jar, she runs away with a murderer named Miner. After fleeing for their lives deep within the forest, they are found by the Librarian and his daughter Delilah, and sheltered in their mountain-top sanctuary. But she cannot stop there. If Eden wants to restore her eyes, then she must go on through time and space in a necrotronic stream generated by the living computer program called Witch Mother.

While mutantoid priests in underground bunkers monitor transmissions from the great tree, Eden and Miner must face the horrors of the factories and the coliseum run by the Robot Queen in the city of Utopia.

Can they make the ultimate sacrifice and complete their mission? Or will they fail in Snow Over Utopia?





Kali Wallace

Salvation Day
Berkley, July 9, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
(Adult Debut)

A lethal virus is awoken on an abandoned spaceship in this incredibly fast-paced, claustrophobic thriller.

They thought the ship would be their salvation.

Zahra knew every detail of the plan. House of Wisdom, a massive exploration vessel, had been abandoned by the government of Earth a decade earlier, when a deadly virus broke out and killed everyone on board in a matter of hours. But now it could belong to her people if they were bold enough to take it. All they needed to do was kidnap Jaswinder Bhattacharya—the sole survivor of the tragedy, and the last person whose genetic signature would allow entry to the spaceship.

But what Zahra and her crew could not know was what waited for them on the ship—a terrifying secret buried by the government. A threat to all of humanity that lay sleeping alongside the orbiting dead.

And then they woke it up.




Evan Winter

The Rage of Dragons
The Burning 1
Orbit, July 16, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 544 pages

Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war.

Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance.

Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

The Rage of Dragons launches a stunning and powerful debut epic fantasy series that readers are already calling “the best fantasy book in years.”


The Burning
The Rage of Dragons

Interview with Ada Hoffmann, author of The Outside


Please welcome Ada Hoffmann to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Outside was published on June 11, 2019 by Angry Robot Books.



Interview with Ada Hoffmann, author of The Outside



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

AH:  Ooh, this takes a bit of thinking. I've been making up stories since I was very tiny, and some pieces are borderline - I sort of remember them, but secondhand, from family stories or from having rediscovered drafts of them later.

The first story I'm sure I remember writing, in first grade, was called "Too Many Onions." It was a Robert Munsch-esque tale in which a family bought so many onions at the grocery store that their whole house was filled with onions from top to bottom. This is going to sound weird, but the reason I remember it is because it was the first time I used quotation marks. I hadn't seen the point of them before, even when I wrote dialogue, but there was something about the character throwing her hands up and declaring "We have too many onions!" that inescapably demanded them.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

AH:  More to the plotter side, but not completely. I always make outlines because I can't get started without a plan; for novel-length work, I also need to start with some worldbuilding and character notes. But I also know that, once I see the story actually breathing on the page, I'll get some new ideas about where it should go and how it should get there. Sometimes I keep the outline vague to allow for this flexibility. Sometimes I make a more detailed one but diverge from it at will. Sometimes I get to a part where I realize I've been too vague, and then I need to work on a more detailed scene-by-scene plan for a few chapters before I can draft again.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

AH:  Dealing with the anxiety. Am I doing it right? Did I do the previous thing right? I apparently did one thing right, but will I ever do anything right again? Aaaaaaaa.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

AH:  I want to say that literally everything influences me! Brains are sponges that store everything in the form of overlapping patterns which merge and connect. Sometimes things influence me and I don't even realize it until later. Other writers with amazing writing skills influence me; my life history and strong personal feelings about influence me; my relationships influence me; my political and spiritual beliefs influence me; other media I read and consume influence me. For starters.



TQDescribe The Outside using only 5 words.

AH:  Cyborg angels versus cosmic horrors.



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

AH:  There are several factions in this book and one of the things I love is that readers legitimately differ as to who they sympathize with. Are you Team Cyborg Angel because their ruthless competence and their team dynamics appeal to you? Are you Team Cosmic Horror Mad Scientist because heck yeah let's rebel? Are you Team Yasira because her "grumpy sincerity" (as the Publisher's Weekly starred review put it) convinces you that human beings even in their darkest times are worth saving? I've seen all of these and more! (One reviewer was Team Sispirinithas The Giant Spider.) I genuinely love seeing different readers come away with different reactions like this; it means I wrote everyone's motivations in a way that felt real, even though there are some that I definitely see as villains.



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

AHThe Outside's origin is actually quite silly - I had a crush on Akavi, who started life as a Lawful Evil D&D villain played by one of my friends. I wanted to write a book about him, but I didn't want it to be a D&D book, so I ended up filing off the serial numbers so hard he ended up in space.

Science Fiction and Fantasy (I don't make a hard mental distinction between the two genres) are my comfort zone. They're what I grew up reading and never stopped. I read other genres now and then, but what I love most is the ability to make up whatever I want about the world and what's possible there. If I tried to write a book that took place entirely within our actual consensus reality, I would feel very limited.

Science Fiction has an aesthetic that distinguishes it from traditional fantasy - SPACE! Computers! Really big guns! - and I feel drawn to that more than to the "harder" aspects, where it's supposed to be a serious attempt at extrapolating things from science. I love space opera, space wizards, and weird shit happening on spaceships, yum!



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Outside?

AH:  There is quite a lot in The Outside about mysticism, and although I was already somewhat familiar with that topic, I spent a long time trawling the Wikipedia about forms of mysticism from different world traditions. Dr. Talirr's heresies in The Outside aren't meant to parallel any specific tradition, but I did find words and concepts that helped me clarify my thinking about her. For the darker, more psychological aspects of the book, I found Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery helpful.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Outside.

AH:  When it was time to start talking about cover art, the Angry Robot editors asked me if I had a Pinterest board for the book, so I whipped one up. I had never made a Pinterest board before and it was fun! I collected a lot of images showing the aesthetics of The Outside's different factions - clean and delicate modernism for the angels, rough and lived-in 20th-century aerospace technology for the humans, and some very surreal landscapes and architecture for a part of a planet that's affected by an especially nasty heretical effect.

For Dr. Talirr's aesthetic, I wanted pictures that were as messy and rough as the other human technology, but even more complicated and a touch surreal. I discovered there's a whole genre called "industrial photography", and I collected the weirdest industrial photography I could find. One of the pictures was a plasma generator from Japan with an odd, fluid, swirling design. That picture really clicked with my editor and with the cover artist, Lee Gibbons. Gibbons used that picture as a reference for a depiction of a scene near the middle of the book, where Yasira is spacewalking on the outside of a heretical ship. He kept the wonderful, dynamic composition of the original photo but made it even more surreal, with the parts of the ship vaguely resembling tentacles, plus a depiction of space and of a suitably tiny, space-suited Yasira.

I love this cover and the Internet seems to love it, too! I couldn't be happier with the design.



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

AH:  I think the easiest character might have been Elu Ariehmu, Akavi's assistant. There's something about Elu that feels very straightforward and easy for me to empathize with, even though his life choices aren't always necessarily the best.

The hardest was definitely Yasira. Protagonists have to be so deeply and fully realized, and they have to hit so many different notes correctly. I find it really tricky to write protagonists who are active, in the way that neurotypical Western readers expect, without making them deeply unlikable. Villians, yes, I can do those; heroes, for some reason, are hard. For a long time I couldn't get a handle on Yasira. She felt flat, no matter what I tried, even once I made her autism explicit.

It was a sensitivity read from Elizabeth Bartmess, who is an absolute genius about characters, that finally helped me figure Yasira out. Elizabeth helped me figure out that Yasira wasn't just autistic, she was mildly depressed and had been that way for a while. When I delved into the question of why and how to bring that out, that's when Yasira really started to breathe - but it also meant facing up to some of my own low-grade burnout and depression, and was some of the most emotionally difficult character work I've ever done.



TQDoes The Outside touch on any social issues?

AH:  Yes, The Outside touches on several social issues. The AI Gods are a vague allegory to real-world religion, and some of the ways in which organized religion can maintain oppression while claiming to help people. Issues of neurodiversity and disability are also at the forefront in this book, since both Yasira and other characters are autistic. In particular there is some brief discussion of abusive childhood therapy, which one of the characters has experienced.



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

AH:  "Oh," said Dr Talirr, turning to leave, "and there's a protocol for monsters under the bed. If you see something with, say, eight to ten pairs of claws, ignore it. Those ones are harmless. If you see something without any claws or limbs at all, you might want to come get me. Good night."

Also, any piece of dialogue that Enga ever has.



TQWhat's next?

AH:  I'm hoping Angry Robot will greenlight a sequel for THE OUTSIDE, though nothing's fully worked out yet. In the meantime, I'm also working on a draft of a contemporary fantasy novel involving dragon paleontology.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

AH:  My pleasure! Thanks for having me.





The Outside
Angry Robot Books, June 11, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Ada Hoffmann, author of The Outside
Humanity’s super-intelligent AI Gods brutally punish breaches in reality, as one young scientist discovers, in this intense and brilliant space opera.

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world inside out.

File Under: Science Fiction [ False Gods | Angel Inside | Autistic in Space | Here be Monsters ]





About Ada

Interview with Ada Hoffmann, author of The Outside
ADA HOFFMANN is a Canadian graduate student trying to teach computers to write poetry. Her acclaimed speculative short stories and poems have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, Uncanny, and two year’s best anthologies. Ada was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at 13, and is passionate about autistic self-advocacy. She is a former semi-professional soprano, a tabletop gamer and an active LARPer, she lives in southern Ontario with a very polite black cat.






Website  ~  Twitter @xasymptote

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2019 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on June 30, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite June 2019 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts
Cover design by Najla Qamber





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts
Cover art by Neils Antone





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts
Cover by Will Staehle





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts
Cover by Lee Gibbons





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts
Cover design and art direction by salu.io





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts
Cover art by Connor Sheehan
Cover design by R J Theodore





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June Debuts

Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars


Please welcome Sarah Gailey to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Magic for Liars is published on June 4, 2019 by Tor Books.



Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars




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

Sarah:  The very first piece of fiction I ever wrote was a short story for a Young Authors contest at my elementary school. I was in first grade, and I wrote a story about a guy named Bob who saved the Queen of England from being killed by a wave of acid. I was really into the idea of being the queen of something at the time, because I figured being a queen was a lot like being the president, but with more gold and access to cool frogs.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sarah:  For long fiction, I’m a hardcore plotter. I have lengthy spreadsheets that help me keep track of story beats. For short fiction, I’m a little more of a pantser — I have an idea of where I want the story to go, and I let it happen however it wants to happen.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sarah:  I struggle a lot with remembering to describe what people look like. I think part of that is because I have such a hard time remembering faces — I generally remember a person by their mannerisms, or their sense of humor. So when I’m trying to tell a reader what a character looks like, I tend to talk about things like their walk and their neck and their perfume, and then my poor editor has to remind me that people also have faces.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Sarah:  This might sound silly, but my writing is heavily influenced by television. I pay close attention to the way TV writers structure narrative beats, plot development, and character arcs. Bringing those elements into my writing helps me craft stories that readers can stay invested in. I also pull a lot from contemporary horror, a genre that I think is exquisite at establishing stakes and then raising them higher and higher. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention some of my biggest narrative influences: Mario Puzo, Erin Morgenstern, and of course, Clive Barker.



TQDescribe Magic for Liars using only 5 words.

Sarah:  Angst-Ridden Magical School Noir.



TQTell us something about Magic for Liars that is not found in the book description.

Sarah:  There’s a significant focus in the book on consent and bodily autonomy. A lot of magical narratives ignore a person’s right to decide what happens to their body, and I think that’s worth exploring. For instance, the leg-locker spell in HARRY POTTER — a spell that locks the victim’s legs straight and together, so they can’t walk. This spell is treated as mild, nonthreatening, and relatively harmless (if inconvenient). In practice, though, a spell like this would be viscerally harmful. It’s a spell that immobilizes and pronates a person without their consent. In much of MAGIC FOR LIARS, I explore the consequences of such casual disregard for bodily autonomy.



TQWhat inspired you to write Magic for Liars?

Sarah:  A challenge: my agent, DongWon Song, said ‘I bet you can’t do it.’ (He is very artful, and often tricks me into doing hard things using this method.)



TQWhat appealed to you about combining Contemporary Fantasy with Noir?

Sarah:  I think there’s an angle on the magical school narrative that can be very bright and optimistic. This is understandable — adding magic to a standard school narrative is, in many ways, an attempt to make the idea of adolescence more bearable. That said, there is a dark underbelly to every story, Noir tends to be very interested in exploring the different ways people can hurt each other, and I was captured by the idea of exploring the way magic might change the harm we inflict upon each other.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Magic for Liars?

Sarah:  I spent a lot of time talking to a doctor who performs abortions. I could not have written this book without the information she gave me about different types of abortions and abortion ethics. Her insights were absolutely crucial. I also did a lot of reading about the practice of private investigation, and the ethics of investigating crimes committed by minors.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Magic for Liars.

Sarah:  The cover art for this book is by Will Staehl, who is absolutely brilliant. The central graphic references the disorienting perspective of the book, and the unreliability of the narrative. Nothing in this book is what it first appears to be, and the truth is never simple. Between the optical-illusion-style graphic and the vibrating colors that outline it, Staehl managed to capture that feeling beautifully.



TQIn Magic for Liars who was the easiest character to write and why?

Sarah:  I had a great time writing Rahul Chaudhary, the Physical Magic teacher at Osthorne Academy for Young Mages. He is Ivy Gamble’s window into the world of the faculty at the school, and also becomes a romantic interest. Writing him was easy, because his character is fundamentally good-hearted (unlike most of the characters in the book). Being able to write someone who is doing his best to do good in the world was incredibly refreshing.



TQDoes Magic for Liars touch on any social issues?

Sarah:  Absolutely. MAGIC FOR LIARS touches on classism, especially in academia; it also looks at consent and reproductive rights. Teens in this book deal with healthy and unhealthy perspectives on sex and sexuality. The protagonist struggles with alcoholism and isolation, both of which point toward her struggles with mental health. There are several queer characters in the book as well.



TQWhich question about Magic for Liars do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sarah:  I wish someone would ask me about the differences between the first draft and the final draft, because answering that question gives me the chance to gas up my brilliant editor, Miriam Weinberg. She took this book further than I ever thought it would be able to go. In the first draft of MAGIC FOR LIARS, I held back, fearful of what would happen if I made any character suffer too much. Miriam stripped away the safety nets I’d set up for the reader, and the result is a book that feels infinitely less tentative.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Magic for Liars.

Sarah:

“I couldn’t tell if I’d been there for happy hour before, or if I’d just been to a thousand places exactly like it. Places like that were springing up around Oakland by the score back then, every one a marker of the way the city was changing. It felt all-at-once, even though it had been brewing for years. Decades. Across the bay, San Francisco bled money like an unzipped artery. Those who had been privileged enough to have their buckets out to catch the spray drove back over the water to Oakland — from The City to the Town. The bumped aside people who had been living in these neighborhoods for generations, and they tore down storefronts, and they built brunch pubs with wood reclaimed from the houses they were remodeling.”



TQWhat's next?

Sarah:  I have a book-heavy 2020, with my first YA book, a new novella, and a second as-yet-unannounced-novel, which I can't wait to tell people more about.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Sarah:  Thank you so much for having me!





Magic for Liars
Tor Books, June 4, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in Magic for Liars, a fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey.

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.

Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.

She doesn't in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.

Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

“An unmissable debut.”—Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire





About Sarah

Interview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
©Allan Amato 2019.
Hugo award winner Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe, and they are a regular contributor for Tor.com and Barnes & Noble. Their most recent fiction credits include Fireside Fiction, Tor.com, and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was published in 2017 via Tor.com and was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, will be published by Tor Books in June 2019. Their Young Adult novel debut, When We Were Magic, will be published by Simon Pulse in Spring 2020. You can find links to their work at www.sarahgailey.com; find them on social media @gaileyfrey.

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts


There are 9 debut novels for June.

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

The June 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 June cover for the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on June 15, 2019.




Alex DiFrancesco

All City
Seven Stories Press, June 18, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
All City is more than a novel, it's a foreshadowing of a world to come.

In a near-future New York City ravaged by climate change and economic inequality, a superstorm hits, leaving behind only those who had nowhere else to go and no way to get out. Among those who remain are 24-year-old Makayla, who works in the city’s most ubiquitous convenience store chain, and Jesse, an 18-year-old, genderqueer anarchist living in an abandoned IRT station in the Bronx. In the aftermath of the storm, Jesse joins Makayla’s group of remainders in an abandoned luxury condo building, carving out a small sanctuary in the midst of a destroyed city.

Meanwhile, mysterious, colorful murals begin to appear throughout NYC, bringing hope to the forsaken and left-behind. But the storm’s castaways aren’t the only ones who find beauty in the art: the media, having long abandoned the supposedly-hopeless metropolis, “discovers” the emergence of the murals. When one appears on Makayla and Jesse’s repurposed luxury condo, it is only a matter of time before the landlord class comes back to claim the city for themselves.





Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars
Tor Books, June 4, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in Magic for Liars, a fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey.

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.

Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.

She doesn't in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.
Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

“An unmissable debut.”—Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire





Agnes Gomillion

The Record Keeper
Titan Books, June 18, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
The Record Keeper is a visceral and thrilling near-future dystopia examining past and present race relations.

After World War III, Earth is in ruins, and the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law—in every way—or risk shattering the fragile peace and endangering the entire human race.

Arika Cobane is on the threshold of taking her place of privilege as a member of the Kongo elite after ten grueling years of training. But everything changes when a new student arrives speaking dangerous words of treason: What does peace matter if innocent lives are lost to maintain it? As Arika is exposed to new beliefs, she realizes that the laws she has dedicated herself to uphold are the root of her people’s misery. If Arika is to liberate her people, she must unearth her fierce heart and discover the true meaning of freedom: finding the courage to live—or die—without fear.





Ada Hoffmann

The Outside
Angry Robot Books, June 11, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Humanity’s super-intelligent AI Gods brutally punish breaches in reality, as one young scientist discovers, in this intense and brilliant space opera.

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world inside out.

File Under: Science Fiction [ False Gods | Angel Inside | Autistic in Space | Here be Monsters ]





Maxym M. Martineau

Kingdom of Exiles
The Beast Charmer 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 25, 2019
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Assassin's Creed meets Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in this gripping, epic fantasy romance trilogy.

My heart wasn't part of the deal when I bargained for my life,
But assassins so rarely keep their word.


Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts-an offense punishable by death-and now there's a price on her head. With the realm's most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes Noc an offer he can't refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena's terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin's oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena's continued survival...and his own.

The Beast Charmer Series:
Kingdom of Exiles
The Frozen Prince (coming early 2020)
The Shattered Crown (coming late 2020)





Christopher Ruz

The Ragged Blade
Century of Sand 1
Parvus Press, June 4, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
Australian horror author and Aurealis Award Nominee Christopher Ruz makes his epic fantasy debut.

After decades of loyal military service, Richard has discovered that the Magician he serves is more monster than man—and young women have been disappearing into the Magician's dungeons.

To keep his own daughter safe, Richard flees into the desert wastes where magic boils beneath the sand and demons walk the dunes in the shape of men. He has stolen one of the Magician's greatest prizes; the calcified heart of a demon, which he hopes to trade in exchange for sanctuary. What he doesn't know is that his daughter, Ana, is the key to all the Magician's plans and he'll lay waste to the world to get her back...





Dalena Storm

The Hungry Ghost
Black Spot Books, June 11, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 200 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
A hungry ghost escapes from a dark realm into the human world, where it enters the unconscious body of a woman named Sam. When Sam appears to miraculously awaken from her accident-induced coma, her lesbian lover, alcoholic ex-husband, and well-meaning family must come together to try and stop the ghost from devouring everything Sam once loved. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Boston, a mysterious new kitten has just been born who holds the key to understanding what has happened to Sam.

Will Sam’s loved ones be able to put things back in their proper place, or will the ghost destroy them first?





Cadwell Turnbull

The Lesson
Blackstone Publishing, June 18, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 275 page

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
An alien ship rests over Water Island. For five years the people of the US Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of superadvanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders and a peace that cannot last.

A year after the death of a young boy at the hands of an Ynaa, three families find themselves at the center of the inevitable conflict, witnesses and victims to events that will touch everyone and teach a terrible lesson.





Elvia Wilk

Oval
Soft Skull Press, June 4, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - June Debuts
“Elvia Wilk’s Oval is a marvel. At the core of this seductive, acute, superbly-contemporary update of mid-period J.G. Ballard lies a deep-beating, deep-dreaming heart.” —Jonathan Lethem

“A fascinating near-future exploration of relationships, sustainability, and power. An extraordinarily accomplished debut novel.” —Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne and Annihilation

In the near future, Berlin’s real estate is being flipped in the name of “sustainability,” only to make the city even more unaffordable; artists are employed by corporations as consultants, and the weather is acting strange. When Anja and Louis are offered a rent-free home on an artificial mountain—yet another eco-friendly initiative run by a corporation—they seize the opportunity, but it isn’t long before the experimental house begins malfunctioning.

After Louis’s mother dies, Anja is convinced he has changed. At work, Louis has become obsessed with a secret project: a pill called Oval that temporarily rewires the user’s brain to be more generous. While Anja is horrified, Louis believes he has found the solution to Berlin’s income
inequality. Oval is a fascinating portrait of the unbalanced relationships that shape our world, as well as a prescient warning of what the future may hold.

Interview with W.M. Akers, author of Westside


Please welcome W. M. Akers to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Westside was published on May 7, 2019 by Harper Voyager.



Interview with W.M. Akers, author of Westside




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

W. M.:  I wrote a twelve page “novel” when I was in sixth grade called, “The Story of Bowman,” which was a riff on the story of the boy who cried wolf. Basically, it was about the watchman for a village who keeps telling everyone that there are monsters in the forest. No one believes him, and then they all get eaten by monsters.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

W. M.:  Plot, plot, plot! I have two young children, which means that the time I have to write is very restricted. If I didn’t outline everything meticulously, I would never get anything done.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? How does being a playwright affect (or not) your novel writing?

W. M.:  The hardest thing for me, aside from finding the time to get real work done, is maintaining interest in a project over the long period that it takes to finish something. No matter how much I wish I could get it done faster, writing a book takes months or years, and there are always going to be days when I’m just not feeling it. Those are the days that it really feels like work. Being a playwright helps with this problem, actually, because I find that shifting media makes it easier to keep interested in my various projects. Work on a play for a little while, and suddenly the novel seems fresh again.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

W. M.:  I take massive influence from the great prose stylists of the mid-Twentieth Century, with MFK Fisher being my particular favorite. Her sentences are as clear as spring water, and serve as a continual inspiration.



TQDescribe Westside using only 5 words.

W. M.:  Weird as hell 1921 mystery.



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

W. M.:  It has baseball in it! I’m a big baseball nerd—I even made a tabletop baseball game—and I couldn’t write a historical mystery without sneaking in as much baseball as my editor would allow.



TQWhat inspired you to write Westside? What appeals to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

W. M.:  I’ve lived in New York since 2006, and from the first day I lived in the city, I found myself wondering what it was like before I got there. New York history is an exquisitely deep vein, and the more I learned about it, the more I found myself yearning for a version of the city that had existed long before I was born. Westside is my way of interrogating that nostalgic impulse. Why do we think old New York is so fascinating, and what ugliness existed there that we prefer not to think about?



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Westside?

W. M.:  Old New Yorker essays were a great resource—I love you, Joseph Mitchell—and I leaned heavily on the frantic underworld histories of Herbert Asbury. But the New York Times archives were the most useful thing, as they provide a primary source window into how the period felt to the people who lived there. I had so much fun digging around the Times archives that I eventually turned that process into a newsletter all about weird stuff in the 1920s Times.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Westside.

W. M.:  The jacket was designed by Owen Corrigan, and it is gorgeous. Westside’s hero, Gilda Carr, is a detective of tiny mysteries, and the image shows the missing white glove that kickstarts her adventure. Inside it is a map showing the fence that divides my imaginary Manhattan, and some of the most important locations in the novel: Washington Square, the docks, and all the darkest alleys of the West Village.



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

W. M.:  I had a hell of a lot of fun writing Gilda Carr. Her voice came naturally to me, and whenever I sat down to work on the book after a long time away, I heard her speaking to me, impatient to start telling her story again.



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

W. M.:  What fictional location from the book would you most like to visit? The bazaar—the massive discount food market housed inside the ruins of old Penn Station, which was inspired by my beloved Park Slope Food Coop.



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

W. M.:  “Across the river, New Jersey twinkled stupidly.”



TQWhat's next?

W. M.:  I’m working on a new play, a new Deadball game, a new RPG and, most importantly, the sequel to Westside! Details to come later this year…



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

W. M.:  Thank you for having me. It was an absolute pleasure.





Westside
Harper Voyager, May 7, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with W.M. Akers, author of Westside
"Bracing, quite possibly hallucination-inducing, and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before…The illegitimate love child of Algernon Blackwood and Raymond Chandler.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Alienist meets The City & The City in this brilliant debut that mixes fantasy and mystery. Gilda Carr’s ‘tiny mysteries’ pack a giant punch." --David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder As a Fine Art

New York is dying, and the one woman who can save it has smaller things on her mind.

A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.

It’s 1921, and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway splits the island of Manhattan, separating the prosperous Eastside from the Westside—an overgrown wasteland whose hostility to modern technology gives it the flavor of old New York. Thousands have disappeared here, and the respectable have fled, leaving behind the killers, thieves, poets, painters, drunks, and those too poor or desperate to leave.

It is a hellish landscape, and Gilda Carr proudly calls it home.

Slightly built, but with a will of iron, Gilda follows in the footsteps of her late father, a police detective turned private eye. Unlike that larger-than-life man, Gilda solves tiny mysteries: the impossible puzzles that keep us awake at night; the small riddles that destroy us; the questions that spoil marriages, ruin friendships, and curdle joy. Those tiny cases distract her from her grief, and the one impossible question she knows she can’t answer: “How did my father die?”

Yet on Gilda’s Westside, tiny mysteries end in blood—even the case of a missing white leather glove. Mrs. Copeland, a well-to-do Eastside housewife, hires Gilda to find it before her irascible merchant husband learns it is gone. When Gilda witnesses Mr. Copeland’s murder at a Westside pier, she finds herself sinking into a mire of bootlegging, smuggling, corruption—and an evil too dark to face.

All she wants is to find one dainty ladies’ glove. She doesn’t want to know why this merchant was on the wrong side of town—or why he was murdered in cold blood. But as she begins to see the connection between his murder, her father’s death, and the darkness plaguing the Westside, she faces the hard truth: she must save her city or die with it.

Introducing a truly remarkable female detective, Westside is a mystery steeped in the supernatural and shot through with gunfights, rotgut whiskey, and sizzling Dixieland jazz. Full of dazzling color, delightful twists, and truly thrilling action, it announces the arrival of a wonderful new talent.






About W. M. Akers

Interview with W.M. Akers, author of Westside
W. M. Akers is an award-winning playwright, Narratively editor, and the creator of the bestselling game Deadball: Baseball With Dice. Westside is his debut novel. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about his work at wmakers.net.




Twitter @ouijum  ~  Facebook

Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan


Please welcome Daniel Findlay to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Year of the Orphan is published on May 21, 2019 by Arcade Publishing.



Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan




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

Daniel:  The first fiction I remember writing was at the age of about six. I would 'borrow' characters from authors like Enid Blyton and cast them in my own stories - it was my first foray into storytelling (and fanfic!)



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Daniel:  A little of both. I have an idea of where I might like the story to end up but I let the characters show me how to get there. It's usually a surprise when I sit down to write and I try my best not to stifle their impulses. I also think about key scenes that give me a particular feeling (that I want to share or evoke) and then try to create interesting build ups to those moments.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Daniel:  Finding time is the neat answer to this question, as I juggle a full time job with my writing. The real and more complex answer is finding the discipline to continue working when there may not be much joy in it sometimes. I can count on one hand the writing sessions that felt successful this year but I have written something almost every single day.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Daniel:  I'm greatly influenced by other writers and readers, as well as film and music. I wrote Year of the Orphan listening to a lot of hip hop, and edited it to a very particular playlist of Australian music. Books like Riddley Walker and The Road both played a big part in my writing, as well as Australian classics like Obernewtyn and On The Beach.



TQDescribe Year of the Orphan using only 5 words.

Daniel:  Australian, apocalyptic, grim, badass, hopeful.



TQTell us something about Year of the Orphan that is not found in the book description.

Daniel:  More than a little of it is based on documented historical fact!



TQWhat inspired you to write Year of the Orphan? What appeals to you about writing dystopian fiction?

Daniel:  I was inspired by both historical events that occurred in Australia and also by a deep love of dystopian, post apocalyptic and speculative fiction. For me, exploring Australia's real history of nuclear testing through the lens of an apocalyptic novel was a way of sharing that real past with people who may not have otherwise known about it.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Year of the Orphan?

Daniel:  Before writing the novel I spent nearly a year reading everything I could find in the genre, particularly American classics that came out throughout the great fear of nuclear war from around 1950 through to the fall of the Soviet Union. Books like Alas, Babylon, After the Fall and A Canticle for Leibowitz, as well as more contemporary work. I was particularly interested in a the flavour of that early post-apocalyptic fiction when nuclear war was the big fear because it tied in strongly with Year of the Orphan.

After I had completed the first draft I also visited the ground zero of several of Australia's nuclear test sites. These secret places saw the detonation of nuclear bombs that in some cases were far bigger than Hiroshima and their existence in Australia is even to this day, largely forgotten. They are incredibly eerie and haunted places.




TQPlease tell us about the cover for Year of the Orphan.

Daniel:  This cover was influenced by both the film Mad Max and the tones of an Australian artist named Sidney Nolan who is most famous for painting pictures of one of our most notorious criminals (and folk heroes) Ned Kelly.



TQ:   In Year of the Orphan who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Daniel:  The Orphan was by far the easiest character to write because her perspective and experience is so clearly defined by what has happened to her. She knows quite clearly how she feels and will react in most situations so her responses are fun to write, and hopefully consistent. The most difficult character is one I can't share too much about without spoiling the story but suffice to say, their complexity and not being quite what they seem made them incredibly rewarding and challenging to write.



TQDoes Year of the Orphan touch on any social issues?

Daniel:  Year of the Orphan is first and foremost intended to be a great piece of fiction. It's unavoidable though that when it takes real history as a jumping off point that there will be threads of real social issues woven into the story. When nuclear weapons were tested in Australia both Indigenous Australians and our Army/Navy/Air Force servicemen and women suffered greatly through both ignorance and being deliberately being placed in harms way. I often hope that reading Year of the Orphan sparks an interest in the real-life events that inspired it.



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

Daniel:  Well, to continue a theme - I wish someone would ask, how much of it really happened? The answer is, quite a lot! I feel there are many parallels and points of comparison that can be drawn between nuclear testing in the United States and Australia and I'm hoping that some American readers kindle an interest in this fascinating, frightening and often forgotten chapter of our shared history.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Year of the Orphan.

Daniel:  I'll always have a soft spot for the opening line; "There were a heat." For a long time it has been drummed into me the importance of a strong opening line and that one actually has a double meaning for me as it describes the opening scene but it also is the way you might describe a nuclear blast in it's first stages. It also gives you a faint hint that the language used in this book might be a little interesting.

Another line is "The ground sumetimes wept the blud of those Block had sent down". It's referring to how feared and dangerous one of my favourite characters is and I like the idea of using red earth to show how just how bloody things might get.



TQWhat's next?

Daniel:  I'm about to visit the United States to hopefully see my book on shelves and I'm busily working on a follow up to Year of the Orphan. I''m very excited to think about such an Australian story reaching American readers and really hoping they enjoy the adventure!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Year of the Orphan
Arcade Publishing, May 21, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan
The Road meets Mad Max in this stunning debut with a gutsy, charismatic young female protagonist—for fans of Station 11, The Passage, and Riddley Walker.

In a post-apocalyptic future where survivors scavenge in the harsh Australian Outback for spoils from a buried civilization, a girl races across the desert, holding her treasures close, pursued by the Reckoner.

Riding her sand ship, living rough in the blasted landscape whose taint she carries in her blood, she scouts the broken infrastructure and trades her scraps at the only known settlement, a ramshackle fortress of greed, corruption, and disease known as the System. It is an outpost whose sole purpose is survival—refuge from the hulking, eyeless things they call Ghosts and other creatures that hunt beyond the fortress walls.

Sold as a child, then raised hard in the System, the Orphan has a mission. She carries secrets about the destruction that brought the world to its knees. And she's about to discover that the past still holds power over the present. Given an impossible choice, will the Orphan save the only home she knows or see it returned to dust? Both paths lead to blood, but whose will be spilled?

With propulsive pacing, a rich, broken language all its own, and a protagonist whose grit and charisma are matched by a relentless drive to know, The Year of the Orphan is a thriller of the future you won’t want to put down.





About Daniel

Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan
Photo © Michelle Tan
Dan Findlay is the author of Year of the Orphan. Dan is a historian by training and a writer for kids by trade. Dan has over ten years' experience editing Australia’s leading youth magazines. He also has over a decade of freelance experience as a writer and photographer for Rolling Stone as well as contributing the odd music story to the Sydney Morning Herald and writing for a wide variety of other pop culture titles.









Website 


Interview with Simeon Mills, author of The Obsoletes


Please welcome Simeon Mills to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Obsoletes was published on May 14, 2019 by Skybound Books.



Interview with Simeon Mills, author of The Obsoletes




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

Simeon:  In fourth grade I had to write a story with illustrations, and I must have spent 90% of the time creating the “weapons chart,” the “armor diagram,” and the “map.” I know my character had loose spikes he could toss at the enemy as he made his escape. An axe. Probably a magic glove for punching things. Definitely a grappling hook.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Simeon:  I’m a plotter who is open to being a pantser when the situation is right—but otherwise planning ahead is an incredibly enjoyable part of my process. It starts by talking hikes on a Spokane mountainside with my notebook, jotting down ideas. At home, my office has huge bulletin boards I use to create plot diagrams and character sketches. Whether I’m starting a new project or attacking a novel revision, I build in days, probably weeks, for these pre-writing activities. However, once the writing begins, anything goes. I love the unexpected nature of seeing characters interact on the page. A scene might end entirely differently than I had planned—and that’s awesome. It’s when the characters start overriding my initial decisions that I feel I’ve nailed their perspectives.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Simeon:  I wrote The Obsoletes in the morning hours before heading off to my day job as a middle school English teacher. Having to rip myself away from the writing just when it was getting good, when my brain was swimming in coffee—when I was writing by the seat of my pants—was challenging in the moment, but probably beneficial to the overall draft. As Hemingway said, “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck.” Still, such intense morning writing sessions often left me drained and crabby for the school day—and if there are two things a middle school teacher needs, it’s energy and patience.



TQ:  What has influenced / influences your writing?

Simeon:  My wife is the novelist Sharma Shields. We met 17 years ago in the Montana MFA fiction program. We were both writing mostly realistic fiction then, and neither of us had yet published a short story. Slowly we began to experiment in magical realism, sci fi, modern-day mythology, and speculative fiction—and haven’t looked back. We are each other’s first readers. We balance taking care of the kids with giving the other time to write. Occasionally we play the role of literary therapist, having coffee in bed together on weekend mornings, talking through a problem of story. I can’t imagine the writing life without her.



TQDescribe The Obsoletes using only 5 words.

Simeon:  Growing up robot in 1991.



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

Simeon:  Magic Johnson, the former Laker, is an influential character in the book—at least in the central processor of our protagonist, Darryl. If you were a basketball-obsessed, teenage robot in 1991, Magic would be a major influence on your life too.



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

Simeon:  The choice to make the protagonists robots was a test of my own empathy. Could I see a robot as a person, the same as every human in my life? Rather than eventually arrive at an answer, The Obsoletes starts with one: Yes, Darryl Livery is a person. From the first page, he has a personality, faults, and desires. The only thing separating Darryl from the humans around him is the physiology of his body and the dangerous assumptions others make about him. When I started writing, I had assumptions too. But almost immediately Darryl and his brother Kanga took the reins of their voices, forcing me to rethink my own definition of personhood.

Science fiction is most appealing to me when it complicates our recognizable world. It makes us more curious, perceptive, skeptical of our assumptions. It can make us terrified of the hidden potential in everyday objects. Sci fi works best when 95% of what’s happening—especially a character’s emotions and reactions—is familiar.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Obsoletes?

Simeon:  I bought a subscription to Newspapers.com and paged through every issue of the Lansing State Journal (the daily newspaper where I grew up, which would have also served the novel’s fictional town of Hectorville) from November 1991 through February 1992. It was important that the book reflect the local (and national, to a lesser extent) values and anxieties of this time and place. Memory provides many strong details, but there is nothing like the urgency of a front-page headline to reorient you with a moment, or reading about the major concerts coming to town, artists you’ve long forgotten.

I did almost no research on the viability of my robots. I wanted them to be casual and accepting of their bodies and minds (central processors), not to be amazed with their own functionality. Well, other than the ways that every teenager is amazed with their changing body. The how of the boys’ technology is explained in simple terms early in the novel. Beyond that, they don’t dwell on their own bodies. . . until they are forced to.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Obsoletes.

Simeon:  I love this cover! Will Staehle crushed it. I was a huge admirer of his work before, but what he created here surpassed my highest expectations. The 8-bit characters call to mind the technology in the early nineties. The slashes through the two characters, revealing them as robots, is an elegant communication of hidden identity and its inherent danger. I don’t know how many hours I’ve stared at the cover now, but I still find myself studying the “non-robots,” wondering what’s hiding behind those nondescript faces.



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

Simeon:  Darryl Livery, the narrator, was the easiest character to write. When I knew for certain that he was both a robot and a person—that emotionally and psychologically he was just like me—his voice took off. His desires were clear from the beginning, as was his practical view of the world. I started writing him as a version of my young self, but he quickly became more complex than that. When his parents disappear, Darryl has to be a “mother” to his twin brother. He fits that role naturally.

The hardest character to write was Brooke Noon, Darryl’s love interest—but one with a complicated story of her own. Brooke was still developing her personality, still surprising me, long after Darryl and Kanga were fully formed on the page. She was strange from the beginning, and, being a middle school teacher, I have a lengthy catalog of strange with which to build a character like Brooke. But climbing inside the head of a volatile teenager is a delicate matter. Whatever “small” thing sets them off, these kids’ emotions are deep and unironic. Brooke is uncompromising, unapologetic, unpredictable. Darryl is fascinated by her—and terrified of her. I am too.



TQDoes The Obsoletes touch on any social issues?

Simeon:  The robots in The Obsoletes are not an allegory for a specific group of real-world people, but the hatred and xenophobia they experience, and the secrecy they are forced to maintain, very much exists in our society. I am eager to hear the connections readers make.



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

Simeon:  You dedicated the book to your brother. Does your relationship with your brother inform the relationship between Darryl and Kanga?

Definitely. But it’s not as simple and one of us being Darryl, the other being Kanga. I think there’s a bit of each of us in both characters. I’m thankful that, as kids, neither of us had to take on a parental role, as Darryl does. We could just be brothers. But to love someone that much is also to have an exaggerated power to hurt them. As the older one, I regret the careless ways I acted toward my brother at times, especially when we were Darryl and Kanga’s age. Still, it was around that time I realized he was the one person I couldn’t fathom losing in the world—even more so than losing our parents. When I once heard that a bully at our school pulled a knife on him, I wanted to murder that kid. A part of me still does.



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

Simeon:

“What did human kids think about all day? What thoughts breezed through those bloody, carefree brains, instead of the millions of tiny calculations I performed pretending to be something I wasn’t? When people were just themselves, what was left to think about?”

The Obsoletes, page 26



TQWhat's next?

Simeon:  Although publishing a book is a life-long dream come true—thank you, Skybound Books!—I am SO looking forward to jumping back into the creative process: on the hiking trails with my notebook and then in my basement office. I am a cartoonist as well, and I haven’t decided if the next book will be a graphic or a prose novel—there's one of each swirling around in my mind. I know I won’t feel quite whole again until I’m lost in one of the above.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Obsoletes
Skybound Books, May 14, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Simeon Mills, author of The Obsoletes
The Obsoletes is a thought-provoking coming-of-age novel about two human-like teen robots navigating high school, basketball, and potentially life-threatening consequences if their true origins are discovered by the inhabitants of their intolerant 1980s Michigan hometown.

Fraternal twin brothers Darryl and Kanga are just like any other teenagers trying to make it through high school. They have to deal with peer pressure, awkwardness, and family drama. But there’s one closely guarded secret that sets them apart: they are robots. So long as they keep their heads down, their robophobic neighbors won’t discover the truth about them and they just might make it through to graduation.

But when Kanga becomes the star of the basketball team, there’s more at stake than typical sibling rivalry. Darryl—the worrywart of the pair—now has to work a million times harder to keep them both out of the spotlight. Though they look, sound, and act perfectly human, if anyone in their small, depressed Michigan town were to find out what they truly are, they’d likely be disassembled by an angry mob in the middle of their school gym.

Heartwarming and thrilling, Simeon Mills’s charming debut novel is a funny, poignant look at brotherhood, xenophobia, and the limits of one’s programming.





About Simeon

Interview with Simeon Mills, author of The Obsoletes
Photograph © Rajah Bose, 2018
Simeon Mills is a writer, cartoonist, and teacher. His debut prose novel The Obsoletes was recently published by Skybound Books. His graphic novel Butcher Paper received a 2012 Artist Trust grant and is currently available from Scablands Books. Chapters of Butcher Paper have appeared in The Florida Review, RiverLit, Rock & Sling, The Pinch Journal, and Okey-Panky. He majored in architecture at Columbia University and received his MFA in fiction from the University of Montana. Mills teaches drawing at Eastern Washington University and middle school English in Spokane, Washington, where he lives with his wife and two children.


Website  ~  Twitter @simsammills


2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2019 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on May 31, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite May 2019 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Cover by Will Staehle





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Jacket design by Owen Corrigan
Jacket photograph © Utro_na_more/iStock/Getty Images (glove);
From the New York Public Library (map)





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Jacket design by Erin Seaward-Hiatt
Jacket photograph: iStockphoto





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts2019 Debut Author Challenge - July DebutsInterview with Ada Hoffmann, author of The Outside2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June DebutsInterview with Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars2019 Debut Author Challenge - June DebutsInterview with W.M. Akers, author of WestsideInterview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the OrphanInterview with Simeon Mills, author of The Obsoletes2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×