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Interview with Essa Hansen, author of Nophek Gloss

 
Please welcome Essa Hansen to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Nophek Gloss is published on November 17, 2020 by Orbit.







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

Essa:  My mom recounts stories from before I can remember, but the first one I recall—maybe nine years old?—was a fantasy short story set around a large willow tree growing out of the middle of a pool of water, in a courtyard in the center of a castle. There was a young girl and a mystery and a magical pendant that had gotten lost—sounds quite standard!



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Essa:  I’m a hybrid. I plot more now than I did when I was starting out, due to a better understanding of structure and pacing. I start with the big set piece scenes then begin to build connective tissue and logic, until I have a decent outline. As I get ideas or visions or snippets of dialogue, I’ll insert these in my outlined chapters, but when I get to drafting, I move linearly and discovery-write the scenes themselves. The moment-by moment flow, details, and dialogue are all new to me as I’m writing the scene.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Essa:  My main challenge is translating my imaginative concepts and visuals into narrative, description, and emotion that a reader can easily absorb. I’m neurodivergent and a synesthete, so the way I perceive and process the world is atypical, and the way my ideas come out on the page is deeply sensory and a bit convoluted, so I need to actively sculpt my prose and ideas into better clarity while not losing the evocative and wondrous aspects that readers find refreshing and unique.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Essa:  I absorb inspiration from all over; not just art and media, but my personal experiences and time spent in nature, as well as less commonly utilized fields such as very theoretical cosmology and quantum physics, pseudoscience, occult science, philosophy, and metaphysics. When I’m developing something new—like an alien, creature, environment, or technology—I tend to merge bits of inspiration into my original concept or take a piece as a starting place and extrapolate it in a new direction. Often my inspiration is simply brainstorming “what haven’t I seen before in the genre?”



TQDescribe Nophek Gloss using only 5 words.

Essa:  Oh, I’m bad at these so I’m going to steal from Alastair Reynolds’s blurb of the book: “Intricate, vivid, and psychedelic cosmos.”



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

Essa:  The book description actually doesn’t describe the bubble multiverse! A collection of spherical universes of varying sizes (fist-sized to galactic scale), all on the same timeline and stuck together like a vast foam, with dividing membranes that can be passed through easily. Each universe has a unique deviation in the laws of physics, meaning that material, biology, and technology is transformed as it passes from one universe to another.



TQWhat inspired you to write Nophek Gloss? What appeals to you about writing science fiction?

EssaNophek Gloss is a revenge story with a heart of personal growth and the navigation of complex morality. The protagonist’s journey to find belonging and roots is drawn from my own experiences as a neurodiverse and mixed-race person. Meanwhile the setting is inspired by the obscure sciences I love, and the immersive writing comes directly from my own sensory peculiarities and creative work in film.

In far-flung or secondary world science fiction, I love that we’re allowed to get away entirely from the familiarity of Earth both as a location and as the basis of our ideas. We get to overturn the concept of “normal” by showing other possibilities. At the same time, the stories remain very human, exploring humanity and being through entirely new contexts. There’s incredible power in that.



TQYou are a sound designer for science fiction and fantasy films. Do you hear your novels when writing?

Essa:  I definitely add a lot of sound and five-senses immersion in my novels. Through a combination of hypersensitivity and synesthesia (in which usually separate senses are cross-wired), I feel sounds in my body and as a sort of extended landscape of texture and density in space, of which my nervous system is taking part. It’s…tricky to describe. While writing, even if I’m not “hearing” the story in my mind, my unique experience with the sensory world comes out in my writing style and unusual word choices. Also, working in film sound makes me hyper aware of story elements like environmental atmosphere, the material quality of things, and their motion through space, which definitely influences how I describe action and setting.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Nophek Gloss?

Essa:  I drew on a lot of fields of study I had delved into for enjoyment in the past, such as Cymatics, fluid dynamics, string theory, vibratory physics, concepts of the basis of reality and consciousness, cognitive science, emergent structures, and artificial intelligence…to name a few. Of course, I also had to research basic space travel things like time dilation, FTL, types of stellar drives, and so on.

I often start with a visual or experiential idea first and then backpedal into the science to flesh out my concept. For instance, in Nophek Gloss there’s an alien species who I wanted to emote via chromatophores on their skin, like many cephalopods, so I turned from that concept to the actual science of how and why, and in what detail or words I could describe the effect without getting too technical.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Nophek Gloss.

Essa:  The cover illustration is by Mike Heath and the design by Lauren Panepinto. It depicts Caiden’s unique starship, the Azura, which holds a lot of secrets and continues to evolve as the books go on.



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

Essa:  I always have one character who springs off the page fully-formed and feels effortless to write. For this book that was En, the crew’s negotiator, gambler, trader, charmer, muscle, and general rogue with a questionable past. En is genderfluid, dangerous but gregarious and will defend loved ones in a heartbeat, and full of snarky dialogue that sparked onto the page—which surprised me because I thought I was poor at dialogue but En’s always comes through so easily.

The hardest character to write was the story’s central antagonist, but those details are too spoilery to say!



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

Essa:  Q: What “cutting room floor” scene do you miss?

A: I had a moment in the story where Caiden experiences music for the first time in his life. I loved both the wondrous emotion of that moment and the challenge of clearly describing music without using any instrumental terminology.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Nophek Gloss.

Essa:  Here’s a little excerpt:

Squeezing inside, he ran his fingers over a complex central engine bulk stretching the length of the room. He hadn’t seen such materials ever, even in the deepest sections of the aerators: some white and fleshy, glassy and scaled, coppery rings that bristled when his fingertips drew near. It looked like a hundred different animals stitched together on one set of bones.

“Maybe you’re alive. A huge creature wearing a hard shell.”

Ridiculous. Machines weren’t alive. But he smiled and swore that some of the materials he touched inside the machine were warm.



TQWhat's next?

Essa:  I’m working through revisions of the second book in The Graven trilogy, which releases in Fall 2021. In the meantime, I’ll be doing virtual discussions, panels, and interviews for the launch of Nophek Gloss in November—readers can catch up with me at those!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Nophek Gloss
The Graven 1
Orbit, November 17, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages
"A sucker punch to the senses...a killer story with real heart and soul."-Alastair Reynolds

When a young man's planet is destroyed, he sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge across the galaxy in Nophek Gloss, the first book in this epic space opera trilogy debut -- perfect for fans of Revenger and Children of Time.

Caiden's planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans.

He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





About Essa

Essa Hansen grew up in the beautifully wild areas of California. She has ranched bison and sheep, trained horses, practiced Japanese swordsmanship, and is a licensed falconer. She attended the Vancouver Film School and works as a sound designer for Skywalker Sound where she’s worked on films such as Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnorok, and Avengers: Endgame. Essa now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter @EssaHansen

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November 2020 Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November 2020 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 2020 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. Coverartist/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 November 30, 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite November 2020 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls














Cover art by Jon Dunham










Cover design and illustration by Sophie Paas-Lang





Cover design by Lauren Panepinto
Cover illustration by Mike Heath
Cover copyright © 2020 by Hachette Book Group, Inc.





Interior and cover design by Elizabeth Story





Cover by Kieryn Tyler





Cover © 2020 Rian Hughes
Designed and illustrated by Rian Hughes

Interview with Wayne Santos, author of The Chimera Code


Please welcome Wayne Santos to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Chimera Code was published on November 10, 2020 by Solaris.







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

Wayne:  The first story I ever remember making myself is one I told myself. As a kid, I had narrated album of The Empire Strikes Back, but I also had the orchestral soundtrack, so I imitated the narrated record by playing back the soundtrack, to a tape recorder, and telling my own stories to the music.

The first time I ever tried writing actual fiction was probably in Junior High, though. That was a recollection trying to make a stain glass window for art class, getting high on the fumes and chasing out elementary school kids at the same time.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Wayne:  ¾ pantser, ½ hybrid, so pantsbrid? I usually have a few key events for the story in mind by the time I sit down to write it, but how the characters get to those points is entirely up to them. For the most part, it’s like just sitting back and popping a movie into my mental player, watching the events unfold and then making sure I write it all down.

I’m really bad at outlines, and every time I try, it ends up being a sort of disaster that the story itself ends up not following anyway when it gets written.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Wayne:  Two things, probably. The first is the constant struggle for lyrical language. I really, really love reading books with beautiful language, thoughtful word choices, and literary style. People that can put entire novels together that sound like poems blow me away. I have nothing but jealousy for them, but every time I try to write like that, it’s kind of a single flower blossom in the middle of a lot of explosions, since the stories usually devolve into high octane action scenes.

The other thing is intricate mysteries in plotting. People who put together good whodunits amaze me. The way you have to make sure all the pieces fit together in a plot, so that they all make sense in the end, but feel “fair” to the reader who goes back and sees the clues were there all the time if you’d just been clever enough to put it all together is also amazing. I don’t understand how people do that.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Wayne:  I’ve got a mix of literary and non-literary influences. On the literary side is, of course, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and a lot of other writers in the cyberpunk genre. If you want to get less literary, but still in the written word zone, comics were also a huge influence, since I grew up reading stuff like Chris Claremont’s X-Men and Marv Wolfman’s New Teen Titans as a kid, graduating to the crazier, more ambitious stuff like Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, or just about anything crazy by Grant Morrison, like The Invisibles.

Then there’s a lot of stuff that’s not literary at all. When I wasn’t devouring Robert Heinlein, or Isaac Asimov as a kid, I was plugged into video games. To this day, stuff like Mass Effect or Horizon: Zero Dawn makes as much of an impression on me as the newest Gibson novel. Anime is another big influence, as I inhaled giant robot extravaganzas like Gundam, and of course, more cyberpunk, via Akira or Ghost in the Shell. Even table-top role-playing games made an impression on me as I’m sure eagle-eyed readers will see a Shadowrun influence in The Chimera Code.



TQDescribe The Chimera Code using only 5 words.

Wayne:  Mage, hacker, blow shit up.



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

Wayne:  The United States in its current incarnation no longer exists and fractured into smaller, regional nation-states. The Brazilian Real became the dominant form of global currency for trade and economy, computer operating systems have been replaced by true personal digital assistants, only instead of being tablets or disembodied voices, they can be fully interactive agents that you deal with via neurosimulation. Also, gold is now worthless, because alchemy can produce infinite amounts of it.



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

Wayne:  I’d always loved the idea behind the tabletop role-playing game Shadowrun of a world where magic and cyberpunk coexisted together. But Shadowrun took magic influences all over the magic map, including elves, dwarves, dragons and other creatures of myth.

I was always just fascinated by the idea that magic itself worked, and wondered how that would interact with combat cyborgs, or slot into a global economy that had no business model for it, but could certainly whip one up quick if there was a buck to be made. I kept not seeing that world, so I decided to write it myself. What do you get when you combine a hacker, a military-spec cyborg and a mid-to-close range combat mage with a certification in elemental thaumaturgy? No one would tell me, so The Chimera Code is the answer.

But general appeal of science fiction has, to me, always been about worlds I’ve never seen before. That’s what Dune is. Or Foundation. Or Neuromancer, or Bladerunner or Mass Effect. When you grow up as a visible minority in mid-western Canada, you get tried of the everyday world where you’re just getting picked on as a nerd, and not even a white one, and you wonder what it would be like in those future worlds where apparently that doesn’t happen. It’s hard not to see the appeal in that.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Chimera Code?

Wayne:  It wasn’t really a matter of research, so much as selective osmosis. I’ve made a habit of squirreling away cool but useless scientific facts and findings on all kinds of things, from materials research to the lifespan of black holes and what happens after they run out of juice. Some of that stuff worms its way into stories, while other things have to be actively researched, like the administrative structure of a university. Once I’d decided on my own version of a magic school, I realized I had to make it run the way an actual university would and I had no clue how management worked in those organizations.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Chimera Code.

Wayne:  The cover went through a few iterations, but final version that Rebellion settled on was done by one of their own, Gemma Sheldrake, an artist and graphic designer for 2000 AD, on the comic/publishing side of things. The original cover was one that depicted the characters, but the current version is more stand out with the bright yellow, which is very cyberpunk, since even the video game Cyberpunk 2077 uses that color, and the more graphic design approach lets it sit just about anywhere on a book shelf.



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

Wayne:  The easiest character was probably Zee. I’m not nonbinary, but Zee’s attitude, the distrust of authority, and the impulse to poke holes in systems and see what could be exploited or broken were all things that I found very easy to get into. Zee’s sarcasm and insecurities around others was also kind of giving myself a freebie in terms of writing.

The hardest character to write was probably the villain, Acevedo. I think villains in general always give me trouble, because I just don’t like those people, and don’t want to spend a lot of time with them. I’m kind of jealous of people that enjoy their villainy and like writing villains running around doing horrible things, because I always just want to get away from them.



TQDoes The Chimera Code touch on any social issues?

WayneThe Chimera Code doesn’t go all “a very special episode of The Chimera Code” and make the point of the story dealing with any specific issue, but a lot of them are scattered around is “flavor text” or accents to the ongoing story. The United States as a contiguous nation from the Pacific to the Atlantic no longer exists, and that didn’t occur for any happy reason.

Although probably the biggest thing is Zee as a nonbinary character. I wanted to show that the world had moved on, and some things had more of a place in the 22nd century, but that didn’t mean they were completely accepted or welcomed. Zee was a good conduit to showing some of that.



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

Wayne:  I want someone to ask me, “But what are video games like in this world?”


I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED…

While there are a variety of different video game formats, the dominant playstyle in the world of The Chimera Code is first person games via neurosimulation. In other words, it’s still the first person shooter or role-playing game people are familiar with today, but rather than 4K graphics at 60 frames per second, the experience comes from direct stimulation of nerve impulses.

So there is no longer any complaints about realistic or unrealistic graphics, since everything is generated by your brain and is interpreted as more or less real. It’s a natural evolution of the virtual reality headsets we’re messing around with today, but nowdiv it’s expanded to every genre of gaming imaginable.

That’s not to say that every game is a first person experience, but neurosim games have made the technical requirements of “graphics” irrelevant, and the only arbiter of how good a game looks is art direction.



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

Wayne
“Have fun.”


“Oh, I will.”


“Not the kind that explodes.”


“That’s the only kind.”


“Give me the sword back.”


TQWhat's next?

Wayne:  I’m diligently plugging away on my next work in progress, but in the meantime, you can probably expect some announcements soon about other things I’ve written that are going to be coming out very soon. That’s about as much as I can say right now, I think.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Wayne:  Thank you!





The Chimera Code
Solaris, November 10, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 500 pages
Neuromancer for a non-binary age: an action-packed techno-thriller with a side of magical realism.

"Fun, fresh cyberpunk!" - Publisher's Weekly

Everything’s for hire – even magic.

If you need something done, they’re the best: a tough, resourceful mage, a lab-created genderless hacker and a cyborg with a big gun.

But when they’re hired by a virtual construct to destroy the other copies of himself, and the down payment is a new magical skill, Cloke knows this job is going to be a league harder than anything they’ve ever done. "A full-throttle, magical cyberpunk superhero thriller!" - Peter McLean
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





About Wayne

Over the years, Wayne Santos has written copy for advertising agencies, scripts for television, and articles for magazines. He’s lived in Canada, Thailand and Singapore, traveling to many countries around South East Asia. His first love has always been science fiction and fantasy, and while he regularly engaged with it in novels, comics, anime and video games, it wasn’t until 1996, with his first short story in the Canadian speculative fiction magazine On Spec that he aimed towards becoming a novelist. He now lives in Canada, in Hamilton, ON with his wife. When he’s not writing, he is likely to be found reading, playing video games, watching anime, or trying to calm his cat down.

Website  ~>  Twitter @waynepsantos

Interview with Ginger Smith, author of The Rush's Edge


Please welcome Ginger Smith to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Rush's Edge is published on November 10, 2020 by Angry Robot.







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

Ginger:  Hi!

Well, I was about ten when I read The Elfstones of Shanara by Terry Brooks, and I was crushed by the ending (I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but a character that I loved died in what I had felt was a really unfair way). I got so upset and angry that I decided right then and there to write my own novel. That way I could have it end how I wanted it to, and I wouldn't let anyone die at the end! It was a sprawling 300-page hot mess of a fantasy novel, complete with good and evil twin brothers, mages, dwarves and a beautiful princess. I worked on that novel for two or three years when I was between 10 and 13 years old, and I still have it today. It remains unpublished (lol).



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ginger:  Oh I'm a pantser all the way, but an obsessive rewriter. I usually start with one scene or even several objectives in mind for the story and build from there, layering in all the details like a painter. Unfortunately, this approach requires a lot of editing passes and rewriting, but it works for me.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ginger:  Editing is always a challenge. You really have to step back from your writing to see it clearly, and sometimes that can be very hard to do.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Ginger:  I love hero stories; the transformation of an unknown protagonist into a hero fascinates me. Soldiers returning from war and finding a place in society is another subject that's close to my heart. My father served during the Vietnam War, and the difficulties he went through after he returned home somewhat inspired The Rush's Edge.



TQDescribe The Rush's Edge using only 5 words.

Ginger:  Adrenaline, found family, hero's journey.



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

Ginger:  This is hard because there's a lot that's not in the description, of course. I guess I could tell you a little about vats. Vat soldiers are created and genetically modified in a lab, then placed in artificial wombs full of growth accelerator for four years. When they are the size of a two year-old, the vats are implanted with an interface and educated virtually. At the size of a twelve year-old, they're "born" and begin a standard five years of training. Then when they are seventeen, they go through a year's basic combat training before they become fully active soldiers. They don't have a lot of real-world experience, and that's why they struggle with everyday life when released from service.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Rush's Edge? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Ginger:  My father had tons of space operas and hard sci-fi novels from the 60's-70's around the house, and he let me read whatever I wanted as a kid. We would watch Star Trek and Star Wars together, and those were some of my favorite times. This rich sci-fi/fantasy environment I grew up in shaped what I love to read, and the types of character-rich stories I want to tell.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Rush's Edge?

Ginger:  First, I researched the experiences of soldiers who had been in combat. In several TED talks and articles, Sebastian Junger, a war correspondent, discusses the difficulties soldiers face when they return to "normal" society after war. Junger makes the point that they miss the camaraderie of their fellow soldiers and some of that research was instrumental in developing the bond between Hal and Ty. I also had to do a lot of thinking about the military and governmental structure of the universe I wanted to create. Luckily, my husband is a military historian, so conversations with him were indispensable to crafting the world of the Edge and Spiral.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Rush's Edge.

Ginger:  Oh my goodness, I love my cover so much! I had an amazing artist named Kieryn Tyler who works with Angry Robot. I gave her some ideas here and there, and she came back with a few different designs. When I saw my cover, I knew it was the one. Hal and Vivi are the two characters depicted.



TQIn The Rush's Edge who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Ginger:  Tyce Bernon was probably the easiest for me to write. He's a lot like me: we're both thoughtful and introspective. He is very observant of others and able to see things from someone else's point of view, which helps him understand Hal. Also, he cares deeply for his little found family on the Loshad, and I feel the same for the friends that I call family.

Hal was the hardest to write at first. I had to do a lot of thinking about how he would react to certain situations; being artificially gestated and raised in a vat facility means his life experiences are very different than Ty and Vivi's. While he's a force on the battlefield, he is a bit baffled by the nats in his life, but he's trying to understand. The longer the novel went on, the easier he became to write.



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

Ginger:  I guess I would ask, "What do you hope people will get out of The Rush's Edge?" My initial answer would be that I hope everyone who reads this book has fun. I wanted to write a book that reminded me of seeing the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time… with the same adventure, danger, and tight bond between characters. I hope that the audience comes for the action but stays for the characters as they grow and change throughout the events of the story.



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

Ginger

#1: [Hal] was beginning to think that maybe loyalty was very different than obedience. Obedience meant you did what they told you because they made you, but loyalty couldn't be demanded. It was given. Given to someone like Tyce.

#2: Vivi fought hard against panicked tears. Seeing Ty down was like watching a sun go out. It was horrifying, but she couldn’t tear her gaze away.



TQWhat's next?

Ginger:  I have a few short stories set in the Edge that I'd like to find a home for. Even though The Rush's Edge is a stand-alone book, I'm working on a sequel to it that will expand on the characters and add more layers to the universe of the Spiral.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ginger:  You're welcome! Thanks so much for having me.





The Rush's Edge
Angry Robot, November 10, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 328 pages
With the help of his commanding officer, a genetically engineered ex-soldier fights back against the government that created him and others like him to be expendable slaves…

Halvor Cullen, a genetically-engineered and technology implanted ex-soldier, doesn’t see himself as a hero. After getting out of the service, all he’s interested in is chasing the adrenaline rush his body was designed to crave. Hal knows he won’t live long anyway; vat soldiers like him are designed to die early or will be burnt out from relentlessly seeking the rush. His best friend and former CO, Tyce, is determined not to let that happen and distracts him by work salvaging crashed ships in the Edge.

Then Hal’s ship gets a new crewmember - a hacker-turned-tecker named Vivi. As they become friends, Hal wonders if he’s got a chance with a natural-born like her. Then on a job, the crew finds a sphere that downloads an alien presence into their ship…

Multiple clashes with the military force Hal and his crew to choose sides. The battle they fight will determine the fate of vats and natural-borns throughout the galaxy. Will they join the movement against the Coalition? What has invaded their ship’s computer? And can there be a real future for a vat with an expiration date?

File Under: Science Fiction [ Toy Soldier | On the Brink | Against the Odds | Stars are Crossed ]
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
 iBooks : Kobo





About Ginger

Ginger Smith has worked as a record store employee, freelance writer, bookstore assistant manager and high school teacher of English. In the past, she has played in many tabletop RPG groups and even run several of her own. She collects vintage toys, sci-fi novels and comic books, as well as mid-century furniture. She currently lives in the southern USA with her husband and two cats, spending her free time writing and watching classic film noir and sci-fi movies.



Website ~ Twitter @GSmithauthor


Interview with Thilde Kold Holdt, author of Northern Wrath


Please welcome Thilde Kold Holdt to the Qwillery as part of the  2020 Debut Author Challenge Interview. Northern Wrath, the first novel in The Hanged God Trilogy, was published on October 27, 2020 by Solaris.







TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?TKH:  Thank you for having me. And what a potent first question.

The first one I remember was back when I was 12. Unable to wait for the sixth installment of Harry Potter, I stretched my fingers and wrote a fanfiction. It followed Cho Chang and there was a whole section from Draco Malfoy’s point of view where he got bitten by a werewolf and was in terrible pain but other than that I don’t remember much about it. I abandoned it after 9 chapters.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

TKH:  I used to say I was a plotter, pure and through. Then I wrote Northern Wrath and met Hilda. Now I’m a hybrid.

Generally, I like to plan, but I also remain flexible. With Northern Wrath, I plotted everything in detail, but then one of my main characters, Hilda, swung her axe right through my careful plans, so I had to adapt.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

TKH:  I love plotting and I adore the task of writing itself. I even love editing. But rewriting makes me shudder. It shouldn’t but it really does. I’ll do the work but I’ll grumble all the way through it.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

TKH:  Meeting people of different cultures influences a lot of my writing. I’m also continuously influenced and inspired by films. Particularly films made by Luc Besson, Christopher Nolan and studio Ghibli. They make me want to be a better writer and create new things.



TQDescribe Northern Wrath using only 5 words.

TKH:  The Hanged God abandoned us.



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

TKH:  In Northern Wrath you will find magical whispers in the wind, also a snow fox, a hawk and a white bear. There are fierce shield-maidens and mad berserkers, and, finally, giants and gods. These are the Vikings and Norse Gods as I imagine they really were. It’s a tale of the last true Vikings and our blind trust in our gods.



TQWhat inspired you to write Northern Wrath? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

TKH:  Growing up, I always loved fantasy. I was practically raised on the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and although I read other genres too, I always gravitate back to Fantasy.

Northern Wrath came about because I was given the advice to write about my roots. I feel like I don’t have any roots, so that was the prompt of a lifetime. I was born in Scandinavia and used to jokingly introduce myself as a Viking, so that’s where I started.



TQWhy do you think that Norse myths and legends are so popular?

TKH:  This is a great question and something I often wonder about too. I don’t know for sure, and I’d love to hear what readers think about this, but for now, here is my current guess:

I think all mythology fascinates us, but I sense that there is a special passion for the Norse myths. That might have something to do with Tolkien’s use of the myths, but I think it also has something to do with the tone of them. In many ways, the Norse stories are gruesome, but they’re also meant to be laughed at.

For example, to the question: “Where do rivers come from?” the Norse myths give us the inventive answer: “When the first being in the nine worlds was murdered at the hands of the god Odin, blood spilled out over the nine worlds to form rivers and oceans.”

These are bloody tales from a warrior people who dreamed of dying in battle. In that way I think the Norse myths match well with our modern-day twisted sense of humour and obsession with self-sacrificing heroes.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Northern Wrath?

TKH:  The extensive kind. It started innocently enough. I read the Poetic Edda and the Prosa Edda (the two original texts on Old Norse myths), then I reached for all the books I could get my hands on that had something to do with Vikings. Archeology book and history books but also some fiction.

After that I progressed to some slightly more challenging steps. I read the sagas. All of them. I visited a ton of museums. Then I took to studying half a dozen Viking Age law texts and taught myself the basics of Old Norse so I could decipher runestones.

By far the coolest thing I did was join the crew of the world’s largest reconstructed Viking warship.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Northern Wrath.

TKH:  I’m happy you asked! The artist, Larry Rostant ( http://rostant.com/ ), did a magnificent job on it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was included in this part of the process as a debut author.

The axe on the cover is one of the center-pieces of the novel. The image on the axe also has special significance that I won’t spoil. The fire and burnt shapes are important symbols throughout and then there are the artistic swirls that feel like the physical representation of the magic in the novel.

In conclusion: I think this cover is a both magical and accurate representation of the book.



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

TKH:  The easiest was probably Tyra. I wrote most of her chapters incredibly fast. Sometimes Hilda was just as easy to write, but she was most definitely also the most trouble.

About a third way through there was a very important scene. I had warned Hilda about what she should NOT do. Under ANY circumstance. Two pages in, and she had done it. From then on, she refused to listen to me and follow any of my plans.

Over the course of the trilogy, Hilda and I became great friends, but she made me rethink everything I thought I knew about writing. I had never imagined a character might take over and change the entire narrative.



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

TKH:  You were born in Denmark and speak fluent Danish, how has that influenced your writing of this book?

One of the most obvious ways in which my knowledge of Danish influenced me is that I had access to more sources. A lot of fiction stories about Vikings or Norsemen rely almost purely on English language sources. Many sagas and “totter” (short-story sagas) have never been translated into English. Thanks to my knowledge of Danish I was able to access and understand sources in different Scandinavian languages. That shifted my narrative.

Aside from that, I’ve also brought certain language quirks from Danish into my writing and included some neat cultural traits.



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

TKH:  “Death, pain, and fear.”

(It’s not a spoiler, I promise.)

Fun fact: my agent and I sign all of our emails to each other with that phrase.



TQWhat's next?

TKH:  Next year, the second book in the Hanged God Trilogy, Shackled Fates, comes out. Then in 2022 it’ll be the final tome, Slaughtered Gods.

Both books have been written so now they just need to be formally edited, approved and roll through the hands of our lovely publishing folk.

Outside of that, I’m writing another trilogy soon to be pitched, and working on other ideas too.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

TKH:  Thank you for having me. It has been an absolute pleasure!






Northern Wrath
The Hanged God Trilogy 1
Solaris, October 27, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 700 pages
"Packs a punch worthy of the Thunderer himself. It rocks!" -- Joanne Harris, author of The Gospel of Loki

“Holdt wows in her Norse mythology–inspired debut…an electrifying adventure” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods. A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim. A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief's wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

"Ferocious, compelling, fiercely beautiful. Fantasy at its very best." -- Anna Smith Spark, author of the Empires of Dust series

“This is fantasy as it should be written: savage, liminal, full of wonder and magic.” -- Gavin G. Smith, author of The Bastard Legion series

“A promising start for a series that will gratify lovers of epic tales.” -- Aurealis





About Thilde Kold Holdt

Thilde Kold Holdt is a Viking, traveller and a polygot fluent in Danish, French, English and Korean. As a writer, she is an avid researcher. This is how she first came to row for hours upon hours on a Viking warship. She loved the experience so much that she has sailed with the Viking ship the Sea Stallion ever since. Another research trip brought her to all corners of South Korea where she also learnt the art of traditional Korean archery. Born in Denmark, Thilde has lived in many places and countries, taking a bit of each culture with her. This is why she regards herself as simply being from planet Earth, as she has yet to set foot on Mars…

Thilde is currently based in Southern France where she writes full-time.


Website  ~  Twitter @koldholdt


2020 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts


There are 9 debuts for November 2020.

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

The October 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 October cover for the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on or about November 15, 2020.



Brenden Carlson 

Night Call
The Walking Shadows 1
Dundum, November 10, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
A rogue robot is terrorizing the dark underbelly of 1930s Manhattan. Can detective Elias Roche and his new Automatic partner track it down?

The year is 1933. Even in a world with free energy, robot labour, and megacorporations, nothing could stop the collapse of the American Dream. As the world-spanning Great Depression rages on, the remaining New York–based mafias clash with police for control of the broken city. Elias Roche, former police officer turned Mafia enforcer, works to maintain a tenuous peace between the two parties.

Accustomed to settling disputes with the business end of a gun, Roche must expand his repertoire after a violent murder is covered up by the FBI. With the Mafia insisting they’re innocent of the crime and the police powerless to help, Roche and his new Automatic partner, Allen, must root out those responsible before the situation sparks a war in the city streets.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





T. C. Farren

The Book of Malachi
Titan Books, November 10, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
(US Debut)
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In this frightening, high-concept science fiction thriller, a mute survivor of civil war must confront the horrors of organ farming on a deep-sea oilrig.

Nominated for the 2020 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans

Malachi, a mute thirty-year-old man, has just received an extraordinary job offer. In exchange for six months as a warden on a top-secret organ-farming project, Raizier Pharmaceuticals will graft Malachi a new tongue.

So Malachi finds himself on an oilrig among warlords and mass murderers. But are the prisoner-donors as evil as Raizier says? Do they deserve their fate?

As doubt starts to grow, the stories of the desperate will not be silenced - not even his own. Covertly Malachi comes to know them, even the ones he fears, and he must make a choice - if he wants to save one, he must save them all. And risk everything, including himself.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Essa Hansen

Nophek Gloss
The Graven 1
Orbit, November 17, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages
"A sucker punch to the senses...a killer story with real heart and soul."-Alastair Reynolds

When a young man's planet is destroyed, he sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge across the galaxy in Nophek Gloss, the first book in this epic space opera trilogy debut -- perfect for fans of Revenger and Children of Time.

Caiden's planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans.

He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Rian Hughes

XX
The Overlook Press, November 10, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 992 pages
The battle for your mind has already begun.

At Jodrell Band in England Observatory in England, a radio telescope has detected a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin—a message that may be the first communication from an interstellar civilization. Has humanity made first contact? Is the signal itself a form of alien life? Could it be a threat? If so, how will the people of Earth respond?

Jack Fenwick, artificial intelligence expert, believes that he and his associates at tech startup Intelligencia can interpret the message a find a way to step into the realm the signal encodes. What they find is a complex alien network beyond anything mankind has imagined.

Drawing on Dada, punk and the modernist movements of the twentieth century, XX is assembled from redacted NASA reports, artwork, magazine articles, secret transcripts and a novel within a novel. Deconstructing layout and language in order to explore how idea propagate, acclaimed designer and artist Rian Hughes's debut novel presents a compelling vision of humanity's unique place in the universe, and a realistic depiction of what might happen in the wake of the biggest scientific discovery in human history.

Propulsive and boldly designed, XX is a gripping, wildly imaginative, utterly original work.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before the Coffee Gets Cold
Hanover Square Press, November 17, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages
What would you change if you could travel back in time?

Down a small alleyway in the heart of Tokyo, there’s an underground café that’s been serving carefully brewed coffee for over a hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers its customers something else besides coffee—the chance to travel back in time.

The rules, however, are far from simple: you must sit in one particular seat, and you can’t venture outside the café, nor can you change the present. And, most important, you only have the time it takes to drink a hot cup of coffee—or risk getting stuck forever.

Over the course of one summer, four customers visit the café in the hopes of traveling to another time: a heartbroken lover looking for closure, a nurse with a mysterious letter from her husband, a waitress hoping to say one last goodbye and a mother whose child she may never get the chance to know.

Heartwarming, wistful and delightfully quirky, Before the Coffee Gets Cold explores the intersecting lives of four women who come together in one extraordinary café, where the service may not be quick, but the opportunities are endless.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Dolores Reyes
Julia Sanches (Translator)

Eartheater
HarperVia, November 17, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 224 pages
NAMED A "FALL 2020 MUST-READ" AND ONE OF THE "BEST BOOKS OF FALL 2020" BY TIME, VULTURE, THE BOSTON GLOBE, WIRED, COSMOPOLITAN AND MORE

Electrifying and provocative, visceral and profound, a powerful literary debut novel about a young woman whose compulsion to eat earth gives her visions of murdered and missing people—an imaginative synthesis of mystery and magical realism that explores the dark tragedies of ordinary lives.

Set in an unnamed slum in contemporary Argentina, Eartheater is the story of a young woman who finds herself drawn to eating the earth—a compulsion that gives her visions of broken and lost lives. With her first taste of dirt, she learns the horrifying truth of her mother’s death. Disturbed by what she witnesses, the woman keeps her visions to herself. But when Eartheater begins an unlikely relationship with a withdrawn police officer, word of her ability begins to spread, and soon desperate members of her community beg for her help, anxious to uncover the truth about their own loved ones.

Surreal and haunting, spare yet complex, Eartheater is a dark, emotionally resonant tale told from a feminist perspective that brilliantly explores the stories of those left behind—the women enduring the pain of uncertainty, whose lives have been shaped by violence and loss.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Wayne Santos

The Chimera Code
Solaris, November 10, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 500 pages
Neuromancer for a non-binary age: an action-packed techno-thriller with a side of magical realism.

"Fun, fresh cyberpunk!" - Publisher's Weekly

Everything’s for hire – even magic.

If you need something done, they’re the best: a tough, resourceful mage, a lab-created genderless hacker and a cyborg with a big gun.

But when they’re hired by a virtual construct to destroy the other copies of himself, and the down payment is a new magical skill, Cloke knows this job is going to be a league harder than anything they’ve ever done. "A full-throttle, magical cyberpunk superhero thriller!" - Peter McLean
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Ginger Smith

The Rush's Edge
Angry Robot, November 10, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 328 pages
With the help of his commanding officer, a genetically engineered ex-soldier fights back against the government that created him and others like him to be expendable slaves…

Halvor Cullen, a genetically-engineered and technology implanted ex-soldier, doesn’t see himself as a hero. After getting out of the service, all he’s interested in is chasing the adrenaline rush his body was designed to crave. Hal knows he won’t live long anyway; vat soldiers like him are designed to die early or will be burnt out from relentlessly seeking the rush. His best friend and former CO, Tyce, is determined not to let that happen and distracts him by work salvaging crashed ships in the Edge.

Then Hal’s ship gets a new crewmember - a hacker-turned-tecker named Vivi. As they become friends, Hal wonders if he’s got a chance with a natural-born like her. Then on a job, the crew finds a sphere that downloads an alien presence into their ship…

Multiple clashes with the military force Hal and his crew to choose sides. The battle they fight will determine the fate of vats and natural-borns throughout the galaxy. Will they join the movement against the Coalition? What has invaded their ship’s computer? And can there be a real future for a vat with an expiration date?

File Under: Science Fiction [ Toy Soldier | On the Brink | Against the Odds | Stars are Crossed ]
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
 iBooks : Kobo





Kimberly Unger

Nucleation
Tachyon Publications, November 13, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages
“Recommended for fans of Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon and Martha Wells’ Murderbot series.”
—Booklist

“A superb, smart debut!”
—Lissa Price, bestselling author of the Starters series

In this riveting debut science-fiction technothriller, a top-notch VR pilot encounters a disaster during the highest profile space-faring project of her career. Now she must unearth a critical truth: was her discovery due to a betrayal, a business rival, or a threat to humanity itself?

We are live, we are live, we are live. . .

Helen Vectorvich just botched first contact. And she did it in both virtual reality and outer space.

Only the most elite Far Reaches deep-space pilots get to run waldos: robots controlled from thousands of lightyears away via neural integration and quantum entanglement. Helen and her navigator were heading the construction of a wormhole gate that would connect Earth to the stars . . . until a routine system check turned deadly.

As nasty rumors swarm around her, and overeager junior pilots jockey to take her place, Helen makes a startling discovery: microscopic alien life is devouring their corporate equipment. Is the Scale just mindless, extra-terrestrial bacteria? Or is it working—and killing—with a purpose?

While Helen struggles to get back into the pilot’s chair, and to communicate with the Scale, someone—or something—is trying to sabotage the Far Reaches project once and for all. They’ll have to get through Helen first.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
iBooks

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2020 Debuts

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2020 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 2020 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, 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.


Vote for your favorite October 2020 Debut Cover!
pollcode.com free polls




















Cover art by Larry Rostant






























Cover image (c) Alexandre Cappellari / Arcangel Images
Cover design by Adam Auerbach and Anthony Ramondo
Book design by Katy Riegel






2020 Debut Author Challenge - October 2020 Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge - October 2020 Debuts


There are 11 debuts for October 2020.

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

The October 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 October cover for the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on or about October 15, 2020.





Whiteland
The Whiteland Novels 1
BHC Press, October 15, 2020
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 328 pages
In a lonely Swiss mountain village, Kira’s holiday erupts. It’s winter, it’s eerie, and out in the woods something imbeds its claws into her sister.

When Romy returns, she’s different. She’s violent, inhuman, and by rights, should be dead. Even though things aren’t normal, all their parents care about is that she’s still alive.

In the otherworldly forest, Kira starts to pry, but secrets like to be kept. With the help of Callum, a sarcastic Scotsman, Kira stumbles upon the folkloric world of Whiteland, eating all she knows.

If Kira runs away, she’ll be safe. If she doesn’t, her family might not survive. In the end, there’s no mercy in revenge.






Shadows of the Short Days
Titan Books, October 20, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
For fans of China Mieville and Neil Gaiman. A tale of revolution in a Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic, populated by humans, dimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.

A tale of revolution in a Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic, populated by humans, dimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.

HERE LIES A CITY…

FUELLED BY INDUSTRIALISED MAGIC. RULED BY A DESPOTIC CROWN. DEMANDING REVOLUTION.

WELCOME TO REYKJAVIK

Rebels and revolutionaries disappear into the infamous prison, the Nine, never to be heard from again. Masked police roam the streets, dark magic lurks in the shadows, and the implacable flying fortress casts its baleful eye over all below.

Sæmundur, addict and sorcerer, has been cast out from university, and forbidden to study magic. Dissident artist, Garún, is desperate for a just society and will do anything to achieve it. Both seek revolution in their own ways. Both seek power.

Together, they will change Reykjavik forever.






Plain Bad Heroines
William Morrow, October 20, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 640 pages
“Full of Victorian sapphic romance, metafictional horror, biting misandrist humor, Hollywood intrigue, and multiple timeliness—all replete with evocative illustrations that are icing on a deviously delicious cake.” –O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

“Brimming from start to finish with sly humor and gothic mischief. Brilliant.” — SARAH WATERS

Named a Most Anticipated Book by O, The Oprah Magazine • Vulture • Parade • Popsugar • Bustle • GoodReads • Autostraddle • Literary Hub • and more!

The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit

Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, oppo­site B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern her­oines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period-inspired illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.






The Mirror Man
MIRA, October 20, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Meet Jeremiah Adams. There are two of him.

The offer is too tempting: be part of a scientific breakthrough, step out of his life for a year, and be paid hugely for it. When ViMed Pharmaceutical asks Jeremiah to be part of an illegal cloning experiment, he sees it as a break from an existence he feels disconnected from. No one will know he’s been replaced—not the son who ignores him, not his increasingly distant wife—since a revolutionary drug called Meld can transfer his consciousness and memories to his copy.

From a luxurious apartment, he watches the clone navigate his day-to-day life. But soon Jeremiah discovers that examining himself from an outsider’s perspective isn’t what he thought it would be, and he watches in horror as “his” life spirals out of control. ViMed needs the experiment to succeed—they won’t call it off, and are prepared to remove any obstacle. With his family in danger, Jeremiah needs to finally find the courage to face himself head-on.






Consensual Hex
Grand Central Publishing, October 6, 2020
Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages
The Craft for the #MeToo era, this debut unfolds a riveting psychological drama shot through with sharp humor and dark magic for readers of Ninth House and The Power.

When Lee, a first year at Smith, is raped under eerie circumstances during orientation week by an Amherst frat boy, she's quickly disillusioned by her lack of recourse. As her trauma boils within her, Lee is selected for an exclusive seminar on Gender, Power, and Witchcraft, where she meets Luna (an alluring Brooklyn hipster), Gabi (who has a laundry list of phobias), and Charlotte (a waifish, chill international student). Granted a charter for a coven and suddenly in possession of real magic, the four girls are tasked by their aloof Professor with covertly retrieving a grimoire that an Amherst fraternity has gotten their hands on. But when the witches realize the frat brothers are using magic to commit and cover up sexual assault all over Northampton, their exploits escalate into vigilante justice. As Lee's thirst for revenge on her rapist grows, things spiral out of control, pitting witch against witch as they must wrestle with how far one is willing to go to heal.

Consensual Hex is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of a young woman coming of age, uncovering the ways in which love and obsession and looking to fit in can go hand in hand. Lee, an outstanding, magical anti-heroine, refuses to be pigeonholed as a model victim or a horrific example. Instead, her caustic voice demands our attention, clawing out from every page, equally vicious and vulnerable as she lures us, then dares us, to transgress. Dark, biting, and archly camp, Consensual Hex announces Harlowe as a significant talent.







Northern Wrath
The Hanged God Trilogy 1
Solaris, October 27, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 700 pages
"Packs a punch worthy of the Thunderer himself. It rocks!" -- Joanne Harris, author of The Gospel of Loki

“Holdt wows in her Norse mythology–inspired debut…an electrifying adventure” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods. A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim. A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief's wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

"Ferocious, compelling, fiercely beautiful. Fantasy at its very best." -- Anna Smith Spark, author of the Empires of Dust series

“This is fantasy as it should be written: savage, liminal, full of wonder and magic.” -- Gavin G. Smith, author of The Bastard Legion series

“A promising start for a series that will gratify lovers of epic tales.” -- Aurealis






Once Again
Alcove Press, October 6, 2020
Hardcover and eBook 
An imaginative, emotional debut novel for fans of Ann Patchett about one woman’s fight to save her daughter from repeating a deadly fate.

What if you had one chance to save someone you lost?

Isolated in the aftermath of tragedy, Erin Fullarton has felt barely alive since the loss of her young daughter, Korrie. She tries to mark the milestones her therapist suggests–like today, the 500th day without Korrie–but moving through grief is like swimming against a dark current.

Her estranged husband, Zac, a brilliant astrophysicist, seems to be coping better. Lost in his work, he’s perfecting his model of a stunning cosmological phenomenon, one he predicts will occur today–an event so rare, it keeps him from being able to acknowledge Erin’s coinciding milestone.

But when Erin receives a phone call from her daughter’s school, the same call she received five hundred days earlier when Korrie was still alive, Erin realizes something is happening. Or happening again. Struggling to understand the sudden shifts in time, she pieces together that the phenomenon Zac is tracking may have presented her with the gift of a lifetime: the chance to save her daughter.

Unable to reach Zac or convince the authorities of what is happening, Erin is forced to find the answer on her own. Erin must battle to keep the past from repeating–or risk losing her daughter for good.





Kevin Lambert
David Winkler (Translator)

You Will Love What You Have Killed
Biblioasis, October 6, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 186 pages
Faldistoire’s grandfather thinks he’s a ghost. Sylvie’s mother reads tarot and summons stormclouds to mete her witch’s justice. Behind his Dad of the Year demeanour, Sébastien’s father hides dark designs. It’s Croustine’s grandfather who makes the boy a pair of slippers from the dead family dog, but it’s his father, the cannily-named Kevin Lambert, who always seems to be nearby when tragedy strikes, and in the cemetery, under the baleful eyes of toads, small graves are dug one after the other: Chicoutimi, Quebec, is a dangerous place for children. But these young victims of rape, arbitrary violence, and senseless murder keep coming back from the dead. They return to school, explore their sexualities, keep tabs on grown-up sins—and plot their apocalyptic retribution.

Surreal and darkly comic, this debut novel by Kevin Lambert, one of the most celebrated and controversial writers to come out of Quebec in recent memory, takes the adult world to task—and then takes revenge.






The Night Will Find Us
Keylight Books, October 20, 2020
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
They say never go into the woods at night…

School’s out for summer and that means one thing to Parker, Chloe, and their four friends: a well-deserved camping trip in the Pine Barrens, a million-acre forest deep in the heart of New Jersey. But when old grudges erupt, an argument escalates into the unthinkable, leaving one of them dead and the killer missing. As darkness descends and those left alive try to determine a course of action, the forest around them begins to change…

In the morning, more of the group has vanished and the path that led them into the woods is gone―as if consumed by the forest itself. Lost and hungry, the remaining friends set out to find help, only to realize that the forest seems to have other plans―a darker, ancient horror lies dead and dreaming in a lake in the center of the woods. And it’s calling to them.

Meanwhile, deep in the trees, the killer is still at large, and one of the group’s own has started to transform and warp into something other. Something inhuman. Something that wants to feast.

Banding together to survive, the friends soon begin to understand the true nature of the horror waiting for them in the Pine Barrens―and that not all of them will make it out alive.






The Witch Hunter
Berkley, October 27, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
A shocking murder in an affluent Helsinki suburb has ties to witchcraft and the occult in this thrilling U.S. debut from Finnish author Max Seeck.

A bestselling author’s wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of an empty dining table. Her most chilling feature—her face is frozen in a ghastly smile.

At first it seems as though a deranged psychopath is reenacting the gruesome murders from the Witch Hunt trilogy, bestsellers written by the victim’s husband. But investigator Jessica Niemi soon realizes she’s not looking for a single killer but rather for dozens of believers in a sinister form of witchcraft who know her every move and are always one step ahead.

As the bodies start piling up, Jessica knows they won’t stop until they get what they want. And when her dark past comes to light, Jessica finds herself battling her own demons while desperately trying to catch a coven of killers before they claim their next victim.






White Trash Warlock
The Adam Binder Novels 1
Blackstone Publishing, October 13, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Not all magicians go to schools of magic.

Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.

Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife.

It isn’t long before Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings … including his first love.


Interview with Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

Please welcome Andrea Stewart to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Bone Shard Daughter was published on September 8, 2020 by Orbit.



Interview with Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter




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

Andrea:  The first fiction piece I remember writing was in response to a creative writing prompt in fifth grade. The prompt was to choose an item made of clay and to write about it coming to life. I wrote about the statue of a peregrine falcon coming to life and flying me away to a magical land where I got to meet other clay creatures that had come to life. My teacher loved it and encouraged me to continue writing, and that's how I started down this whole road! 
 
 
 
TQ:  Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid? 
 
Andrea:  I'm definitely a plotter. I like to have a road map of where I'm going, and it feels like I get there faster when I have one. I start with a pitch that outlines the main conflict, then I write a couple chapters to get a feel for the world and the voices, then I do a chapter-by-chapter outline. Once I have that nailed down to my satisfaction, I start drafting from beginning to end. That said, things often change a little while I write! 
 
 
 
TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? 
 
Andrea:  my writing. I really want people to feel like they have that sense of place when they're reading. The news, history, my personal experiences—all are things that end up coloring my work. 
 
 
 
TQ:  Describe The Bone Shard Daughter using only 5 words. 
 
Andrea:  Revolution, identity, magic, islands, and keys. 
 
 
 
TQ:  Tell us something about The Bone Shard Daughter that is not found in the book description. 
 
Andrea:  I know this has surprised some people, so even though the description focuses on Lin's point of view, there are actually several point-of-view characters in the book. It follows Lin, Jovis, Ranami and Phalue, and Sand. Each character has their part to play in the overall story. 
 
 
 
TQ:  What inspired you to write The Bone Shard Daughter? What appeals to you about writing Epic Fantasy? 
 
Andrea:  The seed of inspiration started for me at the San Antonio WorldCon, when I went to lunch at the food court with my friends. My friend Marina Lostetter (who has since had a SF trilogy out and has a fantasy trilogy from Tor on the way) nearly choked on a piece of bone in her lunch. It started me thinking about using shards of bone as a source of magic. Of course, the idea evolved and grew a lot from there, and I added a lot of elements I enjoy seeing in books. It stewed in my brain for a while as I was working on other things. Once the ideas felt ready to me, I sat down and wrote the book! 

There's a lot that appeals to me about writing epic fantasy. I love the high stakes of it all—the clash of power and influence, the magic, the world-changing revelations. The scope allows for grand storytelling as well as allowing you to tie events to smaller, more intimate moments. And there's that sense of wonder that always seems to accompany epic fantasy. You can transport a reader to an utterly strange and new landscape, plus give them a sense of sweeping history, all from the comfort of their couch. 
 
 
 
TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Bone Shard Daughter? 
 
Andrea:  I checked out a lot of books from the library and read a lot of Wikipedia articles. I don't take a lot of notes when I research. I'm generally not trying to capture a particular time period or a particular place, but reading about historical events and specific places does help me pick out threads and patterns of what I want to see in my world. I also like to read travel guides and sometimes to watch some travel videos. The little details are important to me, and just looking at the photos and the things in the background can sometimes provide me with inspiration on what things I should include when writing. 
 
 
 
TQ:  Please tell us about the cover for The Bone Shard Daughter.
 
Andrea:  The art was done by Sasha Vinogradova and the design by Lauren Panepinto. The cover is less a direct representation of a scene in the novel and more representative of the elements in the novel as a whole. I love it so much! It pulls together so many important elements—the city buildings, the waves, the ships, and the key. And if you look closely, you'll notice a little creature in the bow of the key... 
 
 
TQ:  In The Bone Shard Daughter who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why? 
 
Andrea:  I think in some ways Jovis was the easiest to write. He's got my silly sense of humor, and often feels exasperated with himself—something I deeply relate to. He's a fair bit grumpier than I am, but I also found it fun to write in that aspect of his personality. Sand was probably the most difficult to write. She starts, in some ways, much like a blank slate. Her circumstances are the most mysterious of all the characters, and she's figuring out what they mean as the story progresses. It's difficult to write a character like that in an engaging way, I think!
 
 
 
TQ:  Does The Bone Shard Daughter touch on any social issues?
 
Andrea:  I definitely tried to touch on some social issues. Ranami and Phalue's storyline is centered around their differences of privilege—they both love one another but are coming from two very different places in society. If they can't find a way to bridge that gap between them, their relationship falls apart and their whole island suffers for it. Lin is the daughter of the Emperor, trying to reclaim her place as heir. Although she focuses on this, she eventually has to decide if she wants to be the sort of leader her father has been or if she wants to take a different, less oppressive path. And Jovis is on a personal mission, one that ends up clashing with the greater purpose of the brewing revolution. He has to decide how much responsibility he has to others and to society, and whether that takes precedence over his personal needs. 
 
 
 
TQ:  Which question about The Bone Shard Daughter do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it! 
 
Andrea:  “Did you think The Bone Shard Daughter would be published when you were writing it?” 
 
I did not! When it went out on submission, I immediately started working on a new, completely different book so I wouldn't feel as bad if no one wanted to buy it. I'd had two prior books go out on submission to publishers that didn't sell, so the realistic part of me thought I'd just keep on to the next thing—I hadn't the best track record! I did feel like it was the best thing I'd written so far, but I always felt that way. I do try to improve with each book. 
 
 
 
TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Bone Shard Daughter. 
 
Andrea:  I think my favorite is: "I was Lin. I was the Emperor's daughter. And I would show him that even broken daughters could wield power." It just marks a big turning point for her and ties back to the very beginning. 
 
 
 
TQ:  What's next?
 
Andrea:  Next up are the next two books in The Drowning Empire trilogy, probably a sci-fi with time bubbles I've been fiddling with, and more epic fantasy in strange new worlds! I've got so many ideas and so many places I want to show people! 
 
 
 
TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery!
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Bone Shard Daughter
The Drowning Empire 1
Orbit, September 8, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Interview with Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter
Introducing a major new voice in epic fantasy: in an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor, will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.






About Andrea 

Interview with Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

Andrea Stewart is the daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes. 






Website ~ Twitter @AndreaGStewart

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 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 2020 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 September 30, 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite September 2020 Debut Cover!
 
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2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Lauren Panepinto
Cover art by Sasha Vinogradova
Cover copyright © 2020 by Hachette Book Group, Inc.





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Daniel Strange





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
Intial concepts by Francesca Myman





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art by Sam Gretton





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Jacket design by Yeon Kim
Jacket Image © Chipmunk131 /Shutterstock (silhouette)





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Chris Panatier and Glen Wilkins





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art by Anka Lavriv
Cover and interior design by Dana Li





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

Interview with Essa Hansen, author of Nophek Gloss2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - November 2020 DebutsInterview with Wayne Santos, author of The Chimera CodeInterview with Ginger Smith, author of The Rush's EdgeInterview with Thilde Kold Holdt, author of Northern Wrath2020 Debut Author Challenge - November Debuts2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2020 Debuts2020 Debut Author Challenge - October 2020 DebutsInterview with Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

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