The Qwillery | category: Atria


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors

Here are some of the upcoming works by formerly featured Debut Author Challenge (DAC) Authors. The year in parentheses is the year the author was featured in the DAC.

Sebastien de Castell (2014)

Spellslinger 6
Orbit, December 10, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
A failed mage learns that just because he’s not the chosen one it doesn’t mean he can’t be a hero in the sixth and final book of the adventure fantasy series that started with Spellslinger.

Spellslinger Series

For more from Sebastien de Castell, check out:

The Greatcoats Quartet
Traitor’s Blade
Saint’s Blood
Knight’s Shadow
Tyrant’s Throne

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
Spellslinger 1
Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
Spellslinger 2
Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
Spellslinger 3
Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
Spellslinger 4
Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
Spellslinger 5

Linnea Hartsuyker (2017)

The Sea Queen
The Golden Wolf Saga 2
Harper Paperbacks, June 25, 2019
Trade Paperback, 480 pages
Hardcover and eBook, August 14, 2018

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
An exhilarating Viking saga filled with the rich history, romantic adventure and political intrigue that have made Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, as well as Phillippa Gregory’s historical fiction and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology popular bestsellers. 

Six years after The Half-Drowned King, Ragnvald Eysteinsson is now king of Sogn, but fighting battles for King Harald keeps him away from home, as he confronts treachery and navigates a political landscape that grows more dangerous the higher he rises.

Ragnvald’s sister Svanhild has found the freedom and adventure she craves at the side of the rebel explorer Solvi Hunthiofsson, though not without a cost. She longs for a home where her quiet son can grow strong, and a place where she can put down roots, even as Solvi’s ambition draws him back to Norway’s battles again and keeps her divided from her brother.

As a growing rebellion unites King Harald’s enemies, Ragnvald suspects that some Norse nobles are not loyal to Harald’s dream of a unified Norway. He sets a plan in motion to defeat all of his enemies, and bring his sister back to his side, while Svanhild finds herself with no easy decisions, and no choices that will leave her truly free. Their actions will hold irrevocable repercussions for the fates of those they love and for Norway itself.

The Sea Queen returns to the fjords and halls of Viking-Age Scandinavia, a world of violence and prophecy, where honor is challenged by shifting alliances, and vengeance is always a threat to peace.

The Golden Wolf
The Golden Wolf Saga 3
Harper, August 13, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
The fates of Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild unfold to their stunning conclusion in this riveting final volume in The Golden Wolf Saga, a trilogy that conjures the ancient world with the gripping detail, thrilling action, and vivid historical elements of Game of Thrones and Outlander.

Ragnvald has long held to his vision of King Harald as a golden wolf who will bring peace to Norway as its conqueror—even though he knows that Harald’s success will eventually mean his own doom. He is grateful to have his beloved sister, the fierce and independent Svanhild, once more at his side to help keep their kingdom secure. Free from the evil husband who used her, she is now one of Harald’s many wives.

While Svanhold is happy to be reunited with her beloved brother, and enjoys more freedom than ever before, she is restless and lonely. When an old enemy of Ragnvald’s kidnaps his niece, Freydis, his sister follows the daughter she has neglected to Iceland, where an old love awaits. This strange new land offers a life far different from what each has left behind, as well as unexpected challenges and choices.

Ragnvald, too, must contend with change. His sons—the gifted Einar, the princely Ivar, and the adventurous Rolli—are no longer children. Harald’s heirs have also grown up. Stepping back from his duties as king, he watches as his sons pursue their own ambitions. But Norway may no longer be large enough for so many would-be kings.

Now in their twilight years, these venerable men whose lives have been shaped by war must face another battle that awaits. A growing rebellion pits Ragnvald and his sons against enemies old and new, and a looming tragedy threatens to divide the hardened warrior from Harald and all who care for him. Across the sea, Svanhild, too, wrestles with a painful decision, risking the dissolution of her fragile new family as she desperately tries to save it.

Yet as old heroes fall, new heroes arise. For years, Ragnvald and Svanhild pursued the destinies bestowed by their ancient gods. Though the journey has cost them much, their sacrifices and dreams will be honored by the generations that follow, beginning with Freydis and Einar. Emerging from their parents’ long shadows, they have begun to carry on the family’s legacy while pursuing their own glorious fates.

This compelling conclusion to the Golden Wolf trilogy recreates Viking-age Scandinavia in all its danger, passion, power, and glory—a world of brutality and myth, loyalty and betrayal, where shifting alliances and vengeance can build kingdoms . . . and can tear them down.

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
The Golden Wolf Saga 1

Keith Thomas (2018)

Dahlia Black
Atria/Leopoldo & Co., August 13, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Covers Revealed - Upcoming Works by DAC Authors
For fans of World War Z and the Southern Reach Trilogy, a suspenseful oral history commemorating the five-year anniversary of the Pulse—the alien code that hacked the DNA of Earth’s population—and the response team who faced the world-changing phenomenon.

Voyager 1 was a message in a bottle. Our way of letting the galaxy know we existed. That we were out here if anyone wanted to find us.

Over the next forty years, the probe flew past Jupiter and Saturn before it drifted into the void, swallowed up by a silent universe. Or so we thought…

Truth is, our message didn’t go unheard.

Discovered by Dr. Dahlia Black, the mysterious Pulse was sent by a highly intelligent intergalactic species that called themselves the Ascendants. It soon becomes clear this alien race isn’t just interested in communication—they are capable of rewriting human DNA, in an astonishing process they call the Elevation.

Five years after the Pulse, acclaimed journalist Keith Thomas sets out to make sense of the event that altered the world. Thomas travels across the country to interview members of the task force who grappled to decode the Pulse and later disseminated its exact nature to worried citizens. He interviews the astronomers who initially doubted Black’s discovery of the Pulse—an error that critics say led to the world’s quick demise. Thomas also hears from witnesses of the Elevation and people whose loved ones vanished in the Finality, an event that, to this day, continues to puzzle Pulse researchers, even though theories abound about the Ascendants’ motivation.

Including never-before-published transcripts from task force meetings, diary entries from Black, and candid interviews with Ballard, Thomas also shows in Dahlia Black how a select few led their country in its darkest hours, toward a new level of humanity.

Interview with Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams

Please welcome Kris Waldherr to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Lost History of Dreams is published on April 9, 2019 by Atria Books.

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

Kris Waldherr:  Thank you for having me! As far as first fiction, I seem to remember writing a mystery inspired by Nancy Drew when I was in third grade. I was uncertain how to begin a story beyond “Once upon a time.” I’d like to think my writing has evolved since then.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

KW:  I’m a hybrid—a plantser, if you will. (Is that even a word?) When I begin a book, I often start out pantsing, or writing in an intuitive fashion; once I reach a certain length, I go back and plot in earnest. I initially write in a nonlinear manner, where I often draft scenes out of order. Later, I move these sections around like puzzle pieces using Scrivener. However, once I get into the plotting stage of writing, I make bookmaps, diagrams of character and plot arcs, and detailed timelines. I’m a big fan of making timeline spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel. My timeline for Lost History was over six feet long—it spread across most of the wall above my work table!

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

KW:  That I write novels slowly. I need to know as much as I can about what I’m writing before I really go in deep: historical research, character arcs, narrative structure. Though I can write a first draft fairly quickly, that draft is only the starting point. I often revise for what feels like dozens of times before I’m satisfied. Accordingly, Lost History took me about three years from start to finish, though I worked on other projects during this time. I’m hoping my future novels won’t take as long, now that I better understand my process. Luckily my nonfiction books go much faster—I was able to write Doomed Queens and Bad Princess in a matter of months.

TQWhat has influenced/influences your writing?

KW:  I’m like a magpie in that my writing is influenced by everything: art, travel, books, music, films. For example, in The Lost History of Dreams a character’s piano playing was inspired by a Beethoven sonata that reminded me of her bittersweet past. A scene where two characters fall in love was sparked by my viewing a painting of migrating pigeons at the Smithsonian. I also adore research, which definitely inspires my plots and characters. Of this, travel is an essential component—I just wish I could spend more time doing it!

As far as authors, the books of Diane Setterfield definitely influenced the story-within-a-story narrative structure of The Lost History of Dreams—her ability to spin a tale is astonishing. I’m also inspired by the ability of Sarah Waters to reveal character in unexpected ways. She’s such a masterful writer!

TQDescribe The Lost History of Dreams using only 5 words.

KW:  Post-mortem photography meets Orpheus myth. (Do hyphenated words count as one? Hope so!)

TQTell us something about The Lost History of Dreams that is not found in the book description.

KW:  That there’s humor in it—it’s not all shadows and secrets. After all, you need to have light amid the darkness. One of my favorite scenes involved a tour of Hugh de Bonne’s study. (The character of Hugh was very loosely based on the poet Byron.) I used the scene to reveal all the ridiculous rumors being spewed about Hugh’s life, as well as the over-the-top behavior of his fans, who call themselves Seekers of the Lost Dream. At one point a fan faints; another comments that Hugh’s study “smells as it always does—of lemon oil and genius.”

TQWhat inspired you to write The Lost History of Dreams? What appealed to you about writing a gothic mystery?

KW:  Interestingly, I initially didn’t consider The Lost History of Dreams a gothic mystery as much as a tale of lost love akin to Wuthering Heights and A.S. Byatt’s Possession. Lost History is also a novel that’s very much about the power of story-telling; to quote Hamilton, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” Additionally, my novel was structured after the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, which is one of my favorite stories of all time. The mystery angle developed while I wrote—the better I got to know my characters, the more secrets they revealed.

However, my initial inspiration for my novel was a dream I had of a man and woman dressed in mid-Victorian clothing. In my dream, they paced back and forth in a rather shabby room lit by only a fireplace as they argued over an inheritance. When I woke up, I had no idea what the dream was about—it was like being dropped into another time and place—but I wrote it down and placed it in my “inspiration” file, where I save ideas and notes for possible books. (Again, I’m like a magpie!) Later, this dream became the first scene I wrote in Lost History, when Robert meets Isabelle and argues with her over Hugh de Bonne’s will.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Lost History of Dreams?

KW:  A lot! In terms of travel, I took two trips to England to visit the various locations where my novel takes place—Shropshire, London, Herne Bay—and another trip to Paris and Sèvres. A final research trip took me to Rochester, where I visited the George Eastman Museum, the world’s oldest photography museum. I also amassed a small library of books about 19th century photography, stained glass, Victorian England, the Romantic poets and more. One of my favorite acquisitions is a replica of Louis Daguerre’s original manual for aspiring daguerreotypists.

TQDo you have any favorite Gothic novels?

KW:  Ah, so many! I love the over-the-top romanticism and emotional intensity of the Gothic novel, which speaks to my sensibilities. The irony is I’m an even-keeled person who hates confrontation and drama; clearly I take it out on the page.

Jane Eyre is perhaps my favorite novel—I think of it as a feminist ur-text actually. More recently, I adored Sarah Perry’s Melmoth, which I consider a masterpiece. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a huge Sarah Waters fan; her novel Fingersmith has one of the most perfect endings ever. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, I was addicted to Victoria Holt novels such as The Mistress of Mellyn as well as Daphne du Maurier.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Lost History of Dreams.

KW:  The book cover was created by Jarrod Taylor, the gifted designer behind the gorgeous covers of Go Set a Watchman, Beautiful Ruins, Hillbilly Elegy and other bestsellers. The Lost History of Dreams cover features a Victorian era photograph of a silhouetted woman wearing a Lover’s Eye pendant, which features as a plot point. The silhouetted woman represents Sida, Robert’s wife, who first appears in Lost History cloaked in shadows. Jarrod’s design is so evocative and mysterious, and definitely lets the reader know what sort of reading experience to expect.

Here’s a crazy story about the cover: Jarrod is also married to my literary agent, but it’s a complete coincidence he was hired to design The Lost History of Dreams. My agent was shocked when she discovered he’d been assigned my book. I only found out Jarrod was the designer after I was sent the design and said I loved it.

TQIn The Lost History of Dreams who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

KW:  Grace, the opportunistic maid, was the easiest to write. She was intended as comic relief to all the gothic goings on, and is rather blunt and flirty. Grace also offers a more modern sensibility, which stands in for the reader’s point of view. For example, when Robert first tells Grace he photographs corpses, she asks, “Why on earth would you do that?” In contrast, everyone else in my novel is rather matter of fact about post-mortem photography, which is how it would have been in 1850 England. As far as hardest character to write, that would be Robert’s wife Sida. You’ll need to read Lost History to find out why.

TQWhich question about The Lost History of Dreams do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

KW:  A question about the history of stained glass after the French Revolution. When I was researching Lost History, I was fascinated to learn there was a boom in stained glass production during that period because so many church windows had been destroyed during the Revolution. At one point all of Notre-Dame’s existing stained glass was replaced with clear glass, and the cathedral used for food storage. Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame helped revive interest in the cathedral and its eventual restoration.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Lost History of Dreams.

KW:  Here’s two favorite quotes:

“He’d said, ‘How can there be so much beauty in this world amid so much sorrow?’ The only solution was to create more beauty.”

“Their estrangement had happened as many do, wrought from good intentions and solidified by discomfort.”

TQWhat's next?

KW:  I’ll be on book tour for The Lost History of Dreams through the end of June—all of my events are listed here. In terms of writing, I’m currently revising a middle grade novel set in contemporary Brooklyn; I spilled out a speedy first draft during National Novel Writing Month after finishing Lost History. I also have two historical novels underway, one set in 1888 London and the second in the late 18th century. Both manuscripts are gothic-influenced. As for which novel will be published next, I have no idea—I suppose whichever is finished first!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

KW:  Thank you so much for having me. Loved your questions!

The Lost History of Dreams
Atria Books, April 9, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future, in this captivating debut novel in the gothic tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale.

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstead, a historian turned post-mortem photographer, is charged with a simple task: transport Hugh’s remains for burial in a chapel. This chapel, a stained glass folly set on the moors of Shropshire, was built by de Bonne sixteen years earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. Since then, the chapel has been locked and abandoned, a pilgrimage site for the rabid fans of de Bonne’s last book, The Lost History of Dreams.

However, Ada’s grief-stricken niece refuses to open the glass chapel for Robert unless he agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record Isabelle’s story of Ada and Hugh’s ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.

As the mystery of Ada and Hugh’s relationship unfolds, so does the secret behind Robert’s own marriage—including that of his fragile wife, Sida, who has not been the same since the tragic accident three years ago, and the origins of his own morbid profession that has him seeing things he shouldn’t—things from beyond the grave.

Kris Waldherr effortlessly spins a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.

About Kris

Photo © Robert Presutti
Kris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, and her fiction has been awarded with fellowships by the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts and a reading grant by Poets & Writers. Kris Waldherr works and lives in Brooklyn in a Victorian-era house with her husband, the anthropologist-curator Thomas Ross Miller, and their young daughter.

Website  ~  Twitter @kriswaldherr  ~  Facebook

Interview with Keith Thomas, Author of The Clarity

Please welcome Keith Thomas to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Clarity is published on February 20th by Atria/Leopoldo & Co.

Interview with Keith Thomas, Author of The Clarity

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

Keith:  Thanks for having me. The first piece of fiction I remember writing was a story I’d attempted in middle school, maybe 7th grade. I found an old typewriter and thought it would be really “authentic” to type it up old school. It was the opening chapter of a novel. I was really into obscure words at the time so I filled it with every bizarre and unnecessary adjective I could find. It was almost unreadable.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Keith:  I think most people would say I’m a plotter but I’d consider myself more a hybrid. For commercial and genre writing, I stand by my guns that plotting is crucial. I usually do some heavy plotting and research up front – the Clarity outline was about 50 pages – and then “pants” it when I’m writing the connective tissue and letting the characters determine, in a sense, their reactions and insights.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Keith:  Time. I never have enough of it. I write seven days a week, typically six to ten hours a day. And I’m usually working on 3-4 projects at once. There are the occasional days where I’ll have writer’s block but a good swim usually exorcises that.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing? How does writing for film and television affect (or not) your novel writing?

Keith:  Music is crucial to my process. I listen to music when I write – the more immersive, the better. I’m a sucker for subwoofer bass and having synesthesia helps.

I also read constantly. Voraciously. And what I read influences my work – sometimes directly, most of the time indirectly. A single sentence can trigger an avalanche of ideas but finding that sentence can be difficult.

Writing for film and TV directly affects my writing. Though both creative, they’re very different disciplines. People often tell me The Clarity reads like (or should be) a movie. We’ll see…

TQDescribe The Clarity in 140 characters or less.

Keith:  In The Clarity, a young girl, a psychologist, and a detective will risk their lives and dive into a dark conspiracy to discover the truth of past life memories.

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

Keith:  A lot of it is real. Like a lot. Character-wise, they’re mostly based on real people. Science and plot-wise, I did a ton of research. But I’ll talk more about that below.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Clarity?

Keith:  I’d wanted to write a book about memory and experimentation for a while. When my frequent collaborator Leopoldo Gout pitched me a concept about past lives, I saw a way to combine those ideas into a thriller.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Clarity?

Keith:  A lot of what went into The Clarity came from my previous career as a clinical researcher. I spent a number of years running clinical trials in nursing homes. There, I saw firsthand how memory defines us. I also read widely, and deeply, into the history of mind control experimentation and the chemical formation of memory. It got a bit technical but I’m a nerd for that.

TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Clarity.

While it doesn’t depict anything directly in the book, it’s more of an illustration of what’s going on thematically. The young woman on the cover is one of the protagonists, Ashanique, and the hands emerging from her head are the many past-life memories now flooding her brain. The experience, as you can see, can be overwhelming.

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

Keith:  The easiest character was Matilda, the psychologist. She’s an amalgam of people I know colored with my own academic work and experience. The most difficult was Rade, one of the novel’s antagonists. Getting into his head required going to some pretty dark, pretty frightening places.

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

Keith:  This quote comes from the middle of the book. For those who haven’t read it, the following passage might not mean much but it has a key connection to the story (no spoilers) and I was really happy with the chapter it is derived from:
The patriarch looks beyond the horizon. He imagines he sees many things in that gamboling haze—animals, people, faces of loved ones, faces of those who have died. A breeze rustles the leaves above his head. The branches sway. It brings a cool sensation that sweeps over the patriarch’s face and shoulders. He closes his eyes, one with the moment.

TQWhat's next?

Keith:  I’m hard at work on a new novel titled DISCLOSURE. Mum’s the word but it should hit shelves in the next year. I’ve also got two films in development. I wrote the scripts for both and plan to direct them. We’ll see which shakes out first.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Keith:  My pleasure. Thank you.

The Clarity
Atria/Leopoldo & Co., February 20, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

Interview with Keith Thomas, Author of The Clarity
For fans of Black Mirror and True Detective, a visceral high‑concept thriller about a psychologist who must protect the life of an eleven-year-old girl whose ability to remember past lives makes them both targets of a merciless killer.

Dr. Matilda Deacon is a psychologist researching how memories are made and stored when she meets a strange eleven-year-old girl named Ashanique. Ashanique claims to harbor the memories of the last soldier killed in World War I and Matilda is at first very interested but skeptical. However, when Ashanique starts talking about being chased by the Night Doctors—a term also used by an unstable patient who was later found dead—Matilda can’t deny that the girl might be telling the truth.

Matilda learns that Ashanique and her mother have been on the run their whole lives from a monstrous assassin named Rade. Rade is after a secret contained solely in memories and has left a bloody trail throughout the world in search of it. Matilda soon realizes Ashanique is in unimaginable danger and that her unique ability comes with a deadly price.

Fast-paced, suspenseful, and a chilling blend of science and danger, The Clarity is a compelling take on the possibilities of reincarnation and life after death.

About Keith

Keith Thomas worked as a lead clinical researcher at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and National Jewish Health before writing for film and television. He has developed projects for studios and production companies and collaborated with writers like James Patterson and filmmakers like Paul Haggis. He lives in Denver and works in Los Angeles.

Website  ~  Goodreads

Review - I Found You by Lisa Jewell

I Found You
Author:  Lisa Jewell
Publisher:  Atria Books, April 25, 2017
Format:   Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  US$26.00 (print); US$12.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781501154591 (print); 9781501154614 (eBook)

Review - I Found You by Lisa Jewell
"Jewell is a wonderful storyteller. Her characters are believable, her writing is strong and poetic, and her narrative is infused with just enough intrigue to keep the pages turning. Readers of Liane Moriarty, Paula Hawkins, and Ruth Ware will love." —Library Journal (starred review)

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Deb's Review

Alice Lake is an open book. A self-described badger-haired housewife with a bit of a spare tire, Alice is a single woman living a chaotic life with three children and three dogs in a cottage by the sea in the fictional Ridinghouse Bay on the East Yorkshire coast of England. Gazing out over the water from her bedroom window on a rainy day, she sees a lone man sitting on her beach. Hours later he's still there, so she offers him a coat and he tells her that he doesn't know where he is or who he is. As an extrovert who leads with her heart, she is deeply touched by how alone he seems. Alice would be the first to tell you that her decision making skills are poor and, not knowing if he's truly a lost soul or a murderer on holiday, she recklessly decides to take him in.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell falls within the very active women’s fiction/suspense genre. The story of Alice and her amnesiac houseguest, whom she begins to call Frank, is interleaved with stories from two other points of view. Just outside of London, Lily Monrose, a young transplant from Kiev, reports her husband missing when he doesn't come home from work one day after three weeks of wedded bliss. Lily is stunned to learn that the man she married was using a fake passport and that “Carl Monrose” does not exist. A third perspective set in Ridinghouse Bay in 1993 follows the summer holiday of the Ross family, including eighteen year old POV character Gray, his fifteen year old sister Kirsty, and the wealthy, handsome nineteen year old neighbor Mark Tate, who takes a very quick and troubling shine to Kirsty.

From the varying third person points of view, we follow Alice, Lily and Gray to the place where all stories converge. I Found You is primarily Alice’s story, and it was the desire to know her fate that reeled me in. The pace is slow but not laborious, with plenty of opportunity to collect clue fragments from the independent stories and try to assemble them into one cohesive tableau. Some of the puzzle pieces may not seem a perfect fit, and the resulting picture may require some suspension of disbelief once the ending becomes clear. There were some twists to the story, and even though there are only a few sensible outcomes, Jewell did a fine job playing out the stories across dueling timelines to keep the reader guessing for as long as possible.

Alice is a compelling protagonist with lovely shadings of human weakness and fallibility. She’s a caring mother who suffers withering looks from faculty at her young daughter’s school based on appearances and half-truths. Her impulsive, free-spirited style mixed with a tender and nurturing disposition does make her risky decision to shelter “Frank” feel plausible. All we can do is hope that it won't be the last bad decision she makes for herself and her children.

Jewell has crafted Lily with a much lighter touch, which suits the character and her situation. Lily is only twenty-one, living in a country that she doesn't know, and can’t understand how she could have been so wrong about the man she loves. She's defensive and scared and has no local support system. The two women are at much different places in their lives and the contrast in their coping skills is distinct. I enjoyed this night and day aspect of their separate stories as they slowly unspooled in tandem.

The segments told from Gray’s point of view are important to the overall story, but sometimes lacked in immediacy, perhaps because of Gray’s age and the fact that his story happens in the past.

I Found You is an engaging read with a solid central mystery, well-defined characters, and an ending that ties off all lingering questions about the final fates assigned to Alice, Lily, and Gray. I'd recommend the book to those who enjoy clever suspense and true-to-life characters. Well worth your time.

Interview with Jess Kidd, author of Himself

Please welcome Jess Kidd to The Qwillery as part of the 2017 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Himself is published on March 14th by Atria Books.

Interview with Jess Kidd, author of Himself

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

Jess:  I’ve always written, ever since I can remember. At the beginning there were mostly stories about animals, or plays for my friends to star in. My older sisters were avid readers and they let me have access to all their books, even their trashy romance novels. So I blame them for my skewed idea of relationships growing up! I’ve always known that I wanted to write. Being raised in a family of great storytellers meant that I had no end of material to inspire me. Being shy, I preferred to tell my stories to a page.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Jess:  I’m a hybrid. I plot, but not meticulously, just to have some kind of a route map to reassure myself that there’s a beginning, middle and an end! Sometimes I have no idea where I’m heading until I stop, read what I’ve written, and realise I’ve been off on a meander. I’ve learnt to welcome these deviations because some of my favorite writing was unplotted and unplanned.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jess:  It used to be getting the time to write, as a working single mum it was always a challenge to find the space and energy to keep writing. I was a college dropout, returning to education after some years away. I was lucky enough to receive a bursary to study but I still needed to hold down a job to support my family. So I’d fit my writing around childcare, work and study. My greatest challenge at the moment is to have the confidence to keep trying new and different ways of writing and to keep developing as an author. Writing, for me, is often a leap into the unknown, so I have to trust that I’m leaping in the right direction.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Jess:  I find people an endless source of inspiration. I like nothing better than to strike up a conversation with random strangers. People come with a wealth of incredible stories and some people want nothing more than to tell them. I like travelling alone for this reason as I find people are often apt to chat to the loner in the corner! Poetry greatly influences my writing. I read poetry rather than fiction when I’m writing new material. This helps me stay focussed on the rhythm and imagery and making strong word choices, which for me is very important. I also enjoy reading play texts. Himself was greatly influenced by Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas and The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge. I love the way that the language in these plays builds vivid pictures of life in eccentric small towns. I have also been hugely influenced by the work of Angela Carter, Charles Dickens, George Saunders, Flann O’Brien, Toni Morrison and William Kennedy – to name a few!

TQDescribe Himself in 140 characters or less.

Jess:  A rollicking, Irish, genre-bending, tale of a hero’s return to the village of his birth to unravel the disappearance of his teenage mother.

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

Jess:  One of the things I really enjoyed exploring in Himself was my love of theater and fascination with performance. Mrs Cauley is a retired actor and Mahony takes the lead in her village play – a ruse to further the investigation. Mrs Cauley was a one-time grand dame of The Abbey Theatre in Dublin and muse to a few great writers. A famous literary ghost haunts Mrs Cauley – the clues are there for a game of ‘guess the spectre.’

TQWhat inspired you to write Himself? What appealed to you about writing a genre bending novel that your publisher describes as "a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor"?

Jess:  The town appeared first in a short story and I found it such a dark, twisted, compelling place that I knew I wanted to return and explore it. Writing a novel set in Mulderrig gave me the space to do that. I loved the idea of mixing elements but the selection of each was really driven by whatever I needed to tell the most compelling story I could. Ultimately I hoped my genre-bending would give a thrilling, unpredictable ride for the reader – as a reader I like to be surprised – I love narrative sleight of hand – and that feeling the rug has been pulled out from under me!

TQWhat sort of research did you do for Himself?

Jess:  The main action of the novel is set in 1976, which is when my memories of Ireland began, so a lot of my early recollections have found their way into the book. Orla’s (Mahony’s mother) story plays out between the mid-1940s and 1950. Research for this earlier era was based on personal, oral accounts of people who had lived in Mayo at the time, along with photographs and reading around the period in general.

TQIs Mulderrig based on an existing village?

Jess:  Mulderrig is a fictional setting, it’s a patchwork of the villages I’ve known and visited. I wanted to make it so that everyone could relate to this community – it may be very specifically Irish but I think anyone knowing, or having lived in, a small town can relate to this place. There are gritty issues at play but Mulderrig is a heightened, even nostalgic, location. I was very struck by Under Milk Wood as a child, my father used to play the Richard Burton recording often. In some ways Mulderrig is my Irish Llareggub, with the bay and the pump and the cast of eccentric, garrulous characters living in a remote coastal town. When introducing a supernatural element it helps if the town is already a little odd and otherworldly.

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

Jess:  The easiest character to write was Mrs Cauley. She appeared fully-formed and started heckling me from a very early stage. I would make up endless dialogue between her and Mahony and sit and laugh at it. I’ve missed writing her and still have her voice in my head badgering me. So much so that I would love to revisit her and write a novel based on her past (her journey from immigrant to grand dame of the Irish stage, to her flight to ‘the back end of beyond’ and exile there). It would be great to discover exactly what made Mrs Cauley, Mrs Cauley, especially as she would have lived through some fascinating periods of Irish history.

The hardest character to write was the little dead girl, Ida, because her story is so sad. For all her supernatural precociousness, she’s just a lonely, lost girl and the way she reaches out to Mahony is really affecting.

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

Jess:  Orla’s story, about illegitimate pregnancy in rural Ireland in the 1950s, was one I wanted to explore. It was based in part on stories told to me by people who had lived in Ireland at this time. As a single mother Orla’s story had huge resonance with me and sparked a series of ‘what if’ questions. What if you refused to be sent away to have your baby? What if you refused to marry? Orla is a troublemaker not because she has slipped up, but because she demands agency over her own life and the freedom to make her own choices. Orla asks to be treated fairly and be granted rights and respect as a woman and as a mother.

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

Jess:  In Mulderrig the supernatural seems to erupt in strange ways, from a holy well in the parochial library to a predictive storm. Why is this, and what does it lend to your portrayal of the town?

Apart from the ever-present dead that haunt the village, I wanted to give a sense of the supernatural erupting out of the place itself. Very few of the characters can see the dead but all of the villagers can witness the strange events that seem to surround Mahony’s return to town. Many of these happenings are linked to the land and have a mythical or folkloric feel to them. There’s a biblical storm, plagues of swarming creatures and wells that spring up in the middle of the priest’s hearthrug. I wanted all of these occurrences to feel natural and part of the internal logic of the book. In some way they act as a kind of social corrective, drawing the attention of the townsfolk to the fact that all is not well. For me, these supernatural flare-ups are the result of the pressure-cooker climate of a town full of dark secrets, a place where collusion is as natural as rain. In many ways the supernatural incidents mark the town’s rising guilt and fear caused by Mahony’s return. Throughout the book there are tales of people being ‘punished’ for not believing in the supernatural, or failing to keep an open mind. In a way the supernatural feels like a great leveller.

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

Jess:  So hard to pick!

The dead are drawn to the confused and the unwritten, the damaged and the fractured, to those with big cracks and gaps in their tales, which the dead just yearn to fill.

Classic Mrs Cauley (to the sly priest Father Quinn):
“As much as I revel in your visits let’s make this snappy, I’ve a Dubonnet and a bed bath on the agenda this afternoon.”

Bridget Doosey (one of my favorite characters) on Mahony:
“He’s a Dublin orphan, which means that he could survive on an iceberg in just his socks.”

TQWhat's next?

Jess:  I’m currently working on my second novel THE HOARDER, which is a contemporary crime novel set in London but with Irish protagonists. This has been immense fun to write, it has a funny and flawed protagonist with a startling story – and I continue to genre-bend a little! I am also working on my first collection of short stories.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Jess:  Thank you so much for asking. I’ve loved answering these questions!

Atria Books, March 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Jess Kidd, author of Himself
“A highly unusual tale set in a highly unusual Irish village full of dark secrets…Lushly imagined, delightfully original, and very, very funny, it hurtles along from the very first page” (M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans).

Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother’s disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago.

From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony’s presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir among the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men), and suspicion (the pious).

Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. This improbable duo concocts an ingenious plan to get the town talking about the day Mahony's mother disappeared and are aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead.

Himself is a simmering mixture—a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor. The result is a darkly comic crime story in the tradition of a classic Irish trickster tale, complete with a twisting and turning plot, a small-town rife with secrets, and an infectious love of language and storytelling that is a hallmark of the finest Irish writers.

About Jess

Interview with Jess Kidd, author of Himself
Photo by Travis McBride
Jess Kidd has a PhD in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s University. She grew up as a part of a large family from Mayo and now lives in London with her daughter. Himself is her first novel. She is currently at work on a second novel and a collection of short stories.


Twitter @jesskiddherself

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas

Today marks the publication of the Three Queens in Erin, the 4th and final novel in the Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas. Douglas was featured in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge for his debut novel - Something Red.

Sadly Douglas passed away nearly a year ago. He was a remarkable writer of both poetry and prose. There is a deep beauty to his writing - exciting and melodic at the same time. His Something Red novels (and one short story) are gorgeous, lush and deeply engaging.

I've not yet read Three Queens in Erin (it showed up on my eReader early this morning). I am hesitant to read it because this will be the last time I read a novel by Douglas Nicholas for the first time; the last time I can immerse myself in a new part of his Something Red world. In lieu of a review of Three Queens in Erin (which I will write) here is information for all of the novels and my review of Throne of Darkness (Something Red 3).

You may read my interviews with Douglas here, here and here.

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas

Three Queens in Erin
Something Red 4
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 7, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Maeve and her family - her granddaughter, Nemain; Nemain's husband, Hob; their six-year-old daughter, Macha Redmane; and Maeve's lover, Jack Brown - have decided it is time to return to Ireland and reclaim her tribal lands. Journeying over the sea, the family finally learns the secrets behind their long exile: a clan of Viking/Scots known as the Norse Gaels slayed the chief warrior and leaders of Maeve's clan through cunning black magic. But in returning to Ireland, Maeve and her family must face the three leaders of the Norse Gaels. These three queens, dark version of Celtic goddesses, are evil sisters whose abilities rival Maeve's own formidable powers...

When a monster is unleashed upon the countryside, Maeve and Nemain must create a beast of their own, at a cost of great sorcerous effort to themselves, With Nicholas' signature blend of historical adventure and supernatural fantasy, Three Queens in Erin is a rich addition to his critically acclaimed series.


Something Red
Something Red 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, June 18, 2013
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 18, 2012

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
From debut novelist Douglas Nicholas comes a haunting fantasy of love, murder, and sorcery set in one of the coldest winters of thirteenth-century England.

In an intoxicating blend of fantasy and horror, acclaimed debut novel Something Red transports you to the harsh, unforgiving world of thirteenth-century England. An evil and age-old force stalks the countryside—who dares confront it?

The Demon
An eShort Story
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 18, 2014
eBook, 32 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Mixing history, fantasy, and legend, The Demon is an exclusive e-short story from acclaimed novelist Douglas Nicholas, perfect for fans of Game of Thrones.

In England’s wild North Country, the men of Blanchefontaine, led by the castellan Sir Balthasar, must hunt an unearthly creature that stalks the nearby woods. But all is not as it seems…

Note that The Demon is free!

The Wicked
Something Red 2
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 25, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
The mesmerizing and highly anticipated sequel to Something Red transports readers to the harsh and enchanting world of thirteenth-century England, where a group of unlikely heroes battles an ancient evil.

A thrilling and intoxicating journey to a land of legend, where nothing is quite as it seems. . . .

Something evil has come to reside in a castle by the chill waters of the North Sea: men disappear and are found as horribly wizened corpses, knights ride out and return under an enchantment that dulls their minds. Both the townspeople and the court under Sir Odinell’s protection live in fear, terrorized by forces beyond human understanding. But rumors of a wise woman blessed with mysterious powers also swirl about the land. The call goes forth, and so it comes to be that young apprentice Hob and his adopted family—exiled Irish queen Molly, her granddaughter Nemain, and warrior Jack Brown—are pitted against a malevolent nobleman and his beautiful, wicked wife.

Richly set in the inns, courts, and countryside of thirteenth-century northwest England, The Wicked is a darkly spun masterpiece that will leave fans of epic fantasy thirsty for more.

Throne of Darkness
Something Red 3
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, March 31, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, this novel from acclaimed author Douglas Nicholas continues the gripping dark fantasy series that Kirkus Reviews describes as “a more profound Harry Potter for adults.”

It’s 1215 in northwest England—the eve of the signing of the Magna Carta—and mystical Irish queen Maeve and her unlikely band of warriors must protect the region from a chilling fate. Word of a threat reaches the Northern barons: King John has plotted to import an African sorcerer and his sinister clan of blacksmiths, whose unearthly powers may spell destruction for the entire kingdom. Along with her lover, Jack, her gifted niece, Nemain, and Nemain’s newlywed husband, Hob (whose hidden talents will soon be revealed), Maeve must overcome a supernatural threat unlike any she’s seen before.

With his characteristic blend of historical adventure and intoxicating mythological elements, Nicholas once again “goes for the throat…with brilliant writing and whip-smart plotting” (New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry). This is a richly woven tale that will leave you hungry for more.

Qwill's Thoughts

In Throne of Darkness Douglas Nicholas returns to the world of Molly, Nemain, Jack and Hob that he introduced us to in Something Red and continued in The Wicked. In Throne of Darkness King John I of England (of Magna Carta fame) is building a sinister army to defeat the Barons. Molly (Queen Maeve) is approached to counter King John's plans. She's not really asked this time but is coerced into her greatest challenge yet.

Molly and Nemain are Queens of clans from Ireland. Molly is in England building allies and biding her time until she can return to Ireland and she and Nemain can reclaim their thrones. And build allies she does. Throughout the 3 novels, Molly's and her group's adventures have been genuinely riveting and entertaining.

Molly is the leader. She is easy to love and admire. She's regal, intelligent, kind and a formidable practitioner of the (supernatural) Arts. She is also not someone to trifle with. Nemain is her granddaughter. I've watched Nemain grow up during the series. She is fierce, a skilled fighter and also a practitioner of the Arts she learned from Molly. Jack Brown is a former mercenary with a secret. He came to Molly for help and has never left. He is a huge man, skilled at war, but is also a gentle and kind soul. You do not, however, want to be on the wrong end of his battle axe. And Hob, now Nemain’s husband - I've also watched him grow up throughout the novels. In some ways Throne of Darkness is more his story. I finally understood Hob's potential and future in Throne of Darkness. He's become a brilliant fighter throughout the series. Hob is in for some big changes, some of which left me quite emotional.

Douglas Nicholas' writing is lyrical and elegant. He places you deeply into the era he is writing about. You can see the sunlight flickering through the trees and the dust lift off the road as the wagons go by. You can feel the joys and sorrows of the people. You can practically taste the food.

Nicholas imbues his Something Red series with the supernatural, which is really superbly done. He  is a master of placing his story and characters within the context of real events and making you believe in them, care about them and root for them.

Throne of Darkness is a wonderful novel, full of history, thrills, the supernatural, and deeply engaging characters. I absolutely love this series and highly recommend that you read each book in order.

Note: Nicholas provides a pronunciation guide, a Glossary of Irish Terms and a Glossary of Archaisms and Dialect Terms.

About Douglas

The Something Red Quadrilogy by Douglas Nicholas
Photograph by Kelly Merchant
Douglas Nicholas was an award-winning poet, whose work has appeared in numerous poetry journals, and the author of six previous books, including The Wicked Something Red and Iron Rose, a collection of poems inspired by New York City.He is survived by his wife, Theresa, and Yorkshire terrier, Tristan.



Twitter @DouglasScribes

Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching

Please welcome Ezekiel Boone to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Hatching was published on July 5th by Atria/Emily Bestler Book.

Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching

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

Ezekiel:  I started writing seriously about ten years ago. Before that, I wanted to be a writer, but I hadn’t yet realized that meant I actually had to work at writing. I was a stay-at-home dad, so writing time was hard to come by. We invested in a babysitter to come by for two hours, twice a week. Back then, the fifty dollars a week we paid for those four hours felt like a lot of money, and I didn’t want to waste it. Like a lot of writers, I started because I was a serious reader. Always have been. I don’t care what the genre is, good writing is good writing, and the best books feel like a sort of magic. I guess I was hoping I could capture some of that.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Ezekiel:  I’m a hybrid. Depends on the book and the project. With The Hatching, particularly since it’s the first book in a series, I’ve been planning out more and more before I start writing. It’s easier to keep the reader in suspense if I know what’s coming next. That being said, there’s a certain freedom to leaving yourself some discovery as a writer. Sometimes you think you are going one way, but if you’re open to change, your writing can lead you somewhere even better.

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Ezekiel:  The most challenging thing is remembering to treat something that is an incredible privilege like the job that it is. Some days I roll out of bed and can’t wait to get to the computer, and other days there are distractions. But the days I can force myself past the distractions — errands to run, friends who want to meet for lunch, the internet — end up being the best writing days. It’s easier now, because writing is my job, but it was harder when I first started.

TQ What has influenced / influences your writing?

Ezekiel:  My kids. The way they can get lost in a book is inspiring, and I’m trying to recreate that feeling for my readers. More than anything, I want these books to be fun. Sure, The Hatching is scary, but only scary enough that you’re afraid to put it down. I wanted the book to be a kind of thrill ride that makes you remember that reading is supposed to be a joy.

TQDescribe The Hatching in 140 characters or less.

EzekielThe Hatching is Jurassic Park meets World War Z. It’s as if Stephen King and James Patterson had a baby and that baby was a swarm of spiders that ate everything in its path.

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

Ezekiel:  Well, I know that in advanced reading copies, we didn’t indicate that The Hatching was the first book in a series, and I think that took some people by surprise. But that’s not a very fun answer. How about this: for a scary book, there’s really a decent amount of humor.

TQWhat inspired you to write The Hatching? What appeals to you about writing Horror?

Ezekiel:  I didn’t want to write the book at first. It’s about an ancient form of spiders that hatch in a meat-munching frenzy, and I’m absolutely terrified of spiders. I had the idea and set it aside, but then I started having crazy nightmares about spiders. I figured the best thing to do was write it to get it out of my system. As for horror, I think the appeal is that we live in a world and a time when real life can be truly frightening, but scary books give readers a safe place to be afraid. Plus, it’s fun.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Hatching? Why spiders?

The spiders in The Hatching are fictional, but I tried to keep them grounded in fact. My editor had a question about the eggs hatching after such a long period of stasis, and I was able to point her to a university professor who’s hatching eggs that have been in wait for seven hundred years. It’s a bit like Michael Crichton: fiction grounded in fact. As for why spiders, the answer’s easy: there’s a reason we’re afraid of spiders.

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

Ezekiel:  Tough question. The Hatching has a big cast, and I loved all of them. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t have made it past revision. But easiest? How about the spiders? Just kidding. I think the answer that is probably agent Mike Rich. He would have done well in a stand-alone crime thriller, and it was fun to see him instead dealing with spiders. The hardest was the trio of Scottish characters. The character part wasn’t hard, but their connection to the story may not be as obvious as some of the other threads.

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


Q: Do you have any interest in doing a photo shoot with spiders crawling all over you?
A: Hell, no!

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


1) As it got closer, Miguel took another step back, but by the time he realized that it wasn't actually a river, that it was not water of any kind, it was too late.

2) “You were right,” Julie said.
“Of course I was right,” Melanie said. “About what?”

TQWhat's next?

Ezekiel:  Book two, Skitter, comes out in 2017, but I also just finished a new book that I’m hoping to be able to talk about soon. No spiders, but some good scares.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ezekiel:  Thank you for having me. Now go read The Hatching!

The Hatching
The Hatching Series 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Book, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching
“An apocalyptic extravaganza of doom and heroism…addictive.” —Publishers Weekly

“It’s been too long since someone reminded us that spiders are not just to be feared, but also may well spell doom for mankind. Fortunately, Ezekiel Boone has upped the ante on arachnophobia. This is a fresh take on classic horror, thoroughly enjoyable and guaranteed to leave your skin crawling.” —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march.

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.

About Ezekiel

Interview with Ezekiel Boone, author of The Hatching
Photograph by Laurie Willick
Ezekiel Boone lives in upstate New York with his wife and children.

Website  ~  Twitter @ezekiel_boone

Facebook  ~  Instagram

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

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

Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching
The Hatching Series 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Book, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone
“An apocalyptic extravaganza of doom and heroism…addictive.” —Publishers Weekly

“It’s been too long since someone reminded us that spiders are not just to be feared, but also may well spell doom for mankind. Fortunately, Ezekiel Boone has upped the ante on arachnophobia. This is a fresh take on classic horror, thoroughly enjoyable and guaranteed to leave your skin crawling.” —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march.

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.

The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo - Excerpt

The Qwillery is thrilled to share with you an excerpt from the international bestseller The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo.

The Invisible Guardian
Baztan Trilogy 1
Atria Books, March 8, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo - Excerpt
Shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger 2015
Best Spanish Crime Novel of the Year, 2013 by major Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia
Top 10 Crime Novels of the Summer by Le Figaro Magazine, France
“Pluma de plata” (Silver Quill) 2014 by the Basque Booksellers Association
Best Novel of 2013—Creatio Social Media
Best Spanish Novel of the Year, 2013—“Continuarà” TVE Cultural Programme

Already a #1 international bestseller, this tautly written and gripping psychological thriller forces a police inspector to reluctantly return to her hometown in Basque Country—a place engulfed in mythology and superstition—to solve a series of eerie murders.

When the naked body of a teenage girl is found on a riverbank in Basque Country, Spain, homicide inspector Amaia Salazar must return to the hometown she always sought to escape. A dark secret from Amaia’s past plagues her with nightmares, and as her investigation deepens, the old pagan beliefs of the community threaten to derail her astute detective work. The lines between mythology and reality begin to blur, and Amaia must discover whether the crimes are the work of a ritualistic killer or of a mythical creature known as the Basajaun, the Invisible Guardian.

Torn between the rational procedures of her job and the local superstitions of a region shaped by the Spanish Inquisition, Amaia fights against the demons of her past in order to track down a killer on the run.

      Amaia looked at them in silence without replying. It was an in-
timidation tactic that almost never failed, and it worked this time
too. The ranger who had stayed leaning against the Land Rover stood
up and took a step forward.
      “Ma’am. We’ll do everything we can to help. The bear expert from
Huesca arrived an hour ago, he’s parked a bit farther down,” he said,
indicating a bend in the road. “If you’ll come with us, we’ll show you
where they’re working.”
      “Good, and you can call me ‘Inspector.’ ”
      The path became narrower as they went into the wood, opening
out again in small clearings where the grass grew green and fine like
a beautiful garden lawn. In other areas the wood formed a sheltered,
sumptuous, and almost warm maze, an impression reinforced by the
endless carpet of pine needles and leaves that stretched before them.
The water hadn’t penetrated as far into that level, scrubby area as it
had done on the slopes, and great dry, springy patches of windblown
leaves crowded around the bases of the trees as if forming natural
beds for the forest-dwelling lamias. Amaia smiled as she remembered
the legends Aunt Engrasi had told her as a child. In the middle
of the forest it didn’t seem so far-fetched to accept the existence of
the magical creatures that shaped the past of the people of the region.
All forests are powerful, some are frightening by dint of being deep
or mysterious, others because they are dark and sinister. The Baztán
forest is enchanting, with a serene, ancient beauty that effortlessly
brings out people’s most human side, the most childlike part of them,
which believes in the fantastical fairies with their webbed ducks’ feet
that used to live in the forest. These fairies would sleep all day and
come out at nightfall and comb their long blond hair. A lamia would
give her golden comb to any man who was sufficiently seduced by
her beauty to spend the night with her in spite of her ducklike feet,
thus granting him his heart’s desire.
      Amaia felt the presence of such beings in that forest so tangibly
that it seemed easy to believe in a druid culture, the power of trees
over men, and to imagine a time when the communion between
magical beings and humans was a religion throughout the valley.
      “Here they are, the Ghostbusters,” said Gorria, not without a hint
of sarcasm.
      The expert from Huesca and his assistant were wearing garish
orange overalls and were each carrying a silver-colored briefcase
similar to the ones used by forensics officers. When Amaia and
Jonan reached them, they seemed absorbed in observing the trunk
of a beech tree.
      “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Inspector,” said the man, holding
out his hand. “I’m Raúl González and this is Nadia Takchenko. If
you’re wondering why we’re wearing these clothes, it’s because of the
poachers. Nothing appeals to those riffraff like the rumor that there’s
a bear in the area, and you’ll see them popping out from all kinds of
places, even under rocks, and that’s no joke. The big macho Spaniard
sets out to catch a bear, and he’s so terrified that the bear might catch
him first that he’ll shoot at anything that moves . . . It wouldn’t be the
first time they’ve shot at us thinking we were bears, hence the orange
overalls. You can see them two kilometers away. In the Russian forests
everybody wears them.”
      “What have you got to tell me? Habemus bear or not?” asked
      “Dr. Takchenko and I believe it would be too precipitate to confirm
or refute something like that at this stage, Inspector.”
      “But you can at least tell me whether you’ve come across any sign,
any clue . . .”
      “We could say yes, we’ve undoubtedly come across traces that
indicate the presence of large animals, but nothing conclusive. In
any case, we’ve only just arrived. We’ve barely had time to inspect the
area and the light is almost gone,” he said, looking at the sky.
      “Tomorrow at dawn we will get down to work, is that how you say
it?” asked Dr. Takchenko in strongly accented Spanish. “The sample
you sent us is certainly from a plantigrade. It would be very interesting
to have a second sample.”
      Amaia decided it was best not to mention that the sample had
been found on a corpse.
      “You’ll have further samples tomorrow,” said Jonan.

Excerpt from The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo. Copyright © 2012 by Dolores Redondo English-language translation copyright © 2013 by Izzie Kaufeler. Used with permission.

Interview with Catherine Chanter, author of The Well - May 21, 2015

Please welcome Catherine Chanter to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews.  The Well was published on May 19th by Atria Books.

Interview with Catherine Chanter, author of The Well - May 21, 2015

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

Catherine:  I started keeping a diary when I was very young and kept going until having three children meant I was so tired at night, I could never stay awake. Looking back at the teenage entries now, I can’t pretend they are of great literary merit, but I have always kept writing, mostly poetry and some short stories. As to why, who knows? I recently made contact with my birth mother for the first time, only to discover that she too is a poet, so maybe it is in the genes.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Catherine:  Pants, every time, although writing The Well made me wonder who was wearing the pants! Ruth, the narrator, was a very strong voice in my head from the beginning and at times she took the story in directions I had not consciously thought of.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Catherine:  Staying off the internet. I write on a laptop and have a terrible habit of flicking between sites whenever the going gets tough. For that reason, I now tend to choose places to write where I have no internet connection.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Catherine:  I think poets have probably had a stronger influence on me than writers of fiction. T S Eliot, Yeats, Heaney, Houseman and so many more. Having said that, novels such as Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro and Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver have been very interesting for me in the way they combine psychological realism with extra-ordinary situations. Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger and John Banville’s The Untouchables were influential in terms of narrative structure.

TQ:  Describe The Well in 140 characters or less.

Catherine:  In a time of drought, a couple purchase their dream farm only to find that it rains, but only their land. What happens when you have what everyone else needs? And does that make Ruth a witch, a murderer or a saint?

TQ:  Tell us something about The Well that is not in the book description.

Catherine:  For me, every time a reader engages with the book, they make the story their own, so it is what readers say that fascinate me, for instance: ‘it is a book not about what happens if there is no rain, but what happens when you have all the rain, which is different.’ That is a great angle.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Well? Into which genre classifications does The Well fit?

Catherine:  Two disparate thoughts came together; I often think that is how creativity works. The first came as a result of research I was doing for a series of poems. I was studying paintings through the ages which depicted The Annunciation and I wondered, what would it be like to be a ‘chosen one’ nowadays? The second question arose from spending time in an isolated cottage where the water came from a well. By UK standards it was a very dry summer and I began to ask what it would be like in a rain-soaked country like England, if it all started to dry up.

As for genre, I think this is a difficult question. There are elements of dystopic and apocalyptic fiction and in that the novel asks questions about faith and religion, there is, perhaps, a supernatural element. I suppose the all-embracing genre would be literary fiction/suspense, but I know that is a pretty big umbrella.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Well?

Catherine:  I researched women who chose to become nuns, both now and historically, including the writings of the mediaeval mystics in Europe such as Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich. These early female writers exemplify the thin lines between religious devotion, sexual ecstasy and madness, grey areas which fascinate me: one century’s saint is another century’s psychotic in need of medication. I also explored the world of online worship.

Then of course, there was research in drought conditions for which I drew upon real examples such as California, but also Government papers modeling possible scenarios in the UK.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Catherine:  Ruth, the protagonist was probably both the easiest and the hardest. I was able to write in her voice fluently and quickly, but she was unreliable in more ways than one! Writing Sister Amelia was great fun, in a dark sort of way, whereas I found real solace in the character of Hugh, the visiting priest.

TQ:  Which question about The Well do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Catherine:  I wish they’d ask more about the rural tradition in which I hope this novel sits. I think that the rural setting has recently been overlooked in favour of urban fiction. The arrival of the internet has meant that rural stories can have all the claustrophia, tension and beauty of Thomas Hardy’s novels, whilst being connected to the whole world beyond in one click on a keyboard.

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Well.

Catherine:  One of them is when Ruth and Mark first go to view The Well, which is a breathtakingly idyllic smallholding.

“The track ahead of us was a dotted line awaiting our signature…..We signed up the moment we stepped out of the car, but we did not know what for.”

TQ:  What's next?

Catherine:  I have given up the day job – as Head of Education in an adolescent in-patient psychiatric ward – but find myself missing it, so I am slowly finding ways of continuing my work with children whilst making the most of having more time to write. The next novel is finished, in as much as a I’ve got to the end, but if I’ve learned anything from writing The Well, it’s that this is where the real work starts.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The Well
Atria Books, May 19, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with Catherine Chanter, author of The Well - May 21, 2015
From the winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, a brilliantly haunting and suspenseful debut set in modern-day Britain where water is running out everywhere except at The Well—the farm of one seemingly ordinary family whose mysterious good fortune leads to suspicion, chaos, and ultimately a shocking act of violence.

Ruth Ardingly has just been released from prison to serve out a sentence of house arrest for arson and suspected murder at her farm, The Well. Beyond its borders, some people whisper she is a witch; others a messiah. For as soon as Ruth returns to The Well, rain begins to fall on the farm. And it has not rained anywhere else in the country in over three years.

Ruth and her husband Mark had moved years before from London to this ancient idyll in the hopes of starting their lives over. But then the drought began, and as the surrounding land dried up and died, and The Well grew lush and full of life, they came to see their fortune would come at a price. From the envy of their neighbors to the mandates of the government, from the fanaticism of a religious order called the Sisters of the Rose to the everyday difficulties of staying close as husband and wife, mother and child—all these forces led to a horrifying crime: the death of their seven-year-old grandson, drowned with cruel irony in one of the few ponds left in the countryside.

Now back at The Well, Ruth must piece together the tragedy that shattered her marriage, her family, and her dream. For she believes her grandson’s death was no accident, and that the murderer is among the people she trusted most. Alone except for her guards on a tiny green jewel in a world rapidly turning to dust, Ruth begins to confront her worst fears and learns what really happened in the dark heart of The Well.

A tour de force about ordinary people caught in the tide of an extraordinary situation, Catherine Chanter’s The Well is a haunting, beautifully written, and utterly believable novel that probes the fragility of our personal relationships and the mystical connection between people and the places they call home.

Read Deb's review of The Well here.

About Catherine

Interview with Catherine Chanter, author of The Well - May 21, 2015
© Gaby Gerster/laif/Redux
Catherine Chanter is a teacher, poet, and short story writer. She is the winner of the Yeovil Poetry Prize and the Lucy Cavendish Prize awarded by Cambridge University. She grew up in the West Country before attending Oxford. The Well is her first novel.

Website  ~  Twitter @ChanterLloyd

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