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Interview with Camille Griep


Please welcome Camille Griep to The Qwillery!



Interview with Camille Griep




TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your newest novel, New Charity Blues, was published on April 12th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote Letters to Zell to New Charity Blues?

Camille:  While my writing process hasn’t changed much from my first effort, New Charity Blues led me to two realizations:

The first is that I don’t need as many eyes on a project as I once did. Sometimes, too much feedback can leave a writer swimming in decisions. Everyone brings different motivations to a manuscript, and I feel like I’m better equipped to use and discard portions of critiques that steer my own ideas into a different place. So this time, I had a few trusted eyes instead of shoving paper into the hands of anyone who showed a lick of interest.

More importantly, I’ve learned the value of taking the time to think before I make critical decisions. When I’m at a crossroads in a project, taking the time to daydream and brainstorm is just as important as the writing itself, though I don’t think we as writers – as humans, really – allow ourselves the latitude, time, and space to really think through the hook, the POV, the settings, the internal and external tensions and how to balance them before we dive in. I feel like I’m getting a lot better at that thought process prior to writing. Doing so makes the process of drafting, for me, invaluably more efficient.



TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when Letters to Zell came out that you know now?

Camille:  Everyone from my agent to my Publisher was absolutely amazing my first time through the publishing gauntlet. In some ways I wish I’d known how to be a bit more ruthless with my own work, how to cut a little deeper into the precious words of my first book. It’s not that I don’t love it and stand by it, but I know now how important certain ideas can be to an author when they mean less to a reader.

Process aside, though, I wish I’d known a bit better what noise to revel in and which noise to block out during the actual release of my first book while concurrently writing the second. That’s a process each author has to learn to guide for themselves: how to channel what sorts of energy when and where it’s valuable. When to listen to the cheering, when to block out the jeering and vice versa. When to shut everything off and start writing again. When to stop worrying about what isn’t under our control. Honestly, though, I expect this learning curve to be life long. And I’m okay with that.



TQTell us something about New Charity Blues that is not found in the book description.

Camille:  It doesn’t say so in the book description, but Syd grew up training to be a ballet dancer. The plague of the book hits just as her career is about to take off. I wanted to explore the deep sorrow an artist might feel when their form is no longer considered relevant or useful. I think, as an overarching rule, this is never the case – art always has use. But in the near term, Syd has lost her family and her moorings and her career and her artistic expression. She casts about to find her purpose and ultimately finds value in a history she’s been forced to leave behind.



TQWhich character in the New Charity Blues has surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Camille:  The very minor character of Becky probably surprised me the most during the writing of the book. Here we have someone fairly external to the main storyline and yet, through a series of revelations about Syd, she ends up being a critical ally in the end. She’s somewhat of an allegory on growing up from my own life. I made a lot of assumptions about people when I was young that were probably unfair by simply listening to those around me. As I’ve grown up and learned more about some of those people, I’m thankful for second chances.

The hardest character to write was probably Nelle – another relatively minor player. Though the water in the story is the true Helen, she is also Helen of sorts. I wanted to balance her mythical beauty with intelligence and bravery and wit in addition to making her a big problem for Syd. Trying to draw her complex motivations – Nelle’s obligations to the Survivor Camp’s own plans to liberate New Charity’s water as well as her strange, shifting relationship with Perry, was unwieldy at times. I hope I honestly captured the sense that not every motivation is clear all the time, and the ground beneath us can constantly shift, as it does for Nelle.



TQNew Charity Blues is Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction. What appeals to you about writing SF?

Camille:  Hope is the reason I write science fiction. Sometimes when I look around, the world is full of really ugly things – disease and war and sorrow – and then, again, it’s also filled with beauty and art and love. I want to imagine a future where the latter triumphs over the former. I don’t want to be a Pollyanna, but I do want to tip the scales so to speak. I write Science Fiction – every genre, really – with an eye toward a time, near or far or completely made up, where, even when the inevitable crises come, the human spirit will rise to the challenge: surprise, amaze, and persevere.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in New Charity Blues?

Camille:  There are a lot of social issues in New Charity Blues because I want to reflect the world as it is evolving. In my life, social issues exist, so I want them to exist here, too.

The most obvious example, of course, is New Charity’s Sanctuary. While it’s not a direct allegory of Judeo-Christianity, it is a stand-in for groupthink, which happens in a great many social circles. And while this groupthink can be supportive and useful, it can also, particularly with the wrong shepherding, become exceedingly dangerous. When the belief in anything strips away the unique layers of humanity, it can become something altogether monstrous.

I also made sure to include LGBT characters because they are a part of my world, though I purposefully did not include prejudice against them, which is something I repeated from Letters to Zell. While I don’t want to contradict myself in reflecting the world at large, in this case, I’m trying to reflect the part of the world I want to live in. A world where love is love and who that love is for has no consequence.

Finally, you’ll find the book is filled with people, women especially, not in relationships, nor stated sexual preference. Part of this is because it’s reality for many. Another reason is because I want to write books about young people about just being in addition to being in love.



TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from New Charity Blues.

Camille:  My friend Dave just finished the book, and wrote me an amazing note, quoting his favorite part, and so I think I’ll repurpose the lines he so gracefully noted:

“A morning beer wouldn’t be a first for us. The summer before I left, he and Cas and Len and I would sit in sleeping bags up on the ridge on Friday nights, looking at the stars, talking about what our lives would be. We never drank to forget—not like Len does now—but to get into that hazy place where everything seemed possible. When the sun shed its pink robe, stars blinking out, we finished the last of the full cans, sneaking home full of hope.”



TQWhat's next?

Camille:  I’m working on a third novel, right now, involving the fairy tale trope “Love Like Salt,” weather magic, and sky deities. But I’m doing so slowly. I’ve been taking some time to build Easy Street, a literary magazine that started just over a year ago. We have an amazing team, and we’re in one of those periods of contests and submissions and growth. It’s really exciting but also very time consuming. I’m doing some mentoring, as well, and working with a nascent nonprofit called Prison Renaissance, matching incarcerated artists with mentors and collaborators who can help them to embrace their artistic visions, assert their humanity, and, hopefully someday, contribute to breaking cycles of incarceration. I could use about six more hours in a day, and I think recently, taking those hours out of my nights slowed me down a bit more than I’d meant.

But it’s all worth it: I’d rather go down with wicked con crud swinging hard for the fences, than from a chance encounter at the grocery store. I try to live my writing life fully, and I promise I won’t let readers wait too long until I loosen some more, hopeful stories into the wild.



TQThank you for joining us again at The Qwillery.






New Charity Blues
47North, April 12, 2016
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 286 pages

Interview with Camille Griep
In the wake of a devastating plague, two communities emerge as bastions of survival. One is called the City, and its people scrabble for scraps in the wasteland. The other, New Charity, enjoys the bounty of its hydroelectric dam and refuses City denizens so much as a drop of precious water. When City-dweller Cressyda inherits her father’s ranch within New Charity, she becomes intent on opening the dam to all—no matter the cost.

But when Syd reunites with her old best friend, Casandra, a born seer and religious acolyte, she realizes that her plans could destroy the fragile lives they’ve built in order to survive. What’s more, the strange magic securing the dam’s operations could prove deadly if disturbed. Yet when Syd discovers evidence that her father might have been murdered, she is more determined than ever to exact revenge on New Charity’s corrupt.

Pitted against Cas, as well as her own family, Syd must decide how to secure the survival of both settlements without tipping them over the brink to utter annihilation. In this intense and emotional reimagining of the Trojan War epic, two women clash when loyalty, identity, community, and family are all put to the ultimate test.





Also by Camille

Letters to Zell
47North, July 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Camille Griep
Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty)—until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates—and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?

In this hilarious modern interpretation of the fairy-tale stories we all know and love, Letters to Zell explores what happens when women abandon the stories they didn’t write for themselves and go completely off script to follow their dreams.





About Camille

Interview with Camille Griep
Photograph by Jackie Donnelly.
Camille Griep lives just north of Seattle with her partner, Adam, and their dog Dutch(ess). Born in Billings, Montana, she moved to Southern California to attend Claremont McKenna College, graduating with a dual degree in Biology and Literature.

She wrote her way through corporate careers in marketing, commercial real estate, and financial analysis before taking an extended sabbatical to devote more time to her craft.

She has since sold short fiction and creative nonfiction to dozens of online and print magazines. She is the editor of Easy Street and is a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. She is a 2012 graduate of Viable Paradise, a residential workshop for speculative fiction novelists.

Her first novel, Letters to Zell, was released in July 2015 47North. Look for New Charity Blues in April of 2016.

Website  ~   Twitter @camillethegriep  ~  Facebook

The View From Monday - April 11, 2016


Happy Monday!

There are 2 debut novels out this week:

The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales;

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain;

and

Thirst by Benjamin Warner.

The View From Monday - April 11, 2016 The View From Monday - April 11, 2016 The View From Monday - April 11, 2016
Click on each novel to go to its Amazon listing.


From formerly featured DAC Authors:

New Charity Blues by Camille Griep;

and

His Ruthless Bite (Scandals with Bite 4) by Brooklyn Ann.



The View From Monday - April 11, 2016



April 11, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Rescue From Planet Pleasure (e) Mario Acevedo UF - Felix Gomez 6
The Ultimate Star Trek and Philosophy: The Search for Socrates Kevin S. Decker (Ed)
Jason T. Eberl (Ed)
Phil - The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series 1
Mercedes Lackey A Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms Volume 1 (e) Mercedes Lackey F - Collection
A Murder in Time (D) Julie McElwain HistM/TT
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (e) Vonda N. McIntyre SF - Star Trek
The Darkest Passion (e)(ri) Gena Showalter PNR - Lords of the Underworld 5
The Maids of Wrath (e) Josh Vogt UF - The Cleaners 2



April 12, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Bloodmage Stephen Aryan F - Age of Darkness 2
Dissension (print) Stacey Berg SF/AP/PA - Echo Hunter 367
Masks and Shadows Stephanie Burgis HistF
A Shadow All of Light Fred Chappell F
Armada (h2tp) Ernest Cline SF
Saving Grace Bianca D'Arc FR - Grizzly Cove 5
first communions: a collection of dark fiction (e) Geoffrey Girard H - Collection
The Regional Office is Under Attack! (D) Manuel Gonzales LF/SF
New Charity Blues Camille Griep SF/AP/PA
Zombie Apocalypse Preparation: How to Survive in an Undead World and Have Fun Doing It! David Houchins
Scot Thomas
Hu/Parody
Wolfsbane (e)(ri) William W. Johnstone H
The Book of Forbidden Wisdom Gillian Murray Kendall F
Illidan: World of Warcraft William King F - World of Warcraft
Rogue Belador (e) Dianna Love UF - Belador 7
2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush Kevin J. Anderson (Ed)
John McFetridge (Ed)
SF - Anthology
The Two of Swords: Part 15 (e) K. J. Parker F - Two of Swords
Tor.com Bundle 5 - February 2016 Andy Remic
Victor LaValle
Michael R. Underwood

The Apocalypse Ark Peter Roman F - Book of Cross 3
The Honoured Rob Sanders SF - The Horus Heresy
Freenet Steve Stanton SF
Thirst (D) Benjamin Warner LF
Robert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium Chet Williamson H
When Worlds Collide (e) Philip Wylie
Edwin Balmer
SF
After Worlds Collide (e) Philip Wylie
Edwin Balmer
SF



April 13, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Radiophobia (e) Scott Nicholson Dys/TechnoTh -Next 3
Terminal: A Tor.Com Original (e) Lavie Tidhar SF



April 14, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Exile and Pilgrim (e) Graeme K. Talboys F - Shadow in the Storm 2



April 15, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
His Ruthless Bite (e) Brooklyn Ann Hist/PNR - Scandals With Bite 4
Operation Caspian Tiger (e) Addison Gunn SF/PA - Extinction Biome: Invasion 3


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


AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CyberP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
GB - Genre Bender
GH - Ghost
GO - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
Hu - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
PA - Post Apocalyptic
Phil - Philosophy
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Tech - Technological
TechnoTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy
W - Western

Note: not all of these genres are represented in the above releases.

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 32


This is the thirty-second in a series of updates about formerly featured Debut Author Challenge authors and their 2015 works published since the last update and any upcoming works for 2016. The year in parentheses after the author's name is the year she/he was featured in the Debut Author Challenge.



Part 1 herePart 11 herePart 21 herePart 31 here
Part 2 herePart 12 herePart 22 here
Part 3 herePart 13 herePart 23 here
Part 4 herePart 14 herePart 24 here
Part 5 herePart 15 herePart 25 here
Part 6 herePart 16 herePart 26 here
Part 7 herePart 17 herePart 27 here
Part 8 herePart 18 herePart 28 here
Part 9 herePart 19 herePart 29 here
Part 10 herePart 20 herePart 30 here



S.K. Dunstall (2015)

Alliance
A Linesman Novel 2
Ace, February 23, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 32
As the Linesman series continues, linesman Ean Lambert finds himself facing an alien ship he doesn’t understand—and a terrifying political threat he cannot fight…

The lines. The soul of every ship. It was once thought there were only ten, but that was before an alien vessel appeared at the edge of space—before Ean Lambert heard more lines singing. Ean’s ways of communicating with lines is strange. But his abilities make him a valuable tool—or weapon—to command.

Captain Selma Kari Wang has lost everything—her ship, her crew, her legs. But the New Alliance of Worlds is not done with her yet. After they rebuild her broken body, they send her to captain one of the new alien ships, teaming her up with Ean, the only one who can understand the alien lines.

Kari Wang and Ean are poised on the threshold of discoveries that could change the world. But not everyone wants the New Alliance to control the secrets they uncover—and those who oppose won’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to stop them…




Mark Andrew Ferguson

The Lost Boys Symphony
Back Bay Books, March 8, 2016
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Hardcover and eBook, March 24, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 32
"Mesmerizing and dazzlingly original--a breakout novel."--Wally Lamb

After Henry's girlfriend Val leaves him and transfers to another school, his grief begins to manifest itself in bizarre and horrifying ways. Cause and effect, once so reliable, no longer appear to be related in any recognizable manner. Either he's hallucinating, or the strength of his heartbreak over Val has unhinged reality itself.

Henry decides to run away. He leaves his mother's home in the suburbs and marches toward the city and the woman who he thinks will save him. Once on the George Washington Bridge, however, a powerful hallucination knocks him out cold. When he awakens, he finds himself kidnapped by two strangers--one old, one middle-aged--who claim to be future versions of Henry himself. Val is the love of your life, they tell him. We've lost her, but you don't have to.




Margaret Fortune

Nova
DAW, June 7, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Hardcover and eBook, June 2, 2015

[cover not yet available]
*36:00:00*

The clock activates so suddenly in my mind, my head involuntarily jerks a bit to the side. The fog vanishes, dissipated in an instant as though it never was. Memories come slotting into place, their edges sharp enough to leave furrows, and suddenly I know. I know exactly who I am.

My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.

And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.

Lia Johansen was created for only one purpose: to slip onto the strategically placed New Sol Space Station and explode. But her mission goes to hell when her clock malfunctions, freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets Michael Sorenson, the real Lia’s childhood best friend.

Drawn to Michael and his family against her better judgment, Lia starts learning what it means to live and love, and to be human. It is only when her countdown clock begins sporadically losing time that she realizes even duds can still blow up. If she wants any chance at a future, she must find a way to unlock the secrets of her past and stop her clock. But as Lia digs into her origins, she begins to suspect there’s far more to her mission and to this war, than meets the eye. With the fate of not just a space station but an entire empire hanging in the balance, Lia races to find the truth before her time—literally—runs out.
[description from Hardcover]




Kelley Grant (2015)

The Obsidian Temple
Desert Rising 2
Harper Voyager Impulse, September 1, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
eBook, July 21, 2015

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 32
After a harrowing escape to the desert, Sulis Hasifel finds her calling is not yet fulfilled. Traveling to the Obsidian Temple—the site of an ancient divine battle—Sulis is tasked with mentoring Ava, a young girl with a troubled past. Together, they join a group of magically gifted warriors to re-make the very fabric of the universe. But the fate of the world hinges on whether Ava can harness her power, and some trials cannot be overcome.

Returning to Illian, Sulis's twin Kadar finds that his lover, Farrah, has abandoned their newborn daughter for the revolutionary cause. Not willing to give up his dream of a family, Kadar vows to stay by Farrah's side. But when he finds that Farrah is willing to anger the gods to aid the Forsaken caste's uprising, and as she steps farther down a violent and dark path, Kadar must decide if he will help her…or let the world spin out of control.

In this mesmerizing sequel to Desert Rising, Kelley Grant brings us back to the cities of Illian and Shpeth, drawing her epic fantasy tale closer to the trilogy's stunning conclusion.


The World Weavers
Desert Rising 3
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 19, 2016
eBook, 288 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 32
It has been a year since Sulis Hasifel fled to the desert, narrowly escaping death at the hands of a vengeful god. The time of the final battle, the final confrontation with the deities of her world, is nearing. Lured by the call of their long-trapped powers, the deities will descend upon the Obsidian Temple, where the Chosen await.

But the war between gods and humans has enveloped the entire land. Sulis’s twin, Kadar, joins forces with the nomadic warrior tribes of the desert. Little by little, the desert armies draw the deities away from their stronghold in the north, towards their doom.

In the face of a battle that will reshape mankind’s destiny and the face of the earth itself, old friendships will be tested and new alliances forged. In this spellbinding denouement to Desert Rising and The Obsidian Temple, Kelley Grant brings her epic trilogy to a thunderous and powerful conclusion.
[description provided by the Author]




Camille Griep (2015)

New Charity Blues
47North, April 12, 2016
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 286 pages

What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 32
In the wake of a devastating plague, two communities emerge as bastions of survival. One is called the City, and its people scrabble for scraps in the wasteland. The other, New Charity, enjoys the bounty of its hydroelectric dam and refuses City denizens so much as a drop of precious water. When City-dweller Cressyda inherits her father’s ranch within New Charity, she becomes intent on opening the dam to all—no matter the cost.

But when Syd reunites with her old best friend, Casandra, a born seer and religious acolyte, she realizes that her plans could destroy the fragile lives they’ve built in order to survive. What’s more, the strange magic securing the dam’s operations could prove deadly if disturbed. Yet when Syd discovers evidence that her father might have been murdered, she is more determined than ever to exact revenge on New Charity’s corrupt.

Pitted against Cas, as well as her own family, Syd must decide how to secure the survival of both settlements without tipping them over the brink to utter annihilation. In this intense and emotional reimagining of the Trojan War epic, two women clash when loyalty, identity, community, and family are all put to the ultimate test.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts

Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2015 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator 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 25, 2015.



Vote for your favorite July 2015 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Artist - David Palumbo




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Design by Jason Gurley

Interview with Camille Griep, author of Letters to Zell - July 1, 2015


Please welcome Camille Griep to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Letters to Zell is published on July 1st by 47North. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Camille a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Camille Griep, author of Letters to Zell - July 1, 2015




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

Camille:  Thanks so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be able share my very first book with you and your readers.

I started writing very early in life. I was one of those children who liked to soothe myself with stories, whether I was lamenting a fruitless wish for a Pegasus of my very own or a failed friendship. Growing up with my grandparents and no siblings, I read a lot to keep myself company, to fill the hours of my persistent childhood insomnia, and to attempt to understand my own imagination. I wrote books in school, but kept writing when I was out of school, too – journals and notebooks and diaries. I wrote for myself, for my parents, and for my friends. I was lucky to have friends who indulged this behavior well into our teens: in high school, we passed fairy tales instead of notes for a while. Telling stories is something that has always been a part of who I am, whether or not I’ve been actively writing.



TQAre you a plotter or a pantser?

Camille:  Definitely a pantser. I would so like to be a plotter – almost as much as I (still) want a Pegasus. Both are about as likely to happen.

Ideally, I write a book as I did Zell: starting with the beginning, moving to the end, then creating a bridge in the middle. I’m a visual writer and that lends itself to more surprises than is often healthy for an outline.

I know this because I sold my second novel on spec, so I had to submit full outline. While the plan itself was difficult to wrangle, it was even harder to stick to it. I prefer a much more organic process of creation, and, of course, I ended up having to rewrite the outline as I got deeper into the text and made new decisions based on how I’d moved the characters through their environment.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Camille:  My attention span is very short. I am easily distracted and that is directly in conflict with my needs for novel writing – long, uninterrupted stretches of time. I work constantly to schedule my days and weeks efficiently, so that I can chop up some into small pieces for small projects and spend long days to do immersive projects. I’m not very good about saying no and tend to get a bit over my skis with commitments. With one major exception, all of the writing-related projects, groups, and publications I’ve been involved with have been worth every stressful minute.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Camille:  I think I’m influenced by everything I read. That said, my writing has been most shaped by those whose work can be read a variety of ways. Frost has this nice, pastoral reputation these days when in actuality, his writing is much darker. I’m trying to put my own spin on using humor to diffuse the utterly heartbreaking, like Pamela Ribon and Libba Bray. I love Dorothy Parker and Fran Lebowitz, whose writings are true and awful and funny all at the same time. Finally, I’m under the spell of whimsicists like Walter Moers and CS Lewis. The Horse and His Boy changed my life when I stumbled upon it in my grandparents’ library all those years ago.

It’s hard to whittle down a list of favorite contemporary authors, but if I had to add to the ones above, I’d add fiction writers: Yannick Murphy, Jandy Nelson, Chad Simpson, Stephen Graham Jones, Annie Proulx, and Kent Haruf. There are so many more, but we’ll say these are my favorites right this very minute.



TQDescribe Letters to Zell in 140 characters or less.

Camille:  Fairy tale princesses discover Happily Ever After isn’t the Happy they’re After.



TQ Tell us something about Letters to Zell that is not found in the book description.

Camille:  While the book is indeed a paean to the epistolary form, it’s a tribute to many other things close to my heart. One of those things is Los Angeles. When the characters emerge Outside, they find themselves in present day L.A., their portal exiting at the famed, door-less magician’s hangout The Magic Castle. This was an amazing solution in my mind, L.A. being the home of all sorts of strange things, a few overdressed women popping out of thin air would be within the realm of normal at a place like the Magic Castle.



TQWhat inspired you to write Letters to Zell? What appealed to you about re-imagining the fairy tales of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel?

Camille:  This book really came about as a result of my grappling – as many of us in our mid 30s do – with expectations. No matter what kind of life path you align yourself to, there are a lot of societal pressures telling you whether you’re acceptable or not. A woman really never gets it right. The singletons are doing it wrong, mothers are doing it wrong, the childless are doing it wrong, the stay-at-homes are doing it wrong, the work-around-the-clock women are doing it wrong, the. I guess it’s fair to say that I’d been on the receiving end of things for too long, and I was tired of hearing friends lament their shortcomings and how their lives failed to measure up.

A friend remarked that instead of the life she had, she wanted the fairy tale. I thought darkly, what if the fairy tales wanted reality?

At first I meant to simply turn the concept into a short piece. But I couldn’t fit the expectations of Cosmo, Vogue, TMZ, and Dr. Ruth into a bite-sized portion of fiction. I dug into the well-known princess stories, trying to choose whose might fit best, when it dawned on me that perhaps all of them, in a wider world of imagination, could find freedom and acceptance from each other. Combining their stories took patience, but allowed me to create a very unique, character-driven narrative.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Letters to Zell?

Camille:  Most of the research required for LTZ was reading. In order to ensure I’d grounded myself in the Grimm versions of the fairy tales instead of the Disney versions, I carefully read each of the main and minor characters’ fairy tales, whether they were Grimm, or Christian Anderson, or otherwise. I threw the kitchen sink into the Realm of Imagination. This will undoubtedly annoy some readers, but it was a conscious allusion to the fact that everything we write for readers is influenced by other imaginative works, whether we like it or not.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Camille:  The easiest character to write was probably Bianca aka Snow White. Even though CeCi’s voice is likely closer to my own, Bianca’s reactions to most things boiled down to what would someone say if their patience ran out five minutes ago.

Conversely, Rory (Sleeping Beauty) was the toughest. I worked really hard to make her anachronistic in a setting (Grimmland, the Realm of Imagination) that is already pretty strange. In order to offset much of her passive voice and fervent romanticism, I layered in as much humor as I could. The downside here, of course, is that humor isn’t universal. Readers who don’t perceive that the women begin the narrative as caricatures will miss the way the women gradually break free as they find their own space in the world.



TQWhich question about Letters to Zell do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Camille:  How did you choose the personalities for each princess?

I like to say the characters begin the book with their personalities turned up to eleven. Because the book is satire, it’s necessary for us to encounter them at their most obnoxious in order to have the character arc I was aiming for, whereupon they begin to soften and take on the best qualities of one another, as old friends often do.

Zell became the letter recipient because her life seemed to be most complete in the traditional sense. In the Grimm version of Rapunzel, she is pregnant with (gasp, illegitimate!) twins when she is evicted from the tower. Since she ends her tale with a life that looks the most like what is considered “normal,” I decided to upend it as the catalyst for the book.

CeCi is the most practical of the bunch she’s used to running a large household. Used to being useful, her recognition of the loss of her own resourcefulness causes her to closely examine her own life, wants, and needs. She does, however, retain a fair bit of whimsy, as she really didn’t have much of a childhood.

Rory is antiquated and dreamy because of her long sleep. But her inability to see things for what they really are isn’t so much stupidity as avoidance. Rather than lose anyone else or any more time, Rory clings to the fragile latticework of her own optimism.

Bianca is unfiltered because she was raised for a time by a bunch of rough diamond miners. She’s embittered because she so desperately wanted her stepmother’s love. As with most prickly beings, her defense mechanisms are largely a smokescreen of her own tender heart.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Letters to Zell.

Camille:

1. “You couldn’t shut up about [yoga] a few weeks ago...you might want to give it a try. Maybe you’ll get flexible enough to pull your head out of your ass.” (CeCi, after telling Bianca, “Namaste, bitch.”)

2. “Humans can’t all be assholes, right? Head of Soufflés herself can’t be responsible for techno music, Chia Pets, and pies in a jar.” (Bianca/Snow White)

3. “You would be proud of me, Zell. I feel much braver these days. Bravery is exhausting, though, so I do have to drink a good deal of coffee.” (Rory/Sleeping Beauty)



TQWhat's next?

Camille:  Next spring I’ll be releasing my 2nd novel. In New Charity Blues, two women struggle with cultural expectations, their own motivations, and friendship in the midst of a streamlined, reimagined Trojan War set in a post-plague western country rife with prophecy and magic.

Ex-ballerina Cressyda (Syd) Turner joins the effort to rebuild her unnamed City after a pandemic plague decimates the country’s population – all except for that of her hometown, the rural backwater community of New Charity. Yearning to be an influential voice in her City, Syd is embittered by the irrelevance of her art and her inability to find a purpose. When the opportunity to return to New Charity arises, she jumps at the chance to open the hydroelectric dam the town has shut down and restore power to the city.

Cassandra (Cas) Willis, a Seer and Acolyte, is a pensive cowgirl, quietly wishing to be more than just a voice in New Charity’s strict Sanctuary. Her ability to see into the future is her greatest gift, but when she learns that Syd’s father, Cal, was killed by the Sanctuary's Bishop, she strives to find a justification so as to maintain her perception of the institution she grew up in.

Syd – used to being seen and not heard – and Cas – used to being heard and not seen – each balk at the expectation that they will fulfill supporting roles in whatever the men in their communities decide. Disowned by her powerful family, Cas aligns herself with Syd, and a careful respect emerges as each begins to understand the pressures put upon the other, until Cas receives a vision of her town’s utter destruction.

Though these women are minor characters in older narratives, they are remembered primarily as representative symbols of womanhood – Cressyda the pandering, inconstant floozy and Cassandra, the helpless, crazed prophetess. I want to explore the choices that bring them to their decisions, their loves, their families, and most importantly, their friendship with one another.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Letters to Zell
47North, July 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Camille Griep, author of Letters to Zell - July 1, 2015
Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty)—until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates—and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?

In this hilarious modern interpretation of the fairy-tale stories we all know and love, Letters to Zell explores what happens when women abandon the stories they didn’t write for themselves and go completely off script to follow their dreams.





About Camille

Interview with Camille Griep, author of Letters to Zell - July 1, 2015
Photograph by Jackie Donnelly.
Camille Griep lives just north of Seattle with her partner, Adam, and their dog Dutch(ess). Born in Billings, Montana, she moved to Southern California to attend Claremont McKenna College, graduating with a dual degree in Biology and Literature.

She wrote her way through corporate careers in marketing, commercial real estate, and financial analysis before taking an sabbatical to devote more time to her craft in 2011.

She has since sold short fiction and creative nonfiction to dozens of online and print magazines. She is the editor of Easy Street and is a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. She is a 2012 graduate of Viable Paradise, a residential workshop for speculative fiction novelists.

Her first novel, Letters to Zell, will be released July 1st from 47North.

Website  ~   Twitter @camillethegriep  ~  Facebook

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


There are 10 debuts for July. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The July debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite June cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on July 15th.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery  @  gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for July. The list is correct as of the day posted.



Rob Boffard

Tracer
Redhook (Orbit), July 16, 2015
eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
IN SPACE, EVERY. SECOND. COUNTS.

Our planet is in ruins. Three hundred miles above its scarred surface orbits Outer Earth: a space station with a million souls on board. They are all that remain of the human race.

Darnell is the head of the station's biotech lab. He's also a man with dark secrets. And he has ambitions for Outer Earth that no one will see coming.

Prakesh is a scientist, and he has no idea what his boss Darnell is capable of. He'll have to move fast if he doesn't want to end up dead.

And then there's Riley. She's a tracer - a courier. For her, speed is everything. But with her latest cargo, she's taken on more than she bargained for.

A chilling conspiracy connects them all.

The countdown has begun for Outer Earth - and for mankind.




Camille Griep

Letters to Zell
47North, July 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty)—until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates—and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?

In this hilarious modern interpretation of the fairy-tale stories we all know and love, Letters to Zell explores what happens when women abandon the stories they didn’t write for themselves and go completely off script to follow their dreams.




Logan J. Hunder

Witches Be Crazy
A Tale That Happened Once Upon a Time in the Middle of Nowhere
Night Shade Books, July 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Real heroes never die. But they do get grouchy in middle age.

The beloved King Ik is dead, and there was barely time to check his pulse before the royal throne was supporting the suspiciously shapely backside of an impostor pretending to be Ik’s beautiful long-lost daughter. With the land’s heroic hunks busy drooling all over themselves, there’s only one man left who can save the kingdom of Jenair. His name is Dungar Loloth, a rural blacksmith turned innkeeper, a surly hermit and an all-around nobody oozing toward middle age, compensating for a lack of height, looks, charm, and tact with guts and an attitude.

Normally politics are the least of his concerns, but after everyone in the neighboring kingdom of Farrawee comes down with a severe case of being dead, Dungar learns that the masquerading princess not only is behind the carnage but also has similar plans for his own hometown. Together with an eccentric and arguably insane hobo named Jimminy, he journeys out into the world he’s so pointedly tried to avoid as the only hope of defeating the most powerful person in it. That is, if he can survive the pirates, cultists, radical Amazonians, and assorted other dangers lying in wait along the way.

Logan J. Hunder’s hilarious debut blows up the fantasy genre with its wry juxtaposition of the fantastic and the mundane, proving that the best and brightest heroes aren’t always the best for the job.




J. Dalton Jennings

Solomon's Arrow
Talos Press, July 14, 2014
Trade Papeback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
It’s the mid-twenty-first century. The oceans are rising, the world’s population is growing, terrorist organizations are running rampant, and it has become readily apparent that humanity’s destructive nature is at the heart of the matter.

When all faith in humanity seems lost, a startling proposal is announced: Solomon Chavez, the mysterious son of the world’s first trillionaire, announces that he, backed by a consortium of governments and wealthy donors, will build an interstellar starshipone that will convey a select group of six thousand individuals, all under the age of fifty, with no living relatives, to a recently discovered planet in the Epsilon Eridani star system. His goal is lofty: to build a colony that will ensure the survival of the human race. However, Solomon Chavez has a secret that he doesn’t dare share with the rest of the world.

With the launch date rapidly approaching, great odds must be overcome so that the starship Solomon’s Arrow can fulfill what the human race has dreamed of for millennia: reaching for the stars. The goal is noble, but looming on the horizon are threats nobody could have imaginedones that may spell the end of all human life and end the universe as we know it.

Filled with action, suspense, and characters that will live on in the imagination, Solomon’s Arrow will leave readers breathless, while at the same time questioning what humanity’s true goals should be: reaching for the stars, or exploring the limits of the human mind?




James Kendley

The Drowning God
Harper Voyager Impulse, July 28, 2015
eBook, 240 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
To uncover modern Japan's darkest, deadliest secret, one man must face a living nightmare from his childhood

Few villagers are happy when Detective Tohru Takuda returns to his hometown to investigate a string of suspicious disappearances. Even the local police chief tries to shut him out from the case. For behind the conspiracy lurks a monstrous living relic of Japan's pagan history: the Kappa. Protected long ago by a horrible pact with local farmers—and now by coldly calculating corporate interests—the Kappa drains the valley's lifeblood, one villager at a time.

As the body count rises, Takuda must try to end the Drowning God's centuries-long reign of terror, and failure means death…or worse.




Brian Kirk

We Are Monsters
Samhain Publishing, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum. 

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.




Rhonda Mason

The Empress Game
The Empress Game Trilogy 1
Titan Books, July 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled, that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat in the ancient tradition. Now that tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the women of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reunimon, a supreme fighter, is called to battle it out in the arena.

The battle for political power isn’t contained by the tournament’s ring, however. The empire’s elite gather to forge, strengthen or betray alliances in a dance that will determine the fate of the empire for a generation. With the empire wracked by a rising nanovirus plague and stretched thin by an ill-advised planet-wide occupation of Ordoch in enemy territory, everything rests on the woman who rises to the top.




Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Bloomsbury USA, July 14, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.
Google Play : iTunes : Kobo




A.F.E. Smith

Darkhaven
Harper Voyager (UK), July 2, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.




Gary Whitta

Abomination
Inkshares, July 29, 2015
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
He is England's greatest knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.

She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her past, she defies her controlling father and sets out on a dangerous quest to do what none before her ever have―hunt down and kill an abomination, alone.

When a chance encounter sets these two against one another, an incredible twist of fate will lead them toward a salvation they never thought possible―and prove that the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history’s darkest age.

Interview with Camille GriepThe View From Monday - April 11, 2016What's Up for the Debut Author Challenge Authors? - Part 322015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July DebutsInterview with Camille Griep, author of Letters to Zell - July 1, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts

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