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Interview with Chana Porter, author of The Seep


Please welcome Chana Porter to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Seep was published on January 21, 2020 by Soho Press.



Interview with Chana Porter, author of The Seep




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

Chana:  Happy to be here! Thanks for having me.

I wrote a lot of poetry and stories as a child. I remember my second grade teacher reading a story I had written about pirates out loud to the rest of the class, without asking me. It was a strange feeling. I had just transferred from a modern orthodox Jewish school in Baltimore to a public school in the suburbs and I felt shy about being the new kid. But I liked the feeling of having my imagination acknowledged. The delight won out over the embarrassment.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Chana:  I’m a hybrid! I dream the major plot points before sitting down to write. If I don’t have a clear idea of some major parts of the action, I know I’m not ready. But if I clearly imagine everything too well, I find the process loses its life force. I’ll write juicy scenes out of order, as well, and then fill in the gaps. I also rewrite A LOT. Loads end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Chana:  I love every part of being a writer and I feel extremely lucky to get to do it. That being said— I find generative early drafts very fun. Later on in the process, it can feel almost athletic to go back into a draft and work on the entire book. I eat protein bars and drink lots of water when overhauling a draft.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Chana:  I wouldn’t be the writer I am without Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel Delany, Jeff VanderMeer. Those are the big ones for me. I also love film and theater— could go on and on about my influences there (and you’ll see some shout outs to my favorite filmmakers in The Seep!) And Star Trek.



TQDescribe The Seep using only 5 words.

Chana:  Benevolent aliens, unexpected consequences. Lush!



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

Chana:  It’s a novel about grief and loss, amongst other things, but it’s actually very funny. I’m not interested in spending time with characters without good senses of humor. Being alive on this tiny spinning planet is often very ridiculous.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Seep?

Chana:  I’m interested in what our world would look like if it was life affirming for its inhabitants. I don’t think it’s our nature to oppress people, to draw these fictitious borders, to poison our ecosystem. So I wanted to create a utopia that gets people thinking about the collective choices we’re making in our current reality. Then I wanted to use this frame of a softer, abundant future to explore complex issues and emotions, like grief and loss, identity and community. Because I don't think we can move towards a more equitable future without acknowledging past oppressions, nor should we gloss over difference in an effort to celebrate oneness. I’ve attempted to create a story which is not didactic, but gives the reader a lot of personal agency and responsibility in answering the questions the novel raises. A reader remarked that I leave about half of the questions I raise unanswered— that balance feels right. I’m asking you to engage with me.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Seep?

Chana:  A lot! I worked on this book for seven years, and researched as I went. I read a lot of science fiction that dealt with utopia (or things that seem like utopia, which is more often the case with the genre.) I read essays about communes and communal living. I went to the Next Systems conference where I attended lectures about permaculture and alternate forms of currency. (I was there teaching a workshop with my summer institute The Octavia Project, so it was a wonderful synchronicity.) I researched different indigenous tribes in the Northeast to narrow down where I though Trina’s ancestry should partially be from— my main character is part Native American, part Jewish. I’m Jewish, so I didn’t research that, but I was reading a lot about Yiddish theater traditions for my own interest, and that certainly influenced the creation of another character, YD. Everything makes its way into the work. So that was the more formal research. And then other specific details about characters and settings are inspired from my own community and mentors, my experiences in cooperatively living and working. Rachel Pollack was my advisor at Goddard College, where I began writing. She was an invaluable mentor for the creation of the world.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Seep.

Chana:  Soho Press (who are so wonderful) asked me for my input. I said I wanted the cover to feel like “lush overgrowth, water, flowering, fruiting -- or anything that alludes to the natural world overtaking the domestic.” The wonderful designer Michael Morris made the most gorgeous cover. Better than I could have dreamed!



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

Chana:  When I began The Seep, it was a much longer novel with three shifting points of view— three main characters. Trina pushed out the other two storylines— she took over! She was very easy to write. I didn’t find the other characters particularly challenging, but I do find that writing a group scene is a tight rope balancing act.



TQDoes The Seep touch on any social issues?

Chana:  Quite a few. The main conflict of The Seep explores complex issues around identity and agency, in a future where you can change your appearance at will. I won’t say more than that.

Additionally, my protagonist, Trina, is an older trans lesbian. I wanted to celebrate a trans elder character who is at home in her body and has a loving marriage, a successful career, deep friendships. And then, of course, I had to make her suffer. Because great characters struggle (and I think no beautiful life is without its own intensity.)



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

Chana:  I’m SHOCKED no one has asked me “If you had the opportunity, would you be Seeped?”

I think yes! How could I resist? But, you know— in moderation. :)



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

Chana:  This one always makes me chuckle. It’s from the beginning of the book, as part of a larger catalogue of the changes The Seep has brought to the earth:

“All debts were forgiven. The student loan people threw away their phones.”



TQWhat's next?

Chana:  I have a big novel that’s almost finished, and about 20K of the next one ready to be explored. In my life as a playwright, my play with music WE ARE RADIOS will be workshopped at Shotgun Players in Berkley, CA this August 4th-5th.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chana:  Thank you for the work you do to support debut authors!





The Seep
Soho Press, January 21, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 216 pages

Interview with Chana Porter, author of The Seep
A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado.

Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.





About Chana

Interview with Chana Porter, author of The Seep
Photo by Stella Kalinina
Chana Porter is a playwright, teacher, MacDowell Colony fellow, and co-founder of the Octavia Project, a STEM and fiction-writing program for girls and gender non-conforming youth from underserved communities. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is currently at work on her next novel.

Website  ~  Facebook

Twitter @PorterChana

The View From Monday - January 20, 2020


Happy Monday!

There are 3 debuts this week:

A Queen in Hiding (The Nine Realms 1) by Sarah Kozloff;

The Seep by Chana Porter;

and

Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford.

The View From Monday - January 20, 2020The View From Monday - January 20, 2020
The View From Monday - January 20, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Stars Beyond (Stars Uncharted 2) by S.K. Dunstall.

The View From Monday - January 20, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - January 20, 2020



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.
January 21, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Lord of the Dark Millennium: The Dan Abnett Collection Dan Abnett SF/SO - Warhammer 40,000
Anarch Dan Abnett SF - Warhammer 40,000
Gwendy's Magic Feather (ri) Richard Chizmar SupTh - Gwendy's Button Box Trilogy 2
Celestine Andy Clark SF - Warhammer 40,000
Tiamat's Wrath (h2tp) James S. A. Corey SF/SO/SE/AC - The Expanse 8
Sanctuary Luca D'Andrea H
Stars Beyond S. K. Dunstall SF/SO/AC - Stars Uncharted 2
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World (h2tp) C. A. Fletcher SF/AP/PA/Dys/CoA/LF
Agency William Gibson TechTh/SF/LF
Heart of Black Ice Terry Goodkind F - Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles 4
Warcry Josh Reynolds
Peter McLean
Sarah Cawkwell
David Guymer
David Annandale
Ben Counter
F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
The Will and the Wilds Charlie N. Holmberg RF/F
Wolves Simon Ings SF/LF
Rogue Planet John Andrew Karr SF - Mars Wars 2
A Queen in Hiding (D) Sarah Kozloff F - The Nine Realms 1
Knights of Macragge Nick Kyme SF - Warhammer 40,000
The Manifestations of Sherlock Holmes James Lovegrove HistM/HistF/H
The Wagers Sean Michaels FL
Not So Stories David Thomas Moore (Ed) Fiction - Anthology
Riot Baby Tochi Onyebuchi SF/CF/African American/CoA
The Seep (D) Chana Porter LGBT Fiction/AB/SF/AP/PA
Follow Me to Ground (D) Sue Rainsford LF
Universal Love: Stories Alexander Weinstein SS/AB
The Serpent Sea (ri) Martha Wells F - Books of Raksura 2
The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction (ri) Gene Wolfe SF - Collection



January 23, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Imagining the Unimaginable: Speculative Fiction and the Holocaust Glyn Morgan LC/Dys/AH



January 24, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Science Fiction and the Dismal Science: Essays on Economics in and of the Genre Gary Westfahl (Ed)
Gregory Benford (Ed)
Howard V. Hendrix (Ed)
Jonathan Alexander (Ed)
SF/HC/LC



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



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CL - City Life
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR- Fantasy Romance
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
RS - Romantic Suspense
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2020 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on February 14, 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

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




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts
Cover art by Félix Ortiz




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts
Cover design by Debra Billison
Paintings by Shokoofeh Azar used for cover design: 1. The Poetry
Night; 2. The Birds; 3. Red Bird and Moon




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts
Jacket design by Jarrod Taylor




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts
Cover design by Rodrigo Corral Studio. Cover copyright © 2020 by
Hachette Book Group, Inc.




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts




2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts
Cover design and illustration by David G. Stevenson, 
based on an image © Shutterstock

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts


There are 11 debut novels for January 2020.

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

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




Sean Adams

The Heap
William Morrow, January 7, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
“As intellectually playful as the best of Thomas Pynchon and as sardonically warm as the best of Kurt Vonnegut, The Heap is both a hilarious send-up of life under late capitalism and a moving exploration of the peculiar loneliness of the early 21st century. A masterful and humane gem of a novel.” —Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of Monsters

Blending the piercing humor of Alexandra Kleeman and the jagged satire of Black Mirror, an audacious, eerily prescient debut novel that chronicles the rise and fall of a massive high-rise housing complex, and the lives it affected before - and after - its demise.

Standing nearly five hundred stories tall, Los Verticalés once bustled with life and excitement. Now this marvel of modern architecture and nontraditional urban planning has collapsed into a pile of rubble known as the Heap. In exchange for digging gear, a rehabilitated bicycle, and a small living stipend, a vast community of Dig Hands removes debris, trash, and bodies from the building’s mountainous remains, which span twenty acres of unincorporated desert land.

Orville Anders burrows into the bowels of the Heap to find his brother Bernard, the beloved radio DJ of Los Verticalés, who is alive and miraculously broadcasting somewhere under the massive rubble. For months, Orville has lived in a sea of campers that surrounds the Heap, working tirelessly to free Bernard—the only known survivor of the imploded city—whom he speaks to every evening, calling into his radio show.

The brothers’ conversations are a ratings bonanza, and the station’s parent company, Sundial Media, wants to boost its profits by having Orville slyly drop brand names into his nightly talks with Bernard. When Orville refuses, his access to Bernard is suddenly cut off, but strangely, he continues to hear his own voice over the airwaves, casually shilling products as “he” converses with Bernard.

What follows is an imaginative and darkly hilarious story of conspiracy, revenge, and the strange life and death of Los Verticalés that both captures the wonderful weirdness of community and the bonds that tie us together.





Brian D. Anderson

The Bard's Blade
The Sorcerer's Song 1
Tor Books, January 28, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
The Bard's Blade is the start of the new Sorcerer's Song fantasy adventure series from Brian D. Anderson, bestselling author of The Godling Chronicles and Dragonvein.

Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she's a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together.

Then a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, bringing a dark prophecy that forces Lem and Mariyah down separate paths. How far will they have to go to stop a rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?





Megan Angelo

Followers
Graydon House, January 14, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the stunning moment that changes the world as we know it forever

Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Floss—a striving, wannabe A-lister—who comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady—and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity—twelve million loyal followers—Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.





Shokoofeh Azar

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree
Europa Editions, January 7, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages
(English Language Debut)

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
From the pen of one of Iran’s rising literary stars, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree is a family story about the unbreakable connection between the living and the dead.

Set in Iran in the decade following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this moving, richly imagined novel is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a thirteen-year-old girl, whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village, hoping in this way to preserve both their intellectual freedom and their lives. But they soon find themselves caught up in the post-revolutionary chaos that sweeps across their ancient land and its people. Bahar’s mother, after a tragic loss, will embark on a long, eventful journey in search of meaning in a world swept up in the post-revolutionary madness.

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree speaks of the power of imagination when confronted with cruelty, and of our human need to make sense of trauma through the ritual of storytelling itself. Through her unforgettable characters, Azar weaves a timely and timeless story that juxtaposes the beauty of an ancient, vibrant culture with the brutality of an oppressive political regime.





Laurel Brett

The Schrödinger Girl
Kaylie Jones Books, January 7, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
Garrett Adams, an uptight behavioral psychology professor who refuses to embrace the 1960s, is in a slump. The dispirited rats in his latest experiment aren't yielding results, and his beloved Yankees are losing. As he sits at a New York City bar watching the Yanks strike out, he knows he needs a change.

At a Columbus Circle bookstore he meets a mysterious young woman, Daphne, who draws him into the turbulent and exciting world of Vietnam War protest politics and the music of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. He starts to emerge from the numbness and grief over his father's death in World War II.

When Daphne evolves into four separate versions of herself, Garrett's life becomes complicated as he devotes himself to answering questions about character and destiny raised by her iterations. His obsession threatens to upend his relationship with Caroline, a beautiful art historian, destroy his teaching job, and dissolve his friendship with his old pal Jerry.

The Daphnes seem to exist in separate realities that challenge the laws of physics and call into question everything Garrett thought he knew. He must decide what is vision, what is science, and what is delusion.





Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds
Del Rey, January 14, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever, in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“The best of what science fiction can be: a thought-provoking, heartrending story about the choices that define our lives.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A solitary ship captain, drifting through time.

Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A mute child, burdened with unimaginable power.


The scarred boy does not speak, his only form of communication the haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and otherworldly nature, Nia decides to take the boy in to live amongst her crew. Soon, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself. For both of them, a family. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy.

A millennia-old woman, poised to burn down the future.

Fumiko Nakajima designed the ships that allowed humanity to flee a dying Earth. One thousand years later, she now regrets what she has done in the name of progress. When chance brings Fumiko, Nia, and the child together, she recognizes the potential of his gifts, and what will happen if the ruling powers discover him. So she sends the pair to the distant corners of space to hide them as she crafts a plan to redeem her old mistakes.

But time is running out. The past hungers for the boy, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.





Marc-Uwe Kling

Qualityland
Grand Central Publishing, January 7, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
(English Language Debut)

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
What if the perfect world wasn’t built for you?

Welcome to QualityLand, the best country on Earth. Here, a universal ranking system determines the social advantages and career opportunities of every member of society. An automated matchmaking service knows the best partners for everyone and helps with the break up when your ideal match (frequently) changes. And the foolproof algorithms of the biggest, most successful company in the world, TheShop, know what you want before you do and conveniently deliver to your doorstep before you even order it.

In QualityCity, Peter Jobless is a machine scrapper who can’t quite bring himself to destroy the imperfect machines sent his way, and has become the unwitting leader of a band of robotic misfits hidden in his home and workplace. One day, Peter receives a product from TheShop that he absolutely, positively knows he does not want, and which he decides, at great personal cost, to return. The only problem: doing so means proving the perfect algorithm of TheShop wrong, calling into question the very foundations of QualityLand itself.

Qualityland, Marc-Uwe Kling’s first book to be translated into English, is a brilliantly clever, illuminating satire in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and George Orwell that offers a visionary, frightening, and all-too funny glimpse at a near future we may be hurtling toward faster than it’s at all comfortable to admit. So why delay any longer? TheShop already knows you’re going to love this book. You may as well head to the cash register, crack the covers, and see why that is for yourself.





Sarah Kozloff

A Queen in Hiding
The Nine Realms 1
Tor Books, January 21, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 496 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
Debut author Sarah Kozloff offers a breathtaking and cinematic epic fantasy of a ruler coming of age in A Queen in Hiding first in the quartet of The Nine Realms series.

Four books. Four months. Nine Realms.

Readers will be able to binge this amazing fantasy series with beautiful interlocking art across the spines of all four books.

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cerulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.
But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.

The Nine Realms Series
#1 A Queen in Hiding January 2020
#2 The Queen of Raiders February 2020
#3 A Broken Queen March 2020
#4 The Cerulean Queen April 2020





Chana Porter

The Seep
Soho Press, January 21, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 216 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado.

Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.





Sue Rainsford

Follow Me to Ground
Scribner, January 21, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 208 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal—one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson’s widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.

Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairy tale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning.





Crissy Van Meter

Creatures
Algonquin Books, January 7, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 265 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts
“Inventive and surprising . . . A punch to the heart. It's one of the best novels I've read this year.” —Kristen Arnett, bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things

On the eve of Evangeline’s wedding, on the shore of Winter Island, a dead whale is trapped in the harbor, the groom may be lost at sea, and Evie’s mostly absent mother has shown up out of the blue. From there, in this mesmerizing, provocative debut, the narrative flows back and forth through time as Evie reckons with her complicated upbringing in this lush, wild land off the coast of Southern California.

Evie grew up with her well-meaning but negligent father, surviving on the money he made dealing the island’s world-famous strain of weed, Winter Wonderland. Although her father raised her with a deep respect for the elements, the sea, and the creatures living within it, he also left her to parent herself. With wit, love, and bracing flashes of anger, Creatures probes the complexities of love and abandonment, guilt and forgiveness, betrayal and grief—and the ways in which our childhoods can threaten our ability to love if we are not brave enough to conquer the past.

Lyrical, darkly funny, and ultimately cathartic, Creatures exerts a pull as strong as the tides.
Interview with Chana Porter, author of The SeepThe View From Monday - January 20, 20202020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January 2020 Debuts2020 Debut Author Challenge - January Debuts

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