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Interview with Claire Humphrey, author of Spells of Blood and Kin


Please welcome Claire Humphrey to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Spells of Blood and Kin is published on June 14th by Thomas Dunne Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Claire a Happy Publication Day!



Interview with Claire Humphrey, author of Spells of Blood and Kin




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

Claire:  Thanks so much for having me! I feel like I was always writing. When I was tiny, before I knew the alphabet, I’d dictate stories to my mom. By the time I was in school I was making little books of folded paper stapled together; a whole bunch of them were about shipwrecks.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Claire:  Mostly a pantser—there’s something I find really compelling about feeling my way through a novel along with the protagonist. But in an effort to write faster now that I have deadlines to meet, I’ve started doing more outlining: nothing too detailed, but a quick three-act plan.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Claire:  Balancing my time. I have a busy day job, I travel a lot and I function best when I work out regularly. There are also a lot of tasks associated with professional writing, like edit notes, social media, interviews, planning events, which all take time. Sometimes if I prioritize all the most time-sensitive things I end up with no time left for the most creative, first-draft part of the work. I’m fighting that by scheduling in some retreats and binge-writing days into my year.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Claire:  Growing up in a house full of books, with an English teacher for a father, a mother who worked in publishing, and some other writers on both sides of the family, I had so much access to literature and so much encouragement to write. I was allowed to read almost anything I wanted, and of course the few things I wasn’t allowed to read, I got my hands on anyway. So I absorbed all kinds of things, from Ursula Le Guin to Gwendolyn MacEwen to Virginia Woolf to Susan Musgrave. One thing that I remember helping to crystallize my aspirations as a writer was the Black Water anthology, edited by Alberto Manguel: a wonderful collection of dark, fantastical, literary, surreal short fiction which my dad gave me for my birthday when I was a teenager.



TQDescribe Spells of Blood and Kin in 140 characters or less.

Claire:  Lissa inherits her grandmother’s magic and has to use it to keep immortal Maksim from killing himself or anyone else.



TQTell us something about Spells of Blood and Kin that is not found in the book description.

Claire:  Gus Hillyard doesn’t appear in the book description because she’s a secondary character—Maksim’s family, basically. But she has an important role to play, and she has lot of stories of her own; the first was one of my earliest published pieces, “Who In Mortal Chains”, which appeared in Strange Horizons. Gus has the same immortal nature as Maksim, and the same drive to violence, but she isn’t the same person; her coping strategies are different (and mainly consist of alcohol); she has more optimism, more love for the world, even though she rarely admits it. Gus is so much fun to write. You’ll see her again.



TQWhat inspired you to write Spells of Blood and Kin? What appeals to you about writing Dark Fantasy? What is "Dark" Fantasy?

Claire:  When I started writing Spells of Blood and Kin I was having a bad year and I wanted to write a light-hearted escapist urban fantasy, the kind where a woman meets a sexy supernatural guy and they fight crime together. But within the first few scenes it was clear to me that something sadder and darker was going on here and I wasn’t going to be able to escape it. I think what appeals to me about writing fantasy—and by default, dark fantasy, since mine is probably never going to turn out funny or light—is that fantasy elements make amazing mirrors for the real. You can see in the reflection things you missed in the original.

I don’t focus a lot on the distinctions people make around genres—dark fantasy vs urban fantasy vs paranormal, I don’t care. Readers can use those labels to help each other find great books. They can tell each other where my book fits—that part isn’t my job. I’m going to write the book I’m going to write; I wouldn’t be surprised if my next book is called horror and the one after that called CanLit.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Spells of Blood and Kin?

Claire:  The meat of this book is the relationships between the characters. Being part of a family, of a community, negotiating your way toward your needs and failing sometimes, that’s something we have to do in life no matter what, and trying to observe it while it happens is pretty important for me as a writer. The historical scenes required more literal research; I loved one book called The Soviet-Afghan War which was hugely detailed and informative and I read much more than I needed for those short scenes. I spent a lot of time with Russian folk tales, of course; I have a couple of books that I’ve had since childhood, with Ivan Bilibin illustrations, which helped me underpin the atmosphere and themes.



TQIn Spells of Blood and Kin who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Claire:  Lissa was actually the hardest. She’s shy, shut-in, overly entwined with her family, inexperienced socially; none of these are traits I share. She’s also powerful and has been raised as the heir apparent to an important social position. Her reactions to other people went through some changes in early drafts as I tried to figure out how confident she would be in some of the situations she faces.

The easiest was Nick, because I’ve dated him about ten times. Kidding aside, our culture is full of nuanced representations of guys like Nick, because we’re biased toward finding young men’s coming of age stories particularly important; there are a lot of great memoirs and novels that probably informed my characterization, although I couldn’t call out any one in particular.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in Spells of Blood and Kin?

Claire:  I would say it isn’t really a choice—we’re always engaging with social issues. Trying not to engage is a choice that still has implications, often supporting the status quo. In writing Nick, especially, I wanted to face head-on the faultlines in his personality and the way he is tempted when he’s exposed to Maksim’s blood and its enhancement of strength, anger and violence. For Nick it’s like his quotient of toxic masculinity gets boosted. I tried to contrast him with Jonathan, who also has his share of problematic yet normalized young-dude behaviour, but Jonathan is growing up and trying to be a good man. Nick’s newfound power works as a metaphor for privilege in this scenario, I think—it makes it seductively easy for Nick to behave badly, but it doesn’t force him to. He chooses that on his own; he lets his worst self make the choice. We can’t choose what kind of power society confers on us, but we can choose to be careful with it, and to do our best to be kind.



TQWhich question about Spells of Blood and Kin do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Claire:  It’s a spoiler question, which is probably why no one has asked it yet. Maybe I’ll answer it sometime in the future when everyone has read the book…



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Spells of Blood and Kin.

Claire:  Maksim: “Part of me is not human, koldun’ia. And the other part is not good.”



TQWhat's next?

Claire:  I’m working on a book featuring Gus. It’s still too early to share much. I can tell you it has ghosts in it.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Claire:  Thank you for inviting me, and for the great questions!





Spells of Blood and Kin
   A Dark Fantasy Novel
Thomas Dunne Books, June 14, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Claire Humphrey, author of Spells of Blood and Kin
Where we love, we ruin…

Some families hand down wealth through generations; some hand down wisdom. Some families, whether they want to or not, hand down the secret burdens they carry and the dangerous debts they owe.

Lissa Nevsky's grandmother leaves her a big, empty house, and a legacy of magic: folk magic, old magic, brought with Baba when she fled the Gulag. In the wake of her passing, the Russian community of Toronto will depend on Lissa now, to give them their remedies and be their koldun'ia. But Lissa hasn't had time to learn everything Baba wanted to teach her—let alone the things Baba kept hidden.

Maksim Volkov's birth family is long dead, anything they bestowed on him long turned to dust. What Maksim carries now is a legacy of violence, and he does not have to die to pass it on. When Maksim feels his protective spell fail, he returns to the witch he rescued from the Gulag, only to find his spell has died along with the one who cast it. Without the spell, it is only a matter of time before Maksim's violent nature slips its leash and he infects someone else—if he hasn't done so already.

Nick Kaisaris is just a normal dude who likes to party. He doesn't worry about family drama. He doesn't have any secrets. All he wants is for things to stay like they are right now, tonight: Nick and his best buddy Jonathan, out on the town. Only Nick is on a collision course with Maksim Volkov, and what he takes away from this night is going to crack open Nick's nature until all of his worst self comes to light.

Lissa's legacy of magic might hold the key to Maksim's salvation, if she can unravel it in time. But it's a legacy that comes at a price. And Maksim might not want to be saved…





About Claire

Interview with Claire Humphrey, author of Spells of Blood and Kin
Photo © Bevin Reith
CLAIRE HUMPHREY is a national buyer for Indigo Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, Crossed Genres, Fantasy Magazine, and Podcastle. Her short story ''Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot'' appeared in the Lambda Award-nominated collection Beyond Binary, and her short story "The Witch Of Tarup" was published in the critically acclaimed anthology Long Hidden. Spells of Blood and Kin is her first novel.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter @clairebmused


The View From Monday - June 13, 2016


Happy Monday!

There are 6 debuts this week:

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel 1) by Genevieve Cogman;

Spells of Blood and Kin: A Dark Fantasy by Claire Humphrey;

False Hearts by Laura Lam;

Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire 1) by Yoon Ha Lee;

Escapology by Ren Warom;

and

Mechanical Failure (Epic Failure 1) by Joe Zieja.


The View From Monday - June 13, 2016 The View From Monday - June 13, 2016
The View From Monday - June 13, 2016 The View From Monday - June 13, 2016
The View From Monday - June 13, 2016 The View From Monday - June 13, 2016
Clicking on a novel cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Insides by Jeremy P. Bushnell;

Los Nefelim by T. Frohock is out in a Mass Market Paperback Omnibus Edition;

Woodwalker by Emily B. Martin is out in Mass Market Paperback;

Stiletto (The Rook Files 2) by Daniel O'Malley.


The View From Monday - June 13, 2016 The View From Monday - June 13, 2016
The View From Monday - June 13, 2016 The View From Monday - June 13, 2016
Clicking on a novel cover will take you to its Amazon page.


Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels by formerly featured Debut Author Challenge Authors are highlighted in green.



June 13, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Cheetah Wild (e) Doranna Durgin PNR
Night of the Tiger (e) Doranna Durgin PNR



June 14, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
MEG: Nightstalkers Steve Alten SupTh - MEG 5
Blood in the Water Taylor Anderson SF/AH - Destroyermen 11
A Cure for Suicide Jesse Ball LF/Psy/Dys
The Book of Esther Emily Barton LF/AH
The Insides Jeremy P. Bushnell F/CF
Stories of Your Life and Others (ri) Ted Chiang SF - Collection
The Invisible Library (D) Genevieve Cogman SF/TT/CF/P - The Invisible Library Novel 1
Exit Zero Neil Cohen H/Z
The Familiar: Honeysuckle & Pain Mark Z. Danielewski LF/H/F/UF - The Familiar 3
Midshipman's Hope (ri) David Feintuch SF - The Seafort Saga 1
The Memory of Lemon Judith Fertig MR/R
Reliquary Sarah Fine UF - Reliquary Series 1
Los Nefilim T. Frohock HistF - Los Nefilim
Steeplejack A. J. Hartley F/YA - Alternate Detective 1
Battlefield Earth Special Edition L. Ron Hubbard SF
Spells of Blood and Kin: A Dark Fantasy (D) Claire Humphrey DF
Damnos Nick Kyme SF - Space Marine Battles
False Hearts (D) Laura Lam SF
Alarums (ri) Richard Laymon H
Ninefox Gambit (D) Yoon Ha Lee SF/SO - The Machineries of Empire 1
The James Lovegrove Collection Vol. 2 James Lovegrove SF/F - Collection
Woodwalker Emily B. Martin F
The Shadowed Path: A Jonmarc Vanhanian Collection Gail Z. Martin F - Collection
The Harper Hall Collection: Dragonsong; Dragonsinger; Dragondrums Anne McCaffrey F - Collection
Dreams of Distant Shores Patricia A. McKillip F - Collection
League of Dragons Naomi Novik HistF - Temeraire 9
Stiletto Daniel O'Malley F/Occ/Sup - The Rook Files 2
Doctor Who: The Essential Guide Revised 12th Doctor Edition Penguin UK SF - Doctor Who
Return of Souls Andy Remic HistF - A Song for No Man's Land 2
The Mermaid's Secret Katie Schickel CW/MR
Allegiance of Honor Nalini Singh PNR - Psy-Changeling 15
Orbs: A Science Fiction Thriller Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/Th/AC - Orbs 1
Before the Feast Saša Stanišic FairyT/FolkT/LM
Escapology (D) Ren Warom SF/CyberP
Mechanical Failure (D) Joe Zieja SF - Epic Failure 1



June 15, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Nothing Lasting Glen Krisch H
Typecasting: A Tor.Com Original (e) Harry Turtledove SF



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
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
CyberP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
GH - Ghost
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistScTh - Historical Science Thriller
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
Z - Zombies

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

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts



2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts



There are 21 debut novels for June including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, novels with a touch of the supernatural or paranormal, and more.

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

The June debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite June cover for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on June 15, 2016.

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 2016 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for June 2016 The list is correct as of the day posted.



Curtis C. Chen

Waypoint Kangaroo
Thomas Dunne Books, June 21, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Kangaroo isn’t your typical spy. Sure, he has extensive agency training, access to bleeding-edge technology, and a ready supply of clever (to him) quips and retorts. But what sets him apart is “the pocket.” It’s a portal that opens into an empty, seemingly infinite, parallel universe, and Kangaroo is the only person in the world who can use it. But he's pretty sure the agency only keeps him around to exploit his superpower.

After he bungles yet another mission, Kangaroo gets sent away on a mandatory “vacation:” an interplanetary cruise to Mars. While he tries to make the most of his exile, two passengers are found dead, and Kangaroo has to risk blowing his cover. It turns out he isn’t the only spy on the ship–and he’s just starting to unravel a massive conspiracy which threatens the entire Solar System.

Now, Kangaroo has to stop a disaster which would shatter the delicate peace that’s existed between Earth and Mars ever since the brutal Martian Independence War. A new interplanetary conflict would be devastating for both sides. Millions of lives are at stake.

Weren’t vacations supposed to be relaxing?

With Waypoint Kangaroo, Chen makes his debut with this outer space thriller. Chen has an extensive network of connections to prominent science fiction authors, and has studied under John Scalzi, James Patrick Kelly, and Ursula K. LeGuin.




Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library
The Invisible Library 1
Roc, June 14, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

FEATURING BONUS MATERIAL: including an interview with the author, a legend from the Library, and more!




N.S. Dolkart

Silent Hall
Angry Robot Books, June 7, 2016
   North American Print
   Mass Market Paperback, 528 pages
Angry Robot Books, June 2, 2016
    UK Print and eBook
Cover Ilustration: Andreas Rocha

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Five bedraggled refugees and a sinister wizard awaken a dragon and defy the gods.

After their homeland is struck with a deadly plague, five refugees cross the continent searching for answers. Instead they find Psander, a wizard whose fortress is invisible to the gods, and who is willing to sacrifice anything – and anyone – to keep the knowledge of the wizards safe.

With Psander as their patron, the refugees cross the mountains, brave the territory of their sworn enemies, confront a hostile ocean and even traverse the world of the fairies in search of magic powerful enough to save themselves – and Psander’s library – from the wrath of the gods.

All they need to do is to rescue an imprisoned dragon and unleash a primordial monster upon the
world.

How hard could it be?

File Under: Fantasy [ Ravens of Revenge / The Great Flood / Dragon Boy / You’re the Prophecy ]




Rachel Dunne

In the Shadow of the Gods
A Bound Gods Novel 1
Harper Voyager, June 21, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
A breathtaking talent makes her debut with this first book in a dark epic fantasy trilogy, in which a mismatched band of mortals led by a violent, secretive man must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world.

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the Twins grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—to set off a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.




K. Eason

Enemy
On the Bones of Gods 1
47North, June 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 347 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
The Illhari Republic rests on the bones of gods, telling tales of conquest and forgetting its once-bloody devotion to its most powerful goddess. Snowdenaelikk, half-blood conjuror and smuggler, cares less about history than the silver she can win with sharp metal and sharper wits. But when the local legion blames her for burning a village, an outlander with a sense of honor intervenes, and Snow finds herself tangled in politics and an unwelcome partnership.

Snow and her new partner, Veiko, together with the legion scout Dekklis, uncover a conspiracy that will destroy the Republic from within. It seems that the goddess is back from wherever dead gods go. She has not forgotten the Republic, and she wants revenge.

Loyal Dekklis will do anything to save the Republic, and Snow reluctantly agrees to help—until she realizes that “anything” means sacrificing Veiko. Now Snow must decide whether her partner’s life is worth betraying her allies and damning the Republic to war.




Emma Geen

The Many Selves of Katherine North
Bloomsbury USA, June 7, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
When we first meet Kit, she's a fox.

Nineteen-year-old Kit works for the research department of Shen Corporation as a phenomenaut. She's been “jumping”--projecting her consciousness, through a neurological interface--into the bodies of lab-grown animals made for the purpose of research for seven years, which is longer than anyone else at ShenCorp, and longer than any of the scientists thought possible. She experiences a multitude of other lives--fighting and fleeing as predator and prey, as mammal, bird, and reptile--in the hope that her work will help humans better understand the other species living alongside them.

Her closest friend is Buckley, her Neuro--the computer engineer who guides a phenomenaut through consciousness projection. His is the voice, therefore, that's always in Kit's head and is the thread of continuity that connects her to the human world when she's an animal. But when ShenCorp's mission takes a more commercial--and ominous--turn, Kit is no longer sure of her safety. Propelling the reader into the bodies of the other creatures that share our world, The Many Selves of Katherine North takes place in the near future but shows us a dazzling world far, far from the realm of our experience.




Daniel Godfrey

New Pompeii
Titan Books, June 21, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
In the race to control renewable power, an energy giant stumbles on a controversial technology: the ability to transport matter from the deep past. Their biggest secret is New Pompeii, a replica city filled with Romans, pulled through time just before the volcanic eruption.

Nick Houghton doesn’t know why he’s been chosen to be the company’s historical advisor. He’s just excited to be there. Until he starts to wonder what happened to his predecessor. Until he realizes that the company has more secrets than even the conspiracy theorists suspect.

Until he realizes that they have underestimated their captives…




Claire Humphrey

Spells of Blood and Kin
   A Dark Fantasy Novel
Thomas Dunne Books, June 14, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Where we love, we ruin…

Some families hand down wealth through generations; some hand down wisdom. Some families, whether they want to or not, hand down the secret burdens they carry and the dangerous debts they owe.

Lissa Nevsky's grandmother leaves her a big, empty house, and a legacy of magic: folk magic, old magic, brought with Baba when she fled the Gulag. In the wake of her passing, the Russian community of Toronto will depend on Lissa now, to give them their remedies and be their koldun'ia. But Lissa hasn't had time to learn everything Baba wanted to teach her—let alone the things Baba kept hidden.

Maksim Volkov's birth family is long dead, anything they bestowed on him long turned to dust. What Maksim carries now is a legacy of violence, and he does not have to die to pass it on. When Maksim feels his protective spell fail, he returns to the witch he rescued from the Gulag, only to find his spell has died along with the one who cast it. Without the spell, it is only a matter of time before Maksim's violent nature slips its leash and he infects someone else—if he hasn't done so already.

Nick Kaisaris is just a normal dude who likes to party. He doesn't worry about family drama. He doesn't have any secrets. All he wants is for things to stay like they are right now, tonight: Nick and his best buddy Jonathan, out on the town. Only Nick is on a collision course with Maksim Volkov, and what he takes away from this night is going to crack open Nick's nature until all of his worst self comes to light.

Lissa's legacy of magic might hold the key to Maksim's salvation, if she can unravel it in time. But it's a legacy that comes at a price. And Maksim might not want to be saved…




Christopher Husberg

Duskfall
Chaos Queen Quintet 1
Titan Books, June 21, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Pulled from a frozen sea, pierced by arrows and close to death, Knot has no memory of who he was. But his dreams are dark, filled with violence and unknown faces. Winter, a tiellan woman whose people have long been oppressed by humans, is married to and abandoned by Knot on the same day. In her search for him, she will discover her control of magic, but risk losing herself utterly. And Cinzia, priestess and true believer, returns home to discover her family at the heart of a heretical rebellion. A rebellion that only the Inquisition can crush…

Their fates and those of others will intertwine, in a land where magic and daemons are believed dead, but dark forces still vie for power.




Laura Lam

False Hearts
Tor Books, June 14, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Laura Lam's adult sci-fi debut False Hearts: Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult.

Raised in the closed cult of Mana's Hearth and denied access to modern technology, conjoined sisters Taema and Tila dream of a life beyond the walls of the compound. When the heart they share begins to fail, the twins escape to San Francisco, where they are surgically separated and given new artificial hearts. From then on they pursue lives beyond anything they could have previously imagined.

Ten years later, Tila returns one night to the twins' home in the city, terrified and covered in blood, just before the police arrive and arrest her for murder--the first homicide by a civilian in decades. Tila is suspected of involvement with the Ratel, a powerful crime syndicate that deals in the flow of Zeal, a drug that allows violent minds to enact their darkest desires in a terrifying dreamscape. Taema is given a proposition: go undercover as her sister and perhaps save her twin's life. But during her investigation Taema discovers disturbing links between the twins' past and their present. Once unable to keep anything from each other, the sisters now discover the true cost of secrets.




Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit
The Machineries of Empire 1
Solaris Books, June 14, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics.  Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics.  Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake.  If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own.  As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao--because she might be his next victim.




Malka Older

Infomocracy
Tor.com, June 7, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
It's been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything's on the line.

With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Infomocracy is Malka Older's debut novel.




Bob Proehl

A Hundred Thousand Worlds
Viking, June 28, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
“A Kavalier & Clay for the Comic-Con Age, this is a bighearted, inventive, exuberant debut.” —Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints
Valerie Torrey took her son, Alex, and fled Los Angeles six years ago—leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart. Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.

As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars, from a hapless twentysomething illustrator to a brilliant corporate comics writer stuggling with her industry’s old-school ways to a group of cosplay women who provide a chorus of knowing commentary. For Alex, this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined.

A knowing and affectionate portrait of the geeky pleasures of fandom, A Hundred Thousand Worlds is also a tribute to the fierce and complicated love between a mother and son—and to the way the stories we create come to shape us.




Bill Schutt and J. R. Finch

Hell's Gate
William Morrow, June 7, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
When a Japanese submarine is discovered abandoned deep in the Brazilian wilderness, a smart, adventurous, and tough zoologist must derail a catastrophic plot in Hell’s Gate.

1944. As war rages in Europe and the Pacific, Army Intel makes a shocking discovery: a 300-foot Japanese sub marooned and empty, deep in the Brazilian interior. A team of Army Rangers sent to investigate has already gone missing. Now, the military sends Captain R. J. MacCready, a quick-witted, brilliant scientific jack-of-all-trades to learn why the Japanese are there—and what they’re planning.

Parachuting deep into the heart of Central Brazil, one of the most remote regions on the planet, Mac is unexpectedly reunited with his hometown friend and fellow scientist Bob Thorne. A botanist presumed dead for years, Thorne lives peacefully with Yanni, an indigenous woman who possesses mysterious and invaluable skills. Their wisdom and expertise are nothing short of lifesaving for Mac as he sets out on a trail into the unknown.

Mac makes the arduous trek into an ancient, fog-shrouded valley hidden beneath a 2000-foot plateau, where he learns of a diabolical Axis plot to destroy the United States and its allies. But the enemy isn’t the only danger in this treacherous jungle paradise. Silently creeping from the forest, an even darker force is on the prowl, attacking at night and targeting both man and beast. Mac has to uncover the source of this emerging biological crisis and foil the enemy’s plans . . . but will he be in time to save humanity from itself?




Jon Skovron

Hope and Red
The Empire of Storms 1
Orbit Books, June 28, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 544 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people will find a common cause.

Hope, the lone survivor when her village is massacred by the emperor's forces is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance.

Red, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.

TOGETHER THEY WILL TAKE DOWN AN EMPIRE.




Na'amen Gobert Tilahun

The Root
A Novel of the Wrath & Athenaeum 1
Night Shade Books, June 7, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 420 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
A dark, gritty urban fantasy debut set in modern-day San Francisco, filled with gods, sinister government agencies, and worlds of dark magic hidden just below the surface.

When a secret government agency trying to enslave you isn’t the biggest problem you’re facing, you’re in trouble.

Erik, a former teen star living in San Francisco, thought his life was complicated; having his ex-boyfriend in jail because of the scandal that destroyed his career seemed overwhelming. Then Erik learned he was Blooded: descended from the Gods.

Struggling with a power he doesn’t understand and can barely control, Erik discovers that a secret government agency is selling off Blooded like lab rats to a rival branch of preternatural beings in ’Zebub—San Francisco’s mirror city in an alternate dimension.

Lil, a timid apprentice in ’Zebub, is searching for answers to her parents’ sudden and mysterious deaths. Surrounded by those who wish her harm and view her as a lesser being, Lil delves into a forgotten history that those in power will go to dangerous lengths to keep buried.

What neither Erik nor Lil realize is that a darkness is coming, something none have faced in living memory. It eats. It hunts. And it knows them. In The Root, the dark and surging urban fantasy debut from Na’amen Tilahun, two worlds must come together if even a remnant of one is to survive.




Ren Warom

Escapology
Titan Books, June 14, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Shock Pao is not just any Haunt—he’s the best. There isn’t a system that he can’t crack into, no virtual lock he can’t pick, nothing he can’t steal for the right price. Outside virtual world the Slip, though, he’s a Fail—no degree, no job, no affiliations to protect him from angry ex-customers. Of which he has quite a few. So when his ex brings Shock a job which could help him escape his miserable existence, he accepts, little realizing that it will turn out to be his most impossible, illegal and insane assignment yet.

Amiga works for Twist Calhoun, one of the toughest crime lords in the Gung, as a Cleaner—assassin. Trapped in a world of kill-or-be-killed, she wants out. But when Shock’s war comes to her, she doesn’t have a choice: it’s her job to bring him to Twist, dead or alive—or it’ll be her head in a bag in Twist’s vault.




Gina Wohlsdorf

Security
Algonquin Books, June 7, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages


2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
The inventiveness of A Visit from the Goon Squad meets the down-the-rabbit-hole suspense of The Girl on the Train in this chilling, pulse-racing thriller from an electrifying new writer.

When the gleaming new Manderley Resort opens in twenty-four hours, Santa Barbara’s exclusive beachfront hotel will offer its patrons the ultimate in luxury and high-tech security. No indulgence has been ignored, no detail overlooked. But all the money in the world can’t guarantee safety. As hotel manager Tessa and her employees ready the hotel for its invitation-only grand opening, a killer is in their midst. One by one, staff are picked off with ruthless precision. And before the night is over, as Tessa desperately struggles to survive, it will become clear that the strangest and most terrible truth at Manderley is simply this: someone is watching.

With stunning ingenuity, Gina Wohlsdorf puts readers front and center as the elite resort becomes a house of horrors. Riveting to the final sentence, Security is fierce, wry, and impossible to put down. With a deep bow to the literary tradition of Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, and Daphne du Maurier, Wohlsdorf’s razor-wire prose blitzes readers with quick twists, sharp turns, and gasp-inducing terror. Security is at once a shocking thriller, a brilliant narrative puzzle, and a moving, multifaceted love story unlike any other.




H.P. Wood

Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet
Sourcebooks Landmark, June 7, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
A hypnotic debut in turn-of-the-century Coney Island, where an abandoned girl collides with a disgruntled ménage of circus freaks.

Kitty Hayward and her mother are ready to experience the spectacles of Coney Island’s newest attraction, the Dreamland amusement park. But when Kitty’s mother vanishes from their hotel, she finds herself penniless, alone, and far from her native England. The last people she expects to help are the cast of characters at Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet, a museum of oddities. From con men to strongmen, from flea wranglers to lion tamers, Kitty’s new friends quickly adopt her and vow to help find the missing Mrs. Hayward. But even these unusual inhabitants may not be a match for the insidious sickness that begins to spread through Coney Island…or the panic that turns Dreamland into a nightmare.

With shades of Water For Elephants and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet sweeps readers into a mesmerizing world where nothing is as it seems, and where “normal” is the exception to the rule.




Simone Zelitch

Judenstaat
Tor Books, June 21, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
Simone Zelitch has created an amazing alternate history in Judenstaat. On April 4th, 1948 the sovereign state of Judenstaat was created in the territory of Saxony, bordering Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

Forty years later, Jewish historian Judit Klemmer is making a documentary portraying Judenstaat's history from the time of its founding to the present. She is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband, Hans, a Saxon, shot by a sniper as he conducted the National Symphony. With the grief always fresh, Judit lives a half-life, until confronted by a mysterious, flesh-and-blood ghost from her past who leaves her controversial footage on one of Judenstaat's founding fathers--and a note:

"They lied about the murder."

Judit's research into the footage, and what really happened to Hans, embroils her in controversy and conspiracy, collective memory and national amnesia, and answers far more horrific than she imagined.




Joe Zieja

Mechanical Failure
Epic Failure 1
Saga Press, June 14, 2016
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts
A smooth-talking ex-sergeant, accustomed to an easygoing peacetime military, unexpectedly re-joins the fleet and finds soldiers preparing for the strangest thing—war.

The two hundred years’ (and counting) peace is a time of tranquility that hasn’t been seen since...well, never. Mankind in the Galactic Age had finally conquered war, so what was left for the military to do but drink and barbecue? That’s the kind of military that Sergeant R. Wilson Rogers lived in before he left the fleet to become a smuggler.

But it turns out that smuggling is hard. Like getting-arrested-for-dealing-with-pirates-and-forced-back-into-service kind of hard. It doesn’t seem so bad—the military was a perpetual tiki party anyway—but when Rogers returns after only a year away, something has changed. These are soldiers—actual soldiers doing actual soldier things like preparing for a war that Rogers is sure doesn’t exist. Rogers vows to put a stop to all this nonsense—even if it means doing actual work.

With an experienced ear for military double-speak, Zieja has created a remarkable and sarcastic adventure.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey


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


Claire Humphrey

Spells of Blood and Kin
Thomas Dunne Books, June 14, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey
Where we love, we ruin…

Some families hand down wealth through generations; some hand down wisdom. Some families, whether they want to or not, hand down the secret burdens they carry and the dangerous debts they owe.

Lissa Nevsky's grandmother leaves her a big, empty house, and a legacy of magic: folk magic, old magic, brought with Baba when she fled the Gulag. In the wake of her passing, the Russian community of Toronto will depend on Lissa now, to give them their remedies and be their koldun'ia. But Lissa hasn't had time to learn everything Baba wanted to teach her—let alone the things Baba kept hidden.

Maksim Volkov's birth family is long dead, anything they bestowed on him long turned to dust. What Maksim carries now is a legacy of violence, and he does not have to die to pass it on. When Maksim feels his protective spell fail, he returns to the witch he rescued from the Gulag, only to find his spell has died along with the one who cast it. Without the spell, it is only a matter of time before Maksim's violent nature slips its leash and he infects someone else—if he hasn't done so already.

Nick Kaisaris is just a normal dude who likes to party. He doesn't worry about family drama. He doesn't have any secrets. All he wants is for things to stay like they are right now, tonight: Nick and his best buddy Jonathan, out on the town. Only Nick is on a collision course with Maksim Volkov, and what he takes away from this night is going to crack open Nick's nature until all of his worst self comes to light.

Lissa's legacy of magic might hold the key to Maksim's salvation, if she can unravel it in time. But it's a legacy that comes at a price. And Maksim might not want to be saved…

Interview with Claire Humphrey, author of Spells of Blood and KinThe View From Monday - June 13, 20162016 Debut Author Challenge - June 2016 Debuts2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey

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