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Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan


Please welcome Daniel Findlay to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Year of the Orphan is published on May 21, 2019 by Arcade Publishing.



Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan




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

Daniel:  The first fiction I remember writing was at the age of about six. I would 'borrow' characters from authors like Enid Blyton and cast them in my own stories - it was my first foray into storytelling (and fanfic!)



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Daniel:  A little of both. I have an idea of where I might like the story to end up but I let the characters show me how to get there. It's usually a surprise when I sit down to write and I try my best not to stifle their impulses. I also think about key scenes that give me a particular feeling (that I want to share or evoke) and then try to create interesting build ups to those moments.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Daniel:  Finding time is the neat answer to this question, as I juggle a full time job with my writing. The real and more complex answer is finding the discipline to continue working when there may not be much joy in it sometimes. I can count on one hand the writing sessions that felt successful this year but I have written something almost every single day.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Daniel:  I'm greatly influenced by other writers and readers, as well as film and music. I wrote Year of the Orphan listening to a lot of hip hop, and edited it to a very particular playlist of Australian music. Books like Riddley Walker and The Road both played a big part in my writing, as well as Australian classics like Obernewtyn and On The Beach.



TQDescribe Year of the Orphan using only 5 words.

Daniel:  Australian, apocalyptic, grim, badass, hopeful.



TQTell us something about Year of the Orphan that is not found in the book description.

Daniel:  More than a little of it is based on documented historical fact!



TQWhat inspired you to write Year of the Orphan? What appeals to you about writing dystopian fiction?

Daniel:  I was inspired by both historical events that occurred in Australia and also by a deep love of dystopian, post apocalyptic and speculative fiction. For me, exploring Australia's real history of nuclear testing through the lens of an apocalyptic novel was a way of sharing that real past with people who may not have otherwise known about it.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Year of the Orphan?

Daniel:  Before writing the novel I spent nearly a year reading everything I could find in the genre, particularly American classics that came out throughout the great fear of nuclear war from around 1950 through to the fall of the Soviet Union. Books like Alas, Babylon, After the Fall and A Canticle for Leibowitz, as well as more contemporary work. I was particularly interested in a the flavour of that early post-apocalyptic fiction when nuclear war was the big fear because it tied in strongly with Year of the Orphan.

After I had completed the first draft I also visited the ground zero of several of Australia's nuclear test sites. These secret places saw the detonation of nuclear bombs that in some cases were far bigger than Hiroshima and their existence in Australia is even to this day, largely forgotten. They are incredibly eerie and haunted places.




TQPlease tell us about the cover for Year of the Orphan.

Daniel:  This cover was influenced by both the film Mad Max and the tones of an Australian artist named Sidney Nolan who is most famous for painting pictures of one of our most notorious criminals (and folk heroes) Ned Kelly.



TQ:   In Year of the Orphan who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Daniel:  The Orphan was by far the easiest character to write because her perspective and experience is so clearly defined by what has happened to her. She knows quite clearly how she feels and will react in most situations so her responses are fun to write, and hopefully consistent. The most difficult character is one I can't share too much about without spoiling the story but suffice to say, their complexity and not being quite what they seem made them incredibly rewarding and challenging to write.



TQDoes Year of the Orphan touch on any social issues?

Daniel:  Year of the Orphan is first and foremost intended to be a great piece of fiction. It's unavoidable though that when it takes real history as a jumping off point that there will be threads of real social issues woven into the story. When nuclear weapons were tested in Australia both Indigenous Australians and our Army/Navy/Air Force servicemen and women suffered greatly through both ignorance and being deliberately being placed in harms way. I often hope that reading Year of the Orphan sparks an interest in the real-life events that inspired it.



TQWhich question about Year of the Orphan do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Daniel:  Well, to continue a theme - I wish someone would ask, how much of it really happened? The answer is, quite a lot! I feel there are many parallels and points of comparison that can be drawn between nuclear testing in the United States and Australia and I'm hoping that some American readers kindle an interest in this fascinating, frightening and often forgotten chapter of our shared history.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Year of the Orphan.

Daniel:  I'll always have a soft spot for the opening line; "There were a heat." For a long time it has been drummed into me the importance of a strong opening line and that one actually has a double meaning for me as it describes the opening scene but it also is the way you might describe a nuclear blast in it's first stages. It also gives you a faint hint that the language used in this book might be a little interesting.

Another line is "The ground sumetimes wept the blud of those Block had sent down". It's referring to how feared and dangerous one of my favourite characters is and I like the idea of using red earth to show how just how bloody things might get.



TQWhat's next?

Daniel:  I'm about to visit the United States to hopefully see my book on shelves and I'm busily working on a follow up to Year of the Orphan. I''m very excited to think about such an Australian story reaching American readers and really hoping they enjoy the adventure!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Year of the Orphan
Arcade Publishing, May 21, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan
The Road meets Mad Max in this stunning debut with a gutsy, charismatic young female protagonist—for fans of Station 11, The Passage, and Riddley Walker.

In a post-apocalyptic future where survivors scavenge in the harsh Australian Outback for spoils from a buried civilization, a girl races across the desert, holding her treasures close, pursued by the Reckoner.

Riding her sand ship, living rough in the blasted landscape whose taint she carries in her blood, she scouts the broken infrastructure and trades her scraps at the only known settlement, a ramshackle fortress of greed, corruption, and disease known as the System. It is an outpost whose sole purpose is survival—refuge from the hulking, eyeless things they call Ghosts and other creatures that hunt beyond the fortress walls.

Sold as a child, then raised hard in the System, the Orphan has a mission. She carries secrets about the destruction that brought the world to its knees. And she's about to discover that the past still holds power over the present. Given an impossible choice, will the Orphan save the only home she knows or see it returned to dust? Both paths lead to blood, but whose will be spilled?

With propulsive pacing, a rich, broken language all its own, and a protagonist whose grit and charisma are matched by a relentless drive to know, The Year of the Orphan is a thriller of the future you won’t want to put down.





About Daniel

Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the Orphan
Photo © Michelle Tan
Dan Findlay is the author of Year of the Orphan. Dan is a historian by training and a writer for kids by trade. Dan has over ten years' experience editing Australia’s leading youth magazines. He also has over a decade of freelance experience as a writer and photographer for Rolling Stone as well as contributing the odd music story to the Sydney Morning Herald and writing for a wide variety of other pop culture titles.









Website 


The View From Monday - May 20, 2019


Happy Monday!

There are two debuts this week:

Year of the Orphan by Daniel Findlay

and

Mischief and Mayhem (Faerlands Chronicles 1) by S. D. Nicholson.

The View From Monday - May 20, 2019 The View From Monday - May 20, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Queenslayer (Spellslinger 5) by Sebastien de Castell;

Warlock Holmes - The Sign of Nine by G.S. Denning;

and

Starship Repo by Patrick S. Tomlinson.

The View From Monday - May 20, 2019 The View From Monday - May 20, 2019
The View From Monday - May 20, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - May 20, 2019



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

May 20, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
End Transmission (e) Robyn Bachar SFR - The Galactic Cold War 3
Throwback (e) Lynn Hortel H



May 21, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Scent Keeper Erica Bauermeister CW/FL/CoA/MR
Pimp My Airship Maurice Broaddus SP/SF - A Naptwon Airship Novel 1
Gather the Fortunes Bryan Camp CF - A Crescent City Novel 2
Triumphant Jack Campbell SF - The Genesis Fleet 3
Queenslayer Sebastien de Castell F/HU/CoA - Spellslinger 5
The Long Way Home (e) Richard Chizmar SS/H - Collection
Warlock Holmes - The Sign of Nine G. S. Denning Cr/F/HU
Broken Shadow Jaine Fenn F/AP/PA - Shadowlands 2
Year of the Orphan (D) Daniel Findlay Dys
An Illusion of Thieves Cate Glass F - Chimera 1
The Summoning Heather Graham PNR/GH/SupTh - Krewe of Hunters 27
Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water Vylar Kaftan SF/CyP
Shadowblade Anna Kashina F/FR
Winchester Undead: Winchester Storm (Book Five) and Winchester Triumph (Book Six)Dave Lund SF/AP/PA - Winchester Undead 5 and 6
The Clockmaker's Daughter (h2tp) Kate MortonLF
VesselLisa A. Nichols SFTh
The Empire of Ashes (h2tp)Anthony Ryan F/DF - The Draconis Memoria 3
Second Stage Lensmen (ri)E.E. 'Doc' Smith SF/SO/SE/AC - Golden Age Masterworks
The Heads of Cerberus Francis Stevens SF/TT/Dys - Modern Library Torchbearers
Starship RepoPatrick S. Tomlinson SF/AC/HU



May 24, 2019
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Mischief and Mayhem (D) S. D. Nicholson HistF - Faerlands Chronicles 1


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 - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
BH - Black Humor
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SFTh - Science Fiction Thriller
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SocSci - Social Science
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VM - Visionary & Metaphysical

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

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 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 2019 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 May 31, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite May 2019 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Cover by Will Staehle





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Jacket design by Owen Corrigan
Jacket photograph © Utro_na_more/iStock/Getty Images (glove);
From the New York Public Library (map)





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts
Jacket design by Erin Seaward-Hiatt
Jacket photograph: iStockphoto





2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts


2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts


There are 7 debut novels for May.

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

The May 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 May cover for the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on May 15, 2019.



W.M. Akers

Westside
Harper Voyager, May 7, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts
"Bracing, quite possibly hallucination-inducing, and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before…The illegitimate love child of Algernon Blackwood and Raymond Chandler.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Alienist meets The City & The City in this brilliant debut that mixes fantasy and mystery. Gilda Carr’s ‘tiny mysteries’ pack a giant punch." --David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder As a Fine Art

New York is dying, and the one woman who can save it has smaller things on her mind.

A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.

It’s 1921, and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway splits the island of Manhattan, separating the prosperous Eastside from the Westside—an overgrown wasteland whose hostility to modern technology gives it the flavor of old New York. Thousands have disappeared here, and the respectable have fled, leaving behind the killers, thieves, poets, painters, drunks, and those too poor or desperate to leave.

It is a hellish landscape, and Gilda Carr proudly calls it home.

Slightly built, but with a will of iron, Gilda follows in the footsteps of her late father, a police detective turned private eye. Unlike that larger-than-life man, Gilda solves tiny mysteries: the impossible puzzles that keep us awake at night; the small riddles that destroy us; the questions that spoil marriages, ruin friendships, and curdle joy. Those tiny cases distract her from her grief, and the one impossible question she knows she can’t answer: “How did my father die?”

Yet on Gilda’s Westside, tiny mysteries end in blood—even the case of a missing white leather glove. Mrs. Copeland, a well-to-do Eastside housewife, hires Gilda to find it before her irascible merchant husband learns it is gone. When Gilda witnesses Mr. Copeland’s murder at a Westside pier, she finds herself sinking into a mire of bootlegging, smuggling, corruption—and an evil too dark to face.

All she wants is to find one dainty ladies’ glove. She doesn’t want to know why this merchant was on the wrong side of town—or why he was murdered in cold blood. But as she begins to see the connection between his murder, her father’s death, and the darkness plaguing the Westside, she faces the hard truth: she must save her city or die with it.

Introducing a truly remarkable female detective, Westside is a mystery steeped in the supernatural and shot through with gunfights, rotgut whiskey, and sizzling Dixieland jazz. Full of dazzling color, delightful twists, and truly thrilling action, it announces the arrival of a wonderful new talent.





Daniel Findlay

Year of the Orphan
Arcade, May 21, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts
The Road meets Mad Max in this stunning debut with a gutsy, charismatic young female protagonist—for fans of Station 11, The Passage, and Riddley Walker.

In a post-apocalyptic future where survivors scavenge in the harsh Australian Outback for spoils from a buried civilization, a girl races across the desert, holding her treasures close, pursued by the Reckoner.

Riding her sand ship, living rough in the blasted landscape whose taint she carries in her blood, she scouts the broken infrastructure and trades her scraps at the only known settlement, a ramshackle fortress of greed, corruption, and disease known as the System. It is an outpost whose sole purpose is survival—refuge from the hulking, eyeless things they call Ghosts and other creatures that hunt beyond the fortress walls.

Sold as a child, then raised hard in the System, the Orphan has a mission. She carries secrets about the destruction that brought the world to its knees. And she's about to discover that the past still holds power over the present. Given an impossible choice, will the Orphan save the only home she knows or see it returned to dust? Both paths lead to blood, but whose will be spilled?

With propulsive pacing, a rich, broken language all its own, and a protagonist whose grit and charisma are matched by a relentless drive to know, The Year of the Orphan is a thriller of the future you won’t want to put down.





Fernando A. Flores

Tears of the Trufflepig
MCD x FSG Originals
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts
One of Lit Hub and The Millions's Most Anticipated Books of 2019 and one of Buzzfeed and Tor.com's Books to Read This Spring

“Funny, futuristic, phenomenal, Fernando A. Flores is from another galaxy. Fasten your seat belt. You are in for a stupendous ride.” ―Sandra Cisneros

A parallel universe. South Texas. Narcotics are legal and there’s a new contraband on the market: ancient Olmec artifacts, shrunken indigenous heads, and filtered animals—species of animals brought back from extinction to clothe, feed, and generally amuse the very wealthy. Esteban Bellacosa has lived in the border town of MacArthur long enough to know to keep quiet and avoid the dangerous syndicates who make their money through trafficking.

But his simple life starts to get complicated when the swashbuckling investigative journalist Paco Herbert invites him to come to an illegal underground dinner serving filtered animals. Bellacosa soon finds himself in the middle of an increasingly perilous, surreal, psychedelic journey, where he encounters legends of the long-disappeared Aranaña Indian tribe and their object of worship: the mysterious Trufflepig, said to possess strange powers.

Written with infectious verve, bold imagination, and oddball humor, Fernando A. Flores’s debut novel, Tears of the Trufflepig, is an absurdist take on life along the border, an ode to the myths of Mexican culture, a dire warning against the one percent’s determination to dictate society’s decline, and a nuanced investigation of loss. It’s also the perfect introduction for Flores: a wonderfully weird, staggeringly smart new voice in American fiction, and a mythmaker of the highest order.





Simeon Mills

The Obsoletes
Gallery Books, May 14, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts
The Obsoletes is a thought-provoking coming-of-age novel about two human-like teen robots navigating high school, basketball, and potentially life-threatening consequences if their true origins are discovered by the inhabitants of their intolerant 1980s Michigan hometown.

Fraternal twin brothers Darryl and Kanga are just like any other teenagers trying to make it through high school. They have to deal with peer pressure, awkwardness, and family drama. But there’s one closely guarded secret that sets them apart: they are robots. So long as they keep their heads down, their robophobic neighbors won’t discover the truth about them and they just might make it through to graduation.

But when Kanga becomes the star of the basketball team, there’s more at stake than typical sibling rivalry. Darryl—the worrywart of the pair—now has to work a million times harder to keep them both out of the spotlight. Though they look, sound, and act perfectly human, if anyone in their small, depressed Michigan town were to find out what they truly are, they’d likely be disassembled by an angry mob in the middle of their school gym.

Heartwarming and thrilling, Simeon Mills’s charming debut novel is a funny, poignant look at brotherhood, xenophobia, and the limits of one’s programming.





S. D. Nicholson

Mischief and Mayhem
Faerlands Chronicles 1
Koehler Books, May 24, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback, 238 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts
After lying dormant for centuries, a dark presence awakes and invades the realm of the Faers. While malicious forces quietly stir in the southern nation of the Meadows, Ophelia Maplewood, along with her companions from the Woodland Scouts, finds an unexpected human, new strength, and allies in the north. Will their journey bring balance to the homeland and prevent chaos from spreading to the other realms? Only time will tell. Part One of the Faerlands Chronicles.





Domenica Ruta

Last Day
Spiegal & Grau, May 28, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 272 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts
The fates of a cast of seemingly unconnected people converge during the celebration of an ancient holiday in a thought-provoking debut that brings to mind such novels as Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles.

In Domenica Ruta’s profoundly original novel, the end of the world comes once a year. Every May 28, humanity gathers to anticipate the planet’s demise—and to celebrate as if the day is truly its last.

On this holiday, three intersecting sets of characters embark on a possibly last-chance quest for redemption. In Boston, bookish wunderkind Sarah is looking for love and maybe a cosmic reversal from the much older Kurt, a tattoo artist she met at last year’s Last Day BBQ—but he’s still trying to make amends to the family he destroyed long ago. Dysfunctional Karen keeps getting into trouble, especially when the voices she’s been hearing coax her to abandon everything to search for her long-lost adoptive brother; her friend Rosette has left the Jehovah’s Witnesses to follow a new pastor at the Last Kingdom on Earth, where she brings Karen on this fateful day. Meanwhile, above them all, three astronauts on the International Space Station, Bear, an American; Russian Svec; and billionaire Japanese space tourist Yui, contemplate their lives as well as their precious Earth from afar.

With sparkling wit, verbal ingenuity, and wild imagination, Ruta has created an alternate world in which an ancient holiday brings into stark reflection our deepest dreams, desires, hopes, and fears. In this tour-de-force debut novel she has written a dazzling, haunting love letter to humanity and to our planet.





Henry Thomas

The Window and the Mirror
Oesteria and the War of Goblinkind 1
Rare Bird Books, May 14, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts
A captured soldier must escort a mysterious girl to a distant city to broker peace between two peoples poised on the brink of war. Left to die in a deep chasm, his commander stumbles on to a dark and powerful secret: how to harness the energy of men’s souls and bend them to his will. Is this the secret that Goblinkind has been hiding from the race of men? That all the shiny trinkets of the fabled Goblincrafters are powered by the trapped souls of humans? For Mage Imperator Rhael Lord Uhlmet, the lure of such power is irresistible, even if he must start a war to attain it.
Interview with Daniel Findlay, author of Year of the OrphanThe View From Monday - May 20, 20192019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May Debuts2019 Debut Author Challenge - May 2019 Debuts

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