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Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods


Please welcome Jay Schiffman to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Game of the Gods was published on July 10th by Tor Books.



Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods




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

Jay:  It was a fourth-grade poem about “progress.” I decided to write about farms and cities. I have it memorized, so here it goes:

Everything’s always moving.
There’s no time to stop.
No bench to sit on.
No one to grow crop.

Not a field, nor a meadow.
Not a tractor, just a car.
Everything’s always moving.
But we’re not going too far.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Jay:  83.67% pantser, 10.91% plotter, 5.42% unknown.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Jay:  In terms of the logistics of writing, time and place are important to me. I can be very finicky about the setting. Generally speaking, I like to write in the morning with a cup of coffee at my desk. I’m a creature of habit, so if you make me start writing in the afternoon, coming down from a caffeine high, sitting uncomfortably in a noisy restaurant, I probably won’t be productive.

In terms of the mechanics of writing, the biggest challenge is writing about things we all do every day. I have the literary luxury of rarely having to write a lot about characters washing their faces or eating toast, but sometimes it comes up even in a sci-fi action adventure like mine. The key is to avoid being cliché, while also conveying the truisms that underlie the most mundane aspects of life.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Jay:  I read a lot of science fiction, see a lot of science fiction movies, and watch a lot of science fiction television. So, obviously whatever is going on in science fiction, I’m influenced by it. But I am also a huge politics junkie. I am passionate about the current state of American politics—particularly the lack of truth, fact-based reasoning, and meaningful political discourse—and this has greatly influenced Game of the Gods. But even more importantly, it is strongly impacting what I want to write about next.



TQDescribe Game of the Gods with only 5 words.

JayA man fights for his family. (Sorry, six words, but I’m not great at math and writing is all about breaking rules).



TQTell us something about Game of the Gods that is not found in the book description.

JayGame of the Gods is a story about a flawed hero, Max Cone. His flaws are many, but one of his more interesting flaws is that he acts as though he’s completely detached, completely above it all. Max claims he abhors all of the trappings of power, including awards and titles, yet he wraps himself in them. Max’s identity is built on a set of rigid formalities—he’s a revered military Commander, an esteemed Judge, a leader who everyone believes is a man of great character. He is boxed-in not just by what others think, but what he believes they need him to be. But when his family is taken from him, these layers of detachment, duty, and convention slowly start to peel away and he begins to understand his true self.



TQWhat inspired you to write Game of the Gods? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?

Jay:  I grew up loving Kurt Vonnegut and reading everything he ever wrote. I also read all the great dystopian novelists—Huxley, Bradbury, Orwell to name a few. I didn’t necessarily start out writing Game of the Gods thinking it would be science fiction. But early on in the process, I realized I was writing in this rich tradition, and I came to understand that science fiction is the perfect vehicle for telling an action adventure that touches on big political issues. I mostly wanted to entertain people with a fast-moving plot with lots of twists and turns and political intrigue. Clearly, politics and the idea of the hero against the world were huge influences for me. But at the same time, I grew up reading science fiction novels and watching Steven Spielberg movies that were just fun. The “fun” part of sci-fi was a huge influence as well.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for Game of the Gods?

Jay:  One of the characters in my novel is a mathematical genius. I am not. Truth be told, calculus was an enormous struggle for me, and although my graduate studies required me to take statistics, game theory, and some calculus, I remembered very little of it. So, I wanted to make sure I understood the mathematical concepts that were addressed in the book—irrational numbers, pi, infinite numbers, etc. This same character also explains concepts relating to time and space, and I similarly had to do research on the scientific underpinning of those concepts. I didn’t read Einstein’s Theory of Relativity—it was more “Space & Time for Dummies”—but it did require me to hurt my brain a little.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Game of the Gods.

Jay:  The cover is a gloved hand reaching up to the heavens. It is an insignia that the leader of the Nation of Yerusalom, the Holy Father, used. It represents the idea of humankind reaching for the heavens.



TQIn Game of the Gods who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Jay:  Two of the most important characters in the book are the Holy Father, the religious and political leader of the Nation of Yerusalom, and Max Cone, a former military commander and High Judge in the Federacy. The Holy Father was the easiest to write while Max, the narrator and central figure in the story, was the hardest.

The Holy Father is a conniving, manipulative character whose intentions are hard to discern. But he articulates a clear and consistent view of the world. Although I purposefully wanted his motivations to be unclear to the reader, I also wanted him to speak with a singularly coherent and uniform voice. It was easy to write this character, because he was extremely disciplined and guarded in what he said to others.

To the contrary, Max, who narrates in the first person, freely shares his everchanging motivations with the reader. His views of the world are in flux and this presented a challenge for me. I wanted Max’s internal confusion and the instability in his beliefs to come through to the reader. This was at times challenging because I needed to balance Max’s core qualities with how he was adapting to new circumstances.



TQDoes Game of the Gods touch on any social issues?

JayGame of the Gods touches on a number of political and social issues, but one that I hope the reader thinks deeply about is the importance of family in comparison to the importance of religion, political affiliation, and other larger transcendent relationships. This theme permeates the book, and many of the characters have strong views on the role of family versus the role of larger institutions like nations or religions. There is no right answer to this polemic, but it’s one that I hope the reader considers.



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

Jay:

Q: Do you wish you did something different in terms of how you wrote Game of the Gods?

A: I am not the kind of person to generally look backwards, but I wish I had read Margaret Atwood’s 2017 introduction to The Handmaid’s Tale before I started writing Game of the Gods. I only read this new introduction recently. In it, Atwood describes a set of rules she created to guide her through the writing process. I wish I had made a similar set of rules. I have already started drafting a set of rules like this and will use it for my next novel.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Game of the Gods.

Jay:

“Trust comes slowly to most—especially those who have perfected the art of judgment.”
                                --The Holy Father to Judge Max Cone


“To win the Game of the Gods, men only need to know one thing. Gods need men more than men need gods.”
                                --Anther Vrig, Chancellor, National Freedom Force



TQWhat's next?

Jay:  I have a well-developed sequel in my mind, but at the same time, I am very interested on working on a new idea I have about gangs, religion, and politics in near future America. I am truly torn about which to write next, but I’m sure I will decide soon.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





Game of the Gods
Tor Books, July 10, 2018
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods
"The dystopian novel is alive and well in the blisteringly effective Game of the Gods. Jay Schiffman breathes life into a moribund genre and ends up crafting a sly, shrewd and stunning take on a darkly depraved future that is every bit the equal of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and the Divergent series. Schiffman's striking vision serves up a cloud-riddled tomorrow featuring just enough silver linings to provide hope to an otherwise bleak landscape. A must read for fans of classics like Judge Dredd and Doc Savage." --Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series

Jay Schiffman's Game of the Gods is a debut sci-fi/fantasy thriller of political intrigue and Speilberg-worthy action sequences in the vein of Pierce Brown's Red Rising.

Max Cone wants to be an ordinary citizen of the Federacy and leave war and politics behind. He wants the leaders of the world to leave him alone. But he’s too good a military commander, and too powerful a judge, to be left alone. War breaks out, and Max becomes the ultimate prize for the nation that can convince him to fight again.

When one leader gives the Judge a powerful device that predicts the future, the Judge doesn’t want to believe its chilling prophecy: The world will soon end, and he’s to blame. But bad things start to happen. His wife and children are taken. His friends are falsely imprisoned. His closest allies are killed. Worst of all, the world descends into a cataclysmic global war.

In order to find his family, free his friends, and save the world, the Judge must become a lethal killer willing to destroy anyone who stands in his way. He leads a ragtag band of warriors—a 13-year old girl with special powers, a mathematical genius, a religious zealot blinded by faith, and a former revolutionary turned drug addict. Together, they are the only hope of saving the world.





About Jay

Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods
Photo by Abbie Sophis
Jay grew up in an unremarkable New York City suburb playing basketball, watching Steven Spielberg movies, and reading everything that Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. As a kid, it was obvious what Jay’s two main passions were—writing and arguing. So, eventually, he would become a lawyer.

Jay went to the University of Michigan where he studied English and Political Science. After that, Jay received a law degree and Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University. He wrote his dissertation on competing theories of tolerance in American law and politics. He taught at NYU, published academic papers, and was a Bradley Fellow in American Government. Jay found the academic life a little too academic and so he committed himself to practicing law.

As an attorney, Jay worked on a wide variety of issues. He started as a Law Clerk to a United States Judge before joining his first firm. As a practicing attorney, Jay worked on civil rights, children’s issues, commercial litigation, constitutional law, criminal law, and federal death penalty cases. Towards the end of his legal career, he spent a lot of time visiting prisoners in detention centers. Jay worked many hours with individuals accused of murder and awaiting death penalty trials. In the confined spaces of these detention centers, he learned two important things—there’s a lot of humanity in people who do inhumane things and never take for granted the fact that you get to leave.

When his first daughter was born, Jay decided to leave law and start his first business, an educational learning company for children. A few years later, he sold that company to a large private equity firm. Jay had caught the entrepreneurial bug. Since founding his first company, Jay has been involved in a number of successful businesses in the digital, educational, technology, and consumer goods spaces.

Website  ~  Twitter @JaySchiffman  ~  Facebook

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2018 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 July 31, 2018, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be posted.


Vote for your favorite July 2018 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls



2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover artwork by Gregory Manchess
Design by Lisa Marie Pompilio





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art and design by Julia Lloyd





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover illustration by Greg Ruth





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art by Sam Weber





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art by Jackie Niam / Shutterstock.com





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art by Larry Rostant





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover design by Scott Richardson





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art is by Sebastien Hue





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover art by Lee Gibbons





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts

The View From Monday - July 9, 2018


Happy Monday!

There are 3 debuts this week:

Suicide Club: A Novel About Living by Rachel Heng;

An Ocean of Minutes by Theodora Lim;

and

Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman.

The View From Monday - July 9, 2018The View From Monday - July 9, 2018
The View From Monday - July 9, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

I Only Killed Him Once (Ray Electromatic Mysteries 3) by Adam Christopher;

William Shakespeare's Jedi the Last: Star Wars Part the Eighth by Ian Doescher;

Awaken the Darkness (Immortal Guardians 8) by Dianne Duvall;

Deep Roots (The Innsmouth Legacy 2) by Ruthanna Emrys;

Provenance by Ann Leckie is out in Trade Paperback;

The Truants by Lee Markham is out in Trade Paperback;

Rogue Souls (Soul Charmer 2) by Chelsea Mueller;

and

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore is out in Trade Paperback;

The View From Monday - July 9, 2018The View From Monday - July 9, 2018
The View From Monday - July 9, 2018The View From Monday - July 9, 2018
The View From Monday - July 9, 2018The View From Monday - July 9, 2018
The View From Monday - July 9, 2018The View From Monday - July 9, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - July 9, 2018



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

July 9, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Rogue Souls (e) Chelsea Mueller UF - Soul Charmer 2



July 10, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
River of Bones Taylor Anderson AH/SF - Destroyermen 13
Paternus: Wrath of Gods Dyrk Ashton F - The Paternus Trilogy 2
Heart of Granite James Barclay SF/F - Blood & Fire 1
A Grand Tour Collection: Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Tales of the Grand Tour, Powersat, Mercury, Titan, Mars Life, Leviathans of Jupiter, Farside, New Earth (e) Ben Bova SF/SO - Grand Tour Series
The Naming of the Beasts Mike Carey SupTh/Occ/Sup/UF/GH - Felix Castor 5
I Only Killed Him Once Adam Christopher SF/PI/Noir - Ray Electromatic Mysteries 3
Crusade Andy Clark SF - Black Library Summer Reading
The Final Frontier: Stories of Exploring Space, Colonizing the Universe, and First Contact Neil Clarke (Ed) SF - Anthology
The Rat Catchers' Olympics (h2tp) Colin Cotterill M/Cr/Hist/MR - A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery 12
Black Legion (h2tp) Aaron Dembski-Bowden SF - Black Legion 2
William Shakespeare's Jedi the Last: Star Wars Part the Eighth Ian Doescher SF/SO - William Shakespeare's Star Wars 8
Awaken the Darkness Dianne Duvall PNR - Immortal Guardians Series 8
Deep Roots Ruthanna Emrys SF/HistF - The Innsmouth Legacy 2
Resurrection (h2tp) John French SF - The Horusian Wars 1
The Lost Country William Gay Southern Gothic
Graveyard Mind Chadwick Ginther H/DF/GH/CF
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman Theodora Goss F - The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club 2
Suicide Club: A Novel About Living (D) Rachel Heng LF/Dys/FL
City of Secrets Nick Horth F - Black Library Summer Reading
Assault on Black Reach Nick Kyme SF - Black Library Summer Reading
Provenance (h2tp) Ann Leckie SF/HSF/SO
An Ocean of Minutes (D) Thea Lim LF
Ulrika the Vampire Nathan Long F - Warhammer Chronicles 7
The Truants (h2tp) Lee Markham H
A Wild Cards Collection: The Fort Freak Triad: Fort Freak, Lowball, High Stakes (e) George R. R. Martin SF/SH - Wild Cards
Metamorphica: Fiction Zachary Mason LF/LM
It's Not the End and Other Lies Matt Moore SF - Collection
Spinning Silver Naomi Novik F/FairyT
Reincarnation Blues (h2tp) Michael Poore CF/LF/FR
Hammerhal Josh Reynolds F - Black Library Summer Reading
Soul Wars Josh Reynolds F - Soul Wars 1
The Life and Adventures of Joaquí­n Murieta: The Celebrated California Bandit John Rollin Ridge Hispanic & Latino Fiction/FolkT/LM
Game of the Gods (D) Jay Schiffman SF/Dys
Infinity's End Jonathan Strahan (Ed) SF - Anthology
Death Of A Clone Alex Thomson SF
Sin of Damnation Gav Thorpe SF - Black Library Summer Reading
The Spin Saga Trilogy (e) Robert Charles Wilson SF/HSF/PA - Spin
Schisms James Wolanyk SF - Scribe Cycle 1
Wolf King Chris Wraight SF - Black Library Summer Reading
Halcyon Rio Yours SupTh



July 11, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Nothing Really Matters in Life More Than Love Agustí­n Fernández Paz
Pablo Auladell (Tr)
F - Anthology - Small Stations Fiction 14



July 12, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Steam Pump Jump (e) Jodi Taylor SF/TT - The Chronicles of St. Mary's



July 13, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Promise of Air/The Garden of Survival Algernon Blackwood LF/F



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



AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Woman
CyP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
Fict - Fiction
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humor
HuF - Humorous Fantasy
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
MU - Mash Up
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PI - Private Investigator
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
RF - Romantic Fantasy
RS - Romantic Suspense
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SS - Short Stories
SP - Steampunk
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


There are 12 debut novels for July.

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

The July debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite July cover for the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on July 15, 2018.

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 2018 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for July 2018. The list is correct as of the day posted.



TJ Berry

Space Unicorn Blues
The Reason 1
Angry Robot, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
A misfit crew race across the galaxy to prevent the genocide of magical creatures, in this unique science fiction debut.

Humanity joining the intergalactic community has been a disaster for Bala, the magical creatures of the galaxy: they’ve been exploited, enslaved and ground down for parts. Now the Century Summit is approaching, when humans will be judged by godlike aliens.

When Jenny Perata, disabled Maori shuttle captain, is contracted to take a shipment to the summit, she must enlist half-unicorn Gary Cobalt, whose horn powers faster-than-light travel. But he’s just been released from prison, for murdering the wife of Jenny’s co-pilot, Cowboy Jim… When the Reason regime suddenly enact laws making Bala property, Jenny’s ship becomes the last hope for magic.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Rocks in Space | Stand Up to Reason | The Human Experiment | Last Unicorn ]





Francesco Dimitri

The Book of Hidden Things
Titan Books, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook,

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.

A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can’t go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss’s daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, which promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.

Francesco Dimitri's first novel written in English, following his career as one of the most significant fantasy writers in Italy, will entrance fans of Elena Ferrante, Neil Gaiman and Donna Tartt. Set in the beguiling and seductive landscape of Southern Italy, this story is about friendship and landscape, love and betrayal; above all it is about the nature of mystery itself.





Sam Hawke

City of Lies
The Poison Wars 1
Tor Books, July 3, 2018
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 560 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Poison. Treachery. Ancient spirits. Sieges. The Poison Wars begin now, with City of Lies, a fabulous epic fantasy debut by Sam Hawke

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me...

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he's a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising...and angry.





Rachel Heng

Suicide Club: A Novel About Living
Henry Holt and Co., July 10, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
In Rachel Heng's debut set in near future New York City—where lives last three hundred years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.

Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.

But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead choose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.





Rich Larson

Annex
The Violet Wars 1
Orbit, July 24, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
In Rich Larson’s astonishing debut Annex, only outsiders can fight off the true aliens.

At first it is a nightmare. When the invaders arrive, the world as they know it is destroyed. Their friends are kidnapped. Their families are changed.

Then it is a dream. With no adults left to run things, Violet and the others who have escaped capture are truly free for the first time. They can do whatever they want to do. They can be whoever they want to be.

But the invaders won’t leave them alone for long…

This thrilling debut by one of the most acclaimed short form writers in science fiction tells the story of two young outsiders who must find a way to fight back against the aliens who have taken over her city.





Thea Lim

An Ocean of Minutes
Touchstone, July 10, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Station Eleven, a sweeping literary love story about two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

An Ocean of Minutes is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story about the endurance and complexity of human relationships and the cost of holding onto the past—and the price of letting it go.





Michael Mammay

Planetside
Harper Voyager, July 31, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
--“PLANETSIDE is a smart and fast-paced blend of mystery and boots-in-the-dirt military SF that reads like a high-speed collision between Courage Under Fire and Heart of Darkness.” – Marko Kloos, bestselling author of the Frontline series

--“Not just for military SF fans—although military SF fans will love it—Planetside is an amazing debut novel, and I’m looking forward to what Mammay writes next.” – Tanya Huff, author of the Confederation and Peacekeeper series

--“A tough, authentic-feeling story that starts out fast and accelerates from there.” – Jack Campbell, author of Ascendant

--“Definitely the best military sci-fi debut I’ve come across in a while.” – Gavin Smith, author of Bastard Legion and Age of Scorpio

A seasoned military officer uncovers a deadly conspiracy on a distant, war-torn planet…

War heroes aren't usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it's something big—and he's not being told the whole story. A high councilor's son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated—but there's no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command.

The colonel quickly finds Cappa Base to be a labyrinth of dead ends and sabotage: the hospital commander stonewalls him, the Special Ops leader won't come off the planet, witnesses go missing, radar data disappears, and that’s before he encounters the alien enemy. Butler has no choice but to drop down onto a hostile planet—because someone is using the war zone as a cover. The answers are there—Butler just has to make it back alive…





Christopher Ruocchio

Empire of Silence
Sun Eater 1
DAW, July 3, 2018
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 624 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.

It was not his war.

The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives—even the Emperor himself—against Imperial orders.

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.

Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.





Jay Schiffman 

Game of the Gods
Tor Books, July 10, 2018
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
"The dystopian novel is alive and well in the blisteringly effective Game of the Gods. Jay Schiffman breathes life into a moribund genre and ends up crafting a sly, shrewd and stunning take on a darkly depraved future that is every bit the equal of The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and the Divergent series. Schiffman's striking vision serves up a cloud-riddled tomorrow featuring just enough silver linings to provide hope to an otherwise bleak landscape. A must read for fans of classics like Judge Dredd and Doc Savage." --Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series

Jay Schiffman's Game of the Gods is a debut sci-fi/fantasy thriller of political intrigue and Speilberg-worthy action sequences in the vein of Pierce Brown's Red Rising.

Max Cone wants to be an ordinary citizen of the Federacy and leave war and politics behind. He wants the leaders of the world to leave him alone. But he’s too good a military commander, and too powerful a judge, to be left alone. War breaks out, and Max becomes the ultimate prize for the nation that can convince him to fight again.

When one leader gives the Judge a powerful device that predicts the future, the Judge doesn’t want to believe its chilling prophecy: The world will soon end, and he’s to blame. But bad things start to happen. His wife and children are taken. His friends are falsely imprisoned. His closest allies are killed. Worst of all, the world descends into a cataclysmic global war.

In order to find his family, free his friends, and save the world, the Judge must become a lethal killer willing to destroy anyone who stands in his way. He leads a ragtag band of warriors—a 13-year old girl with special powers, a mathematical genius, a religious zealot blinded by faith, and a former revolutionary turned drug addict. Together, they are the only hope of saving the world.





Nick Setchfield

The War in the Dark
Titan Books, July 17, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Europe. 1963. And the true Cold War is fought on the borders of this world, at the edges of the light.

When the assassination of a traitor trading with the enemy goes terribly wrong, British Intelligence agent Christopher Winter must flee London. In a tense alliance with a lethal, mysterious woman named Karina Lazarova, he’s caught in a quest for hidden knowledge from centuries before, an occult secret written in a language of fire. A secret that will give supremacy to the nation that possesses it.

Racing against the Russians, the chase takes them from the demon-haunted Hungarian border to treasure-laden tunnels beneath Berlin, from an impossible house in Vienna to a bomb-blasted ruin in Bavaria where something unholy waits, born of the power of white fire and black glass . . .

It’s a world of treachery, blood and magic. A world at war in the dark.





Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth
St. Martin's Press, July 17, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
“Best Summer Reads for 2018”—Publishers Weekly

A battle of wills between mother and daughter reveals the frailty and falsehood of familial bonds in award-winning playwright and filmmaker Zoje Stage’s tense novel of psychological suspense, Baby Teeth.

Afflicted with a chronic debilitating condition, Suzette Jensen knew having children would wreak havoc on her already fragile body. Nevertheless, she brought Hanna into the world, pleased and proud to start a family with her husband Alex. Estranged from her own mother, Suzette is determined to raise her beautiful daughter with the love, care, and support she was denied.

But Hanna proves to be a difficult child. Now seven-years-old, she has yet to utter a word, despite being able to read and write. Defiant and anti-social, she refuses to behave in kindergarten classes, forcing Suzette to homeschool her. Resentful of her mother’s rules and attentions, Hanna lashes out in anger, becoming more aggressive every day. The only time Hanna is truly happy is when she’s with her father. To Alex, she’s willful and precocious but otherwise the perfect little girl, doing what she’s told.

Suzette knows her clever and manipulative daughter doesn’t love her. She can see the hatred and jealousy in her eyes. And as Hanna’s subtle acts of cruelty threaten to tear her and Alex apart, Suzette fears her very life may be in grave danger…

“Unnerving and unputdownable, Baby Teeth will get under your skin and keep you trapped in its chilling grip until the shocking conclusion.”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline

We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Gone Girl meets The Omen...a twisty, delirious read that will constantly question your sympathies for the two characters as their bond continues to crumble.”—Entertainment Weekly

“A deliciously creepy read.”—New York Post

“A pulse-spiking thriller.”—PopSugar





Micah Yongo

Lost Gods
Angry Robot, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
In this extraordinary fantasy debut, a young assassin finds himself hunted by the brothers and sisters he has trained alongside since birth.

Neythan is one of five young warriors trained and raised together by a mysterious brotherhood of assassins known as the Shedaím. When Neythan is framed for the murder of his closest friend, he pursues his betrayer – and in so doing learns there’s far more to the Brotherhood, and the machinations of the rulers of the warring kingdoms, than he’d ever thought possible. His journey will lead him across the five realms, from the Forest of Silences to the Ash Plains of Calapaar, and reveal the breaches that lie beneath the world, and the hidden truths of his oath.

File Under: Fantasy [ Brothers at Arms | The Faceless Ones | Kings and Keepers | Creed of Assassins ]
Interview with Jay Schiffman, author of Game of the Gods2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July DebutsThe View From Monday - July 9, 20182018 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts

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