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Interview with Michelle Pretorius, author of The Monster's Daughter


Please welcome Michelle Pretorius to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Monster's Daughter will be published on July 19th by Melville House.



Interview with Michelle Pretorius, author of The Monster's Daughter




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

Michelle:  I started writing later in my life. I needed a change of direction, but didn’t quite know what to do, so I took a writing class and loved it. I always loved school so I decided to apply to an MFA program and got in. I realized that I had always had these story ideas, but didn’t know how to craft them into a novel. I guess that’s the value of formal writing training to me – it taught me to recognize good story ideas, and how to use them.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Michelle:  Definitely a pantser. I like to go on a journey with my characters, throw them in a situation, and see what happens. Writing a novel takes a long time, and new events and experiences are constantly influencing the way I think about the plot and characters. I had a vague idea where I wanted the novel to end when I started writing it, but no idea how I would get there. I sometimes had nightmares about tying up all the narrative threads I had introduced. I ended up changing major plot points several time along the way as I discovered new things in my research. Many times meeting a new person, or a small incident observed on the street, would change the way I saw a character or plot point in the novel. You always have to leave yourself open to the possibility of change while writing. I admire people who can plot out a whole novel before writing it, but for me it would dull the excitement of discovery.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Michelle:  To recognize that it is work, hard work, and that inspiration is a very small part of the process. To sit down every day, get rid of all the doubts and excuses, and put words to paper, no matter what, is always a challenge. I have to have a routine. I also have to remind the little perfectionist on my shoulder that this first draft doesn’t matter. That I can rework it and change it before anyone sees it. It’s always easier to make a draft better once you have something to work with, but getting that first draft out is a difficult process. Writing is about making decisions, decisions about your characters, setting, plot, etc. and you have to get rid of the notion that there is only one right answer and that you cannot go back and change it. I cut or rewrote almost as many pages as have remained in the final draft of The Monster’s Daughter, and it was sometimes tough to let them go, but I have to admit that the book is definitely better without them.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Michelle:  I try to read a lot and about a variety of subjects. I obviously love reading fiction, especially crime novels, but I’m also very interested in science and history. I love it when seemingly disparate elements converge in a novel and the expectation of genre lines gets blurred. Place is also a strong factor. I didn’t really have a clear sense of the story I wanted to tell until I visited friends who live in the mountains on a very isolated farm in South Africa. All of a sudden I could see this germ of an idea that I’d been carrying around for a while take root in this environment.



TQDescribe The Monster's Daughter in 140 characters or less.

Michelle:  Constable Alet Berg discovers a burned body on an isolated South African farm and discovers how her own past is connected to the murder.



TQTell us something about The Monster's Daughter that is not found in the book description.

Michelle:  History shapes our lives, the way we exist in the present, and interact with the people around us, whether we realize it or not. The Monster’s Daughter takes its characters, and us as readers, on a journey to discover that past, so that we may understand how we are connected to it in the present.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Monster's Daughter?

Michelle:  I grew up in apartheid-era South Africa which meant that the government controlled information in the media and censored all reading materials and information. History lessons in school were skewed towards the religious justification of white rule. Once I left South Africa, I realized that I didn’t know very much about my country’s real history. I started doing a lot of reading on the subject, and the more I read, the more upset and ashamed I became. I wanted to tell the story, not as a history lesson about people in power, but as a piece of fiction from the perspective of the people who lived under apartheid, both black and white. Fiction has the ability to create empathy because it puts you in the head of another person. I wanted to use this powerful tool as a way of exploring the past with my reader, a way of understanding the people of the country’s beliefs, motivations, experiences, and suffering.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Monster's Daughter?

Michelle:  I did a lot of reading! Many books on the subject were out of print, so I owe a great debt to libraries for finding them for me. I went to South Africa to experience specific places and the people of the areas I was writing about, and to find other sources that were only available in Afrikaans and therefore impossible to find in the US. I also watched many documentaries about the country, both historical and investigative. Apart from the history, I had to research genetics, medical technology, vigilantism, necklacings, burn pathology, interrogational torture techniques, aging, crime, camphor poisoning, and host of other things that would probably make strangers looking at my browsing history very suspicious.



TQIn The Monster's Daughter who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Michelle:  Alet and Mathebe were both easy to write. Once I had a clear idea of who they were, they just took over. I believe that all characters are rooted in the personality and views of the author, there’s no getting away from it. Even though the two of them seem very different, they have a lot in common as well. When I have difficulty writing a character, I know it’s because I am only thinking about their function in the story, and haven’t envisioned them as real people yet. In the beginning of writing the novel, I had some trouble writing the black characters, not because I didn’t think of them as real people, but because I desperately wanted to get it right and do them justice. The fear of getting it wrong almost crippled my writing. I had to remember that, even in a world where difference is constantly being put under a microscope, people are a lot more alike than different.



TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Monster's Daughter?

Michelle:  It is impossible to write honestly about South Africa without including the issue of racism and the aftermath of colonization. They are pervasive elements in the country’s history and part of the root cause of its current social problems. I wanted to understand why and how apartheid happened, and also what its legacy is for the people of the country. South Africa is a great setting for a crime novel, but I wanted the solving of that crime to be a vehicle for addressing the larger picture of what is happening in the country, and to some extent in the world at large.



TQWhich question about The Monster's Daughter do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Michelle:  Why I chose to include a science fiction aspect in the novel.

As I mentioned, I’m fascinated by science, especially genetics. I’m a big science fiction fan, although I tend to gravitate towards “mundane” sci-fi. I like the idea of speculative fiction that can, by some strange twist of circumstances, or further research and understanding, become reality. To discuss the issue of apartheid and race, I wanted to have characters that could bear witness to the century unfolding, that were present as history made its twists and turns. To bring the issue of race into the fold, I wanted them to actually be superior humans, whereas the white South Africans only believed themselves to be. And so, Tessa and Benjamin were born, not through the specific intent of a mad doctor, but because of a strange confluence of events that were beyond human control.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Monster's Daughter.

Michelle:  “Johannesburg hazed like a gray dream in the late afternoon, a smoky mirage. Around Tessa, lines of color divided the masses of people trying to eat, breathe, and live, going home to separate areas. Would it fall one day, this city of Gomorrah? Would she alone be standing at the end, eternally a child, and know the truth about misery and the consequences of hate? See the result of their toils, of their poverty, of their greed, while they lived only for what today offered? The loneliness of that future ripped at her.”



TQWhat's next?

Michelle:  I’m busy researching and writing a second novel, a sequel if you will. The Monster’s Daughter dealt with over a hundred years of history, primarily investigating the how and why of apartheid. For the second novel, I’d like to focus on what happened post-apartheid. The New South Africa showed so much promise in 1994, but twenty-two years later, the same social inequalities are still present in the country, along with increasing violent criminality. I think the why and how of that is worth exploring further.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michelle:  Thank you so much for having me!





The Monster's Daughter
Melville House, July 19, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

Interview with Michelle Pretorius, author of The Monster's Daughter
Somewhere on the South African veld, 1901: At the height of the Boer War, a doctor at a British concentration camp conducts a series of grim experiments on Boer prisoners. His work ends in chaos, but two children survive: a boy named Benjamin and a girl named Tessa . . .

One hundred years later, a disgraced young police constable is reassigned to the sleepy South African town of Unie, where she makes a terrifying discovery: the body of a young woman, burned beyond recognition.

The crime soon leads her into her country’s violent past—a past that includes her father, a high-ranking police official under the apartheid regime, and the children left behind in that long-ago concentration camp.

Michelle Pretorius’s epic debut weaves present and past together into a hugely suspenseful, masterfully plotted thriller. With an explosive conclusion, The Monster’s Daughter marks the emergence of a thrilling new writer.





About Michelle

Interview with Michelle Pretorius, author of The Monster's Daughter
MICHELLE PRETORIUS was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She has written for Bookslut, Word Riot, and the Copperfield Review, among other publications. She received an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago and is currently a PhD student at Ohio University.

Website  ~  Facebook
Twitter @MLPretorius  ~  Instagram


The View From Monday - July 18, 2016


Happy Monday!

There are 3 Debuts this week:

The Race by Nina Allan;

The Dragon Round by Stephen S. Power;

and

The Monster's Daughter by Michelle Pretorious.

The View From Monday - July 18, 2016The View From Monday - July 18, 2016
The View From Monday - July 18, 2016
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to that novel's Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Nightshades: A Paranormal Thriller by Melissa F. Olson;

and

Sacrifices (Arcane Underworld 3) by Jamie Schultz.

The View From Monday - July 18, 2016The View From Monday - July 18, 2016
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to that novel's Amazon page.



The View From Monday - July 18, 2016


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



July 18, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Unwanted (e) Jennifer Estep UF - Elemental Assassin Novella
Not So Much, Said the Cat (e) Michael Swanwick SF - Collection



July 19, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Race (D) Nina Allan SF
The Hunt for Vulkan David Annandale SF - The Beast Arises 7
Ghost Run J. L. Bourne H/Z/Th/AP - Day by Day Armageddon 4
Imprudence Gail Carriger SP - The Custard Protocol 2
Warrior King Evan Currie SF/SO - Odyssey One 5
The Sunlight Pilgrims Jenni Fagan CoA/Psy/Dys
The Dragon Lords: Fool's Gold Jon Hollins F - The Dragon Lords 1
Nightshades: A Paranormal Thriller Melissa F. Olson PTh/UF
The Dragon Round (D) Stephen S. Power F
The Monster's Daughter (D) Michelle Pretorius HistTh/Pol/M
The Secret Language of Stones M. J. Rose Hist - The Daughters of La Lune 2
Sacrifices (e) Jamie Schultz UF - Arcane Underworld 3
The Plagues of Orath Cavan Scott
Steve Lyons
Graeme Lyon
SF - Space Marine Battles
Orbs II: Stranded Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/Th/AC - Orbs 2
Hell Divers Nicholas Sansbury Smith SF/AP/PA - Hell Divers 1
Fallout: The Hot War Harry Turtledove AH/SF - The Hot War 2



July 20, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
By Bizarre Hands (ri) Joe R. Lansdale  H - Dover Horror Classics
Something Happened Here, But We're Not Quite Sure What It Was: A Tor.Com Original (e) Paul McAuley SF



July 22, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Whistling Past the Graveyard Jonathan Maberry H - Collection



D - Debut
e - eBook
ri - reissue or reprint



AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CM - Cozy Mystery
Cr - Crime
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
GB - Genre Bender
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost
GN - Graphic Novel
GO - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HU - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Noir - Noir
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
R - Romance
RR - Regency Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
Z - Zombies

Note: Not all of these genres are represented in the book above.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


2016 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 2016 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 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 30, 2016.


Vote for your favorite July 2016 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Jacket Art: Stephan Martiniere
Jacket Design: Peter Lutjen




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Design: Lauren Panepinto
Cover Images (c) Arcangel Images, Shutterstock




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover artist: Gene Mollica




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Artist: Chris Panatier




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover artist: Will Staehle




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Book design: Donna Sinisgalli




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover: David Stevenson




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Art: Julia Lloyd




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Jacket Design: Jake Nicolella
Jacket Photograph: (trees) Gallinago_media/Shutterstock


2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts



There are 15 debut novels for July including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Horror, 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 July cover for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on July 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 July 2016 The list is correct as of the day posted.




Nina Allan

The Race
Titan Books, July 19, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
A child is kidnapped with consequences that extend across worlds… A writer reaches into the past to discover the truth about a possible murder… Far away a young woman prepares for her mysterious future…

In a future scarred by fracking and ecological collapse, Jenna Hoolman’s world is dominated by illegal smartdog racing: greyhounds genetically modified with human DNA. When her young niece goes missing that world implodes... Christy’s life is dominated by fear of her brother, a man she knows capable of monstrous acts and suspects of hiding even darker ones. Desperate to learn the truth she contacts Alex, who has his own demons to fight… And Maree, a young woman undertaking a journey that will change her world forever.




Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching
The Hatching Series 1
Atria/Emily Bestler Book, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
“An apocalyptic extravaganza of doom and heroism…addictive.” —Publishers Weekly

“It’s been too long since someone reminded us that spiders are not just to be feared, but also may well spell doom for mankind. Fortunately, Ezekiel Boone has upped the ante on arachnophobia. This is a fresh take on classic horror, thoroughly enjoyable and guaranteed to leave your skin crawling.” —Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead

An astonishingly inventive and terrifying debut novel about the emergence of an ancient species, dormant for over a thousand years, and now on the march.

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.




Bill Broun

Night of the Animals
Ecco, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 560 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
An imaginative debut that brilliantly recasts the tale of Noah’s Ark as a story of fate and family set in the near future in London

Over the course of a single night in 2052, a homeless man named Cuthbert Handley sets out on an astonishing quest: to release the animals of the London Zoo. When he was a young boy, Cuthbert’s grandmother told him he inherited a magical ability to communicate with the animal world—a gift she called the Wonderments. Ever since his older brother’s death in childhood, Cuthbert has heard voices. These maddening whispers must be the Wonderments, he believes, and recently they have promised to reunite him with his lost brother and bring about the coming of a Lord of Animals . . . if he fulfills this curious request.

Cuthbert flickers in and out of awareness throughout his desperate pursuit. But his grand plan is not the only thing that threatens to disturb the collective unease of the city. Around him is greater turmoil, as the rest of the world anxiously anticipates the rise of a suicide cult set on destroying the world’s animals along with themselves. Meanwhile, Cuthbert doggedly roams the zoo, cutting open the enclosures, while pressing the animals for information about his brother.

Just as this unlikely yet loveable hero begins to release the animals, the cult’s members flood the city’s streets. Has Cuthbert succeeded in harnessing the power of the Wonderments, or has he only added to the chaos—and sealed these innocent animals’ fates? Night of the Animals is an enchanting and inventive tale that explores the boundaries of reality, the ghosts of love and trauma, and the power of redemption.




Indra Das

The Devourers
Del Rey, July 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 360 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
For readers of Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, and David Mitchell comes a striking debut novel by a storyteller of keen insight and captivating imagination.

On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins.

From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok’s interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent.

Shifting dreamlike between present and past with intoxicating language, visceral action, compelling characters, and stark emotion, The Devourers offers a reading experience quite unlike any other novel.




Jennifer David Hesse

Midsummer Night's Mischief
A Wiccan Wheel Mystery 1
Kensington, July 26, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
As the Summer Solstice approaches in idyllic Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni isn't feeling the magic. She's about to land in a cauldron of hot water at work. Good thing she has her private practice to fall back on--as a Wiccan. She'll just have to summon her inner Goddess and set the world to rights. . .

Midsummer Eve is meant for gratitude and celebration, but Keli is not in her typically upbeat mood. The family of a recently deceased client is blaming her for the loss of a Shakespearean heirloom worth millions, and Keli's career may be on the line. With both a Renaissance Faire and a literary convention in town, Edindale is rife with suspicious characters, and the intrepid attorney decides to tap into her unique skills to crack the case. . .

But Keli weaves a tangled web when her investigation brings her up-close and personal with her suspects--including sexy Wes Callahan, her client's grandson. The tattooed bartender could be the man she's been looking for in more ways than one. As the sun sets on the mystical holiday, Keli will need just a touch of the divine to ferret out the real villain and return Edindale, and her heart, to a state of perfect harmony. . ..




David D. Levine

Arabella of Mars
The Adventures of Arabella Ashby 1
Tor Books, July 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, he proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in a flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby, a young woman who is perfectly content growing up in the untamed frontier. But days spent working on complex automata with her father or stalking her brother Michael with her Martian nanny is not the proper behavior of an English lady. That is something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

However, when events transpire that threaten her home on Mars, Arabella decides that sometimes doing the right thing is far more important than behaving as expected. She disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company, where she meets a mysterious captain who is intrigued by her knack with clockwork creations. Now Arabella just has to weather the naval war currently raging between Britain and France, learn how to sail, and deal with a mutinous crew…if she hopes to save her family remaining on Mars.

Arabella of Mars, the debut novel by Hugo-winning author David D. Levine offers adventure, romance, political intrigue, and Napoleon in space!




Beth Lewis

The Wolf Road
Crown, July 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
ELKA BARELY REMEMBERS a time before she knew Trapper. She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he’s taught her how to survive in this desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other.

But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He’s a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim.

Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper’s drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn’t left Trapper behind—and he won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she’s going to survive, Elka will have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about the dark road she’s been set on.

The Wolf Road is an intimate cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and redemption, played out against a vast, unforgiving landscape—told by an indomitable young heroine fighting to escape her past and rejoin humanity.




Tiffany McDaniel

The Summer That Melted Everything
St. Martin's Press, July 26, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.




K.S. Merbeth

Bite
Orbit, July 26, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Kid is trying to survive in a world gone mad.

Hungry, thirsty and alone in a desert wasteland, she's picked up on the side of the road by Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy - outlaws with big reputations and even bigger guns.

But as they journey across the wild together, Kid learns that her newfound crew may not be the heroes she was hoping for. And in a world that's lost its humanity, everyone has a bit of monster within them...




Alexandra Oliva

The Last One
Ballantine Books, July 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.




Paige Orwin

The Interminables
Angry Robot, July 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
It’s 2020, and a magical cataclysm has shattered reality as we know it. Now a wizard’s cabal is running the East Coast of the US, keeping a semblance of peace.

Their most powerful agents, Edmund and Istvan — the former a nearly immortal 1940s-era mystery man, the latter, well, a ghost — have been assigned to hunt down an arms smuggling ring that could blow up Massachusetts.

Turns out the mission’s more complicated than it seemed. They discover a shadow war that’s been waged since the world ended, and, even worse, they find out that their own friendship has always been more complicated than they thought. To get out of this alive, they’ll need to get over their feelings, their memories, and the threat of a monstrous foe who’s getting ready to commit mass murder…

File Under: Fantasy [ After the Cataclysm / Thief and Surgeon / Your Best Nightmare / Haunting the Ghost ]




Stephen S. Power

The Dragon Round
Simon 451 / Simon & Schuster, July 19, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
A swashbuckling adventure with a dark side for fans of George R.R. Martin and Naomi Novik—when a ship captain is stranded on a deserted island by his mutinous crew, he finds a baby dragon that just might be the key to his salvation…and his revenge.

He only wanted justice. Instead he got revenge.

Jeryon has been the captain of the Comber for over a decade. He knows the rules. He likes the rules. But not everyone on his ship agrees. After a monstrous dragon attacks the galley, the surviving crewmembers decide to take the ship for themselves and give Jeryon and his self-righteous apothecary “the captain’s chance”: a small boat with no rudder, no sails, and nothing but the clothes on his back to survive on the open sea.

Fighting for their lives against the elements, Jeryon and his companion land on an island that isn’t as deserted as they originally thought. They find a baby dragon that, if trained, could be their way home. But as Jeryon and the dragon grow closer, the captain begins to realize that even if he makes it off the island, his old life won't be waiting for him and in order get justice, he’ll have to take it for himself.

From a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and speculative short story writer, The Dragon Round combines a rich world, desperate characters, and gorgeous, literary fiction into a timeless tale of revenge. 




Michelle Pretorius

The Monster's Daughter
Melville House, July 19, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Somewhere on the South African veld, 1901: At the height of the Boer War, a doctor at a British concentration camp conducts a series of grim experiments on Boer prisoners. His work ends in chaos, but two children survive: a boy named Benjamin and a girl named Tessa . . .

One hundred years later, a disgraced young police constable is reassigned to the sleepy South African town of Unie, where she makes a terrifying discovery: the body of a young woman, burned beyond recognition.

The crime soon leads her into her country’s violent past—a past that includes her father, a high-ranking police official under the apartheid regime, and the children left behind in that long-ago concentration camp.

Michelle Pretorius’s epic debut weaves present and past together into a hugely suspenseful, masterfully plotted thriller. With an explosive conclusion, The Monster’s Daughter marks the emergence of a thrilling new writer.




Hayley Stone

Machinations
Machinations 1
Hydra, July 26, 2016
eBook, 374 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.




Jen Williams

The Copper Promise
Copper Cat 1
Angry Robot, July 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
There are some tall stories about the caverns beneath the Citadel – about magic and mages and monsters and gods.

Wydrin of Crosshaven has heard them all, but she’s spent long enough trawling caverns and taverns with her companion Sir Sebastian to learn that there’s no money to be made in chasing rumours.
But then a crippled nobleman with a dead man’s name offers them a job: exploring the Citadel’s darkest depths. It sounds like just another quest with gold and adventure … if they’re lucky, they might even have a tale of their own to tell once it’s over.

These reckless adventurers will soon learn that sometimes there is truth in rumour. Sometimes a story can save your life.

File Under: Fantasy


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Monster's Daughter by Michelle Pretorius


2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Monster's Daughter by Michelle Pretorius


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


Michelle Pretorius

The Monster's Daughter
Melville House, July 19, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Monster's Daughter by Michelle Pretorius
Somewhere on the South African veld, 1901: At the height of the Boer War, a doctor at a British concentration camp conducts a series of grim experiments on Boer prisoners. His work ends in chaos, but two children survive: a boy named Benjamin and a girl named Tessa . . .

One hundred years later, a disgraced young police constable is reassigned to the sleepy South African town of Unie, where she makes a terrifying discovery: the body of a young woman, burned beyond recognition.

The crime soon leads her into her country’s violent past—a past that includes her father, a high-ranking police official under the apartheid regime, and the children left behind in that long-ago concentration camp.

Michelle Pretorius’s epic debut weaves present and past together into a hugely suspenseful, masterfully plotted thriller. With an explosive conclusion, The Monster’s Daughter marks the emergence of a thrilling new writer.

Interview with Michelle Pretorius, author of The Monster's DaughterThe View From Monday - July 18, 20162016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts2016 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts2016 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Monster's Daughter by Michelle Pretorius

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