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Interview with Rena Rossner, author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood


Please welcome Rena Rossner to The Qwillery. The Sisters of the Winter Wood is now out in Trade Paperback from Redhook.



Interview with Rena Rossner, author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood




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

Rena:  I think I was in second grade, and it was a story about a bunny named Jenny LaHare. (There was also a real Jenny LaHare – a stuffed rabbit dressed in a pink flowered bonnet and dress and pinafore, who slept in my bed every night. I think I named her after my sister’s best friend Jen Levine…)



TQ Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Rena:  I am a pantser and it is both a blessing and a curse. I am insanely jealous of authors who can plot out their novels – and authors who can plot in general. For me, my best work happens when I least expect it, and it is precisely when I decide exactly what will happen in a scene that my characters decide to do something completely different. But somehow, those are also the best moments – the places where magic happens. It’s really hard to trust yourself, to trust your subconscious, but it’s really what I’ve learned that I must do.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Rena:  The most challenging thing for me about writing is plotting – I really love to let the story take me where it will, but that often means that my plots need work. I am much more invested in the lyricism of my sentences – the “prettiness” of the writing, than I am in the actual plot of the story, so I often have to force myself to focus, and that’s really hard. I also write really slowly, so I’m majorly envious of writers who can put down thousands of words in a session, while for me, every 100 words feel like a major victory.



TQDescribe The Sisters of the Winter Wood using only 5 words.

Rena:  A Jewish fairy tale about sisters. (That’s 5 if you don’t count the “A”!)



TQTell us something about The Sisters of the Winter Wood that is not found in the book description.

Rena:  There are moments when the forest comes alive, and also where things characters see in the woods are not exactly the reality. Those were some of the parts I enjoyed writing the most.



TQWhat appeals to you about writing Historical Fantasy?

Rena:  Two things: One, that it is a space where I can re-insert women into the story. Most of history has been written by men, and in seeking testimony and stories about what life was like in Dubossary (the town my mother’s father’s family came from, on the border of Moldova and Ukraine,) in the late 1800s and early 1900s, nearly all the stories I was able to find were either by men or about men. But I know that were women there, and I know that they had stories to tell, that some of them were certainly heroines in their own right. But their stories were lost to me – their stories are lost to us. One of the only ways that we can get those stories back (after doing copious amounts of research into what was, and what might have been,) is to imagine them. And secondly, fantasy is a place where we can rewrite history. It is only in fairy tales and fantasy where anything can happen – heroes can become villains and villains get the chance to redeem themselves. It’s a really important space, because it can help us make sense of our present, and find ways to make sure that if we are faced with a similar situation, we may have the tools or the power to make different choices – to ensure a different outcome.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Sisters of the Winter Wood?

Rena:  I didn’t know much about the history of the real town of Dubossary when I first started out. I was simply looking for a place to set my tale, and I decided to start reading some of my family’s genealogy books (which I had never read before.) I found a poem online that was part of the Dubossary Yizkor (Memorial) book that echoed some of Goblin Market, it mentioned that the town was full of orchards and vineyards, berries, grapes, pears, apples, and melons, and I knew where I had to set my book. I also discovered, via that Yizkor Book but also via family testimory, that the Jews from that town fought back and made sure that a pogrom didn’t happen there. But it didn’t last. Starting in September 1941, the Nazis came to Dubossary and forced 600 Jews into the main synagogue and burnt it to the ground, after which they systematically wiped out the entire Jewish population. Today, there are 18,000 Jews buried in mass graves in the forests surround the town and only about 100-150 Jews left from the town. It is a bittersweet tale, and I read many many words of testimony from survivors who grew up in Dubossary in order to be able to bring the story to life. I wanted to bring to life the shtetl as it was before tragedy befell the town, to tell a story of courage, resistance and resilience, not a tale of tragedy.



TQDo have a favorite folk or fairy tale?

Rena:  I think that GOBLIN MARKET is certainly my favorite fairy tale, which is why I spent so many years thinking about to write a re-telling. But I am also definitely partial to The Twelve Dancing Princesses – I once write a kind of twisted short story based on that tale…



TQ In The Sisters of the Winter Wood who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Rena:  Liba was the easiest character for me to write, because she is the most like me. I struggled with Dovid the most. I wanted to strike the perfect balance between his naivete and his sweetness, but also to give him a backbone and to find a way for him to come into his own.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

Rena:

“She didn’t waste her time trying to smooth herself into something she wasn’t. She was powerful because she forged her own path.”


“If you want to know the history of a town, read the gravestones in its cemetery.”


“Sometimes even the smallest voice can have a big opinion.”


“That’s what the forest teaches you – change can come in the blink of an eye – the fall of one spark can mean total destruction.”


“Mami always says that fairy tales are real. With my head in my swan-mother’s lap,I start to believe – and I wonder which tale is ours.”



TQWhat's next?

Rena:  I’m working on another fairy tale retelling that will also be based on my family history but this time set in Romania - part Hansel and Gretel, part Boys with Golden Stars (a Romanian fairy tale,) and it features a girl who falls in love with a star. It’s another story about sisters, and it’s a story about how we tell stories, and how those stories change us.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery!





The Sisters of Winter Wood
Redhook, June 18, 2019
Trade Paperback, 480 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 25, 2018

Interview with Rena Rossner, author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Captivating and boldly imaginative, with a tale of sisterhood at its heart, Rena Rossner’s debut fantasy invites you to enter a world filled with magic, folklore, and the dangers of the woods.

“With luscious and hypnotic prose, Rena Rossner tells a gripping, powerful story of family, sisterhood, and two young women trying to find their way in the world.” –Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles and Circe

In a remote village surrounded by vast forests on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have been raised on the honeyed scent of their Mami’s babka and the low rumble of their Tati’s prayers. But when a troupe of mysterious men arrives, Laya falls under their spell – despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And this is not the only danger lurking in the woods.

As dark forces close in on their village, Liba and Laya discover a family secret passed down through generations. Faced with a magical heritage they never knew existed, the sisters realize the old fairy tales are true…and could save them all.





About Rena

Interview with Rena Rossner, author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Photo by Tomer Rottenberg
Rena Rossner lives in Israel, where she works as a literary agent. All eight of her great grandparents immigrated to America to escape the pogroms, from towns like Dubossary and Kupel. It is their story, together with her love of Jewish mythology and fantasy, which inspired her to write The Sisters of the Winter Wood.








Website  ~  Twitter @renarossner

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The View From Monday - September 24, 2018


Happy Monday!

There are 2 debuts this week:

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green;

and

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner.

The View From Monday - September 24, 2018 The View From Monday - September 24, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Game of Luck (A Felicia Sevigny Novel 3) by Catherine Cerveny;

Dishonored - The Veiled Terror by Adam Christopher;

Bells, Spells, and Murders (A Witch City Mystery 7) by Carol J. Perry;

and

Vengeful (Villains 2) by V.E. Schwab.

The View From Monday - September 24, 2018 The View From Monday - September 24, 2018
The View From Monday - September 24, 2018 The View From Monday - September 24, 2018
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - September 24, 2018



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

September 24, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Iron Devils (Ke) Ari Marmell SF/Dys/DF
Tales of an Extraordinary Girl Complete Collection: Playing with Fire\Twice as Hot (e) Gena Showalter FR - Tales of an Extraordinary Girl 1



September 25, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Pagan Night (tp2mm) Tim Akers F - Hallowed War 1
Barren Peter V. Brett F - Demon Cycle
Children of the Fleet (h2mm) Orson Scott Card SF/SO - Fleet School 1
The Game of Luck Catherine Cerveny SFR/SO - A Felicia Sevigny Novel 3
Dishonored - The Veiled Terror Adam Christopher MTS/SF/SP
The Monster Hunter Files (h2tp) Larry Correia (Ed)
Bryan Thomas Schmidt (Ed)
CF - Monster Hunter Anthology
The Ghost and the Bogus Best Seller Cleo Coyle PCM/GH - A Haunted Bookshop Mystery 6
Phoenix Unbound Grace Draven FR/P - The Fallen Empire 1
The Killing Joke Christa Faust
Gary Phillips
MTI/SH/Cr - Batman
Challenger's Hope (ri) David Feintuch SF/AC - The Seafort Saga 2
Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne Deluxe Edition David Gaider F - Dragon Age
Beowulf (h2tp) Santiago Garcia
David Rubin (Artist)
F/GN
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (D) Hank Green CoA/SF/CF
The Gates of Tagmeth (tp2mm) P.C. Hodgell F - Kencyrath
Original Syn Beth Kander SF - Original/Syn 1
Downright Dead Pamela Kopfler PCM - A B&B Spirits Mystery 2
A Scandal in Battersea (h2mm) Mercedes Lackey HistF/FairyT/FolkT/LM - Elemental Masters 12
Cross Breed Lora Leigh PNR/SFR/GenEng - Breeds 32
A Glimmer of Hope (h2tp) Steve McHugh UF - The Avalon Chronicles 1
The Mongrel Mage (h2mm) L. E. Modesitt Jr. F - Saga of Recluce 19
Burning Sky Weston Ochse SF/H
Bells, Spells, and Murders Carol J. Perry PCM - A Witch City Mystery 7
A Rival From the Grave Seabury Quinn F/Occ/Sup - The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin 4
Star Trek Shipyards Star Trek Starships: 2151-2293 The Encyclopedia of Starfleet Ships Ben Robinson
Marcus Reily
PerfArts/SF
The Sisters of the Winter Wood (D) Rena Rossner HistF/FairyT/FolkT/LM/CoA
Vengeful V. E. Schwab SH/P - Villains 2
Zero-G: Green Space (h2tp) William Shatner
Jeff Rovin
SF/HSF - The Samuel Lord Series 2
All Flesh Is Grass (ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
The Werewolf Principle (ri) Clifford D. Simak S
Time and Again (ri) Clifford D. Simak SF
The Electric State Simon Stålenhag SF/AP/PA
Split Tooth Tanya Tagaq Bio/MR
Deepest Blue Mindy Tarquini FairyT/Folkt/LM/MR
Zion's Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Speculative Literature Sheldon Teitelbaum (Ed)
Emanuel Lottem (Ed)
SpecFic - Anthology
Forged in Blood (h2mm) Michael Z. Williamson (Ed) SF - Freehold Anthology



September 27, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Doctor Who:The Women Who Lived True Tales of: Brilliant Women from across Time & Space (e) Christel Dee
Simon Guerrier
SF - Doctor Who



September 28, 2018
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Babylon Terminal (e) Greg F. Gifune H



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
Il - Illustrator
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
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
GN - Graphic Novel
Gothic - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
Hist R - Historical Romance
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Parnormal Cozy Mystery
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
Sc - Science
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VisM - Visionary and Metaphysical

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

2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts


2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 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 October 7, 2018, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

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




2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover designed by Kaitlin Kall





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Jacket Design by Eileen Carey
Background Artwork by Stephen Mulcahey / Arcangel





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Jacket illustration and design © Suzanne Dean,
incorporates eighteenth-century textile and pattern details
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by: Ashley Detmering





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Jacket design: Kimberly Glyder
Jacket art: Kula Moore





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art by Rebecca Yanovskaya
Designed by Lauren Panepinto





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Ron Ackins





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Grace West





2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Mona Lin
Cover illustration courtesy of Jeff Chapman

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts


2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts


There are 11 debut novels for September.

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

The September 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 September cover for the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on September 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 September 2018. The list is correct as of the day posted.




Claire G. Coleman

Terra Nullius
Small Beer Press, September 11, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from.

The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to bring peace to their new home, and they have a plan for how to achieve it. They will tear Native families apart and provide re-education to those who do not understand why they should submit to their betters.

Peace and prosperity are worth any price, but who will pay it? This rich land, Australia, will provide for all if only the Natives can learn their place.

Jacky has escaped the Home where the Settlers sent him, but where will he go? The Head of the Department for the Protection of Natives, known to Settlers and Natives alike as the Devil, is chasing Jacky. And when the Devil catches him, Sister Bagra, who knows her duty to the ungodly, will be waiting for Jacky back at Home.

An incendiary, timely, and fantastical debut from an essential Australian Aboriginal writer, Claire G. Coleman.

Do you recognize this story? Look again.

This is not Australia as we know it. This is not the Australia of our history books. This Terra Nullius — shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize and Highly Commended for the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards — is something new, but all too familiar.





Charlie J. Eskew

Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark
Laternfish Press, September 4, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 380 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Trapped in a dead-end job in his Ohio hometown, watching the girl of his dreams move on to a glamorous new life in a big city--Donald McDougal's aimlessness has held him back for a long time. When a lightning strike grants him superhuman powers, he jumps at his chance to finally be somebody. But the new abilities and the pursuit of superheroic fame come with a price tag, and it may not be one he can afford.

This wry debut is at once a fanboy's homage to the history of superhero storytelling in America and a keen-eyed satire of those same stories, raising questions about race and privilege that are becoming impossible to ignore.





Preston Fassel

Our Lady of the Inferno
Cinestate, September 11, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 376 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Spring, 1983. Sally Ride is about to go into space. Flashdance is a cultural phenomenon. And in Times Square, two very deadly women are on a collision course with destiny-- and each other.

At twenty-one, Ginny Kurva is already legendary on 42nd Street. To the pimp for whom she works, she's the perfect weapon-- a martial artist capable of taking down men twice her size. To the girls in her stable, she's mother, teacher, and protector. To the little sister she cares for, she's a hero. Yet Ginny's bravado and icy confidence hide a mind at the breaking point, her sanity slowly slipping away as both her addictions and the sins of her past catch up with her...

At thirty-seven, Nicolette Aster is the most respected woman at the Staten Island Landfill. Quiet and competent, she's admired by the secretaries and trusted by her supervisors. Yet those around her have no idea how Nicolette spends her nights-- when the hateful madness she keeps repressed by day finally emerges, and she turns the dump into a hunting ground to engage in a nightmarish blood sport...

In the Spring of 1983, neither Ginny nor Nicolette knows the other exists. By the time Summer rolls around, one of them will be dead.





Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
Harper, September 11, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

“Wonderful… completely transporting.”  —Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Circe and The Song of Achilles
 
"Historical fiction at its finest, combining myth and legend with the brutal realities of the past. . . . Comparisons will be drawn to the works of contemporary authors Sarah Waters and Michael Faber . . . but The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock has more in common with the novels of Dickens and Austen."  —Irish Times

In 1780s London, a prosperous merchant finds his quiet life upended when he unexpectedly receives a most unusual creature—and meets a most extraordinary woman—in this much-lauded, atmospheric debut that examines our capacity for wonder, obsession, and desire with all the magnetism, originality, and literary magic of The Essex Serpent.

One September evening in 1785, Jonah Hancock hears an urgent knocking on his front door near the docks of London. The captain of one of Jonah’s trading vessels is waiting eagerly on the front step, bearing shocking news. On a voyage to the Far East, he sold the Jonah’s ship for something rare and far more precious: a mermaid. Jonah is stunned—the object the captain presents him is brown and wizened, as small as an infant, with vicious teeth and claws, and a torso that ends in the tail of a fish. It is also dead.

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlors and brothels, all of London is curious to see this marvel in Jonah Hancock’s possession. Thrust from his ordinary existence, somber Jonah finds himself moving from the city’s seedy underbelly to the finest drawing rooms of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of the coquettish Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on—and a shrewd courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting sparks a perilous liaison that steers both their lives onto a dangerous new course as they come to realize that priceless things often come at the greatest cost.

Imogen Hermes Gowar, Britain’s most-heralded new literary talent, makes her debut with this spellbinding novel of a merchant, a mermaid, and a madam—an unforgettable confection that explores obsession, wonder, and the deepest desires of the heart with bawdy wit, intrigue, and a touch of magic.





Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Dutton, September 25, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Greencocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShowspins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she’s part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

The Carls just appeared.

Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold and insightful novel of now.





Amy Lilwall

The Biggerers
Oneworld, September 11, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Introducing a witty and unique voice poised to take the literary world by storm. For fans of The Borrowers, Munmun and The Truckers.

Everybody became a bit mean. A bit individual. Units. That's all humanity could say for itself - well, it couldn't actually, because it was made up of too many, um, units. And then there were the elderly, who could never bear to be so isolated, yet isolated they were. It was cruel, really it was. And kids - not that many people had them any more - they seemed to be born sitting in one of those egg-shaped chairs, only seeing what was right in front of them.

So, the government asked a doctor, that famous one, to get a team together and figure it all out. He did. Everyone got a playmate. Well, everyone who wanted one, could buy a playmate. About a foot tall, they stood, naked (except in winter), very affectionate, not too intelligent. Mute, but cute - exactly what every home needsSomething to love, little units of love.

The Biggerers is set in a dystopian future where our two heroes, Bonbon and Jinx, spend their days gathering stones and feathers for their basket, and waiting to be fed by their owners. But it's not long before getting sick, falling in love and wondering why they can't eat with a spoon pushes them to realise they are exactly the same as their owners…only smaller.





Wayétu Moore

She Would Be King
Graywolf Press, September 11, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 312 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight at will, just as his mother could. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.





Signe Pike

The Lost Queen
The Lost Queen 1
Touchstone, September 4, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 544 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Compared to Outlander and The Mists of Avalon, this thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin.

I write because I have seen the darkness that will come. Already there are those who seek to tell a new history...

In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.

Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.





Rena Rossner

The Sisters of Winter Wood
Redhook, September 25, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
Captivating and boldly imaginative, with a tale of sisterhood at its heart, Rena Rossner’s debut fantasy invites you to enter a world filled with magic, folklore, and the dangers of the woods.

In a remote village surrounded by vast forests on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have been raised on the honeyed scent of their Mami’s babka and the low rumble of their Tati’s prayers. But when a troupe of mysterious men arrives, Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And this is not the only danger lurking in the woods.

As dark forces close in on their village, Liba and Laya discover a family secret passed down through generations. Faced with a magical heritage they never knew existed, the sisters realize the old fairy tales are true…and could save them all.

“Mixes fairy tale, poetry, history, and heart to create an enchanting and mesmerizing tale of sisterly love. I adored this book!” — Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of The Queens of Renthia series





Stuart Turton

The 7 1½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Sourcebooks Landmark, September 18, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
One of Stylist Magazine's 20 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Harper's Bazaar's 10 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Marie Claire, Australia's 10 Books You Absolutely Have to Read in 2018


The Rules of Blackheath
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
 There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin...

***

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others...

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.





Sherri Cook Woosley

Walking Through Fire
A Misbegotten Novel 1
Talos, September 4, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2018 Debut Author Challenge - September Debuts
For fans of American Gods, a dark, humorous, and richly written, dystopian fantasy about the unbreakable bonds of family and the undying strength of a mother's love.

The end of the world begins as literal fire rains down from the heavens. Ancient gods are released from their prison, eager to reestablish their long-lost power. But Rachel Deneuve has bigger, more contemporary concerns than a divine war.

Her son Adam is in the middle of a fight against leukemia, and Rachel is determined to keep focused on that battle. But when humans begin picking sides and the fighting escalates, their home in Baltimore becomes a war zone, one she can’t ignore.

Desperate to stay away from the carnage—as well as the germ-ridden refugee center—Rachel and Adam flee to their remote mountain cottage, only to find their refuge marred by mutated, grotesque plants and animals. Eventually, the cancerous cells in Adam's body begin evolving as well, threatening his life and forcing Rachel to venture back into the eye of the storm. Left with no other choice but to sacrifice her own freedom for her son's safety, she must become an unwilling warrior in a battle unlike anything seen in millennia, or lose everything she holds dear.

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4


The 8th year of the The Qwillery's Debut Author Challenge began on January 1, 2018. Here are the 8 debuts being published in September and October that I am most looking forward to.


Shaun Barger

Mage Against the Machine
Saga Press, October 9, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
Harry Potter meets The Terminator in this action-packed adventure about a young man who discovers that everything he believed about his world is a lie.

The year is 2120. The humans are dead. The mages have retreated from the world after a madman blew up civilization with weaponized magical technology. Safe within domes that protect them from the nuclear wasteland on the other side, the mages have spent the last century putting their lives back together.

Nikolai is obsessed with artifacts from twentieth-century human life: mage-crafted replica Chuck Taylors on his feet, Schwarzenegger posters on his walls, Beatlemania still alive and well in his head. But he’s also tasked with a higher calling—to maintain the Veils that protect mage-kind from the hazards of the wastes beyond. As a cadet in the Mage King’s army, Nik has finally found what he always wanted—a purpose. But when confronted by one of his former instructors gone rogue, Nik tumbles into a dark secret. The humans weren’t nuked into oblivion—they’re still alive. Not only that, outside the domes a war rages between the last enclaves of free humans and vast machine intelligences.

Outside the dome, unprepared and on the run, Nik finds Jem. Jem is a Runner for the Human Resistance. A ballerina-turned-soldier by the circumstances of war, Jem is more than just a human—her cybernetic enhancement mods make her faster, smarter, and are the only things that give her a fighting chance against the artificial beings bent on humanity’s eradication.

Now Nik faces an impossible decision: side with the mages and let humanity die out? Or stand with Jem and the humans—and risk endangering everything he knows and loves?





Hester Fox

The Witch of Willow Hall
Graydon House, October 2, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…





Victor Godinez

The First Protectors
Talos, October 23, 2018
Trade Paperback an eBook, 288 page

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
The last thing Ben Shepherd wanted was another war. But sometimes the universe won’t take no for an answer.

His body and spirit mangled by a lifetime of combat, Shepherd, a retired Navy SEAL, has retreated to the desolate desert of New Mexico to heal his wounds and dodge his demons. All he wants now is peace and quiet.

Both are shattered one starry night, when an alien ship crashes nearby. Out of the ship crawls the last, dying member of a conquered civilization. It’s been shot down by an extraterrestrial enemy, the vanguard of a ravenous force hunting for a new homeland. With its last gasp, the wounded alien injects Shepherd with a high-tech serum that gives him near superhuman powers.

Now, with a new body but a soul as fractured as ever, Shepherd becomes the reluctant leader of the human resistance against the coming invasion. With enemies on all sides, the man who couldn’t bear the guilt of seeing one more friend die in battle now finds himself charged with protecting the entire planet.





S.L. Huang

Zero Sum Game
Cas Russell 1
Tor Books, October 2, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
A blockbuster, near-future science fiction thriller, S.L. Huang's Zero Sum Game introduces a math-genius mercenary who finds herself being manipulated by someone possessing unimaginable power

Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she'll take any job for the right price.

As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower...until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she's involved. There’s only one problem...

She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.





Derek Künsken

The Quantum Magician
The Quantum Evolution 1
Solaris, October 2, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 480 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
The breathtaking debut from acclaimed short story writer Derek Künsken.

THE ULTIMATE HEIST

Belisarius is a Homo quantus, engineered with impossible insight. But his gift is also a curse—an uncontrollable, even suicidal drive to know, to understand. Genetically flawed, he leaves his people to find a different life, and ends up becoming
the galaxy’s greatest con man and thief.

But the jobs are getting too easy and his extraordinary brain is chafing at the neglect. When a client offers him untold wealth to move a squadron of secret warships across an enemy wormhole, Belisarius jumps at it. Now he must embrace his true nature to pull off the job, alongside a crew of extraordinary men and women.

If he succeeds, he could trigger an interstellar war… or the next step in human evolution.





Wayétu Moore

She Would Be King
Graywolf Press, September 11, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 312 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight at will, just as his mother could. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.





Rena Rossner

The Sisters of Winter Wood
Redhook, September 25, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
Captivating and boldly imaginative, with a tale of sisterhood at its heart, Rena Rossner’s debut fantasy invites you to enter a world filled with magic, folklore, and the dangers of the woods.

In a remote village surrounded by vast forests on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have been raised on the honeyed scent of their Mami’s babka and the low rumble of their Tati’s prayers. But when a troupe of mysterious men arrives, Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And this is not the only danger lurking in the woods.

As dark forces close in on their village, Liba and Laya discover a family secret passed down through generations. Faced with a magical heritage they never knew existed, the sisters realize the old fairy tales are true…and could save them all.

“Mixes fairy tale, poetry, history, and heart to create an enchanting and mesmerizing tale of sisterly love. I adored this book!” — Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of The Queens of Renthia series





Sherri Cook Woosley

Walking Through Fire
A Misbegotten Novel 1
Talos, September 4, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

The 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4
For fans of American Gods, a dark, humorous, and richly written, dystopian fantasy about the unbreakable bonds of family and the undying strength of a mother's love.

The end of the world begins as literal fire rains down from the heavens. Ancient gods are released from their prison, eager to reestablish their long-lost power. But Rachel Deneuve has bigger, more contemporary concerns than a divine war.

Her son Adam is in the middle of a fight against leukemia, and Rachel is determined to keep focused on that battle. But when humans begin picking sides and the fighting escalates, their home in Baltimore becomes a war zone, one she can’t ignore.

Desperate to stay away from the carnage—as well as the germ-ridden refugee center—Rachel and Adam flee to their remote mountain cottage, only to find their refuge marred by mutated, grotesque plants and animals. Eventually, the cancerous cells in Adam's body begin evolving as well, threatening his life and forcing Rachel to venture back into the eye of the storm. Left with no other choice but to sacrifice her own freedom for her son's safety, she must become an unwilling warrior in a battle unlike anything seen in millennia, or lose everything she holds dear.
Interview with Rena Rossner, author of The Sisters of the Winter WoodThe View From Monday - September 24, 20182018 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts2018 Debut Author Challenge - September DebutsThe 2018 Debuts I Am Most Looking Forward To - Part 4

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