The Qwillery | category: Shaun Hamill


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of Monsters

Please welcome Shaun Hamill to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. A Cosmology of Monsters is published on September 17, 2019 by Pantheon.

Interview with Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of Monsters

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

Shaun:  The first piece of fiction I remember was a story I wrote for “Young Author’s Day” at my school in 4th grade. I’m pretty sure it was a straight rip-off of the first Star Wars movie and the X-Men cartoon version of Days of Future Past. It had Sentinels and a Death Star. My teacher liked it, though, and so did my classmates. I’ve been chasing that approval-high ever since.

TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Shaun:  I’m a hybrid. I’ve tried both methods “pure” and neither quite works for me. If I plot too much, the story can get stale and boring, but if I don’t plot at all, I write myself into a corner. I like to plot a little ahead and leave plenty of blank space ahead of me so I can surprise myself (and hopefully, by extension, my reader).

TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing? Does living " the dark woods of Alabama..." affect (or not) your writing?

Shaun:  The most challenging thing about writing is coming up with a project that marries an interesting plot to a strong emotional hook. I’ve come up with lots of great ideas for stories, but haven’t been able to write them because I had trouble caring about the characters. If I’m not invested in the people, the best high concept in the world won’t save me.

          Living in the dark woods of Alabama has been good for my writing, I think. I grew up in a big suburb, nothing but concrete as far as I could see, and Alabama has a lot of unspoiled nature. It’s a haunted place, quiet and foggy, full of decaying houses and abandoned gas stations on winding roads. It’s the perfect place for dark daydreaming.

TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Shaun:  My earliest influences were movies. For a long time I thought I wanted to be a filmmaker, and I spent most of high school writing screenplays. I think that cinematic mindset shows in my fiction. I’m a scene-focused writer and I’m still learning character interiority and how to summarize big swatches of time.

          I was always a reader, as well. I read a lot of Stephen King and Anne Rice and John Irving as a kid, and I think their influence is all over A Cosmology of Monsters too.

          The other big influence on my writing was a great creative writing teacher at the University of Texas at Arlington—her name is Laura Kopchick, and she still teaches there. She was the first person to take my writing ambition seriously, and she mentored me even after I graduated from college. Everything she told me to read, I read. She taught me how to pay attention to language and character, and to move beyond simple twist-ending plots and easy clichés into murkier, more interesting narrative territory. I’m still trying to impress her whenever I write something.

TQDescribe A Cosmology of Monsters using only 5 words.

Shaun:  A literary horror family saga.

TQTell us something about A Cosmology of Monsters that is not found in the book description.

ShaunA Cosmology of Monsters is secretly a bunch of love stories disguised as a horror novel.

TQWhat inspired you to write A Cosmology of Monsters? What appeals to you about writing Horror / Dark Fantasy?

Shaun:  I’d always wanted to write a book about a family running a business, and I went to a lot of haunted houses in my 20s. At some point the two ideas melded. I was curious—what sort of people run a haunted house? What’s it like to take your lunch break while your customers are screaming themselves silly a few feet down the hall? What’s it like to dress as a monster for weeks, months, or years on end? It felt like a perfect backdrop for a troubled family.

          As to your second question, I’ve been thinking a lot about the appeal of horror and dark fantasy lately. I’ve always been drawn to both, but not for gore, or even terror. What I love about the genres is the sense of dark wonder they can provide—a glimpse beyond the veil at things unknown and unguessed. Strange things at the corners of our reality, waiting to step in. I get the same feeling when I drive down a twisting Alabama road at night, with no illumination but the moon and my headlights. Shadows flicker in the woods to my left and right, and I know it’s probably just a trick of the light, but maybe … maybe not.

          This sense of mystery is my favorite feeling in fiction and in life.

TQWhat sort of research did you do for A Cosmology of Monsters?

Shaun:  On the literature side, I read all of H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction, and any scholarship/criticism of his work that I could find. I also read some surveys of the history of horror fiction, re-read my favorite Stephen King novels, and dipped my toes into other horror writers—Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Ligotti, Shirley Jackson, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, etc.—to try and round out my understanding of the tradition I was writing in.

          For the haunted house stuff, some of it is adapted from real life. I did theater in high school, so I was familiar with the process of putting together an amateur production—sets, makeup, lines to memorize, etc. All of that translated easily enough to the haunted house milieu. I also got to tour a closed haunted house while I was working on a short film a few years ago, and seeing the place with all the lights on made a lasting impression (and was another inspiration for the book).

          In addition to my personal experience, I watched every documentary about haunted house attractions that I could find. I solicited stories from friends, googled how-to articles, watched web series, listened to podcasts, and trolled Internet forums. Basically I used every resource I could think of!

TQPlease tell us about the cover for A Cosmology of Monsters.

The cover illustration is by Na Kim, and the jacket was designed by Kelly Blair. It was their first pass at the cover for the book, and everyone on the Cosmology publishing team loved it so much that we never tried another. To stay spoiler-free, I’ll just say I think it’s an image that sums up the themes of the book very nicely.

TQIn A Cosmology of Monsters who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Shaun:  Noah’s sister Eunice was the easiest to write. I never had trouble locating her emotional state in a scene, or knowing what she was going to say. She was a gentle presence, easy to spend time with. Margaret, Noah’s mother, was the hardest, because she has the longest, most complex arc in the book. Without giving too much away, the book features some big jumps in time, and Margaret’s state of mind was always the toughest to locate each time I started a new section. It was also a tricky balancing act, because I wanted her to be sympathetic but also cold and pragmatic.

TQDoes A Cosmology of Monsters touch on any social issues?

Shaun:  Yes. It deals with religion, sexuality, and gender power dynamics, among other things.

TQWhich question about A Cosmology of Monsters do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!


          Q: Will you write a sequel?

          A: Yes! If the book does well and somebody lets me! I think there’s at least one or two more stories to tell in this world if people want them.

TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from A Cosmology of Monsters.

Shaun:  I really love the opening, and that’s about as non-spoilery as it gets!
          I started collecting my older sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was ten years old. I still keep them all in my bottom desk drawer, held together with a black binder clip. They were among the only things I was allowed to bring with me, and I’ve read through them often the last few months, searching for comfort, wisdom, or even just a hint that I’ve made the right choices for all of us.
          Eunice eventually discovered that I was saving her missives and began addressing them to me. In one of my favorites, she writes, “Noah, there is no such thing as a happy ending. There are only good stopping places.”
          My family is spectacularly bad at endings. We never handle them with grace. But we’re not great with beginnings, either. For example, I didn’t know the first quarter of this story until recently, and spent the better part of my youth and young adulthood lingering like Jervas Dudley around the sealed tombs of our family’s history. It’s exactly that sort of heartache I want to prevent for you, whoever you are. For that to happen, I have to start at the outermost edges of the shadow over my family, with my mother, tall, fair-skinned and redheaded Margaret Byrne, in the fall of 1968.

TQWhat's next?

Shaun:  I’m working on a new novel right now. I don’t want to say too much because I’m superstitious, but I will say I’m excited about the project. It’s more ambitious than Cosmology, but still in the dark fantasy genre. I hope I’ll be able to finish and share it sooner rather than later!

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Shaun:  Thanks so much for having me! I hope you and your readers will check out A Cosmology of Monsters and let me know what you think! I’m in all the usual places—FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc.—and I’d love to hear from you (as long as you’re nice)!

A Cosmology of Monsters
Pantheon, September 17, 2019
Hardcover and ebook, 336 pages

Interview with Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of Monsters
“If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this. I loved it.” —Stephen King

Noah Turner see monsters.

His father saw them—and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates.

His practical mother has caught glimpses of terrors but refuses to believe—too focused on keeping the family from falling apart.

And his eldest sister, the dramatic and vulnerable Sydney, won’t admit to seeing anything but the beckoning glow of the spotlight . . . until it swallows her up.

Noah Turner sees monsters. But, unlike his family, Noah chooses to let them in . . .

About Shaun

Interview with Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of Monsters
Photo © Rebekah H. Hamill
A native of Arlington, Texas, SHAUN HAMILL holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in the dark woods of Alabama with his wife, his in-laws, and his dog. A Cosmology of Monsters is his first novel.

Website  ~  Twitter @shaunhamill  ~  Facebook

The View From Monday - September 16, 2019

Happy Monday!

There are 5 debuts this week:

Kansastan by Farooq Ahmed;

Gamechanger by L. X. Beckett;

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill;

Neon Empire by Drew Minh;


Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes.

The View From Monday - September 16, 2019The View From Monday - September 16, 2019
The View From Monday - September 16, 2019The View From Monday - September 16, 2019
The View From Monday - September 16, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Hanged Man and the Fortune Teller by Lucy Banks;

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox;

Randomize by Andy Weir;


System Failure (Epic Failure Trilogy 3) by Joe Zieja.

The View From Monday - September 16, 2019The View From Monday - September 16, 2019
The View From Monday - September 16, 2019The View From Monday - September 16, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

The View From Monday - September 16, 2019

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

September 15, 2019
The H. G. Wells Collection: Boxed Set Herbert George Wells SF

September 16, 2019
Kansastan (D) Farooq Ahmed Dys/LF

September 17, 2019
A Little Hatred Joe Abercrombie F/DF/HistF - Age of Madness 1
Double Eagle Dan Abnett SF - Warhammer 40,000
The Preserve Steve Anderson AH
The Hanged Man and the Fortune Teller Lucy Banks Hist/GH
Gamechanger (D) L. X. Beckett SF/AC/CyP
Dark Forge Miles Cameron F/HistF - Masters & Mages 2
Summer Frost (Ke) Blake Crouch SF - Forward Collection
The Widow of Pale Harbor Hester Fox Hist/GH/Occ/Sup
The Stalking Heather Graham PNR/RS/GH - Krewe of Hunters 29
A Cosmology of Monsters (D) Shaun Hamill H/DF/FL
Cadian Honour Justin D Hill SO/SE - Warhammer 40,000
Siege and Sacrifice Charlie N. Holmberg F - Numina 3
Emergency Skin (Ke) N. K. Jemisin SF - Forward Collection
The Ticking Heart Andrew Kaufman LF/MR/AB
Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction Lisa Kroger
Melanie R. Anderson
A Trick of Light Stan Lee
Kat Rosenfield
SF - Stan Lee's Alliances
A Single Light Tosca Lee Sus - Line Between 2
A Golden Grave Erin Lindsey HistM/GH/P - A Rose Gallagher Mystery 2
Gotrek and Felix: The Fourth Omnibus Nathan Long F - Warhammer Chronicles Omnibus 4
Inspection (h2tp) Josh Malerman PsyTh/H/CoA
Different Beasts J.R. McConvey Collection
Dragon Age: Last Flight Deluxe Edition Liane Merciel MTI/F
Neon Empire (D) Drew Minh SF/CyP
Wonderland: An Anthology Marie O'Regan (Ed)
Paul Kane (Ed)
F - Anthology
The Heart and Other Viscera: Stories Félix J. Palma SS/Occ/MR
Wild Boar in the Cane Field Anniqua Rana MR/CulH/Religious
Ark (Ke) Veronica Roth SF - Forward Collection
The Renegat (e) Kristine Kathryn Rusch SF - The Diving
Resurrection of the Daleks Eric Saward SF/MTI
On Wings of Blood: An Aeronautica Anthology Gav Thorpe
Matt Westbrook & more
SF - Warhammer 40,000
You Have Arrived at Your Destination (Ke) Amor Towles SF - Forward Collection
The Last Conversation (Ke) Paul Tremblay SF - Forward Collection
Chilling Effect (D) Valerie Valdes SF/SO
Randomize (Ke) Andy Weir SF - Forward Collection
A Hero Born: The Definitive Edition Jin Yong F/HistF - Legends of the Condor Heroes 1
System Failure Joe Zieja SF - Epic Failure Trilogy 3

September 19, 2019
Before the Coffee Gets Cold Toshikazu Kawaguchi MR/LF
Battle Beyond the Dolestars Chris McCrudden SF/HU - Battlestar Suburbia 2

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

AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
Bio - Biographical
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CulH - Cultural Heritage
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romane
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History & Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
RF - Romantic Fantasy
RS - Romantic Suspense
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy

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

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2019 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 2019 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator/designer information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on September 30, 2019, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite September 2019 Debut Cover! free polls

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Artwork by Julie Dillon

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover illustration by Na Kim
Jacket design by Kelly Blair

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Stephan Martiniere

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art by Tommy Arnold
Cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover by Francesca Corsini

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover design by Matthew Revert

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art by John Coulthart

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts
Cover art and design by Jason Booher

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September Debuts

September 2019 Debuts

September 2019 Debuts

There are 15 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 2019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on September 15, 2019.

Farooq Ahmed

7.13 Books, September 16, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 204 pages

September 2019 Debuts
Inspired by the American Civil War, KANSASTAN takes place in a dystopic Kansas that is besieged by its neighboring state, Missouri. Close to the state line, an orphaned and disabled goatherd lives atop a minaret and is relegated to custodial work by the mosque s imam while the threat of occupation looms. When his aunt and cousin arrive, the mosque s congregants believe that the cousin, Faisal, is a young prophet. Faisal comes to also believe in his divinity, stoking the goatherd s envy and hatred. When the cousins fall in love with the same woman, the goatherd hatches a plan to supplant Faisal in all ways possible as suitor and the mosque s savior. Kansastan is a singular work, infused with Islamic folklore, Quranic lyricism, and Old Testament tales, as American as Cormac McCarthy, and most importantly viciously funny.

L. X. Beckett

Tor Books, September 17, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 576 pages

September 2019 Debuts
Neuromancer meets Star Trek in Gamechanger, a fantastic new book from award-winning author L. X. Beckett.

First there was the Setback.

Then came the Clawback.

Now we thrive.

Rubi Whiting is a member of the Bounceback Generation. The first to be raised free of the troubles of the late twenty-first century. Now she works as a public defender to help troubled individuals with anti-social behavior. That’s how she met Luciano Pox.

Luce is a firebrand and has made a name for himself as a naysayer. But there’s more to him than being a lightning rod for controversy. Rubi has to find out why the governments of the world want to bring Luce into custody, and why Luce is hell bent on stopping the recovery of the planet.

Shaun Hamill

A Cosmology of Monsters
Pantheon, September 17, 2019
Hardcover and ebook, 336 pages

September 2019 Debuts
“If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this. I loved it.” —Stephen King

Noah Turner see monsters.

His father saw them—and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates.

His practical mother has caught glimpses of terrors but refuses to believe—too focused on keeping the family from falling apart.

And his eldest sister, the dramatic and vulnerable Sydney, won’t admit to seeing anything but the beckoning glow of the spotlight . . . until it swallows her up.

Noah Turner sees monsters. But, unlike his family, Noah chooses to let them in . . .

Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Redhook, September 10, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

September 2019 Debuts
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

Tyler Hayes

The Imaginary Corpse
Angry Robot, September 10, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

September 2019 Debuts
A dinosaur detective in the land of unwanted ideas battles trauma, anxiety, and the first serial killer of imaginary friends.

Most ideas fade away when we’re done with them. Some we love enough to become Real. But what about the ones we love, and walk away from?

Tippy the triceratops was once a little girl’s imaginary friend, a dinosaur detective who could help her make sense of the world. But when her father died, Tippy fell into the Stillreal, the underbelly of the Imagination, where discarded ideas go when they’re too Real to disappear. Now, he passes time doing detective work for other unwanted ideas – until Tippy runs into the Man in the Coat, a nightmare monster who can do the impossible: kill an idea permanently. Now Tippy must overcome his own trauma and solve the case, before there’s nothing left but imaginary corpses.

File Under: Fantasy [ Fuzzy Fiends | Death to Imagination | Hardboiled but Sweet | Not Barney ]

Deborah Hewitt

The Nightjar
Tor Books, September 3, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook 480 pages

September 2019 Debuts
The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt is a stunning contemporary fantasy debut about another London, a magical world hidden behind the bustling modern city we know.

Alice Wyndham has been plagued by visions of birds her whole life...until the mysterious Crowley reveals that Alice is an ‘aviarist’: capable of seeing nightjars, magical birds that guard human souls. When her best friend is hit by a car, only Alice can find and save her nightjar.

With Crowley’s help, Alice travels to the Rookery, a hidden, magical alternate London to hone her newfound talents. But a faction intent on annihilating magic users will stop at nothing to destroy the new aviarist. And is Crowley really working with her, or against her? Alice must risk everything to save her best friend—and uncover the strange truth about herself.

David Koepp

Cold Storage
Ecco, September 3, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

September 2019 Debuts
For readers of Andy Weir and Noah Hawley comes an astonishing debut by the screenwriter of Jurassic Park: a wild and terrifying adventure about three strangers who must work together to contain a highly contagious, deadly organism

When Pentagon bioterror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction. He contained it and buried it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository.

Now, after decades of festering in a forgotten sub-basement, the specimen has found its way out and is on a lethal feeding frenzy. Only Diaz knows how to stop it.

He races across the country to help two unwitting security guards—one an ex-con, the other a single mother. Over one harrowing night, the unlikely trio must figure out how to quarantine this horror again. All they have is luck, fearlessness, and a mordant sense of humor. Will that be enough to save all of humanity?

Drew Minh

Neon Empire
Rare Bird Books, September 17, 2019
Trade Paperback, 220 pages

September 2019 Debuts
Bold, colorful, and dangerously seductive, Eutopia is a new breed of hi-tech city. Rising out of the American desert, it’s a real-world manifestation of a social media network where fame-hungry desperados compete for likes and followers. But in Eutopia, the bloodier and more daring posts pay off the most. As crime rises, no one stands to gain more than Eutopia’s architects―and, of course, the shareholders who make the place possible.

This multiple-POV novel follows three characters as they navigate the city’s underworld. Cedric Travers, a has-been Hollywood director, comes to Eutopia looking for clues into his estranged wife’s disappearance. What he finds instead is a new career directing―not movies, but experiences. The star of the show: A’rore, the city’s icon and lead social media influencer. She’s panicking as her popularity wanes, and she'll do anything do avoid obscurity. Sacha Villanova, a tech and culture reporter, is on assignment to profile A’rore―but as she digs into Eutopia’s inner workings, she unearths a tangle of corporate corruption that threatens to sacrifice Cedric, A’rore, and even the city itself on the altar of stockholder greed.

Kassandra Montag

After the Flood
William Morrow, September 3, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages

September 2019 Debuts
An inventive and riveting epic saga, After the Flood signals the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.

A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Artic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.

On their journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship and Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world. But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten their dream, and after their fortunes take a shocking—and bloody—turn, Myra can no longer ignore the question of whether saving Row is worth endangering Pearl and her fellow travelers.

A compulsively readable novel of dark despair and soaring hope, After the Flood is a magnificent, action packed, and sometimes frightening odyssey laced with wonder—an affecting and wholly original saga both redemptive and astonishing.

Rachel Eve Moulton

Tinfoil Butterfly
MCD x FSG Originals, September 10, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook 272 pages

September 2019 Debuts
The Shining meets About a Boy in this electrifying debut about a troubled young woman and a lonely boy facing their demons in the frozen Black Hills.

Emma is hitchhiking across the United States, trying to outrun a violent, tragic past, when she meets Lowell, the hot-but-dumb driver she hopes will take her as far as the Badlands. But Lowell is not as harmless as he seems, and a vicious scuffle leaves Emma bloody and stranded in an abandoned town in the Black Hills with an out-of-gas van, a loaded gun, and a snowstorm on the way.

The town is eerily quiet and Emma takes shelter in a diner, where she stumbles across Earl, a strange little boy in a tinfoil mask who steals her gun before begging her to help him get rid of “George.” As she is pulled deeper into Earl’s bizarre, menacing world, the horrors of Emma’s past creep closer, and she realizes she can’t run forever.

Tinfoil Butterfly is a seductively scary, chilling exploration of evil—how it sneaks in under your skin, flaring up when you least expect it, how it throttles you and won't let go. The beauty of Rachel Eve Moulton's ferocious, harrowing, and surprisingly moving debut is that it teaches us that love can do that, too.

Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth, September 10, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

September 2019 Debuts
The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.

Sarah Pinsker

A Song for a New Day
Berkley, September 10, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

September 2019 Debuts
In this captivating science fiction novel from an award-winning author, public gatherings are illegal making concerts impossible, except for those willing to break the law for the love of music, and for one chance at human connection.

In the Before, when the government didn’t prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce’s connection to the world–her music, her purpose–is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law.

Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery–no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she’ll have to do something she’s never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.

Grant Price

By the Feet of Men
Cosmic Egg Books, September 1, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 344 pages

September 2019 Debuts
WANTED: Men and women willing to drive through the valley of the shadow of death.

The world’s population has been decimated by the Change, a chain reaction of events triggered by global warming. In Europe, governments have fallen, cities have crumbled and the wheels of production have ground to a halt. The Alps region, containing most of the continent’s remaining fresh water, has become a closed state with heavily fortified borders. Survivors cling on by trading through the Runners, truck drivers who deliver cargo and take a percentage.

Amid the ruins of central Germany, two Runners, Cassady and Ghazi, are called on to deliver medical supplies to a research base deep in the Italian desert, where scientists claim to be building a machine that could reverse the effects of the Change. Joining the pair are a ragtag collection of drivers, all of whom have something to prove. Standing in their way are starving nomads, crumbling cities, hostile weather and a rogue state hell-bent on the convoy's destruction. And there's another problem: Cassady is close to losing his nerve.

Wendy Trimboli
Alicia Zaloga

The Resurrectionist of Caligo
Angry Robot, September 10, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 360 pages

September 2019 Debuts
With a murderer on the loose, it’s up to an enlightened bodysnatcher and a rebellious princess to save the city, in this wonderfully inventive Victorian-tinged fantasy noir.

“Man of Science” Roger Weathersby scrapes out a risky living digging up corpses for medical schools. When he’s framed for the murder of one of his cadavers, he’s forced to trust in the superstitions he’s always rejected: his former friend, princess Sibylla, offers to commute Roger’s execution in a blood magic ritual which will bind him to her forever. With little choice, he finds himself indentured to Sibylla and propelled into an investigation. There’s a murderer loose in the city of Caligo, and the duo must navigate science and sorcery, palace intrigue and dank boneyards to catch the butcher before the killings tear their whole country apart.

File Under: Fantasy [ Straybound | Royal Magic | A Good Hanging | Secret Sister ]

Valerie Valdes

Chilling Effect
Harper Voyager, September 17, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

September 2019 Debuts
A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.
Interview with Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of MonstersThe View From Monday - September 16, 20192019 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September DebutsSeptember 2019 Debuts

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