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2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 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 2015 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released 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 October 24, 2015.


Vote for your favorite October 2015 Debut Cover!
 
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2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October Debuts


Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End


Please welcome Sigal Samuel to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Mystics of Mile End is published today by William Morrow. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Sigal a Happy Publication Day.



Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End




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

Sigal:  I started writing — mostly journals — when I was about 10 years old. It was how I made sense of the world then, and it still is. In my childhood bedroom, I have a whole bookshelf that’s entirely taken up with those journals.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Sigal:  I’m definitely a plotter. I’ve lost track of how many outlines and beat sheets I made while writing The Mystics of Mile End. That said, the most enjoyable part of writing is when the story surprises you and takes control, and something comes out that’s beyond anything you could have planned for.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Sigal:  When I decided to write The Mystics of Mile End from the perspectives of a little boy, a middle-aged professor, a female college student, and an old man, I thought the hardest part would be accessing an authentic voice for each. But no — the trickier thing was staying “in the zone” of any one voice long enough to finish writing that character’s section. For a while, I actually had to give up reading fiction that was written in a vastly different voice from the one I was trying to create.



TQWho are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Sigal:  I am influenced by contemporary Jewish magical realist writers like Etgar Keret and Jonathan Safran Foer, and by South American surrealists like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Some of my favorite authors include Miranda July, for the sheer originality of her voice, and Zoe Whittall, who writes LGBT characters that are gritty, brave and believable.



TQDescribe The Mystics of Mile End in 140 characters or less.

Sigal:  A dysfunctional Jewish family in Montreal grows obsessed with climbing the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life — even though they don't believe in God.



TQTell us something about The Mystics of Mile End that is not found in the book description.

Sigal:  In the final version of the book, the story is told from four distinct perspectives. But in the first draft, it was all from one perspective — that of the daughter, Samara. Ultimately, I decided it would be much more interesting to tell this story from multiple vantage points, especially since there’s always more than one side to a story when you’re dealing with a family.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Mystics of Mile End? Why focus on the Kabbalah?

Sigal:  I grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community and, as a girl, wasn’t allowed to show an interest in the more mystical legends in the Jewish tradition. Luckily, I had a dad who was a professor of Jewish mysticism and was willing to share its secrets with me. His after-school Kabbalah classes started when I was 12 and continued around our dining room table throughout high school. Years later, those lessons inspired me to write The Mystics of Mile End.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Mystics of Mile End?

Sigal:  I brushed up on some of the mystical legends I’d learned as a kid, and turned to scholars like Aryeh Kaplan to deepen my knowledge of them. I also spent a lot of time walking around Mile End — the half-hipster, half-Hasidic neighborhood of Montreal where the story takes place — to capture the details of how people dress, talk and behave.



TQWho was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Sigal:  The easiest character to write was the family patriarch, David. That may seem odd since, on the surface, I don’t have much in common with this middle-aged, male, atheist professor. But I find it relatively easy to inhabit the mind of an adult like that.

The hardest character was 11-year-old Lev. Writing in a kid’s voice is tough because you have to remember that all kids, even precocious ones like Lev, are self-centered — they think the whole world revolves around them. I read Lev’s whole section out loud to myself to make sure every phrase sounded like something he would really say.



TQWhich question about The Mystics of Mile End do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Sigal:  What do you hope readers will take away from The Mystics of Mile End?

I think that some of us are so hungry for meaning that we get obsessed with certain ideas — often these are seductive religious or mystical ideas — and we forget that pursuing this obsession comes at a cost to the people around us. Without making any moral judgment about this, I wanted readers to consider the question: What’s the value of devoting yourself to some notion of holiness if it means leaving behind those who love you most?



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Mystics of Mile End.

Sigal:

“I may have been hearing God’s voice, but my interest remained at the level of the sublime, sky-scraping Tree of Life; I was not about to get down in the mud of thou-shalt-and-shalt-not Judaism.”


“Don’t see signs in everything. It makes it impossible to live.”



TQWhat’s next?

Sigal:  My children’s fantasy novel, Infinity Hotel, tells the story of Zeno, an eleven-year-old boy who discovers a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. This action-packed adventure challenges readers aged 9–12 to explore the deliciously mindboggling idea of infinity. I’m currently working on a second draft.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Mystics of Mile End
William Morrow Paperbacks, October 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End
Sigal Samuel’s debut novel, in the vein of Nicole Krauss’s bestselling The History of Love, is an imaginative story that delves into the heart of Jewish mysticism, faith, and family.

“This is not an ordinary tree I am making.

“This,” he said, “this is the Tree of Knowledge.”

In the half-Hasidic, half-hipster Montreal neighborhood of Mile End, eleven-year-old Lev Meyer is discovering that there may be a place for Judaism in his life. As he learns about science in his day school, Lev begins his own extracurricular study of the Bible’s Tree of Knowledge with neighbor Mr. Katz, who is building his own Tree out of trash. Meanwhile his sister Samara is secretly studying for her Bat Mitzvah with next-door neighbor and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Glassman. All the while his father, David, a professor of Jewish mysticism, is a non-believer.

When, years later, David has a heart attack, he begins to believe God is speaking to him. While having an affair with one of his students, he delves into the complexities of Kabbalah. Months later Samara, too, grows obsessed with the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life—hiding her interest from those who love her most–and is overcome with reaching the Tree’s highest heights. The neighbors of Mile End have been there all along, but only one of them can catch her when she falls.





About Sigal

Interview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End
Sigal Samuel is an award-winning fiction writer, journalist, essayist, and playwright. Currently a writer and editor for the Forward, she has also published work in the Daily Beast, the Rumpus, BuzzFeed, and the Walrus. Her six plays have been produced from Vancouver to New York.

Sigal earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Originally from Montreal, she now lives and writes in Brooklyn. The Mystics of Mile End is her first novel.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @SigalSamuel

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts



2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts


There are 9 debuts for October. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The October 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 October cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on October 15th.

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 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for October. The list is correct as of the day posted.



Michelle Belanger

Conspiracy of Angels
Shadowside 1
Titan Books, October 27, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
When Zachary Westland regains consciousness on the winter shores of Lake Erie, his memories are gone. All he has are chaotic visions of violence and death… and a business card for Club Heaven. There Zack finds the six-foot-six transexual decimus known as Saliriel, and begins to learn what has happened.

Alarming details emerge, of angelic tribes trapped on Earth and struggling in the wake of the Blood Wars. Anakim, Nephilim, Gibburim, and Rephaim—there has been an uneasy peace for centuries, but the truce is at an end.

With the help of his “sibling” Remiel and Lilianna, the lady of beasts, Zack must stem the bloodshed before it cannot be stopped. Yet if he dies again, it may be for the final time.




Nadine Darling

She Came From Beyond!
The Overlook Press, October 13, 2015
Hardcover, 272 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
A darkly comic debut novel, a hilariously told story of love, attachment, anxiety, and nerd culture.

Easy Hardwick has it made. At just about thirty, she’s got a tumbledown cottage in small-town Oregon and an uncomplicated acting gig as the space-babe eye candy on a sci-fi parody show. She spends her downtime online, bickering with fans and fellow culture vultures about film trivia and relishing her minor-but-satisfying celebrity.

Enter Harrison. What begins as a jocular online flirtation spills into a messy IRL affair, and Easy finds herself pregnant with twins and sharing her home with the love of her life…plus the teenage daughter, baby son, and slightly unhinged, soon-to-be-ex wife she kind of didn’t totally know he had.

Easy may play a space ditz in hot-pants on TV, but her voice is restlessly intelligent, negotiating the absurdities of a world lived onscreen and online and striving to make sense of heady problems: love affairs, ex-wives, teen girls, eating disorders, and whether cannibalistic flies count as zombies. Like the captive great white shark that sets Easy’s story in motion, Nadine Darling’s writing has got teeth. Her pointed, precise dialogue, empathetic insights, and live-wire observations elevate this novel from zany domestic drama to outlandish comic masterpiece. She Came From Beyond! is an audacious, fresh debut from a writer to watch.




Zachary Thomas Dodson

Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel
Doubleday, October 06, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.

In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock’s future, depends on his mission. When a cloud of bats leads him off the trail, he happens upon something impossible…

Three hundred years later, the world has collapsed and the remnants of humanity cling to a strange society of paranoia. Zeke Thomas has inherited a sealed envelope from his grandfather, an esteemed senator. When that letter goes missing, Zeke engages a fomenting rebellion that could free him—if it doesn’t destroy his relationship, his family legacy, and the entire republic first.

As their stories overlap and history itself begins to unravel, a war in time erupts between a lost civilization, a forgotten future, and the chaos of the wild. Bats of the Republic is a masterful novel of adventure and science fiction, of elliptical history and dystopian struggle, and, at its riveting core, of love.




Julia Elliott

The New and Improved Romie Futch
Tin House Books, October 1, 2015
Trade Paperback, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Meet the South’s newest antihero: Romie Futch. Down on his luck and pining for his ex-wife, the fortysomething taxidermist spends his evenings drunkenly surfing the Internet, then passing out on his couch. In a last-ditch attempt to pay his mortgage, he becomes a research subject at the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience, where “scientists” download humanities disciplines into his brain. Suddenly, Romie and his fellow guinea pigs are speaking in hifalutin SAT words and hashing out the intricacies of postmodern subjectivity. With his new and improved brain, Romie hopes to reclaim his marriage, revolutionize his life, and revive his artistic aspirations. While tracking down specimens for elaborate animatronic taxidermy dioramas, he learns of “Hogzilla,” a thousand-pound feral hog with supernatural traits that has been terrorizing the locals. As his Ahab-caliber obsession with bagging the beast brings him closer and closer to this lab-spawned monster, Romie gets pulled into an absurd and murky underworld of biotech operatives, FDA agents, and environmental activists.

Part surreal satire, part Southern Gothic tall tale, The New and Improved Romie Futch is a disturbing yet hilarious romp through a strange New South where technology can change the structure of the human brain and genetically modified feral animals ravage the blighted landscape. In Romie Futch, Julia Elliott has created an unwitting and ill-equipped protagonist who nevertheless will win your heart.




Matthew Kressel

King of Shards
The Worldmender Trilogy 1
Arche Press, October 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Across the ineffable expanse of the Great Deep float billions of shattered universes: the Shards. Populated with vengeful demons and tormented humans, the Shards need Earth to survive just as plants need water. Earth itself is kept alive by thirty-six righteous people, thirty-six hidden saints known as the Lamed Vav. Kill but a few of the Lamed Vav and the Earth will shatter, and all the Shards that rely upon it will die in a horrible cataclysm.

When Daniel Fisher is abducted on his wedding day by the demon king, Ashmedai, he learns he is a Lamed Vav, one of the hidden righteous upholding the world. The demon Mashit has usurped the throne of demonkind from Ashmedai and has been systematically murdering the Lamed Vav. On a desert-covered Shard teeming with strange creatures, pursued by a fearsome demon army, Daniel and Ashmedai, saint and demon, must join forces to stop Mashit before she destroys all of existence. Daniel’s survival means he must ally with evil Ashmedai. Yet who but a saint—a Lamed Vav—can save the world?




Sigal Samuel

The Mystics of Mile End
William Morrow Paperbacks, October 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Sigal Samuel’s debut novel, in the vein of Nicole Krauss’s bestselling The History of Love, is an imaginative story that delves into the heart of Jewish mysticism, faith, and family.

“This is not an ordinary tree I am making.

“This,” he said, “this is the Tree of Knowledge.”

In the half-Hasidic, half-hipster Montreal neighborhood of Mile End, eleven-year-old Lev Meyer is discovering that there may be a place for Judaism in his life. As he learns about science in his day school, Lev begins his own extracurricular study of the Bible’s Tree of Knowledge with neighbor Mr. Katz, who is building his own Tree out of trash. Meanwhile his sister Samara is secretly studying for her Bat Mitzvah with next-door neighbor and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Glassman. All the while his father, David, a professor of Jewish mysticism, is a non-believer.

When, years later, David has a heart attack, he begins to believe God is speaking to him. While having an affair with one of his students, he delves into the complexities of Kabbalah. Months later Samara, too, grows obsessed with the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life—hiding her interest from those who love her most–and is overcome with reaching the Tree’s highest heights. The neighbors of Mile End have been there all along, but only one of them can catch her when she falls.




Sue Tingey
Marked
Soulseer Chronicles Trilogy 1
Jo Fletcher Books, October 6, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
(US Debut)

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
In a world filled with charlatans, Lucinda "Lucky" de Salle's psychic ability has always made her an outcast, even as it has also made her a sought-after (if reluctant) investigator of paranormal phenomena. With no remaining family and very few friends, she has only one "person" she can rely on--Kayla, the ghost girl who has been her constant companion since she was born.

When Lucky is called in to investigate a spectral disturbance at the all-girls school she attended as a child, she isn't surprised. She herself had had a terrifying confrontation with the troubled spirits of two girls who died in the attic room. But when Lucky goes up to the attic, she discovers that the vicious little girls are the least of the problem--a demon has been released into this world, a creature of such malevolence that even the spirits of the two girls are afraid. When the demon demands that Kayla be handed over to him, Lucky realizes that this case will be like no other she has ever experienced.

For one thing, it seems that her chatty, snarky spirit companion is not what she has always seemed to be...




Max Wirestone

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
Redhook / Orbit, October 20, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.

The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she's not living her best life. But that's all about to change.

Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she's offered a job. A job that she's woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she's just the girl to deal with them.




Minerva Zimmerman

Take On Me
The Shattered Ones 1
Fireside Fiction Company, October 6, 2015
eBook, 238 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts
Turning someone you don’t know into a vampire probably violates the Hippocratic oath. But Alex wasn’t really thinking about that when he found a girl bleeding out in his shower.

Being turned into a vampire isn’t as cool as it sounds. Especially when all Hannah wanted to be was dead. She thought she had finally escaped her brother. Until she woke up. Alive? Undead? Whatever. And now Hannah is stuck with the uncoolest vampire in existence.

As Alex and Hannah feel each other out — breaking some bones along the way — Alex’s oldest friend comes looking for help, and Hannah’s brother comes looking for her. What none of them see are the forces pushing them all on a collision course.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel


2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge.


Sigal Samuel

The Mystics of Mile End
William Morrow Paperbacks, October 13, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel
Sigal Samuel’s debut novel, in the vein of Nicole Krauss’s bestselling The History of Love, is an imaginative story that delves into the heart of Jewish mysticism, faith, and family.

“This is not an ordinary tree I am making.

“This,” he said, “this is the Tree of Knowledge.”

In the half-Hasidic, half-hipster Montreal neighborhood of Mile End, eleven-year-old Lev Meyer is discovering that there may be a place for Judaism in his life. As he learns about science in his day school, Lev begins his own extracurricular study of the Bible’s Tree of Knowledge with neighbor Mr. Katz, who is building his own Tree out of trash. Meanwhile his sister Samara is secretly studying for her Bat Mitzvah with next-door neighbor and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Glassman. All the while his father, David, a professor of Jewish mysticism, is a non-believer.

When, years later, David has a heart attack, he begins to believe God is speaking to him. While having an affair with one of his students, he delves into the complexities of Kabbalah. Months later Samara, too, grows obsessed with the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life—hiding her interest from those who love her most–and is overcome with reaching the Tree’s highest heights. The neighbors of Mile End have been there all along, but only one of them can catch her when she falls.

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October DebutsInterview with Sigal Samuel, author of The Mystics of Mile End2015 Debut Author Challenge - October Debuts2015 Debut Author Challenge Update: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel

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