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2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013


It's time for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for September 2013!


2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013


Since Cover Wars was so much fun as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, we're doing it again for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2013 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 I have it.


Vote for your Favorite September 2013 Debut Novel Cover!
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Voting will close on September 30, 2013.

(Please note that when you click "View" above it will take you to the PollCode site. Please click "Back" there to come back to this post. Leave any comments below.)




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013
Cover Art by Victo Ngai




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013




2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013
Cover Illustration © Kerem Beyit


Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013


Please welcome Chris Willrich to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) will be published on September 24, 2013 by Pyr. You may read Chris' 2013 DAC Guest Blog here.




Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013





TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Chris:  Thanks very much! It’s good to be here.



TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Chris:  I was a compulsive daydreamer as a kid. Helpful (and maybe a trifle worried) adults tried to channel this in productive ways. My parents always pushed books my way, and by the time I hit middle school they weren't censoring what I read. At the same school a teacher looked at one of my assignments and suggested I might make a good writer. It was the kind of well-timed comment that can really shape a kid’s life. My first attempt was a couple of paragraphs of Star Trek fan fiction, but I ran out of steam fast. It was harder than it looked. I got a lot more serious after high school, but it took a long time to get my work into publishable shape.



TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Chris:  I don’t have a consistent work space. I’ll be all over the house or at one of a half-dozen coffeehouses. I do pick favorite spots for long stretches -- right now my usual “office” is one end of a couch, beside a window and a bookshelf, the kids’ toys at my feet. I might trip over Thomas the Tank Engine when I get up.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Chris:  Pantser all the way. Although for a project for Paizo, publisher of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, I did have to learn to work from a detailed outline. That was an interesting challenge, and I see some advantages to it. But my natural style is to make up the bulk of a story as I go along.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

For the most part, stories don’t come to life for me until I commit words to paper. Characters don’t clarify for me until I write dialogue; plot developments are hard to think through until I’m blocking out a scene.



TQ:  Describe The Scroll of Years in 140 characters or less.

Chris:  Gaunt and Bone, lovers and rogues, hope to retire and start a family. But first they must flee the West for a mysterious land in the East.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Scroll of Years?

Chris:  An old interest in writing an Asian-themed fantasy collided with wanting to find a place for my serial magazine heroes Gaunt and Bone to flee to. The pieces seemed to fit.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Scroll of Years?

Chris:  I delved into materials I’d kept from college classes on China, and some notes I took when my late mother-in-law, a first-generation immigrant, told stories from her childhood. Some specific research I did was to look again at two books by Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China and God’s Chinese Son. With the first book I looked at early chapters about the Ming Dynasty, because I was searching for a kind of baseline for my imaginary setting, and Spence’s description of that milieu was very absorbing. With the second book I reread early chapters on 19th Century China, specifically sections about bandit gangs and foreign traders. As you can see by these two examples, whatever’s historical about my setting is an anachronistic patchwork.

Other works I looked at were translations of the 9th Century poetry attributed to Hanshan (“Cold Mountain”) and the classic Tao Te Ching (Pinyin Dao De Jing), because the philosophy of these works informs the attitudes of several characters in the story. Michael Sullivan's The Arts of China was handy for visual references.

None of the above should give anyone the idea I’m some kind of authority on Chinese history. But hopefully I haven’t been a complete idiot in how I’ve used my sources.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Chris:  Gaunt and Bone tie for easiest characters, since I’d written several short works about them already. The hardest character was probably an important government official of Qiangguo, my imaginary country. He’s mainly an adversary, but he’s not really a villain; there are genuine villains in the story, and they were much easier to write. Rather, he has an authoritarian point of view that I'm personally not very sympathetic to. Yet in his own mind he is waging a lonely, quite possibly doomed, battle against barbarism, while trying to cling to a sense of honor.



TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Scroll of Years?

Chris:  Luckily my personal favorite comes fairly early, because it introduces a character who became my favorite. It involves two young people of Qiangguo confronting an embodiment of the Nian, a monster you’re supposed to be scaring off during the Lunar New Year. My characters don’t literally believe in the Nian, so running into an incarnation of it is kind of like discovering the trick-or-treaters at your door really are mummies and vampires.



TQ:  What's next? /this is where you share whatever you'd like to share/

Chris:  I’m hard at work on a sequel to The Scroll of Years, titled The Silk Map. It sends Gaunt and Bone along their world's analog of the historical "Silk Road."



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chris:  Thanks for having me!






The Scroll of Years

The Scroll of Years
A Gaunt and Bone Novel
Pyr, September 24, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 270 pages

Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013
It's Brent Weeks meets China Mieville in this wildly imaginative fantasy debut featuring high action, elegant writing, and sword and sorcery with a Chinese flare.

Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure-complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.





About Chris

Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013
Photo by Richard McCowen
Chris Willrich (Mountain View, CA) is a science fiction and fantasy writer best known for his sword-and-sorcery tales of Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone. Until recently he was a children's librarian for the Santa Clara County Library System, in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Gate, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Flashing Swords, The Mythic Circle, and Strange Horizons.


Website  ~  Twitter @WillrichChris  ~  Facebook 






Guest Blog by Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years - August 21, 2013


Please welcome Chris Willrich to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) will be published on September 24, 2013 by Pyr.



Guest Blog by Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years -  August 21, 2013




I'm delighted to be here at The Qwillery to talk about The Scroll of Years. By now, you've had a look at Kerem Beyit's beautiful cover. So, what's the deal with the couple in the picture, and where the heck are they?

Sometimes it's fun to make up imaginary Hollywood-style elevator pitches for stories. As in, "It's like George Lucas retelling a Hans Christian Andersen story! In space!" (If you like the sound of that, go check out Joan D. Vinge's The Snow Queen.) Or, "It's like I Am Legend meets The Road Warrior!" (I may have to write that one, actually.)

My imaginary pitch for The Scroll of Years might be, "Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser run away to the land of Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds." Let me unpack that a little.

Ever since Fritz Leiber coined the term "sword and sorcery" to pin down what made his adventurers Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser so different from the noble heroes of J.R.R. Tolkien, fans of sword and sorcery have been debating how to define this subgenre. But however you slice it, Leiber's fierce Northman and his swashbuckling friend are at the heart of sword and sorcery, busting in and out of Thieves' Guilds, facing down weird magic, and staying one step ahead of their creditors. Leiber specifically identified Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan, as a sword and sorcery author also, and so courageous, lusty barbarian wanderers definitely belong here too.

Sometimes sword and sorcery seems like epic fantasy's old pal from the wrong side of the tracks, always dragging epic fantasy into seedy establishments, playing the music too loud, keeping them both up yakking till dawn. But they do have a lot in common -- plenty of action, quirky characters, exciting locations, memorable bad guys.

What I keep coming back to is personal stakes. Even if kingdoms or worlds stand in the balance, the emotional heart of a sword and sorcery story is with its main characters, and whether they get their gold, or their revenge, or just their hard-earned moment of peace. Epic fantasy characters, by and large, want to do the right thing. Sword and sorcery characters can be persuaded to do the right thing, but the greater good is rarely the first thing on their minds.

When I first started writing magazine stories about the poet Persimmon Gaunt and her formerly-enchanted lover, the thief Imago Bone, I realized the biggest footprints I was following were Leiber's, and therefore what I was building was a sword and sorcery series. And so, the stakes needed to be personal. At first Gaunt and Bone were trying to get rid of a magical, doom-laden book that had helped Bone escape a curse. In the beginning that quest was something of a lark; Gaunt and Bone's deeper motivation was to travel their world's equivalent of Europe and the Mediterranean, and to learn more about each other. In time they discovered the book was a threat to their world, but it was still their own necks they really wanted to save.

Once they accomplished their goal, I realized they would have another plan in mind -- to settle down and raise a family.

Now this might seem beyond the pale for sword and sorcery, but I think it does fit. The stakes are as personal as they can get. But people like Gaunt and Bone make enemies, and it seemed likely they would have trouble finding a haven. They might have to flee to make their dream a reality. They might have to run as far away as they could possibly go.

So, there's half the equation. Where does Bridge of Birds fit in?

While I'm not sure where my longstanding interest in China began, I am sure that Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart's award-winning fantasy of "an ancient China that never was," hit me between the eyes in my impressionable college years. Wonderstruck, I wandered with the dogged Number Ten Ox as he carried around his elderly mentor Master Li, a sage with "a slight flaw in his character." Their convoluted and harrowing quest to save the poisoned children of Ox's village would involve cutthroats, spirits, and gods before reaching its beautiful and bittersweet conclusion. It's likely this book had something to do with my two quarters of Mandarin (it didn't stick, alas) and the elective classes I took on Chinese arts and culture. I remember toying with the idea of writing a China-inspired fantasy setting, but like many such ideas it stayed on the back burner for years.

As fate would have it, however, my wife is of Chinese descent on her mother's side, and so in a quite different way I became newly acquainted with Chinese culture. Most of this information I owe to my late mother-in-law. She emigrated from China after World War Two, as the civil war resumed between the nationalists and the communists. She shared stories of hiding out from Japanese bombers, and of moving to Hong Kong and then the U.S. after her mother and grandmother were killed traveling a mined river. And she would reach further back, describing how it was to be a tomboy of a girl in a much more traditional time and place. She also shared tales she'd heard as a child. Some were purely legends; others were family history. Sometimes legend and history blurred together, but she reported it as she'd heard it. Absorbed by the storytelling, I wrote some of it down. I'm grateful to have heard these tales. I wish I'd written down more.

Now, the place Gaunt and Bone flee to in their search for sanctuary, Qiangguo, the land of walls, is not of course the China of my mother-in-law's stories, nor the China of my reading, nor even Barry Hughart's China. For better or worse it's my own concoction, with a bunch of things thrown into the pot -- fact, fantasy, pulp fiction, philosophy, wuxia movies. Sometimes fusion experiments work well, sometimes not. But I found that throwing a pair of sword-and-sorcery rogues, and the assassins on their trail, into a China-inspired setting resulted in something I had a lot of fun writing. So much so that it grew beyond the bounds of a magazine story, and became Gaunt and Bone's (and my own) first foray into novels.

If the elevator pitch intrigued you, I hope you'll be persuaded to pull up a chair and join them.

Reference:

"The Demarcation of Sword and Sorcery," by Joseph A. McCullough V. Retrieved from the Black Gate magazine website on August 19, 2013.
http://www.blackgate.com/the-demarcation-of-sword-and-sorcery/






The Scroll of Years

The Scroll of Years
A Gaunt and Bone Novel
Pyr, September 24, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 270 pages

Guest Blog by Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years -  August 21, 2013
It's Brent Weeks meets China Mieville in this wildly imaginative fantasy debut featuring high action, elegant writing, and sword and sorcery with a Chinese flare.

Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure-complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.

Cover Illustration © Kerem Beyit





About Chris

Guest Blog by Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years -  August 21, 2013

Photo by Richard McCowen


Chris Willrich (Mountain View, CA) is a science fiction and fantasy writer best known for his sword-and-sorcery tales of Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone. Until recently he was a children's librarian for the Santa Clara County Library System, in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Gate, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Flashing Swords, The Mythic Circle, and Strange Horizons.


Website  ~  Twitter @WillrichChris  ~  Facebook


2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Chris Willrich and The Scroll of Years - August 6, 2013



2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Chris Willrich and The Scroll of Years - August 6, 2013


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.



Chris Willrich

The Scroll of Years
Gaunt and Bone 1
Pyr, September 10, 2013 
Trade Paperback and eBook, 270 pages

2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Chris Willrich and The Scroll of Years - August 6, 2013
It's Brent Weeks meets China Mieville in this wildly imaginative fantasy debut featuring high action, elegant writing, and sword and sorcery with a Chinese flare.

Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure-complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.




Cover Illustration © Kerem Beyit.

Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Silk Map and The Scroll of Years, and Giveaway - May 16, 20142013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - September 2013Interview with Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years (A Gaunt and Bone Novel) - September 11, 2013Guest Blog by Chris Willrich, author of The Scroll of Years -  August 21, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Update - Chris Willrich and The Scroll of Years - August 6, 2013

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