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Interview with Thomas Olde Heuvelt


Please welcome Thomas Olde Heuvelt to The Qwillery as part of the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. HEX was published on April 26th by Tor Books.



Interview with Thomas Olde Heuvelt




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

Thomas:  Thank you. I finished my first short story when I was ten. Before that, I had started about a thousand, but then a buddy would ring the doorbell and ask me out to play soccer or climb roofs or set fire to some boxes (or all three at the same time) and I would forget about the story. But that first finished story was a present to my grandmother’s birthday at Christmas. It was a kind of sci-fi Christmas Carol, featuring me and my sister in Bethlehem in the year 3.000, and we had to save our grandmother from the hospital as she was giving birth to the AntiChrist. It’s been a while, so I can't really judge it on its literary merits.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Thomas:  I'm one of those writers that like to plot a lot. But of course, as you’re writing, your subconscious takes over and comes up with all these little (and sometimes big!) surprises that are way, way better than you could ever have cooked up rationally. So you go with that. And that is a good thing.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Thomas:  Mostly, setting time aside to actually do it! The success of HEX has been overwhelming. After it did very well in Holland and Belgium, it has now sold to countries all over the world, and Warner Bros. is developing a pilot for a TV series. It’s all fantastically wonderful, but it took a lot of my time. I worked closely together with the translator on the English version of the book, and then there are events and promo and all sorts of other stuff that comes my way. What works for me is if I lock myself in some place abroad, to be socially secluded for a period of time in order to focus on writing the new book. I have family in northern Thailand and in the Swiss Alps, and they’re kind enough to let me use their houses every now and then, as long as all the nasty little things I cook up happen in the books, not in their house.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Thomas:  Reading as many good books as I can. And then write the best book that I would want to read myself.



TQDescribe HEX in 140 characters or less.

Thomas:  This book will haunt you in your sleep. Guaranteed. Mwuhaha.



TQTell us something about HEX that is not found in the book description.

Thomas:  Although it’s a horror novel and it turns pretty dark, it is actually also a very humorous book. I just love the scene where Griselda Holst, the butcher woman, tries to think of a sacrifice she would like to make for Katherine (the witch), in order to stay on her good side. She has a habit of sacrificing pâté to her, and now has raised the stakes with a pig's head, so she really has to come up with something good this time. Except it needs to fit in a big shopping bag, as she doesn’t want the townsfolk to find out about what she is doing. So she comes up with the idea of a living peacock. Except, she first has to catch a living peacock. And the witch is just staring at her, behind those stitched-up eyes...



TQWhat inspired you to write HEX? What appeals to you about writing Horror?

Thomas:  I wanted to write a story about a witch ever since I was traumatized by Roald Dahl's book The Witches, and the 1990 movie adaptation of it. The moment when Anjelica Huston, the Grand High Witch, takes off her mask... gosh, I was seven years old, and I didn’t trust any women for the next six months. Imagine what my winter was like, with women wearing gloves all the time. I saw witches everywhere. Then I watched The Blair Witch Project when I was fifteen, and of course, the scary part there was that you did not see the witch. Katherine van Wyler, the witch in HEX, has influences of both. Of course she has this horrible, disfigured face because her mouth and eyes are sewn shut... but for exactly the same reason, you never really get to see her. If you can’t see someone's eyes, you'll never know what they are thinking. That makes her so scary.

As for horror in general: it’s just a quirk. As a kid I used to collect model airplanes. You know, the ones you have to glue together from scratch, then paint all the way. It took me days. When it was done, I took a sledgehammer and crushed the plane right through the middle. I burned the edges with matches and used burnt cloth and wrinkled aluminium foil to simulate wreckage. Then I placed my toy ambulances around the crash scene and showed it to my mom. I was, like: Tadaaaa! She wasn’t amused. I guess it proves that I’ve always been drawn to the dark side of things. But at least I never poked the eyes out of my teddy bears.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for HEX?

Thomas:  Mostly stuff about the witch craze in the seventeenth century, about superstitions and about omens. Did you know there is actually an Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions? So cool. Also, I did a lot of research about the Hudson Valley area where the book is set, which has a lot of Dutch history. I am from the Netherlands, and although I’ve visited the area many times and I used to live in Ottawa (I was a uOttawa student!), you still want to make sure you get everything right. But both the translator and the editor lived in the Hudson Valley for years, so they were both of great help.



TQWhy have you chosen to include social issues in HEX?

Thomas:  I thought it was a much more frightening idea if the real evildoers in the book are the townsfolk themselves, not the witch. The novel is a parable about mankind’s depravity and the depths of evil of which we are capable. When things go bad in Black Spring, hidden tensions and human weakness trigger a whole other kind of witch-hunt that boils over into persecution and scapegoating, with shocking consequences. I wanted to show that even today, little truly separates us from the time when we really used to persecute people on the grounds of our primal fears like witchcraft. And we have a lot of primal fears in our society at the moment...



TQWhich question about HEX do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Thomas:  I guess it would be the obvious one, once you've read it: So who was it, at the front door? And of course, I'm not gonna tell! Or maybe: Do you really believe people are so messed-up they would react this way? And I'd say: yes, I'm afraid so. As soon as you'll pull the carpet of normality from underneath us, we start to crumble.



TQGive us one of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from HEX.

Thomas:  I love this bit, as it tells so much about these people: "Theo Stackhouse, who had been a garage owner and car mechanic the week before, eagerly accepted the office of town executioner and was summoned to the stables of the councilman's estate on Wednesday night. He practiced first on a leather saddle, to master the art of flogging, and then on a floundering, bound calf, to prepare himself for the reflex of living flesh. That night before he went to bed he took two Advils for the intense aches in his upper arm, but despite the pain, he slept like a baby."



TQWhat's next?

Thomas:  I tremendously look forward to the reception of HEX in all the different countries where it will appear. This has always been a dream of mine and I've been working for years to realize it. Now people in China and Turkey and Canada and France and Serbia and many other countries are suddenly reading my work. In Holland, I've been getting so many messages from readers who told me they had to leave the lights on at night after finishing the book, in order to fall asleep. I wonder if it will have the same effect on people abroad. Also I'm going on tour in some of these countries, starting with a US tour in June and July. That's going to be special.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Thomas:  You're very welcome!





HEX
Tor Books, April 26, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Interview with Thomas Olde Heuvelt
The English language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel, Hex, from Thomas Olde Heuvelt--a Hugo and World Fantasy award nominated talent to watch

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.





About Thomas

Interview with Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Born in 1983, Thomas Olde Heuvelt is the much praised Dutch author of several novels and many stories of the fantastic. BBC Radio called Thomas "One of Europe's foremost talents in fantastic literature." Olde Heuvelt is a multiple winner of the Paul Harland Award for best Dutch Fantasy. His story "The Boy Who Cast No Shadow" received the Honorable Mention in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards.





Website  ~ Twitter @Thomas_Novelist


The View From Monday - April 25, 2016


Happy last Monday in April! There are 4 debuts this week:

Ghosts of Bergen County by Dana Cann;

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter;

HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt;

and

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files 1) by Sylvain Neuvel.

The View From Monday - April 25, 2016 The View From Monday - April 25, 2016
The View From Monday - April 25, 2016 The View From Monday - April 25, 2016



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Time Salvager (Time Salvager 1) by Wesley Chu is out in Trade Paperback;

The Days of Tao by Wesley Chu;

Last First Snow (Craft Sequence 4) by Max Gladstone is out in Trade Paperback;

In Shining Armor (Pax Arcana 4) by Elliott James;

Ecko Rising (Ecko 1) by Danie Ware is out in Mass Market Paperback.

The View From Monday - April 25, 2016 The View From Monday - April 25, 2016
The View From Monday - April 25, 2016The View From Monday - April 25, 2016
The View From Monday - April 25, 2016 The View From Monday - April 25, 2016


Note: Clicking on the novel cover will take you to the novel's Amazon page.



The View From Monday - April 25, 2016



April 25, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Ghosts of Bergen County (D) Dana Cann LF/GH
Lightning Sealed Lila Felix PNR - The Lucent Series 2
Heather Graham Krewe of Hunters Series Volume 4: The Cursed\The Hexed\The Betrayed (e) Heather Graham PNR/Sup - Krewe of Hunters



April 26, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Sharp Ends Joe Abercrombie F - Stories from the World of First Law
The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories Joan Aiken F - Anthology
Undercity (tp2mm) Catherine Asaro SF - Skolian Empire 7
Aunt Dimity and the Summer King (h2tp) Nancy Atherton PM - Aunt Dimity Mystery 20
Just Over the Horizon Greg Bear SF - The Complete Short Fiction of Greg Bear 1
Far Thoughts and Pale Gods Greg Bear SF - The Complete Short Fiction of Greg Bear 2
Beyond the Farthest Suns Greg Bear The Complete Short FSF - iction of Greg Bear 3
The Siren's Dance Amber Belldene PNR - Siren's Touch 2
Long Black Curl (h2tp) Alex Bledsoe CF - Tufa Novels 3
The Darkling Child (h2mm) Terry Brooks F - The Defenders of Shannara 2
The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan (h2mm) Jack Campbell SF - The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier 11
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls (D) Emily Carpenter Occ/Sup
Final Flight (e) Beth Cato SP - A Clockwork Dagger Story
Time Salvager (h2tp) Wesley Chu SF/TT
A Thousand Yesteryears Mae Clair MR/SupTh - Point Pleasant 1
1882: Custer in Chains (h2mm) Robert Conroy AH
The Minority Report and Other Classic Stories By Philip K. Dick Philip K. Dick SF - Collection
Fall of Light Steven Erikson F - The Kharkanas Trilogy 2
Fire Bound Christine Feehan PNR - A Sea Haven Novel 5
Los Nefilim (e) T. Frohock F/AH
Last First Snow (h2tp) Max Gladstone F - Craft Sequence 4
Dead Ice (h2mm) Laurell K. Hamilton CF - Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 23
Emperor of the Eight Islands Lian Hearn F/LF - The Tale of Shikanoko series 1
HEX (D) Thomas Olde Heuvelt H
Strangely Beautiful Leanna Renee Hieber HistF
Jilo J.D. Horn HistF - Witching Savannah 4
Z Larissa Ione PNR - A Demonica Underworld Novella
In Shining Armor Elliott James CF - Pax Arcana 4
Night Mask (e)(ri) William W. Johnstone H
Cujo (ri) Stephen King H
Alien - Invasion: The Rage War 2 Tim Lebbon SF - Alien: Invasion
Kill Switch Jonathan Maberry Th - Joe Ledger 8
Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos Philip Martin SF - Doctor Who
Ladivine Marie NDiaye LF/MR
Sleeping Giants (D) Sylvain Neuvel SF - Themis Files 1
Wings of the Fallen Anthony Pryor SupTh/DF - The Shepherd 2
Wraith Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens Th
Aurora (h2mm) Kim Stanley Robinson SF/SO
Red Knight Falling Craig Schaefer DF - Harmony Black Series 2
The Music Box Girl (e) K.A. Stewart SP
Heroes Reborn: Collection Two Duane Swierczynski Keith R. A DeCandido
Kevin J. Anderson
Peter J. Wacks
SF/SH - Heroes Reborn
Elusive Salvation Dayton Ward SF - Star Trek: The Original Series
Ecko Rising (tp2mm) Danie Ware SF/F - Ecko 1
Barren Cove Ariel S. Winter GB
Cobra Outlaw (tp2mm) Timothy Zahn SF - Cobra 2



April 27, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Witch Who Came in From the Cold - Episode 13: "Company Time" Max Gladstone
Lindsay Smith
HistF
La beauté sans vertu: A Tor.Com Original (e) Genevieve Valentine SF



April 30, 2016
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Days of Tao Wesley Chu SF



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
tp2mm - Trade to Mass Market Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint


AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternate History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CyberP - Cyberpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tale
FolkT - Folk Tale
FR - Fantasy Romance
GB - Genre Bender
GH - Ghost
GO - Gothic
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
Hu - Humor
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legends and Mythology
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
Occ - Occult
PA - Post Apocalyptic
Phil - Philosophy
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
R - Romance
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
Tech - Technological
TechnoTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy
W - Western

Note: not all of these genres are represented in the above releases.

2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts


2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts


Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2016 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is published in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on April 24, 2016.


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




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover design by Danielle Christopher





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover by Jakob Vala




2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Artist Kelly Martin





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts
Cover painting by Cynthia Reeser.
Cover design by Matthew Revert.





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts





2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts


2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts


2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts


There are 13 debut novels for April. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The April 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 April cover for the 2016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on April 15, 2016.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery @ gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2016 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for April 2016 The list is correct as of the day posted.



Todd R. Baker

Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat
Aqueous Books, April 1, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 460 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
Luke Morrow, a financially struggling young single parent to an 8-year-old boy, comes to believe that he has nothing, until by a magical twist of fate, his improbable internet technology start-up turns him into a Silicon Valley billionaire star. Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat begins with Luke’s harrowing romantic sojourn on the moneyed Westside of Los Angeles. Just when Luke can’t bear life’s pain anymore, he is remade—into a rich but brutal man. As Luke catapults through realms of fame and fortune, he is granted one last chance to seek redemption in a final showdown between honor and his own devastating power.




Dana Cann

Ghosts of Bergen County
Tin House Books, April 25, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 288 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
Set in New York City and New Jersey on the cusp of the financial crisis, Ghosts of Bergen County is a literary mystery with supernatural elements.

Gil Ferko is a private-equity lieutenant who commutes to Manhattan from the New Jersey suburbs. His wife, Mary Beth, has become a shut-in since a hit-and-run accident killed their infant daughter. When Ferko reconnects with Jen Yoder, a former high school classmate, Jen introduces him to heroin. As his dependency on the drug grows, his downward spiral puts his life in danger and his career in jeopardy. Mary Beth has also found an escape―first in prescription drugs that numb her senses, then in the companionship of a mysterious girl who heightens them. A ghost? Mary Beth believes so. And Jen is also haunted. Years ago she witnessed a man she had just met fall from a rooftop. She walked away from the accident and has been haunted since by the question of why she did so. As her quest to rectify that mistake starts to collide with the mystery of the hit-and-run driver who killed Ferko and Mary Beth’s daughter, all of the characters are forced to face the fine line between fate and happenstance. Dana Cann’s debut novel is a tautly paced and intricately plotted story in which collective burdens manifest into hauntings.




Emily Carpenter

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
Lake Union Publishing, April 26, 2016
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 310 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
Althea Bell is still heartbroken by her mother’s tragic, premature death—and tormented by the last, frantic words she whispered into young Althea’s ear: Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.

Adrift ever since, Althea is now fresh out of rehab and returning to her family home in Mobile, Alabama, determined to reconnect with her estranged, ailing father. While Althea doesn’t expect him, or her politically ambitious brother, to welcome her with open arms, she’s not prepared for the chilling revelation of a grim, long-buried family secret. Fragile and desperate, Althea escapes with an old flame to uncover the truth about her lineage. Drawn deeper into her ancestors’ lives, Althea begins to unearth their disturbing history…and the part she’s meant to play in it.

Gripping and visceral, this unforgettable debut delves straight into the heart of dark family secrets and into one woman’s emotional journey to save herself from a sinister inheritance.




Matthew Franks

The Monster Underneath
Samhain Publishing, April 5, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 208 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
Reality can be the difference between a dream and a nightmare…

Max Crawford isn’t a typical prison therapist. He uses his unusual psychic ability to walk with convicts through their dreams, reliving their unspeakable crimes alongside them to show them the error of their ways.

Max always has to be on his toes to keep himself grounded, but the FBI agent waiting for him in his private office immediately puts him on edge. The bureau wants Max to go way outside his comfort zone to enter the dreams of suspected serial killer William Knox.

To get a confession and secure the future of his prison program, Max must gain Knox’s trust by any means necessary—and survive the minefield of secrets waiting inside a murderer’s mind. Secrets that could turn Max’s reality into a living nightmare.




Manuel Gonzales

The Regional Office is Under Attack!
Riverhead Books, April 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
In a world beset by amassing forces of darkness, one organization—the Regional Office—and its coterie of super-powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation. At its helm, the mysterious Oyemi and her oracles seek out new recruits and root out evil plots. Then a prophecy suggests that someone from inside might bring about its downfall. And now, the Regional Office is under attack.

Recruited by a defector from within, Rose is a young assassin leading the attack, eager to stretch into her powers and prove herself on her first mission. Defending the Regional Office is Sarah—who may or may not have a mechanical arm—fiercely devoted to the organization that took her in as a young woman in the wake of her mother’s sudden disappearance. On the day that the Regional Office is attacked, Rose’s and Sarah’s stories will overlap, their lives will collide, and the world as they know it just might end.

Weaving in a brilliantly conceived mythology, fantastical magical powers, teenage crushes, and kinetic fight scenes, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! is a seismically entertaining debut novel about revenge and allegiance and love.




Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HEX
Tor Books, April 26, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
The English language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel, Hex, from Thomas Olde Heuvelt--a Hugo and World Fantasy award nominated talent to watch

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.




Holly Jennings

Arena
An Arena Novel 1
Ace, April 5, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
A fast-paced and gripping near-future science fiction debut about the gritty world of competitive gaming…

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She’s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier…

The RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator—leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world—until one of her teammates overdoses. Now, she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game—and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.

The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside…




Jadah McCoy

Artificial
The Kepler Chronicles 1
Curiosity Quills Press, April 4, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 226 pages


2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
She struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.




Julie McElwain

A Murder in Time
Pegasus, April 11, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.




David Means

Hystopia
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 19, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
At the bitter end of the 1960s, after surviving multiple assassination attempts, President John F. Kennedy has created a vast federal agency, the Psych Corps, dedicated to maintaining the nation’s mental hygiene by any means necessary. Soldiers returning from Vietnam have their battlefield traumas “enfolded”--wiped from their memories through drugs and therapy--while veterans too damaged to be enfolded roam at will in Michigan, evading the Psych Corps and reenacting atrocities on civilians.

This destabilized, alternate version of American history is the vision of the twenty-two-year-old veteran Eugene Allen, who has returned from Vietnam to write the book at the center of Hystopia, the long-awaited first novel by David Means. The critic James Wood has written that Means's language "offers an exquisitely precise and sensuous register of an often crazy American reality." In Hystopia, Means brings his full talent to bear on the crazy reality of trauma, both national and personal. Outlandish and tender, funny and violent, timely and historical, Hystopia invites us to consider whether our traumas can ever be truly overcome. The answers it offers are wildly inventive, deeply rooted in its characters, and wrung from the author’s own heart.




Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants
Del Rey, April 26, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?




Steve Toutonghi

Join
Soho Press, April 19, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
What if you could live multiple lives simultaneously, have constant, perfect companionship, and never die? That’s the promise of Join, a revolutionary technology that allows small groups of minds to unite, forming a single consciousness that experiences the world through multiple bodies. But as two best friends discover, the light of that miracle may be blinding the world to its horrors.

Chance and Leap are jolted out of their professional routines by a terrifying stranger—a remorseless killer who freely manipulates the networks that regulate life in the post-Join world. Their quest for answers—and survival—brings them from the networks and spire communities they’ve known to the scarred heart of an environmentally ravaged North American continent and an underground community of the “ferals” left behind by the rush of technology.

In the storytelling tradition of classic speculative fiction from writers like David Mitchell and Michael Chabon, Join offers a pulse-pounding story that poses the largest possible questions: How long can human life be sustained on our planet in the face of environmental catastrophe? What does it mean to be human, and what happens when humanity takes the next step in its evolution? If the individual mind becomes obsolete, what have we lost and gained, and what is still worth fighting for?




Benjamin Warner

Thirst
Bloomsbury USA, April 12, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages

2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts
On a searing summer Friday, Eddie Chapman has been stuck for hours in a traffic jam. There are accidents along the highway, but ambulances and police are conspicuously absent. When he decides to abandon his car and run home, he sees that the trees along the edge of a stream have been burnt, and the water in the streambed is gone. Something is very wrong.

When he arrives home, the power is out and there is no running water. The pipes everywhere, it seems, have gone dry. Eddie and his wife, Laura, find themselves thrust together with their neighbors while a sense of unease thickens in the stifling night air.

Thirst
takes place in the immediate aftermath of a mysterious disaster--the Chapmans and their neighbors suffer the effects of the heat, their thirst, and the terrifying realization that no one is coming to help. As violence rips through the community, Eddie and Laura are forced to recall secrets from their past and question their present humanity. In crisp and convincing prose, Ben Warner compels readers to do the same. What might you do to survive?


Interview with Thomas Olde HeuveltThe View From Monday - April 25, 20162016 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - April Debuts2016 Debut Author Challenge - April 2016 Debuts

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