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Interview with Nicole Jarvis, author of The Lights of Prague

Please welcome Nicole Jarvis to The Qwillery as part of the 2021 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Lights of Prague was published on May 25, 2021 by Titan Books.







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

Nicole:  I’m happy to be here! I remember writing a short story for fun when I was in elementary school. I was traveling with my childhood crush along the Nile to search for a monstrous giant crocodile. (My crush did not survive to the end of the story. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for narrative tension!)



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Nicole:  Plotter!



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Nicole:  Even though I carefully plot each draft, I never know if something works until the whole book is written out. I rely heavily on editing once I have everything on paper, but it makes for a lot of deleted and rewritten material!



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Nicole:  I’m influenced by everything around me, but travel often sparks the tone and plot of my work. I hope my books can give people the sense of exploring the world.



TQDescribe The Lights of Prague using only 5 words.

Nicole:  Flames. Lace. Fangs. Cobblestones. Secrets.



TQTell us something about The Lights of Prague that is not found in the book description.

Nicole:  Though the book description focuses on Domek Myska, the monster-hunting lamplighter, half the book is from the point of view of Lady Ora Fischerová, a beautiful widow who is far older than she looks.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Lights of Prague?

Nicole:  I was struck one night with the image of a lamplighter on a misty street jumping into danger—and getting sucked into a much bigger conspiracy—and the rest of the book demanded to be written from there!



TQThe novel is set in gaslight-era Prague. In your opinion what elements are required for a novel to be a Gaslamp fantasy?

Nicole:  Despite literally starring a lamplighter, I didn’t envision The Lights of Prague as a “Gaslamp Fantasy” when I wrote it! I was drawn to the idea of a character who brought not just light but safety to the dark streets, and the era of gaslamps was the perfect fit.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Lights of Prague?

Nicole:  Before I even started writing the first draft, I read several books about the setting to get an idea of the day-to-day life in 1868 Prague. Once I had the frame in place, I went into more detailed research dives on Wikipedia and JSTOR. Later, I visited Prague to envision the book on the ground!



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Lights of Prague.

Nicole:  Julia Lloyd designed the cover and absolutely blew me away. In addition to being gorgeous and evocative, the cover shows two key landmarks that are central to the book’s plot.



TQIn The Lights of Prague who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Nicole:  Ora was the easiest character to write. I found it natural to balance her light, clever voice and her private grief. The hardest was Kája, the will-o’-the-wisp. I ended up rewriting nearly all of his dialogue over the course of my edits to really nail his personality and plotline.



TQDoes The Lights of Prague touch on any social issues?

Nicole:  There are several social issues touched on in the book, but I was especially determined to include LGBTQ representation. As a bisexual woman, it was very important for me to write about queer characters. We have always existed, even when history has tried to erase us.



TQWhich question about The Lights of Prague do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Nicole

Question: Which character from The Lights of Prague would you get along with most in real life?

Answer: I would love to have a fancy dinner and joke around with Cord, Domek’s best friend! A charming nobleman with interesting hobbies, he’d know how to have a fun conversation.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Lights of Prague.

Nicole:  I’m still very partial to the opening line! I wanted to bring people right into the atmosphere of Prague at night—

“Dark water reflected the line of gas lamps along the path, the rippling lights echoing the stars stretching overhead.”



TQWhat's next?

Nicole:  I can’t say much, but I will say that my next project is set in Florence—and involved a lot of research into some fascinating historical figures!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Nicole:  Thank you for having me!





The Lights of Prague
Titan Books, May 25, 2021
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of mysterious creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek finds solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová - a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady - a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp captured in a mysterious container. Now, as its bearer, Domek wields its power, but the wisp, known for leading travellers to their deaths, will not be so easily controlled.

After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Photo by John Adrian
About Nicole

Nicole Jarvis has been writing stories as long as she can remember. After graduating with degrees in English and Italian from Emory University, Nicole moved to New York City and currently works in marketing at Bloomsbury Publishing, and lives in Manhattan with two cats named after children’s book characters. She loves listening to musicals, learning strange histories and thinking about the inner lives of superheroes. The Lights of Prague is her first novel.






Website  ~  Twitter @nicolejarvis



The View From Monday - May 24, 2021

Happy penultimate Monday in May!

There are 3 debuts this week and we will have interview with each of these debut authors!

Resetby Sarina Dahlan;

The Lights of Pragueby Nicole Jarvis;

and

Annaby Sammy H.K. Smith.


Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Unwillingby Kelly Braffet is out in Trade Paperback;

The Blacktongue Thief(Blacktongue 1) by Christopher Buehlman;

Revelations(Netherspace 3) by Nigel Foster;

Dawnrise(Chaos Queen 5) by Christopher Husberg;

A Murder in Time(A Kendra Donovan Mystery 1) by Julie McElwain is out in Mass Market Paperback;

See Something(A Witch City Mystery 11) by Carol J. Perry;

and

A Chain Across the Dawn (The Universe After 2) by Drew Williams is out in Mass Market Paperback.


Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - May 24, 2021



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

May 25, 2021
TITLE AUTHOR SERIES
MEG: Generations (tp2mm)
Steve Alten SupTh/SF - Meg 6
From Blood and Ash Jennifer L. Armentrout FR/PNR - Blood and Ash 1
The Damnation Game (ri)
Clive Barker H/SupTh/Sus
Power Challenges Ben Bova Power 5
The Unwilling (h2tp)
Kelly Braffet F/HistF
The Uplift War (e)(ri) David Brin SF - Uplift Saga 3
Heaven's Reach (e)(ri) David Brin SF - Uplift Saga 6
Infinity's Shore (e)(ri) David Brin SF - Uplift Saga 5
Brightness Reef (e)(ri)
David Brin SF - Uplift Saga 4
Startide Rising (e)(ri) David Brin SF - Uplift Saga 2
The Uplift Storm Trilogy: Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, Heaven's Reach (e)(ri) David Brin SF - The Uplift Saga
The Last Druid (h2mm)
Terry Brooks F - Fall of Shannara 4
The Blacktongue Thief Christopher Buehlman F/H/HU - Blacktongue 1
Scorpion Christian Cantrell SF/TT/TechTh
Reset (D)
Sarina Dahlan SF
New Welsh Reader 126: Speculative Fiction from Wales (e) Jo Dahn
Gee Williams
SpecFic - Anthology
Chance of a Lifetime Jude Deveraux
Tara Sheets
Women/TT/MR/HistR - Providence Falls 1
The Apocalypse Seven Gene Doucette SF/AP/PA
Claws on the Plain James Dunbar F - Kings of War
How to Mars David Ebenbach SF/AC/MHU
Revelations
Nigel Foster SF/AC/SO - Netherspace 3
1636: The Atlantic Encounter (h2mm)
Eric Flint
Walter H. Hunt
SF/TT - Ring of Fire 25
Richards & Klein Guy Haley SF/CyP/PI
Honeycomb Joanne M. Harris DF
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires (h2tp)
Grady Hendrix H/SupTh/Southern
Chaos Queen - Dawnrise Christopher Husberg DF/F - Chaos Queen 5
The Lights of Prague (D)
Nicole Jarvis F/Gaslamp/HistF/FR
The Promised Queen Jeffe Kennedy FR - Forgotten Empires 3
On the Origin of Species and Other Stories Bo-Young Kim
Sora Kim-Russell (Tr)
SF - Collection
The House of Styx Derek Künsken SF - Venus Ascendant 1
Déjà Doomed Edward M. Lerner SF/HSF/AC
A Murder in Time (ri)
Julie McElwain Women/HistM - Kendra Donovan Mystery 1
Shakespeare for Squirrels (h2tp)
Christopher Moore F/HU
Witness X SE Moorhead SF/Cr
The Legacy of Heorot Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle
Steven Barnes
SF - Heorot Series 1
See Something
Carol J. Perry PCM - A Witch City Mystery 11
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow (h2tp)
Natasha Pulley HistF/Gay/MR/Hist
The Kingdoms Natasha Pulley F/AH/HistF/MR
Burn-In (h2tp)
P. W. Singer
August Cole
TechTh - A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution
Anna (D)
Sammy H.K. Smith Women/Dys
Battle Luna (h2tp)
Travis S. Taylor
Timothy Zahn et al.

The Chalk Man (ri)
C. J. Tudor PsyTh/Sus/H
Hard Reboot Django Wexler SF/SE
A Chain Across the Dawn (ri)
Drew Williams SF/SO/HU - The Universe After 2
Version Zero David Yoon TechTh/Sus/SF



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



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
BHU - Black Humor
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CM - Crime & Mystery
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
GothicR - Gothic Romance
GW&CC - Global Warming and Climate Change
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HistR - Historical Romance
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
M - Mystery
Med - Medical
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
MU - Mash-Up
NF - Near Future
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PF - Paranormal Fantasy
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Pol - Political
PolTh - Political Thriller
PopCul - Popular Culture
PP - Police Porcedural
Psy - Psychological
R - Romance
RF - Romantic Fantasy
ScF - Science Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SFTh - Science Fiction Thriller
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
SS - Short Stories
STR - Small Town and Rural
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
TTR - Time Travel Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy
VM - Visionary and Metaphysical
WS - Women Sleuths

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

2021 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2021 Debuts



Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the beginning of 2022 the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2021 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  June 10, 2021, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite May 2021 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




Cover by Head Design















Cover illustrations: © Shutterstock
Cover design by Jo Mylar © Hodder & Stoughton















Cover art by Stephan Martiniere





2021 Debut Author Challenge - May 2021 Debuts



There are 8 debuts for May 2021.

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

The May 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 May cover for the 2021 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on or about May 15, 2021.





P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn
Dead Djinn Universe 1
Tor.com, May 11, 2021
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world forty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city—or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

A Master of Djinn is poised to launch P. Djèlí Clark’s SFF career to new heights as the highly-anticipated debut readers are clamoring for.


Novellas by P. Djèlí Clark
The Black God's Drums
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
Ring Shout
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Bethany Clift

The Last One at the Party
Mobius, May 11, 2021
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
THE END OF EVERYTHING WAS HER BEGINNING

It's December 2023, and the world as we know it has ended.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM ('Six Days Maximum' - the longest you've got before your body destroys itself).

But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own.

Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding rotting corpses and ravenous rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth.

And with no one else to live for, who will she become now that she's completely alone?
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Sarina Dahlan 

Reset
Blackstone Publishing, May 25, 2021
Hardcover and eBook, 340 pages
Can you love someone you don't remember?

After the Last War destroyed most of the world, survivors form a new society in four self-sustaining cities in the Mojave Desert. In the utopia of the Four Cities, inspired by the lyrics of "Imagine" and Buddhist philosophy, everything is carefully planned and controlled: the seasons, the weather-and the residents. To prevent mankind from destroying each other again, its citizens undergo a memory wipe every four years in a process called tabula rasa, a blank slate, to remove learned prejudices. With each new cycle, they begin again with new names, jobs, homes, and lives. No memories. No attachments. No wars.

Aris, a scientist who shuns love, embraces tabula rasa and the excitement of unknown futures. Walling herself off from emotional attachments, she only sees relationships as pointless and avoids deep connections. But she is haunted by a recurring dream that becomes more frequent and vivid as time passes. After meeting Benja, a handsome free-spirited writer who believes his dreams of a past lover are memories, her world is turned upside down. Obsessed with finding the Dreamers, a secret organization thought to have a way to recover memories, Benja draws her down a dangerous path toward the past. When Metis, the leader of the Dreamers, appears in Aris's life, everything she believes falls to pieces. With little time left before the next tabula rasa, they begin a bittersweet romance, navigating love in a world where names, lives, and moments are systematically destroyed.

Thought-provoking and emotionally resonant, Reset will make you consider the haunting reality of love and loss, and the indelible marks they leave behind.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : Kobo





Nicole Jarvis

The Lights of Prague
Titan Books, May 25, 2021
Trade Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of mysterious creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek finds solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová - a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady - a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp captured in a mysterious container. Now, as its bearer, Domek wields its power, but the wisp, known for leading travellers to their deaths, will not be so easily controlled.

After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Nicole Kornher-Stace

Firebreak
Gallery / Saga Press, May 4, 2021
Hardcover and eBook, 416 pages
(Adult debut)
One young woman faces down an all-powerful corporation in this all-too-near future science fiction debut that reads like a refreshing take on Ready Player One, with a heavy dose of Black Mirror.

Ready Player One meets Cyberpunk 2077 in this eerily familiar future.

“Twenty minutes to power curfew, and my kill counter’s stalled at eight hundred eighty-seven while I’ve been standing here like an idiot. My health bar is flashing ominously, but I’m down to four heal patches, and I have to be smart.”

New Liberty City, 2134.

Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed by each side.

Here, Mallory streams Stellaxis’s wargame SecOps on BestLife, spending more time jacked in than in the world just to eke out a hardscrabble living from tips. When a chance encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers leads to a side job for Mal—looking to link an actual missing girl to one of the SecOps characters. Mal’s sudden burst in online fame rivals her deepening fear of what she is uncovering about BestLife’s developer, and puts her in the kind of danger she’s only experienced through her avatar.

Author Kornher-Stace’s adult science fiction debut—Firebreak— is loaded with ambitious challenges and a city to save.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Jennifer Saint

Ariadne
Flatiron Books, May 4, 2021
Hardover and eBook, 320 pages
A mesmerizing debut novel for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?

Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint's Ariadne forges a new epic, one that puts the forgotten women of Greek mythology back at the heart of the story, as they strive for a better world.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo





Sammy H.K. Smith

Anna
Solaris, May 25, 2021
Hardcover and eBook, 300 pages
A chilling feminist novel set in a near-future dystopia, Anna explores the conflicts between selfhood and expectations, safety and control, and the sacrifices we make for the sake of protection.

Beaten. Branded. Defiant.

Anna is a possession. She is owned by the man named Will, shielded from the world of struggles by his care. He loves her, protects her, and then breaks her. Anna is obedient, dutiful, and compliant. Anna does not know her place in the world.

When she falls pregnant, Anna leaves her name behind, and finds the strength to run. But the past – and Will – catch up with her in an idyllic town with a dark secret, and this time, it’s not just Anna who is at risk.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : Kobo





Phoebe Wynne

Madam
St Martin's Press, May 18, 2021
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
"Rebecca meets The Secret History: gloriously dark, gloriously Gothic." ––Sara Collins, bestselling author of The Confessions of Fannie Langton

Discover the secrets of Caldonbrae Hall in this riveting, modern gothic debut set at a secretive all girls’ boarding school perched on a craggy Scottish peninsula.

They want our silence… They want our obedience… Let them see our fire burn

For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”

Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs--not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”

It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor--a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere--than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.

A darkly feminist tale pitched against a haunting backdrop, and populated by an electrifying cast of heroines, Madam will keep readers engrossed until the breathtaking conclusion.
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Bookshop : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Google Play : iBooks : Kobo
Interview with Nicole Jarvis, author of The Lights of PragueThe View From Monday - May 24, 20212021 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - May 2021 Debuts2021 Debut Author Challenge - May 2021 Debuts

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