Friday, February 21, 2020

Interview with Andrew Hunter Murray, author of The Last Day


Please welcome Andrew Hunter Murray to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last Day was published on February 4, 2020 by Dutton.







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

Andrew:  It was a rather uninspired bit we were asked to write for an exam at school at the age of about seven, about losing my parents in a supermarket. Clearly, themes of familial segregation and trauma resulting from it stayed with me, as there’s a fair bit of that in The Last Day. Although I hadn’t yet thought of ending the world first…



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Andrew:  Enormous plotter. The only time I’ve tried pantsing (can this really be a verb?), I got disastrously stuck and then had to go back and unpick everything and start again. I’m now very wary of starting to write a big work without knowing what’s going to happen – although I might still do that for a short story.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Andrew:  The starting. Pure agony. The sooner you can get the Band-Aid ripped off, the better, and after an hour or two I have to be pried from the desk.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Andrew:  Better writers. Fortunately, there are thousands of them, all coming up with the most remarkable plotlines and brilliantly striking characters and themes. Every day of writing is a thrilling attempt to try and keep up with them, and as a lot of my favorite authors are dead, I can only gain on them.



TQDescribe The Last Day using only 5 words.

Andrew:  Planetary-collapse-inspired-gripping-yarn.



TQTell us something about The Last Day that is not found in the book description.

Andrew:  I gave up twice, lost faith plenty more times, and threw away 30,000 words at one point because the plot had gone in a different direction. All of that is meant to emphasize not that it was terribly brave of me to start again, just that all creative projects seem a certainty once they’re done, when in fact they may seem a much less sure thing from a position in the thick of it. In short: if you’re writing something yourself, keep going!



TQWhat inspired you to write The Last Day?

Andrew:  The state of the world today, and a vision of how it might be fifty years from now – if we don’t start to change direction now.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Last Day?

Andrew:  Quite a bit! Because it’s about the planet’s rotation slowing to a stop, I contacted astrophysicists and oceanographers, and in between times I read as much science as I could about satellites and servers and the effects of sunshine. I also read a brilliant book called ‘The New Odyssey’, all about the people who are making their way from Africa and the Middle East to Europe in search of a better life. That all fed into the book at various points.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Last Day.

Andrew:  The British and American covers are very different. But in the USA, we see the following: a brown-haired woman in a long coat running along a gangway, surrounded by the corona of an eclipse. So we know it’s going to be a) a little planetary and science-fictionish, and b) a rip-roaring read. And the *final* element of the cover is some nice words from Lee Child saying how much he enjoyed it, which is possibly my favorite bit.



TQIn The Last Day who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Andrew:  Ellen Hopper, my main character, was the easiest. She practically grabbed me by the lapels (although really she’s a polite person and wouldn’t do that in real life). I don’t recall finding any characters particularly difficult to caption; the stuff I find really hard is the overarching structure and individual bits of plot.



TQDoes The Last Day touch on any social issues?

Andrew:  Yes, I think so. It has a big sci-fi idea at the core, but like all sci-fi it’s an attempt to analyze the world as it is today. So the book looks at climate migration, and about whether it’s right to bring a child into a world being slowly cooked by global warming, and about countries which have started trying to keep foreigners out in the attempt to preserve what they have, and totalitarianism. So I don’t think I could have avoided social issues really.



TQWhich question about The Last Day do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Andrew:  “Would you prefer the first series of the TV adaptation to be eight or ten parts long?” And: eight, please.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Last Day.

Andrew:

“The ship of the dead, that was how it had begun. Hopper remembered that later.” This is the first line of my first ever novel, so I think it will always have a pretty special place in my heart. I remember reading a wise author – possibly Neil Gaiman? – saying that first line of your first book will the most important thing you’ll ever write. So I went back and forth on the phrasing quite a lot.



TQWhat's next?

Andrew:  All sorts. I’m currently polishing a set of short stories beyond the point of all practicability and winding up my arm for the second novel. It will be in similar territory, but I think different enough to present something new to any readers who stick with me…



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Andrew:  Thank you!





The Last Day
Dutton, February 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

A visionary and powerful debut thriller set in a terrifyingly plausible dystopian near-future—with clear parallels to today’s headlines—in which the future of humanity lies in the hands of one woman, a scientist who has stumbled upon a secret that the government will go to any lengths to keep hidden.

A world half in darkness. A secret she must bring to light.

It is 2059, and the world has crashed. Forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet’s rotation to a stop. Now, one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night. The United States has colonized the southern half of Great Britain—lucky enough to find itself in the narrow habitable region left between frozen darkness and scorching sunlight—where both nations have managed to survive the ensuing chaos by isolating themselves from the rest of the world.

Ellen Hopper is a scientist living on a frostbitten rig in the cold Atlantic. She wants nothing more to do with her country after its slide into casual violence and brutal authoritarianism. Yet when two government officials arrive, demanding she return to London to see her dying college mentor, she accepts—and begins to unravel a secret that threatens not only the nation’s fragile balance, but the future of the whole human race.





About Andrew

Photo: © Matt Crockett
Andrew Hunter Murray is a writer and comedian. He is one of the writers and researchers behind the BBC show QI and also cohosts the spinoff podcast, No Such Thing as a Fish, which, since 2014, has released 250 episodes, been downloaded 200 million times, and toured the world. It has also spawned two bestselling books, The Book of the Year and The Book of the Year 2018, as well as a BBC Two series No Such Thing as the News. Andrew also writes for Private Eye magazine and hosts the Eye‘s in-house podcast, Page 94, interviewing the country’s best investigative journalists about their work. In his spare time he performs in the Jane Austen–themed improv comedy group Austentatious, which plays in London’s West End and around the UK. The Last Day is his debut novel.

Twitter @andrewhunterm


Thursday, February 20, 2020

2019 Bram Stoker Awards Final Ballot



The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has announced the final ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards. The Awards will be presented during StokerCon being held April 16, 2020 to April 19, 2020 in Scarborough, United Kingdom.



2019 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel
  • Goingback, Owl – Coyote Rage (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Malerman, Josh – Inspection (Del Rey)
  • Miskowski, S.P. – The Worst is Yet to Come (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Murray, Lee – Into the Ashes (Severed Press)
  • Wendig, Chuck – Wanderers (Del Rey)


Superior Achievement in a First Novel
  • Amor, Gemma – Dear Laura (Independently Published)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – Doorways to the Deadeye (JournalStone)
  • Lane, Michelle Renee – Invisible Chains (Haverhill House Publishing)
  • Read, Sarah – The Bone Weaver’s Orchard (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Starling, Caitlin – The Luminous Dead (Harper Voyager)


Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
  • Bérubé, Amelinda – Here There Are Monsters (Sourcebooks Fire)
  • Dávila Cardinal, Ann – Five Midnights (Tor Teen)
  • Gardner, Liana – Speak No Evil (Vesuvian Books)
  • Marshall, Kate Alice – Rules for Vanishing (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • Nzondi – Oware Mosaic (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Salomon, Peter Adam – Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds (PseudoPsalms Press)


Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
  • Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish Vol. 2 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Gaiman, Neil – Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse Books)
  • Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 4: The Chosen (Image Comics)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Calcutta Horror (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Tanabe, Gou – H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness Volume 1 (Dark Horse Manga)


Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
  • LaValle, Victor – Up from Slavery (Weird Tales Magazine#363) (Weird Tales Inc.)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – The Keeper of Chernobyl (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Taborska, Anna – The Cat Sitter (Shadowcats) (Black Shuck Books)
  • Tantlinger, Sara – To Be Devoured (Unnerving)
  • Warren, Kaaron – Into Bones Like Oil (Meerkat Shorts)


Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
  • Chapman, Greg – “The Book of Last Words” (This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories) (Things in the Well Publishing)
  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)” (Nightmare Magazine Nov. 2019, Issue 86)
  • Landry, Jess – “Bury Me in Tar and Twine” (Tales of the Lost Volume 1: We All Lose Something!) (Things in the Well Publishing)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “Lydia” (The Twisted Book of Shadows) (Twisted Publishing)
  • Waggoner, Tim – “A Touch of Madness”(The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias) (LVP Publications)


Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
  • Chiang, Ted – Exhalation: Stories (Knopf)
  • Jonez, Kate – Lady Bits (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Langan, John – Sefira and Other Betrayals (Hippocampus Press)
  • Read, Sarah – Out of Water (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Tremblay, Paul – Growing Things and Other Stories (William Morrow)


Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
  • Aster, Ari – Midsommar (B-Reel Films, Square Peg)
  • Duffer Brothers, The – Stranger Things (Season 3, Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt) (Netflix)
  • Eggers, Robert and Eggers, Max – The Lighthouse (A24, New Regency Pictures, RT Features)
  • Flanagan, Mike – Doctor Sleep (Warner Bros., Intrepid Pictures/Vertigo Entertainment)
  • Peele, Jordan – Us (Monkeypaw Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Universal Pictures)


Superior Achievement in an Anthology
  • Brozek, Jennifer – A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods (Pulse Publishing)
  • Datlow, Ellen – Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories (Gallery/Saga Press)
  • Golden, Christopher and Moore, James A. – The Twisted Book of Shadows (Twisted Publishing)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror (Dark Moon Books)
  • Wilson, Robert S. – Nox Pareidolia (Nightscape Press)


Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
  • Beal, Eleanor and Greenaway, Jonathan – Horror and Religion: New Literary Approaches to Theology, Race, and Sexuality (University of Wales Press)
  • Earle, Harriet E.H. – Gender, Sexuality, and Queerness in American Horror Story: Critical Essays (McFarland)
  • Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – Masks in Horror Cinema: Eyes Without Faces (University of Wales Press)
  • Kachuba, John B. – Shapeshifters: A History (Reaktion Books)
  • Kröger, Lisa and Anderson, Melanie R. – Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction (Quirk Books)


Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction
  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – “Magic, Madness, and Women Who Creep: The Power of Individuality in the Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman” (Vastarien: A Literary Journal Vol. 2, Issue 1)
  • Liaguno, Vince A. – “Slasher Films Made Me Gay: The Queer Appeal and Subtext of the Genre” (LGBTQ+ Horror Month: 9/1/2019, Ginger Nuts of Horror)
  • Renner, Karen J.“The Evil Aging Women of American Horror Story” (Elder Horror: Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging) (McFarland)
  • Robinson, Kelly – “Film’s FThursday 16th April 2020 to Sunday 19th April 2020irst Lycanthrope: 1913’s The Werewolf” (Scary Monsters Magazine #114)
  • Weich, Valerie E. – “Lord Byron’s Whipping Boy: Dr. John William Polidori and the 200th Anniversary of The Vampyre” (Famous Monsters of Filmland, Issue #291)


Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
  • Addison, Linda D. and Manzetti, Alessandro – The Place of Broken Things (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Cade, Octavia – Mary Shelley Makes a Monster (Aqueduct Press)
  • Lynch, Donna – Choking Back the Devil (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Scalise, Michelle – Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning (LVP Publications)
  • Simon, Marge and Dietrich, Bryan D. – The Demeter Diaries (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – The Apocalyptic Mannequin (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

2019 Nebula Awards Finalists Announced



The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) has announced the finalists for the 55th Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book.

The awards will be presented at the annual SFWA Nebula Conference during a ceremony on the evening of May 30th.



2019 Nebula Award Finalists

Novel
  • Marque of Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)
  • A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor)
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher)
  • Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
  • A Song for a New Day, Sarah Pinsker (Berkley)


Novella
  • “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga; Jo Fletcher)
  • Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water, Vylar Kaftan (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Deep, Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga)
  • Catfish Lullaby, A.C. Wise (Broken Eye)


Novelette
  • “A Strange Uncertain Light”, G.V. Anderson (F&SF 7-8/19)
  • “For He Can Creep”, Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com 7/10/19)
  • “His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light”, Mimi Mondal (Tor.com 1/23/19)
  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 7-8/19)
  • Carpe Glitter, Cat Rambo (Meerkat)
  • “The Archronology of Love”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 4/19)


Short Story
  • “Give the Family My Love”, A.T. Greenblatt (Clarkesworld 2/19)
  • “The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power”, Karen Osborne (Uncanny 3-4/19)
  • “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons 9/9/19)
  • “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, Nibedita Sen (Nightmare 5/19)
  • “A Catalog of Storms”, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 1-2/19)
  • “How the Trick Is Done”, A.C. Wise (Uncanny 7-8/19)


The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, Carlos Hernandez (Disney Hyperion)
  • Catfishing on CatNet, Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
  • Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion)
  • Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions, Henry Lien (Holt)
  • Cog, Greg van Eekhout (Harper)
  • Riverland, Fran Wilde (Amulet)


Game Writing
  • Outer Wilds, Kelsey Beachum (Mobius Digital)
  • The Outer Worlds, Leonard Boyarsky, Megan Starks, Kate Dollarhyde, Chris L’Etoile (Obsidian Entertainment)
  • The Magician’s Workshop, Kate Heartfield (Choice of Games)
  • Disco Elysium, Robert Kurvitz (ZA/UM)
  • Fate Accessibility Toolkit, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Evil Hat Productions)


The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
  • Avengers: Endgame, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (Marvel Studios)
  • Captain Marvel, Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Marvel Studios)
  • Good Omens: “Hard Times”, Neil Gaiman (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios)
  • The Mandalorian: “The Child”, Jon Favreau (Disney+)
  • Russian Doll: “The Way Out”, Allison Silverman and Leslye Headland (Netflix)
  • Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar”, Jeff Jensen & Damon Lindelof (HBO)


The Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 28th-31st, 2020 at the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills and features programming developed and geared toward SFF professionals. The Awards Ceremony will be held on the evening of May 30th. On May 31st, a mass autograph session will take place, which is free and open to the public.

ADVENTUREMAN Coming this April


MATT FRACTION AND TERRY DODSON LAUNCH GENRE-BLENDING, PULSE-POUNDING NEW SERIES ADVENTUREMAN THIS APRIL 

Preview pages from the upcoming series revealed

PORTLAND, Ore. 02/19/2020 — New York Times bestselling, Eisner Award winning writer Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals, Hawkeye), artist Terry Dodson (X-Men/Fantastic Four), and Rachel Dodson (X-Men/Fantastic Four) team up for an all-new, ongoing adventure series—Adventureman—from Image Comics this April beginning with a massively extra length and wildly affordable first issue.

"Terry and Rachel and I have been working together a long time on Adventureman and I'm thrilled our giant baby is finally ready for the world. It's a high-flying, senses-obliterating, earth-shaking, imagination-quaking, adventure and we can't wait to share it with everyone," said Fraction.

The story of beloved pulp hero "Adventureman" ended with a never-resolved cliff-hanger for his legion of fans as their hero faced execution at the vile hand of his ultra-nemesis "Baron Bizarre." And now, eighty years later, single mother Claire and her Adventurefan son Tommy seem to be the only two people alive that remember the thrilling Adventureman sagas… but from that memory burns the spark of... resurrection. What if it was all true? What if it all really happened? And what if it was happening again? Where his story ended... her story begins! 

Dodson added: "Creating Adventureman has been a heck of a journey! It’s been an amazing opportunity to develop new worlds of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Worlds inhabited by enduring and believable characters, making a family. This project allows me to tick off numerous 'wants' on my creative list! I hope everyone enjoys the ride as much as we did making it.”

Blending high-octane pulp action, low-flying dirigibles and more art-deco rayguns than you could shake a walking stick at, Adventureman kicks off with a 64 page issue filled to the brim with action and intrigue for the introductory cover price of $3.99.

Adventureman #1 (Diamond Code FEB200011) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, April 29.

Adventureman #1 will also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including the official Image Comics iOS app, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.


[click to embiggen]

ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of bestselling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has six individuals on the Board of Directors: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and Eric Stephenson. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit
www.imagecomics.com.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

SPFBO 5 Interview: Stephanie Burgis


Please welcome Stephanie Burgis to The Qwillery as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 5 Interviews.

Follow the SPFBO 5 finals at https://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2019/10/finalists-for-5th-spfbo.html







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

Stephanie:  When I was six years old, I wrote an epic story about a young dolphin and her family. You will be shocked to hear that - although my mom saved it! - it has STILL never been published. ;)



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Stephanie:  Pantser all the way.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Stephanie:  First drafts are fun - editing is WORK. (Essential work! But it's definitely the harder and less enjoyable part.)



TQDescribe Snowspelled, the Harwood Spellbook 1, using only 5 words.

Stephanie:  Frothy fun feminist fantasy romance.



TQWhat inspired you to write Snowspelled?

Stephanie:  I love Regency rom-coms and fantasy adventures, so Snowspelled - set in an alternate version of early 19th-century England in which a Boudiccate of powerful, hard-headed women governs the country while the "more emotional, irrational" gentlemen are expected to see to the magic - is a perfect mash-up of just about everything I find most fun.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for Snowspelled.

Stephanie:  I commissioned the cover art from Leesha Hannigan, a Scottish artist I love. The front cover represents a scene from early in the book, and I loved all the tiny details she inserted in service of the worldbuilding (as she'd read the book and really got it). Also, I would kill to wear that coat! :)



TQIn Snowspelled who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Stephanie:  The heroine herself, Cassandra Harwood, came very easily to me once I had her voice set in my head. She's brilliant and loyal and an absolute bulldozer of a person who always wants to do what's best for everyone she loves...but can have a very hard time understanding what those people actually want for themselves. Still, I couldn't get her personal/family dynamic just right until I figured out the character of her sister-in-law (and best friend), Amy Harwood, who is Cassandra's absolute opposite in personal presentation (a perfect, charming politician who reads people like books) but matches her 100% in loyalty to the family. Once I understood Amy's character, in fact, I fell so hard in love with her that I ended up writing a prequel story about Amy's own earlier romance with Cassandra's sweet, geeky brother, Jonathan.



TQDoes Snowspelled touch on any social issues?

Stephanie:  It's certainly unabashedly feminist.



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Snowspelled.

Stephanie

To attend a week-long house party filled with bickering gentleman magicians, ruthlessly cutthroat lady politicians, and worst of all, my own infuriating ex-fiancé? Scarcely two months after I had scandalized all of our most intimate friends by jilting him?


Utter madness. And anyone would have seen that immediately…except for my incurably romantic sister-in-law.



TQWhat's next?

Stephanie:  The direct sequel to Snowspelled, Thornbound, came out just a few months ago, and there's also a prequel novella (with a different heroine), Spellswept. The next book in the series is Moontangled out this February and starring an f/f couple (two women who've been side-characters in Snowspelled and Thornbound). And as I also publish MG fantasy adventures about dragons and fierce girls (this most recent series, which started with The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, is being trad-published by Bloomsbury books), I have an MG book which came out in November 2019 called The Princess who Flew with Dragons. It's full of grumpy princesses, scholarly dragons, and radical goblin girls, and it was so much fun to write!



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Stephanie:  Thank you so much for having me!





Snowspelled
The Harwood Spellbook 1
Five Fathoms Press, September 4, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook

In nineteenth-century Angland, magic is reserved for gentlemen while ladies attend to the more practical business of politics. But Cassandra Harwood has never followed the rules...

Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life.

Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancé, who refuses to understand that she’s given him up for his own good.

But the greatest danger of all lies outside the manor in the falling snow, where a powerful and malevolent elf-lord lurks...and Cassandra lost all of her own magic four months ago.

To save herself, Cassandra will have to discover exactly what inner powers she still possesses – and risk everything to win a new kind of happiness.




Spellswept
A Prequel to the Harwood Spellbook
Five Fathoms Press, October 30, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook

In the world of the Harwood Spellbook, 19th-century Angland is ruled by a powerful group of women known as the Boudiccate - but in order to become a member of that elite group, any ambitious young politician must satisfy tradition by taking a gentleman mage for her husband.

Amy Standish is a born politician...but Jonathan Harwood is her greatest temptation. On the night of the Harwoods' Spring Solstice Ball, in an underwater ballroom full of sparkling fey lights and danger, Amy will have to fight the greatest political battle of her life to win a family and a future that she could never have imagined.

It will take an entirely unexpected kind of magic to keep everything from crashing down around her.

Warning: this novella contains forbidden romance, dangerous magic, and political intrigue in an underwater ballroom. What could possibly go wrong?

Published first in the anthology The Underwater Ballroom Society on April 30th, 2018.




Thornbound
The Harwood Spellbook 2
Five Fathoms Press, February 25, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook

Cassandra Harwood scandalized her nation when she became the first woman magician in Angland. Now, she's ready to teach a whole new generation of bright young women at her radical new school, the Thornfell College of Magic…

Until a sinister fey altar is discovered in the school library, the ruling Boudiccate sends a delegation to shut down Thornfell, and Cassandra’s own husband is torn away from her.

As malevolent vines slither in from the forest and ruthless politicians scheme against her, Cassandra must fight the greatest battle of her life to save her love, her school, and the future of the young women of Angland.




Moontangled
A Harwood Spellbook Novella
Five Fathoms Press, February 3, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook

Take one ambitious politician and one determined magician with wildly different aims for their next meeting.

Add a secret betrothal, a family scandal, and a heaping of dangerous fey magic in an enchanted wood…and watch the sparks fly!


For just one moonlit, memorable night, Thornfell College of Magic has flung open its doors, inviting guests from around the nation to an outdoor ball intended to introduce the first-ever class of women magicians to society…but one magician and one invited guest have far more pressing goals of their own for the night.

Quietly brilliant Juliana Banks is determined to win back the affections of her secret fiancée, rising politician Caroline Fennell, who has become inexplicably distant. If Juliana needs to use magic to get her stubborn fiancée to pay her attention…well, then, as the top student in her class, she is more than ready to take on that challenge!

Unbeknownst to Juliana, though, Caroline plans to nobly sacrifice their betrothal for Juliana’s own sake – and no one has ever accused iron-willed Caroline Fennell of being easy to deter from any goal.

Their path to mutual happiness may seem tangled beyond repair…but when they enter the fey-ruled woods that border Thornfell College, these two determined women will find all of their plans upended in a night of unexpected and magical possibilities.





About Stephanie

Photo by Richard Burgis
Stephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband and two sons, surrounded by mountains, castles and coffee shops. She attended the Clarion West science fiction & fantasy writing workshop in 2001, just a year after completing her time as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Vienna, studying music history, in 1999-2000. After spending three more years as a PhD student studying opera history at the University of Leeds in the U.K. (focusing on opera and politics in 18th-century Vienna and Eszterháza, and doing the research that would later result in her first novel for adults, Masks and Shadows), she went to work for a British opera company and stayed there until the onset of a serious chronic illness, M.E./CFS, forced her to give up work outside the home and focus purely on her writing (and, later, on her parenting, too).

Since then, she has published nearly forty short stories for adults and teens in various magazines and anthologies. Her most recent MG fantasy novel is The Girl with the Dragon Heart (Bloomsbury 2018); the first book in that series, The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, won the Cybils Award for Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction 2017. Her most recent publication for adults is the romantic fantasy novella Thornbound: Volume II of The Harwood Spellbook. The f/sf anthology that Stephanie co-edited with Tiffany Trent, The Underwater Ballroom Society, has been longlisted for the 2019 Locus Award for Best Original Anthology.

Her trilogy of MG Regency fantasy novels was published in the US as the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy and in the UK as The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson. The first book in the trilogy won the Waverton Good Read Award for Best Début Children’s Novel by a British writer, and the full trilogy was re-released in the US as A Most Improper Boxed Set. Her first two historical fantasy novels for adults, Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets, were both published by Pyr Books in 2016, and Masks and Shadows was included on Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading List for 2016.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @stephanieburgis

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Interview with K. S. Villoso, author of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro


Please welcome K. S. Villoso to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is published on February 18, 2020 by Orbit.







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

K. S.:  This was back in 1st grade and was a short, incoherent story that was a mish-mash of genres and just about everything I was into at the time. I think the main character was a dog…



TQ Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

K. S.:  I’m essentially whatever is convenient at the time. I outline before I start writing. The first draft will look nothing like the outline. Sometimes I will re-outline partway through the novel, scrap that draft, and start again. Sometimes I will follow the outline perfectly for three chapters and then realize I have a gap towards the next plot point… in which case I will pants my way through. Unfortunately, I may not even reach that next plot point and everything will change based on that part that I pantsed.

It’s a sort of perfect, contained chaos. I have a hard time trying to make it make sense to others, but it always makes sense to me…



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

K. S.:  It’s hard to keep focus when I have so many things I want to explore all at once. That means my first drafts are often very messy, and each subsequent draft is a matter of keeping some ideas and throwing the rest out. I also get bored easily—I can’t just write stories that go from point A to B…so I like creating puzzles out of my work and then sitting down and trying to work it out through the process of writing. This means every single one of my manuscripts require a lot of work from my end just to sort my thoughts and the story out.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

K. S.:  I’ve probably mentioned author influences in other interviews elsewhere, so I’m going to talk a bit more about genre… particularly, the horror influence in my work. Along with epic fantasy, I truly enjoy horror, and I probably have seen more horror movies than anything else combined. I love the psychological aspect of it, of using fear and very high tension as tools in storytelling, and of figuratively—maybe literally—using “ghosts” to deepen character conflicts. People have mentioned how my plots are anxiety or stress-inducing, and that’s mostly this influence coming into play—I like focusing on character dilemmas first and then slowly, very slowly, revealing the plot one puzzle piece after another…all after the external conflicts have reared their ugly (again, very often literally) heads.



TQDescribe The Wolf of Oren-Yaro using only 5 words.

K. S.:  Intense sword-wielding Bitch Queen…



TQTell us something about The Wolf of Oren-Yaro that is not found in the book description.

K. S.:  There are heists! (See answer to Question No. 12).



TQWhat inspired you to write The Wolf of Oren-Yaro? What appeals to you about writing Fantasy?

K. S.The Wolf of Oren-yaro was my take on the classic hero’s journey/chosen one story…from the point-of-view of a woman who is both a wife and a mother. One who, incidentally, is also the daughter of a man many people consider the villain. The situation is rife with challenges that made it very interesting for me to explore.

Writing fantasy is great because it allows you to use worldbuilding as an added tool to carry the story through. By that I mean you can basically make things up to drive home the point, or create an elaborate metaphor—you can adjust the environment, or alter history and time itself to explore a certain theme. So you can create a really powerful story that can go beyond plot or character.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Wolf of Oren-Yaro?

K. S.:  I draw from my culture and upbringing for a lot of the worldbuilding; it’s not so much learning about things from the outside, but bringing out what I know from the inside, and then trying to make sense of it on the proverbial paper. So there is no specific “research”—there is however a lot of introspection, a lot of discussion over topics and issues that would lead me to look up certain facts to support or disprove an argument.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Wolf of Oren-Yaro.

K. S.:  I am one of the blessed, lucky few who got a cover depicting not just Queen Talyien’s image, but Talyien as a character and person. You can get a sense both of her determination and her challenges from one look at the cover. In the cover, she is also carrying her father’s kampilan. It doesn’t actually show up until Book 3, but the symbolism is there as Talyien really is carrying the burdens her father—a dark figure in history—has left her.



TQIn The Wolf of Oren-Yaro who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

K. S.:  The easiest character is probably…and obviously…Khine. I think it’s because I share the same background as him, coming from the lower rungs of society while for the longest time brushing elbows with people who have it better. And while I’ve thankfully never had to resort to becoming a thief, I may have once or twice schemed myself out of messes. Khine goes with the flow while actively strategizing his next move; this is the easiest kind of character for me to write because it is very, very close to how I’d do things myself.

Talyien, on the other hand…while her voice came rushing to me like a wave, she also possessed an intensity that kept me on my toes. Half the time I have this perfect plot point set up and she’s like “No.” So now I have to go rushing after her to try and fish her out of whatever situation she’s in. That impulsive, hotheaded nature made it difficult to follow the original outline, as she lands herself in trouble one after another and I had to find a way to get her out of it while maintaining the story’s momentum.



TQDoes The Wolf of Oren-Yaro touch on any social issues?

K. S.:  If readers want to read it as nothing more than an action-adventure fantasy story, they are welcome to do so. It’s written to entertain, it has a plot, it has great character interactions and some pretty cool fight scenes. There is absolutely no obligation to see it beyond that.

If readers want to stop for a moment and look beyond that outer layer, though, there’s quite a bit—not so much that they’re added in, but because these issues are an integral part of the characters, especially Queen Talyien’s, and the world they find themselves in. The challenges a woman faces that perhaps a man in her position wouldn’t have to worry about, for instance; power and the many ways it can corrupt, social inequalities, the effect of political struggles on the common people.



TQWhich question about The Wolf of Oren-Yaro do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

K. S.:  “So Kay, I noticed you put a particular importance on heists in this book…is that just random or is this epic fantasy also a heist novel in disguise?”

“Why, thank you for noticing that, Kay. The introduction of the con-artist and thief, Khine Lamang, is a marker, a foreshadowing of what’s about to come. This series, after all, is about tricks and schemes, about believing one thing when really it’s about something else. We get more heists as the series progresses, culminating to that one, final trick…”

“No spoilers.”

“I can’t spoil you, you already know how it ends!”

“So let me just chime in with your readers: YOU’RE A MONSTER, HOW COULD YOU, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.”

“Somebody take this doppelganger away.”



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Wolf of Oren-Yaro.

K. S.:  Here’s two of them:

There are people who find themselves in a precarious situation, believe
themselves betrayed, and will do nothing but run their tongues ragged in
criticizing the world for not helping them better. Like wailing dogs in the rain,
they strain against their leashes instead of turning to gnaw their bonds to
freedom, or sit on their piss and wait for pity.


Betrayal has a funny way of turning your world upside down. As familiar as I
had already been with it by that point, it still amazed me how far I could
stretch that moment of denial. The thought of what had been—of what could
yet be—persisted. Perhaps it is not the same for most people. Perhaps, when
you love less, it is easier not to let the emptiness become a cavern from which
you can no longer see the sun.


TQWhat's next?

K. S.:  Well, we’re going to hit the ground running with this series. The sequel, THE IKESSAR FALCON, is out on September 29, 2020. It’s a chonky book, so those hesitant to give THE WOLF OF OREN-YARO a try because it’s a new series will have plenty to keep themselves busy until Book 3…which is out in the first half of next year.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
Chronicles of the Bitch Queen 1
Orbit, February 18, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 496 pages

A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves, which nearly tore her nation apart. But her arranged marriage with the son of a rival clan should herald peaceful days to come.

However, her husband’s sudden departure before their reign begins puts a quick end to those dreams, and the kingdom is fractured beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, one that will send her across the sea. What’s meant to be an effort at reconciling the past becomes an assassination attempt. Stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with no idea whom she can trust, Talyien will have to embrace her namesake.

A wolf of Oren-yaro is not tamed.





About K.S. Villoso

Photo by Mikhail Villoso
K.S. Villoso writes speculative fiction with a focus on deeply personal themes and character-driven narratives. Much of her work is inspired by her childhood in the slums of Taguig, Philippines. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her husband, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.











Website  ~  Twitter @k_villoso


Monday, February 17, 2020

The View From Monday - February 17, 2020


Happy Monday!

There are 3 debuts this week:

The Goblets Immortal by Beth Overmyer;

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen 1) by K.S. Villoso;

and

The Golden Key by Marian Womack.

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



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Westside (A Gilda Carr Tiny Mystery 1) by W.M. Akers is out in Trade Paperback;

Voodoo Shanghai (Kincaid Strange 3) by Kristi Charish;

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is out in Trade Paperback;

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James;

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is out in Trade Paperback;

and

Gravity of a Distant Sun (Shieldrunner Pirates 3) by R.E. Stearns.

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






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

February 18, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Westside (h2tp) W.M. Akers HistF - A Gilda Carr Tiny Mystery 1
Voodoo Shanghai Kristi Charish UF - Kincaid Strange 3
Bridge 108 Anne Charnock Dys
The Science of Women in Horror: The Special Effects, Stunts, and True Stories Behind Your Favorite Fright Films Meg Hafdahl
Kelly Florence
Science
Seven Devils Kenneth Mark Hoover W/H
The Last (ri) Hanna Jameson Th/PA
Machines in the Head: Selected Stories Anna Kavan SS
Sword of Fire Katharine Kerr F - Deverry 1
The Queen of Raiders Sarah Kozloff F - The Nine Realms 2
Gods of Jade and Shadow (h2tp) Silvia Moreno-Garcia HistF
Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors Doug Murano (Ed)
Michael Bailey (Ed)
H - Anthology
Twilight of the Gods Scott Oden HistF - Grimnir 2
Light of Impossible Stars Gareth L. Powell SF - Embers of War 3
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow Natasha Pulley HistF
The Sun Down Motel Simone St. James SupTh
The Priory of the Orange Tree (h2tp) Samantha Shannon F
Gravity of a Distant Sun R. E. Stearns SF - Shieldrunner Pirates 3
Star Trek: Voyager 25th Anniversary Special Book Titan PerfArts/TV - Star Trek
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (D) K. S. Villoso F - Chronicles of the Bitch Queen 1
The Bird King (h2tp) G. Willow Wilson HistF
The Golden Key (D) Marian Womack F/GothicM



February 19, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Girlfriend's Guide to Gods: A Tor.com Original (e) Maria Dahvana Headley F



February 20, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Garden of Bewitchment Catherine Cavendish H - Fiction Without Frontiers
The Blood-Dimmed Tide Michael R. Johnston SF/SO - Fiction Without Frontiers
The Goblets Immortal (D - Fantasy) Beth Overmyer F - Fiction Without Frontiers



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



AC - Alien Contact
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - Cyperpunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FR- Fantasy Romance
GothicM - Gothic Mystery
H - Horror
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistM - Historical Mystery
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PerfArts - Performing Arts
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy
W - Western
WW - Weird Western

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

Saturday, February 15, 2020

2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - February 2020 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 2020 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 February 29, 2020, unless the vote is extended. If the vote is extended the ending date will be updated.

Vote for your favorite February 2020 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




























Cover design and lettering by Emily Courdelle
Cover art direction by Steve Panton - LBBG




Cover by Francesca Corsini








Jacket design by Adam Auerbach








Cover illustration by Mio Im
Cover design by Julianna Lee
















Cover design by Lisa Marie Pompilio
Cover photographs by Arcangel and Shutterstock
Cover copyright © 2020 Hachette Book Group, Inc.








Cover design by Lauren Panepinto
Cover illustration by Simon Goinard
Cover copyright © 2019 Hachette Book Group, Inc.