This is the tenth year of The Qwillery's Debut Author Challenge (DAC or Challenge). Debut Authors' novels will be listed in a post on the first of each month. The monthly debut list may include novels/authors not featured in the Challenge.
What is a Debut for purposes of the Challenge?
The novel must be a full length adult fiction novel. For the purpose of determining a debut, the United States publication date is used. The copyright date or non-US publication date will not be used.
If the author has written YA or MG fiction, her or his first full length adult fiction novel will be a debut for the purposes of the Challenge.
If the author has written non-Speculative Fiction, her or his first full length adult Speculative Fiction novel (see list below) will be a debut for purposes of the Challenge.
If the author has written non-fiction and this is the first full length adult fiction novel, it will be a debut for purposes of the Challenge.
If a full length adult fiction novel previously has been published outside of the United States, but it is being published for the first time in the United States, it will qualify as a debut for purposes of the Challenge.
If the author has only written novels that are part of an established series or canon, his or her first original full length adult fiction novel will qualify as a debut for purposes of the Challenge.
A point of clarification - at this time and for the foreseeable future, self-published novels are not eligible to be featured in the Challenge.
The fiction genres and subgenres covered by the challenge are Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Paranormal Mystery, Horror, Science Fiction, SciFi Romance, Steampunk, Steampunk Mystery, Steampunk Romance, Paranormal Romance, Occult and Supernatural, Supernatural Noir, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, CyberTech, CyberPunk, etc. and all their permutations including novels that include elements of these genres and subgenres (collectively "Speculative Fiction"). Please note that this list is not inclusive.
The debuts are not YA unless there is very strong Adult crossover appeal.
The object of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge is for participants to read at least 12 debut novels published during 2020 - one from each month of the year though you may read them anytime between January 1, 2020 and January 15, 2021.
A badge for your website if you'd like one!
See the January Debut Author list at this post.
See the February Debut Author list at this post.
MONTHLY COVER WARS WINNERS
2020 Featured Debut Authors
The following Debut Authors will be visiting The Qwillery during 2020. Please note that they are listed in author alphabetical order, not guest post, interview or release date order.
The Bard's Blade
The Sorcerer's Song 1
Tor Books, January 28, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
The Bard's Blade is the start of the new Sorcerer's Song fantasy adventure series from Brian D. Anderson, bestselling author of The Godling Chronicles and Dragonvein.
Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she's a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together.
Then a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, bringing a dark prophecy that forces Lem and Mariyah down separate paths. How far will they have to go to stop a rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?
MIRA, February 11, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 576 pages
A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride…The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban’s vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to Judah’s survival—and possibly her undoing.
As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah comes to realize that she has no real position within the kingdom and, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond its castle walls. Elban—a lord as mighty as he is cruel—has his own plans for her, and for all of them. She is a mere pawn to him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
But outside the walls, in the starving, desperate city, a magus, a healer with his own secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years, is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah. The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon uncover more to her story than she ever imagined.
An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, this deeply immersive novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.
The Vanished Birds
Del Rey, January 14, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever, in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.
“The best of what science fiction can be: a thought-provoking, heartrending story about the choices that define our lives.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A solitary ship captain, drifting through time.
Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.
A mute child, burdened with unimaginable power.
The scarred boy does not speak, his only form of communication the haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and otherworldly nature, Nia decides to take the boy in to live amongst her crew. Soon, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself. For both of them, a family. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy.
A millennia-old woman, poised to burn down the future.
Fumiko Nakajima designed the ships that allowed humanity to flee a dying Earth. One thousand years later, she now regrets what she has done in the name of progress. When chance brings Fumiko, Nia, and the child together, she recognizes the potential of his gifts, and what will happen if the ruling powers discover him. So she sends the pair to the distant corners of space to hide them as she crafts a plan to redeem her old mistakes.
But time is running out. The past hungers for the boy, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.
Liquid Crystal Nightingale
Abbadon, March 17, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
A bold and clever political thriller science fiction debut
Go deeper, they said. Look closer.
Pleo Tanza is a survivor. Her father was broken by tragedy, her twin sister is dead—chewed up and spat out by the corruption and injustice of Chatoyance—but she’s going to make it, whatever it takes. She’s going to get off this rock.
But escape is for the rich or lucky. Pleo’s framed for the murder of a rival student—the daughter of one of the colony’s wealthy, squabbling clans—and goes on the run, setting off a chain events that could destroy the fragile balance of the old colony forever…
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.
Soho Press, January 21, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 216 pages
A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado.
Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.
Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.
Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.
A Witch in Time
Redhook, February 11, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
A young witch is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist, in this haunting debut novel.
In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — attempts to cast a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly summons a demon, binding her daughter to both Auguste and this supernatural being for all time.
Born and re-born, Juliet is fated to live her affair and die tragically young across continents and lifetimes.
But finally, in present-day Washington D.C., something shifts. In this life, Juliet starts to remember her tragic past. And this time, she begins to develop powers of her own that might finally break the spell…
A Witch in Time is perfect for fans of A Secret History of Witches, Outlander, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
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.