Wednesday, April 01, 2015

2015 Debut Author Challenge - April Debuts

There are 12 debuts 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 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on April 15th.

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 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for March. The list is correct as of the day posted.

B. Catling

The Vorrh
Vintage, April 28, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 512 pages
(US Debut)

Prepare to lose yourself in the heady, mythical expanse of The Vorrh, a daring debut that Alan Moore has called “a phosphorescent masterpiece” and “the current century's first landmark work of fantasy.”

Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes  memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity, as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer and Edward Muybridge.  While fact and fictional blend, and the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone’s fate hangs in the balance, under the will of the Vorrh.

Steve Diamond

Project Sentinel 1
Ragnarok Publications, April 20, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook

RESIDUE follows 17-year-old Jack Bishop after his father is abducted and a monster is let loose in his small town. As he looks for his father, he begins to notice that he can see the psychic residue left behind by monsters and murder victims. Along with the mind-reading Alexandra (Alex) Courtney, Jack uses his growing ESP abilities to stop the deaths in the town, and find out why his father was taken.

About the Author: Steve is your typical reader of books who loves to tell you what is good and, more importantly, what he hates. He grew up reading Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Terry Brooks. Then he got a job at a Waldenbooks. In addition to improving his literary tastes, he was soon doing a lot of the managing duties there, and helped that particular store become the Numero Uno ranked store in the country. It was during this time that he decided his taste in books was better than everyone else’s (duh), and his customers/friends/family agreed.

Lindsey Drager

The Sorry Proper
Dzanc Books, April 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 184 pages

The Sorrow Proper is a novel-length investigation of the anxiety that accompanies change. A group of aging librarians must decide whether to fight or flee from the end of print and the rise of electronic publications, while the parents of the young girl who died in front of the library struggle with their role in her loss. Anchored by the transposed stories of a photographer and his deaf mathematician lover each mourning the other's death, The Sorrow Proper attempts to illustrate how humans of all relations — lovers, parents, colleagues — cope with and challenge social "progress," a mechanism that requires we ignore, and ultimately forget, the residual in order to make room for the new, to tell a story that resists "The End."

This debut novel explores the hypothetical end of the public library system and a young theory in the hard sciences called Many Worlds, a branch of quantum mechanics that strives to prove mathematically that our lives do not follow a singular, linear path.

Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes
Ballantine Books, April 14, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

Hermoine Eyre

Viper Wine
Hogarth, April 14, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
(US Debut)

“Using an alchemy all of her own, Eyre’s postmodern take on the 17th century renders it dazzlingly fresh and contemporary.” —Guardian (UK)

Venetia Stanley was the great beauty of her day, so dazzling she inspired Ben Jonson to poetry and Van Dyck to painting. But now she is married, the adoration to which she has become accustomed has curdled to scrutiny, and she fears her powers are waning. Her devoted husband, Sir Kenelm Digby—explorer, diplomat, philosopher, alchemist— refuses to prepare a beauty tonic for her, insisting on her continued perfection.

Venetia, growing desperate, secretly engages an apothecary to sell her “viper wine”—a strange potion said to bolster the blood and invigorate the skin.  The results are instant, glorious, and addictive, and soon the ladies of the court of Charles I are looking unnaturally youthful. But there is a terrible price to be paid, as science clashes with magic, puritans rebel against the decadent monarchy, and England slides into civil war.

Based on real events and written with anachronistic verve, Viper Wine is an intoxicating brew of love, longing and vanity, where the 17th and 21st centuries mix and mingle in the most enchanting and mind-bending ways.

Joel Fishbane

The Thunder of Giants
St. Martin's Press, April 14 , 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages

The year is 1937 and Andorra Kelsey - 7'11 and just over 320 pounds - is on her way to Hollywood to become a star. Hoping to escape both poverty and the ghost of her dead husband, she accepts an offer from the wily Rutherford Simone to star in a movie about the life of Anna Swan, the Nova Scotia giantess who toured the world in the 19th century.

Told in parallel, Anna Swan's story unfurls. While Andorra is seen as a disgrace by an embarrassed family, Anna Swan is quickly celebrated for her unique size. Drawn to New York, Anna becomes a famed attraction at P.T. Barnum's American Museum even as she falls in love with Gavin Clarke, a veteran of the Civil War. Quickly disenchanted with a life of fame, Anna struggles to prove to Gavin - and the world - that she is more than the sum of her measurements.

Both meticulously researched and resounding with the force of myth, Joel Fishbane's The Thunder of Giants blends fact and fiction in a sweeping narrative that spans nearly a hundred years. Against the backdrop of epic events, two extraordinary women become reluctant celebrities in the hopes of surviving a world too small to contain them.

Kelley Grant

Desert Rising
Desert Rising 1
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 21, 2015
eBook, 288 pages

"It frightens me, knowing the One has called up two such strong individuals. It means that there are troubled times in our future, and you must prepare yourselves."

The Temple at Illian is the crown jewel of life in the Northern Territory. There, pledges are paired with feli, the giant sacred cats of the One god, and are instructed to serve the One's four capricious deities. Yet Sulis, a young woman from the Southern Desert, has a different perspective - one that just might be considered heresy...

Sulis's twin Kadar, meanwhile, is part of a different revolution. When Kadar falls in love with a woman from a Forsaken caste, he finds he's willing to risk anything to get her people to freedom. But with Sulis drawing a dangerous level of attention from the deities, and war about to break out on two fronts, change may not come as easily as either twin had hoped.

An astonishing debut, Kelley Grant brings to life a powerful new epic fantasy tale of determination and self-discovery.

Charlie Human

Apocalypse Now Now
Titan Books, April 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
US Debut

Baxter Zevcenko’s life is pretty sweet. He’s making a name for himself as the kingpin of his smut-peddling high-school syndicate, the other gangs are staying out of his business,
and he’s dating the girl of his dreams, Esme.

But when Esme gets kidnapped, things start to get seriously weird, and the only man drunk enough to help is a bearded, booze-soaked, supernatural bounty hunter that goes by the name of Jackson ‘Jackie’ Ronin.

Plunged into the increasingly bizarre landscape of Cape Town’s supernatural underworld, Baxter and Ronin team up to save Esme. On a journey that takes them through the realms of impossibility, they must face every conceivable nightmare to get her back, including the odd brush with the Apocalypse.

Ken Liu

The Grace of Kings
The Dandelion Dynasty 1
Saga Press, April 7, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 640 pages

Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.

Peter Newman

The Vagrant
Harper Voyager, April 23, 2015
Hardcover (UK) and eBook (UK/US), 400 pages
Cover Art: Jamie Jones

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

Andrew Roe

The Miracle Girl
Algonquin Books, April 21, 2015
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

“An uplifting miracle of a book.”  —Will Allison, author of Long Drive Home

“A winning debut . . . Lively, pitch-perfect and assured . . . Roe’s story feels just right for our desperate and despairing time, when a miracle--any miracle--will do.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 The crowds keep coming. More and more every day, drawn by rumor and whisper and desperate wish. They come to Shaker Street to see eight-year-old Anabelle Vincent, who lies in a coma-like state--unable to move or speak. They come because a visitor experienced what seemed like a miracle and believed it happened because of Anabelle. Word spreads. There are more visitors, more supposed miracles, more stories on TV and the Internet. But is this the divine at work or something else?

Set against the backdrop of the approaching millennium--with all its buzz about reckoning and doom--this impressive debut novel is told through the eyes of Anabelle’s devoted mother, who cares for her child while trying to make sense of the media frenzy surrounding her; Anabelle’s estranged father, who is dealing with the guilt of his actions; the Miracle Girl herself; and the visitors who seek her help, her guidance, and her healing.

Yet The Miracle Girl tells a larger story about the human yearning for something to believe in, and how finding the miraculous in the everyday can define us, exhilarate us, challenge us, and sustain us.

Gwendolyn Womack

The Memory Painter
Picador, April 28, 2015
Hardcover and eBook,

Two lovers who have traveled across time. A team of scientists at the cutting edge of memory research. A miracle drug that unlocks an ancient mystery.

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there's a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people's lives.

Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan's shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and their meeting triggers Bryan's most powerful dream yet: visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's, died in a lab explosion decades ago.

As Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists' deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.

A taut thriller and a timeless love story spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history, The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack is a riveting debut novel unlike any you've ever read.


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