This is the seventh year of The Qwillery's Debut Author Challenge (DAC or Challenge). Again this year many of the 2017 Debut Authors will be writing guest blogs either before or after publication. Near the publication date, if possible, each of the 2017 Debut Authors will be interviewed. 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 Romance, Paranormal Mystery, Horror, Science Fiction, SciFi Romance, Steampunk, Steampunk Mystery, Steampunk Romance, Occult and Supernatural, Supernatural Noir, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, CyberTech, 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 2017 Debut Author Challenge is for participants to read at least 12 debut novels published during 2017 - one from each month of the year though you may read them anytime between January 1, 2017 and January 15, 2018.
Everyone who reads at least 12 novels (1 from each month) will have her/his name thrown into a drawing for a US$100 Gift Certificate to an online bookstore to be determined by The Qwillery. If you are going to participate email The Qwillery at DAC.TheQwillery @ gmail .com. Please note that to be eligible for the Gift Certificate you must email The Qwillery monthly to let us know which debuts you've read. You can simply email the title and author name or a link to a review you've written. Debuts should be chosen from the monthly debut list posted at the beginning of each month. If you know of a debut that is not on the list please let us know.
Would you like to post a 2017 Debut Author Challenge Button at your website/blog? Here you go:
See the January Debut Author list at this post.
See the February Debut Author list at this post.
Monthly Cover Wars Winners
2017 Featured Debut Authors as of February 12, 2017:
The following Debut Authors will be visiting The Qwillery during 2017. Please note that they are listed in author alphabetical order, not guest post, interview or release date order.
Pyr, January 24, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 301 pages
Atticus Graves just wants to make sure his ex-wife doesn’t take away his visitation rights.
But when Graves stumbles through a portal, he finds himself in a world full of monsters and angels. There are thousands of these doors, thousands of different worlds. And now that he’s seen them, Graves is recruited to Department Zero. Graves and his crew clean up any and all supernatural crime scenes.
A secret society of Nazis from another reality, the Cult of Azathoth, have come to our world looking for the Spear of Destiny to bring back Azathoth and the Great Old Ones—among them Cthulhu Himself—from their prison in a timeless dimension.
Graves and Department Zero must travel between realities to a Britain where it’s always 1899, where Queen Victoria has ruled for 101 years. Here they will fight Nazi cultists with royal connections, demon-spawn mafia beneath the sewers of New York, and infiltrate the infamous Wewelsburg Castle in Germany.
Diversion Books, January 24, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 280 pages
An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.
Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.
It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.
She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.
Tor Books, February 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
From author Lara Elena Donnelly, a debut spy thriller as a gay double-agent schemes to protect his smuggler lover during the rise of a fascist government coup
Trust no one with anything – especially in Amberlough City.
Covert agent Cyril DePaul thinks he’s good at keeping secrets, especially from Aristide Makricosta. They suit each other: Aristide turns a blind eye to Cyril’s clandestine affairs, and Cyril keeps his lover’s moonlighting job as a smuggler under wraps.
Cyril participates on a mission that leads to disastrous results, leaving smoke from various political fires smoldering throughout the city. Shielding Aristide from the expected fallout isn’t easy, though, for he refuses to let anything – not the crooked city police or the mounting rage from radical conservatives – dictate his life.
Enter streetwise Cordelia Lehane, a top dancer at the Bumble Bee Cabaret and Aristide’s runner, who could be the key to Cyril’s plans—if she can be trusted. As the twinkling lights of nightclub marquees yield to the rising flames of a fascist revolution, these three will struggle to survive using whatever means — and people — necessary. Including each other.
Combining the espionage thrills of le Carré with the allure of an alternate vintage era, Amberlough will thoroughly seduce and enthrall you.
"James Bond by way of Oscar Wilde." —Holly Black
"Sparkling with slang, full of riotous characters, and dripping with intrigue, Amberlough is a dazzling romp through a tumultuous, ravishing world." —Robert Jackson Bennett, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and the Edgar Award
"An astonishing first novel!" —World Fantasy Award-winning author Ellen Kushner
Crossroads of Canopy
Titan's Forest 1
Tor Books, January 31, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
The highly-anticipated fantasy debut from Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning author Thoraiya Dyer, set in a giant mythical rainforest controlled by living gods
At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy’s position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation’s opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy’s splendor.
Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents’ plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she wishes to become Audblayin’s next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy's slaves.
When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory – at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance…or grant it by destroying the home she loves.
“I am majorly impressed with Thoraiya Dyer's Crossroads of Canopy. A unique, gorgeous, and dangerous world, a stubborn female hero, and a writer to watch!”—Tamora Pierce
Kings of the Wyld
The Band 1
Orbit, February 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 544 pages
GLORY NEVER GETS OLD.
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help--the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
Dr Potter's Medicine Show
Angry Robot, February 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
Dr. Alexander Potter, disgraced Civil War surgeon, now huckster and seller of snake-oil, travels the wet roads of the Pacific Northwest with a disheartened company of strongmen, illusionists, fortunetellers, and musical whores. Under the quiet command of the mysterious, merciless, and murderous Lyman Rhoades, they entertain the masses while hawking the Chock-a-saw Sagwa Tonic, a vital elixir touted to cure all ills both physical and spiritual… although, for a few unfortunate customers, the Sagwa offers something much, much worse.
For drunken dentist Josiah McDaniel, the Sagwa has taken everything from him; in the hired company of two accidental outlaws, the bickering brothers Solomon Parker and Agamemnon Rideout, he looks to revenge himself on the Elixir’s creator: Dr. Morrison Hedwith, businessman, body-thief, and secret alchemist, a man who is running out of time.
File Under: Fantasy [ The Secret Tradition | Chemical Imbalance | Hustlers Hustled | The Carnival is Over ]
Three Years with the Rat
Thomas Dunne Books, January 24, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
“Three Years with the Rat is a mind-warping thriller that will make you question reality as you conceive of it. One of the most assured and haunting debuts I’ve read in recent memory.” —Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter
After several years of drifting between school and go-nowhere jobs, a young man is drawn back into the big city of his youth. The magnet is his beloved older sister, Grace: always smart and charismatic even when she was rebelling, and always his hero. Now she is a promising graduate student in psychophysics and the center of a group of friends who take “Little Brother” into their fold, where he finds camaraderie, romance, and even a decent job.
But it soon becomes clear that things are not well with Grace. Always acerbic, she now veers into sudden rages that are increasingly directed at her adoring boyfriend, John, who is also her fellow researcher. When Grace disappears, and John shortly thereafter, the narrator makes an astonishing discovery in their apartment: a box big enough to crawl inside, a lab rat, and a note that says This is the only way back for us. Soon he embarks on a mission to discover the truth, a pursuit that forces him to question time and space itself, and ultimately toward a perilous confrontation at the very limits of imagination.
This kinetic novel catapults the classic noir plot of a woman gone missing into the twenty-first-century city, where so-called reality crashes into speculative science in a novel reminiscent of Danielewski’s House of Leaves. Jay Hosking's Three Years with the Rat is simultaneously a mind-twisting mystery that plays with the very nature of time and the story of a young man who must face the dangerously destructive forces we all carry within ourselves.
Dark Gifts 1
Del Rey, February 14, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages
A darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule, and commoners are doomed to serve—for readers of Victoria Aveyard and Susanna Clarke
NOT ALL ARE FREE.
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.
NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED.
Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years.
But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.
A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty—but will her heart pay the price?
A boy dreams of revolution.
Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.
He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
Game of Shadows
Tor Books, February 28, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
A young man plagued by the ability to see ghosts races to save the mythological land of Tara from a terrible fate in Erika Lewis's stunning debut, Game of Shadows.
Thousands of years ago in Ireland, an ancient race fought a world-changing battle—and lost. Their land overrun, the Celtic gods and goddesses fled, while the mythical races and magical druids sailed to an uncharted continent, cloaked so mankind could never find it. This new homeland was named Tara.
In modern day Los Angeles, Ethan Makkai struggles with an overprotective mother who never lets him out of her sight, and a terrifying secret: he can see ghosts. Desperate for a taste of freedom, he leaves his apartment by himself for the first time—only to find his life changed forever. After being attacked by dive-bombing birds, he races home to find the place trashed and his mother gone.
With the help of a captain from Tara who has been secretly watching the Makkais for a long time, Ethan sets out to save his mother; a journey that leads him to the hidden lands, and straight into the arms of a vicious sorcerer who will stop at nothing until he controls Tara.With new-found allies including Christian, the cousin he never knew he had, and Lily, the sword-slinging healer who’d rather fight than mend bones, Ethan travels an arduous road—dodging imprisonment, battling beasts he thought only existed in nightmares, and accepting help from the beings he’s always sought to avoid: ghosts. This L.A. teen must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother, the fearless girl he’s fallen for, and all the people of Tara.
All Our Wrong Todays
Dutton, February 7, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages
“A thrilling tale of time travel and alternate timelines with a refreshingly optimistic view of humanity’s future.”—Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian
“Elan Mastai has conjured up a witty and freewheeling time-traveling romance that packs an emotional wallop. ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS is a page-turning delight.”—Maria Semple, author of Today Will Be Different and Where’d You Go, Bernadette
You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed…because it wasn’t necessary.
Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.
All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.
The Mercy of the Tide
Meerkat Press, February 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 294 pages
Riptide, Oregon, 1983. A sleepy coastal town, where crime usually consists of underage drinking down at a Wolf Point bonfire. But then strange things start happening—a human skeleton is unearthed in a local park and mutilated animals begin appearing, seemingly sacrificed, on the town’s beaches. The Mercy of the Tide follows four people drawn irrevocably together by a recent tragedy as they do their best to reclaim their lives—leading them all to a discovery that will change them and their town forever. At the heart of the story are Sam Finster, a senior in high school mourning the death of his mother, and his sister Trina, a nine-year-old deaf girl who denies her grief by dreaming of a nuclear apocalypse as Cold War tensions rise. Meanwhile, Sheriff Dave Dobbs and officer Nick Hayslip must try to put their own sorrows aside to figure out who, or what, is wreaking havoc on their once-idyllic town.
Keith Rosson paints outside the typical genre lines with his brilliant debut novel. It is a gorgeously written book that merges the sly wonder of magical realism and alternate history with the depth and characterization of literary fiction.
Bloomsbury USA, January 17, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 288 pages
A masterful, enthralling debut novel about fate, family secrets, and the stories our bodies tell.
Magdalena has an unsettling gift. She sees the truth about people written on their skin--names, dates, details both banal and profound--and her only relief from the onslaught of information is to take off her glasses and let the world recede. Mercifully, her own skin is blank.
When she meets Neil, she is intrigued to see her name on his cheek. He's in Paris for the summer, studying a medieval pilgrimage to the coast of Spain, where the body of Saint Jacques is said to have washed ashore, covered in scallop shells. Magdalena, desperate to make things right after her best friend dies--a tragedy she might have prevented--embarks on her own pilgrimage, but not before Neil falls for her, captivated by her pale eyes, charming Eastern European accent, and aura of heartbreak.
Neil's father, Richard, is also in Paris, searching for the truth about his late mother, a famous expatriate American novelist who abandoned him at birth. All his life Richard has clung to a single memory of his mother--her red shoes--which her biographers agree he never could have seen.
In Adelia Saunders' arresting debut, secrets are revealed among forgotten texts in the old archives of Paris, on a dusty cattle ranch in the American West, along ancient pilgrim paths, and in a run-down apartment in post-Soviet Lithuania. By chance, or perhaps by fate, the novel's unforgettable characters converge, and Magdalena's uncanny ability may be the key to their happiness.
Tor.com, February 21, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 272 pages
In Chris Sharp's new epic fantasy Cold Counsel, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans.
However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two.
Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge.
Harper Voyager, January 17, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.
They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.
Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.
Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.
It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.
Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.