This is the eighth year of The Qwillery's Debut Author Challenge (DAC or Challenge). Again this year many of the 2018 Debut Authors will be writing guest blogs either before or after publication. Near the publication date, if possible, each of the 2018 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 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 2018 Debut Author Challenge is for participants to read at least 12 debut novels published during 2018 - one from each month of the year though you may read them anytime between January 1, 2018 and January 15, 2019.
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 2018 Debut Author Challenge Button at your website/blog? Here you go:
The Wolves of Winter
Scribner, January 2, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
A captivating tale of humanity pushed beyond its breaking point, of family and bonds of love forged when everything is lost, and of a heroic young woman who crosses a frozen landscape to find her destiny. This debut novel is written in a post-apocalyptic tradition that spans The Hunger Games and Station Eleven but blazes its own distinctive path.
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world.
Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she’s forced to forge ahead in the snow-drifted Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap and slaughter.
Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who brings with him dark secrets of the past and sets in motion a chain of events that will call Lynn to a role she never imagined.
Simultaneously a heartbreakingly sympathetic portrait of a young woman searching for the answer to who she is meant to be and a frightening vision of a merciless new world in which desperation rules, The Wolves of Winter is enveloping, propulsive, and poignant.
Harper Voyager, January 23, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
An order of magical-knife wielding female assassins brings both peace and chaos to their post-apocalyptic world in this bewitching blend of science fiction and epic fantasy—the first entry in a debut duology that displays the inventiveness of the works of Sarah Beth Durst and Marie Lu.
Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, a highly trained sisterhood of elite warriors armed with telepathic blades. Guided by a strict code of conduct, Kyra and the other Orders are sworn to protect the people of Asiana. But to be a Markswoman, an acolyte must repudiate her former life completely. Kyra has pledged to do so, yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her dead family.
When Kyra’s beloved mentor dies in mysterious circumstances, and Tamsyn, the powerful, dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. Using one of the strange Transport Hubs that are remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past, she finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a young, disillusioned Marksman whom she soon befriends.
Kyra is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof. And if she fails to find it, fails in her quest to keep her beloved Order from following Tamsyn down a dark path, it could spell the beginning of the end for Kyra—and for Asiana.
But what she doesn’t realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is razor thin . . . thin as the blade of a knife.
The Philosopher's Flight
Simon & Schuster, February 13, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art. “Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell.” (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer)
Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.
When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.
Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers—and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.
In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness, Tom Miller writes with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and humor. The Philosopher’s Flight is both a fantastical reimagining of American history and a beautifully composed coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.
The Rending and the Nest
Bloomsbury USA, February 20, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 304 pages
A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one's own story.
When 95 percent of the earth's population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can't afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost.
Four years after the Rending, Mira's best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object--and other women of Zion follow suit--the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn't return, Mira must decide how much she's willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.
Like California by Edan Lepucki and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Rending and the Nest uses a fantastical, post-apocalyptic landscape to ask decidedly human questions: How well do we know the people we love? What sustains us in the midst of suffering? How do we forgive the brokenness we find within others--and within ourselves?
The Sky Is Yours
Hogarth, January 23, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 464 pages
A sprawling, genre-defying epic set in a dystopian metropolis plagued by dragons, this debut about what it’s like to be young in a very old world is pure storytelling pleasure
In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they've ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.
The Sky Is Yours is incredibly cinematic, bawdy, rollicking, hilarious, and utterly unforgettable, a debut that readers who loved Cloud Atlas, Super Sad True Love Story, and Blade Runner will adore.
The Last Wolf
The Legend of All Wolves 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, February 6, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.
If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…
Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…
Lord of California
Ig Publishing, January 30, 2018
Trade Paperback, 284 pages
“A remarkable debut. Valencia writes with a sinuous maturity, a boldness of vision far beyond his years. In Lord of California, this beyond-seeing is literal: wild, impressive, at times menacing invention about what a separatist California might look like begins to look downright prescient, and Valencia’s portraitist skill with his characters lifts them off the page, too.”―Ryan McIlvain, author of Elders
Set in a future where the United States has dissolved and California is its own independent republic, Lord of California follows the struggles of the Temple family as they work at running a farm on a nationalized land parcel in the central San Joaquin Valley. When the family patriarch, Elliot, dies, it’s revealed that he had been keeping five separate families, and in the aftermath of their discovery, his widows and children must come together to keep from losing all they have. But their livelihood is threatened when Elliot’s estranged son tries to blackmail them, unleashing a series of violent confrontations between different factions of the family.
A sparse family drama reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, combined with the intimate first-person narratives of Kazuo Ishiguro, Lord of California is a powerful debut novel.