The Debut Dish: MarcyKate Connolly, Cindy L. Rodriguez, and Kathryn Holmes (+ Giveaway)

Posted February 8, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 2 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?


Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
February 10, 2015 from HarperCollins Children’s Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Reminiscent of Frankenstein and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, this debut novel by MarcyKate Connolly stands out as a compelling, original story that has the feel of a classic.

1. Describe your book in five words or less.
Frankenstein meets the Brothers Grimm.

2. Why should readers pick up your book?
Hopefully they will pick it up for the lovely bright blue cover, and they’ll stay for the unusual dark fairytale with Frankenstein themes and the sweet, yet monstrous main character.

3. What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
EVERYTHING is exciting. Edits! More edits! Covers! People I don’t know reading my book! The constant newness is thrilling. And really, how cool is it that people everywhere can read my book soon?

4. What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Junior Mints!

5. What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A reindeer koosh pen.


When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
February 10, 2015 from Bloomsbury Children’s
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

3 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girls battle depression, find hope.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Readers will empathize with two girls who experience and battle depression in different ways. Mental health is an important issue that affects millions, and suicide continues to be the third leading cause of death for young people. Beyond addressing this important issue, the novel has other aspects for readers. It’s a bit of a mystery, so you’ll want to keep reading; the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson are important and featured throughout the novel; the characters are diverse; and there is a positive adult–a teacher–who is an important supporting character. 

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The best things about being a debut author are having a longtime dream come true and sharing the experience with everyone: family, friends, and the ultra-supportive people in the kid lit world. It takes a village to publish a novel. The entire process required not only determination and discipline on my part to get it done and not give up, but it also required dozens of other people to help at key moments. While writing can be a solitary thing, I love that there has also been this feeling of communal support and celebration, especially from fellow debut authors and online friends. Every debut author should be a part of a debut group!

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Twizzlers.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A bag of makeup remover wipes. I hardly ever apply or remove makeup in normal places like the bathroom.


The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
February 17, 2015 from HarperTEEN
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

Describe your book in five words or less. 
Lost in mountains, girl finds herself. (“In” doesn’t count as a word…right? Right.)

Why should readers pick up your book?
The Distance Between Lost and Found is both a coming-of-age story and a survival story. It’s about a girl who has lost herself. Only when everything is stripped away — home, comfort, food, safety — can she come to terms with what happened to her six months ago and rediscover the parts of herself she thought were gone for good.

If you enjoy lyrical writing about characters on journeys of self-discovery, you should pick up this book. If you prefer page-turners packed with tension and very real dangers, you should pick up this book. And if you love the Smoky Mountains, or any mountains, or hiking, or reading about the great outdoors from the comfort of your sofa … well, you get the idea. :)

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The sense of discovery throughout the process. As a debut, everything’s a first. First book contract. First advance. First editorial letter. First time seeing a book cover with my name on it. First ARCs — aka, the first time something I wrote looks like a real, honest-to-God book. And on and on and on.

Also, it’s amazing to be a part of a community of fellow debut authors (shout out to the Fearless Fifteeners!). It’s been wonderful to experience and revel in those milestones together.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Nestle’s Buncha Crunch. Preferably mixed with lightly buttered popcorn. Yum!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk is currently clutter central, but I think the winner has to be the paper mustache-on-a-stick that was left over from our wedding photobooth three years ago. Who doesn’t write with a mustache-on-a-stick inserted amongst her pens and pencils?

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2 responses to “The Debut Dish: MarcyKate Connolly, Cindy L. Rodriguez, and Kathryn Holmes (+ Giveaway)

  1. Some great debuts coming out! I’m excited about The Distance Between Lost and Found because of all the psychological issues of the main character and the mystery in the woods. I like this sort of thing! There’s just seems to be something about it, and if it mixes lyrical writing and self-discovery with action, all the better for me!
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