The Debut Dish: John R. McKay (+ Giveaway), Alexandra Sirowy (+ Giveaway), and Kate Elliott

August 16, 2015 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 7

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?


The Absolution of Otto Finkel by John R. McKay
July 30, 2015 from Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Brittany: in the summer of 1928, twelve-year-old Jack Graham and his brother Francis befriend the quiet German, Otto Finkel and together with the enigmatic Jean-Luc and virtuous Marco, they are involved in a serious case of misadventure that leaves a man dead and one of the boys disfigured.

The memories for most of them fade with time but for Otto, the mental scarring matches the physical scarring. Is this the reason why, years later, in the turmoil of war, he finds himself as an officer in the Waffen SS?

Largely unbeknown to them, the paths of the schoolboys, now young men, impinge on Otto’s life as each chooses to serve their respective countries in different ways. Following their wartime exploits, from the beaches of Dunkirk to the purge of the Roman ghetto, from the horrors of Drancy Deportation Camp to the Nazi ratlines of post-war Europe. This is a powerful story of war, grief, love and regret.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Moving, educational, emotional and real.

Why should readers pick up your book?
It is a very good story, very well written that will move them to tears at times. It asks questions about human nature and how people behave during times of conflict.
It will keep you hooked to the very end.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
It is very exciting to see all your hard work being appreciated and seeing your name on the front cover of a book.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Chocolate revels!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My wife!

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The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
August 18, 2015 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work.

And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Summery. Thrilling. Romantic. Suspenseful. Dark.

Why should readers pick up your book?
THE CREEPING isn’t just one thing. It’s a thriller, sure, but it’s also a story about first loves and best friendships and what you’ll risk to save them. It’s a novel about finding your way when the stakes are high; deciding what kind of person you want to be; and facing who you actually are. It will make you wonder, swoon, stare into the shadows, lock your bedroom door at night, and hold your best friend’s hand tighter. That’s why readers should pick up THE CREEPING!

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
There have been so many thrilling, crazy, wonderful things about it. It’s impossible to say what the absolute best is, but so far, one of my favorite moments was when I handed my mom an ARC (advance reader’s copy) of THE CREEPING. Look, Mom. It’s a real book! Completely surreal.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Sour patch kids, for sure. Lemon and orange are the best. Red next. And I leave the green for last.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Oh whoa. It’s a toss up between a replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth and a small wooden statue of a woman in robes, crescent moons at her feet, and a sun at her back. It’s very old and some kind of idol of worship from Scandinavia.

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Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
August 18, 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott begins a new trilogy with her debut young adult novel, weaving an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.

Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Jes is a fierce competitor.

Why should readers pick up your book?
A fantasy novel about sisterhood and family loyalty in the wake of treachery, a conquered country ruled within a rigid social hierarchy, a popular game that’s more than it seems, and one girl’s challenge to run the Fives even though it is forbidden to her.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
While I’m technically a YA debut author, I’ve been publishing in the SFF field for many years, so this isn’t my first published novel. I love the supportive YA community and the enthusiasm shown by book bloggers for the work they love.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
My current favorites are Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tom Hardy.

Oh, you didn’t mean eye candy? In that case, M&Ms.

(Jana Note: Best. Answer. Ever.)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk is such a mess that anything odd is hidden beneath the stacks of books, notes, and manuscript pages.

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7 Responses to “The Debut Dish: John R. McKay (+ Giveaway), Alexandra Sirowy (+ Giveaway), and Kate Elliott”

  1. Jennifer

    I am most excited to read The Absolution of Otto Finkel because I am fascinated by WWII, all the choices or maybe not-choices during this difficult period, especially if people that know each other are in opposite sides.
    I am interested by The Creeping because it’s a mystery, there’s love and friendship… and I am kind of weak to the promise of “romantic” book.

  2. Darlene Cruz

    War, love, grieve and regrets that attracted me to “The Absolution of Otto Finkel.”

  3. Layla

    More recently I have been fascinated by WWII fiction, especially dealing with the Nazi, and peoples decisions. I am interested to see where The Absolution of Otto Finkel” goes with it.

    The Creeping sounds like a fantastic thriller, and I do love an on the edge of my seat thriller.
    Layla recently posted…The Heart of Betrayal

  4. Darlene Cruz

    The Creeping: a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery now that’s creepy and gotta read it.

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