The Debut Dish: February 2016, Issue #2 (+ Giveaway)

February 21, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 6

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?

Today’s issue of the Debut Dish features Amy Allgeyer (Dig Too Deep), Jenn P. Nguyen (The Way to Game the Walk of Shame), Heidi Heilig (The Girl From Everywhere), Jenny Manzer (Save Me, Kurt Cobain), Janet B. Taylor (Into the Dim), and Monica Tesler (Bounders).


Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer
April 1, 2016 from Albert Whitman
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

With her mother facing prison time for a violent political protest, seventeen-year-old Liberty Briscoe has no choice but to leave her Washington, DC, apartment and take a bus to Ebbottsville, Kentucky, to live with her granny. There she can finish high school and put some distance between herself and her mother– her ‘former’ mother, as she calls her. But Ebbottsville isn’t the same as Liberty remembers, and it’s not just because the top of Tanner’s Peak has been blown away to mine for coal. Half the county is out of work, an awful lot of people in town seem to be sick, and the tap water is bright orange–the same water that officials claim is safe to drink. When Granny’s lingering cold turns out to be something much worse, Liberty is convinced the mine is to blame, and starts an investigation that quickly plunges her into a world of secrets, lies, threats, and danger. Liberty isn’t deterred by any of it, but as all her searches turn into dead ends, she comes to a difficult decision: turn to violence like her former mother or give up her quest for good.

Describe your book in five words or less.
YA Erin Brockovich in coal-country.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Standing on a dirt road in the sunshine, next to a boy with a crooked smile who smells like peppermint toothpaste, Liberty begins to feel like the pieces of her life might someday fit back together.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Standing in my fiance’s front yard, watching the ducks.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Hamburgers. All the hamburgers ever.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A carbon monoxide detector.

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The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen
June 7, 2016 from Swoon Reads
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Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Two reputations. One love contract.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is actually the opening scene when Taylor wakes up in Evan’s bed. I had so much fun writing about her freak outs and army crawling across the bedroom like a crazy person.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at home that afternoon. I just came back from New York the night before and was checking my inbox when I saw I had an email from my editors at Swoon Reads asking to speak to me. At first, I wouldn’t wrap my mind around the they wanted to talk to me. That they wanted to publish my book. I thought maybe I won some type of free giveaway although I didn’t sign up for any. But I emailed them back to let them know I was free and they called immediately. After that, everything was a blur.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I’m not a big sweets and chips person. But I do love pizza! The more toppings on it the better!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
This is going to sound very boring, but I don’t actually have a desk. I usually just write on the couch or in bed. So I searched my book case instead and found a pair of Harry Potter glasses. It was part of the goody bag from my magical Harry Potter bridal shower that my bridesmaid threw for me.

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The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
February 16, 2016 from Greenwillow Books
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Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City, to nineteenth-century Hawaii, to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility. Its witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, multicultural cast, and enchanting romance will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.

Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Myth, history, regret, time travel.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There is a scene early on where Nix meets an old woman named Joss in downtown Honolulu. Joss ran the opium den where Nix’s father met her mother, and since NIx never knew her mother, she is desperate for information–stories, history, anything. But Joss always keeps her secrets close. I loved writing their interaction–two strong women butting heads, both trying to get what they want.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was actually in the hospital, on bed rest for pre-term labor. I got to see my heart rate pick up on the pulse monitor, it was wild.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Donuts!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My snake. He lives in a terrarium right next to my computer and I bounce plot ideas off him all the time. He doesn’t say much but he’s a good listener.

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Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
March 8, 2016 from Delacorte Press
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What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father?

Nicola Cavan has been an outsider since age four when her mother vanished from their home in Victoria, British Columbia. Now 15, Nico is determined to find her beautiful, music-obsessed mother. After glimpsing “Cobain” on a ferry from Seattle, Nico follows the man with the blazing blue eyes to a remote Vancouver Island cabin—and her life will never be the same.

This nuanced and bittersweet YA debut will keep you guessing until the end.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Is Kurt Cobain Nico’s father?

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I can’t say too much or risk spoilers, but I think it would be when “Cobain” and Nico are driving up the Sea-to-Sky highway together, surrounded by mountains and ocean, being chased!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my home in Victoria, British Columbia.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Sun Chips.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The wheel for a child’s scooter. I did not put it there!

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Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
March 1, 2016 from HMH Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl time travels on purpose.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my main character, Hope, comes up with a way to break her friend out of a medieval prison. I love it because not only does she call upon her one super-power, her incredible brain, but because it takes all of the characters in the book–working together–to bust him out.

My second fave is a big old smooching scene, which I won’t tell you about yet, cause it’s a surprise!! :D

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
This is a bizarre situation. I was in London, actually, when I found out the book was going to auction. My son was starting grad school at the University College of London, and I’d gone to help him get settled.

I was flying home when the auction began. The next morning–totally jet-lagged and grief-stricken because I wouldn’t see my son for six months–the auction played out.
So…when my agent (the fantabulous Mollie Glick) called to tell me it had sold to HMH, I was curled up in my comfy chair with no make-up and my hair in a horrifying tangle, bawling my eyes out and laughing all at the same time! (It was NOT a pretty sight).

What’s your favorite junk food?
Easy question. Cupcakes. White with white icing. The best thing in the world!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Hoo boy. I have a LOT of weird stuff on my desk. But I guess I’d say…
A Game of Thrones lamp. The pole-thingee is a replica of John Snow’s sword–‘Longclaw,’ and the shade says (of course) Winter is Coming!

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Bounders by Monica Tesler
January 5, 2016 from Aladdin
Add to Goodreads | Author Twitter

In the tradition of Michael Vey and The Unwanteds, twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are forced to go up against an alien society in this first book in a brand-new adventure series!

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts.

Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world.

But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.

When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Space academy, quantum bounding, secrets.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite seen in BOUNDERS is when Jasper encounters Mira playing the piano. He is deeply moved by the music, and many of the assumptions he had about Mira are washed away. The scene shows the power of music as a form of connection and communication. It also foreshadows the growing bond between these two characters.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
When I received the email from my agent informing me that I had a three-book offer from Simon and Schuster, I was standing alone in my kitchen. It took me a few reads just to process what he was telling me. Then I fell to the floor screaming. Since I was the only one there, it was very much a tree falls in the forest and no one hears moment. So when my kids got off the bus that afternoon, I reenacted it for them. We still laugh about it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate. All the chocolate.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have a few different tangle fidgets on my writing table. I like to have something to play with when I brainstorm.

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6 Responses to “The Debut Dish: February 2016, Issue #2 (+ Giveaway)”

  1. Layla

    As a huge Doctor Who fan, I am super excited to see not one, but two time traveling novels with The Girl from Everywhere and Into the Dim. I can’t wait to see where the authors take these books.

    Dig Too Deep sounds interesting in that it has sounds like it has some great adventure/mystery and bringing more social awareness to mining practices.
    Layla recently posted…Remembrance

  2. Ingeyla

    The Girl from Everywhere is fantasy which is my favorite genre plus it has time travel, but not only traveling in time but to all these other places and that is why I am excited for it.

  3. Summer

    Save Me, Kurt Cobain, sounds so different from anything else I’ve read, the blurb is just mysterious enough that I don’t know what to expect, and I like not knowing what to expect.

    I haven’t had the best luck with time travel books, but I love what the author of Into the Dim said about her heroine’s brain being her superpower, that’s absolutely a girl I want to know.

  4. Karin S

    I’m most excited about The Girl from Everywhere because it sounds like an intriguing book and I wanted to read it since I first heard about it

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