The Debut Dish: November 2016, Issue #1 (+ Giveaway)

November 20, 2016 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly 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?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Jill MacKenzie (Spin the Sky), Kara Bietz (Until I Break), Janet McNally (Girls In the Moon), and Tara Sim (Timekeeper).


Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie
November 1, 2016 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Dancing. Reality TV. Betrayal. Heartbreak.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I think my favorite scene in my book is the final scene. It makes me happy. It makes me cry, too. Mags on her beach and Rose and clamming and the promise of dance in her future and the possibility of forever goodbyes and then George, always George, by her side.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At home. At my desk. Writing something new. :)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Hershey’s Kisses. I eat about twenty bags per book. That sounds disgusting, I know, but if you figure it takes me about a year to write one, then it seems less revolting (I hope.)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Oddest thing. Hmm. Three hair ties? Why anyone would need three on their desk, I’ll never know. The CUTEST thing on my desk right now, however, is my six-week old kitten, Jasper. If only you could see his photo. *Swoon.*


Until I Break by Kara Bietz
November 1, 2016 from Albert Whitman & Company
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Two boys: One, a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other, a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger?

A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as a well as a problem that nobody else seems to see—Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he’s managed to deftly conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. As Ace’s secret rage intensifies, Sam becomes more desperate to stop him. But how far will he go? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Bullies and bad decisions.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in Until I Break is during a big basketball game. Writing through a very active scene like that was a challenge, but it was so much fun!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work in the guidance counselor’s office of a high school. It was after the school day had ended, thank goodness. My agent called to give me the good news and I danced around and around the office with my coworkers. We had a mini celebration!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Hands down, Doritos. Not the fancy flavors, either…I like the plain, old school nacho cheese kind.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
It’s a toss-up between my Edgar Allen Poe action figure (complete with raven!) or the Hufflepuff-colored yarn and knitting needles I bought today.

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Girls In the Moon by Janet McNally
November 29, 2016 from HarperTEEN
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

An exquisitely told, authentic YA debut about family secrets, the shadow of fame, and finding your own way.

Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth. Her mother, Meg, ex–rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister, Luna, indie-rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the cofounder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and to maybe even continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months. Told in alternating chapters, Phoebe’s first adventure flows as the story of Meg and Kieran’s romance ebbs, leaving behind only a time-worn, precious pearl of truth about her family’s past—and leaving Phoebe to take a leap into her own unknown future.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Sisters, secrets, rock and roll.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have several favorites, but some of them are spoilers, so I’ll choose one that doesn’t reveal much of the plot. Phoebe is in a club watching her older sister Luna sing with her band, and she’s able to see her sister the way the rest of the world does: as beautiful, talented, a little bit magical. Later Phoebe watches her father sing on a different stage and experiences that same magic, plus the feeling that, because he’s famous, he belongs to so many other people almost as much as he does to her.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
During one part of the process, I remember that I was visiting my great aunt Rosemary, who had just turned one hundred. She can’t see well enough to read now, which makes me really sad, but she just tore through books when she was younger. She’s always loved stories. It was fun to tell her that I was going to have a novel published. She was excited.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Dark chocolate. It’s such a necessary part of my day it’s like a vitamin. Though maybe it doesn’t even count as junk food because studies have shown the benefits of dark chocolate. Or maybe I’m delusional.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have a standing desk, and it’s cluttered: orchids, stacks of books, expensive headphones I got for free. The strangest thing right now is probably a small stuffed sheep that someone brought me from Ireland when I was a baby. It’s missing an eye, but I still like it.


Timkeeper by Tara Sim
November 8, 2016 from Sky Pony Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Time, boys, clocks, magic, London.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my main character, Danny, learns something shocking about his strange clock mechanic apprentice. It was such a fun scene to write, mostly because I was laughing at Danny’s reaction, and it tilts that particular character relationship in a new direction. I still grin when I go back and read it.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’d just sat down to check my email when I saw that we had an offer for the trilogy. It was an utterly surreal moment. I didn’t even jump up and down like I thought I would–I just sat there with my mouth open for a long time! But it seemed fitting to be told my book would be published while I was sitting in the exact location where I had written it.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pizza rolls! And candy.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A small clock cog.

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