Up and Coming

  • By Tara Laskowski
  • July 29, 2019

Meet some 2019 debut authors!

Up and Coming

My debut novel, One Night Gone, is being published this October. It’s been an interesting journey so far, filled with extreme highs (“I’m the best author in the world!”) and extreme lows (“I’m going to fail miserably, and everyone will hate me”).

Having a debut book is a wonderful — and terrifying — thing.

It also often feels, like the writing process itself, very lonely. It wasn’t until I discovered Debut Authors ‘19 — a cadre of writers who all have books debuting in 2019 — that I began to understand I wasn’t alone.

The group is supportive and kind. We share the ups and downs of publishing, offer advice when we can, and help spread the word about each other’s successes. In that spirit, I want to introduce you all to some of my fellow debut authors and have them talk a little about their books and this whole crazy business of publishing. Everyone here has a book that came out or is coming out this year, so get your wallet ready and click on those links!

What are three words that sum up your book?

“Changeling baby story.” ~Melanie Golding, Little Darlings (Mystery/Thriller/Horror)

“Race, reckoning, reconciliation.” ~Erin Bartels, We Hope for Better Things (Women's Fiction)

“Women bearing secrets.” ~Katie Munnik, The Heart Beats in Secret (Literary Fiction)

“Cozy murder fantasy.” ~K.A. Doore, The Perfect Assassin (Fantasy)

“Islands, friendship, love.” ~Linda Quennec, Fishing for Birds (Literary Fiction)

What part of the publishing process has brought you the most joy?

“I loved the cover design process. Leland Cheuk, my publisher at 7.13 Books, gives his authors a lot of control over it — not something every publisher does. I requested Gigi Little, a cover designer whose work I’ve admired for years and who had worked with Leland before. I sent Gigi images of book covers I liked to give her a sense of what I had in mind, along with a list of meaningful objects from the book, including the wooden box and pearl necklace that she ended up designing. I got to weigh in on the final color choice, font, and the image of Shanghai in the background. The result is somehow both exactly what I had in mind and better than I could’ve ever imagined.” ~Melissa Duclos, Besotted (Literary Fiction)

“Definitely the messages from readers telling me how much they've enjoyed my book.” ~Nicole Bross, Past Presence (Mystery/Supernatural Suspense)

What terrifies you most about readers reading your book?

“I wrote this during a vulnerable time after having my son, sharing a lot of complex postpartum feelings in a thriller plot. I hope it's a connection for women who have also struggled, and not triggering.” ~Vanessa Lillie, Little Voices (Thriller)

“Thinking about people I know (like my mom's friends!) reading the one or two racy scenes in my book, when they've known me since I was in grade school!” ~Nicole Bross

“My work deals with recovery from major emotional trauma. Even after thorough research and extensive sensitivity editing, I’d hate to offend anyone suffering from real-world troubles.” ~August Norman, Come and Get Me: A Caitlin Bergman Novel (Crime Thriller)

“I do worry that readers will read The Marriage Clock and think that my main character’s story is representative of all South-Asian-American women’s experiences in America. Although arranged marriage is part of the South-Asian culture, it is not a practice that everyone or every family follows. There is a lot of diversity in the South-Asian Muslim community, and the last thing I would want is for readers (outside of that community) to assume that we are monolithic in the experiences, struggles, and challenges we face.” ~Zara Raheem, The Marriage Clock (Commercial Fiction)

“The possibility of them finding a factual error, even though I did my homework!” ~Erin Bartels

What’s a good story-behind-the-story of your book?

“Everything my bad male character does is lifted straight from real life.” ~Melanie Golding

“This story came about because my newborn son wouldn't sleep. The plot unfolded as I let my exhausted mind wander during long walks to get him to nap.” ~Vanessa Lillie

“I worked on my book so long that when I sat down to work, I started telling my kids, ‘Your sister needs my attention for a while.’ They did not find that funny in the least.” ~Deborah L. King, Glory Bishop (Women's Literary Fiction/Coming-of-Age)

“I attended the annual Malice Domestic mystery convention as a fan — came away an inspiring mystery writer. Ten years and 38 versions of my manuscript later, I attended Malice Domestic 2019 as an author.” ~Grace Topping, Staging Is Murder (Cozy Mystery)

“I think people are always fascinated to learn that the idea for the novel first came to me when I was going through the arranged process myself, so a lot of my life experiences initially influenced the ideas behind The Marriage Clock.” ~Zara Raheem

“About 10 years ago, I found an old letter from a teenage friend. In the letter, the friend wrote that she had ‘something important to tell me.’ I started to wonder what that important thing might have been and what is something a person could learn — 20 years after the fact — that could still have a major impact on their life. From these musings, What's Left Untold was born.” ~Sherri Leimkuhler, What's Left Untold (Women's Fiction)

“My story is about a self-made billionaire businesswoman. I came up with the idea when I thought I saw the title The Billionaire’s Prince. I initially thought that book was a male/male romance. Then I realized, as a lifelong feminist, that I’d assumed the billionaire was a man. The book was actually titled The Billionaire’s PRICE. I took myself in hand and wrote the female billionaire that would smash my own implicit biases.” ~Angelina M. Lopez, Lush Money (Contemporary Romance)

“My first draft was double the final's length, partly due to descriptions of sandwiches.” ~August Norman

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard about being a new author?

“Reviews are for readers, not authors.” ~Deborah L. King

“Sleep when the baby sleeps. Wait...” ~Erin Bartels

“To enjoy the ride! And, to have the time of my life at my book-launch party!” ~Sherri Leimkuhler

“Yell about other authors! It's one way to take the strain of self-promo off your shoulders, make you feel less like a shill, and share the things you're super excited about.” ~K.A. Doore

What is another book that you wish everyone would read?

“I recently read a proof of a debut book coming out next year called Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. It's SO good.” ~Melanie Golding

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage. It’s a look at the evolution of the modern world through the creation and imbibement of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.” ~August Norman

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch.” ~Linda Quennec

Nottingham by Nathan Makaryk comes out in August, and it is the character-driven, hilarious Robin Hood retelling we all need and deserve.” ~K.A. Doore

Tara Laskowski’s debut novel, One Night Gone, in three words, is a “creepy beach suspense.” She is also author of the short-story collections Bystanders and Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons.

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