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Be the first to discover some of the hottest new voices in fiction with this list featuring debut authors from our Spring 2021 Debut Fiction Sampler!

Click for Our Spring 2021 Debut Excerpt Sampler.

Click for Our Collection of Debut Fiction Samplers.


The Opium Prince by Jasmine Aimaq

Jasmine Aimaq’s stunning debut explores Afghanistan on the eve of a violent revolution and the far-reaching consequences of a young Kochi girl’s tragic death.

Afghanistan, 1970s. Born to an American mother and a late Afghan war hero, Daniel Sajadi has spent his life navigating a complex identity. After years in Los Angeles, he is returning home to Kabul at the helm of a US foreign aid agency dedicated to eradicating the poppy fields that feed the world’s opiate addiction.

But on the drive out of Kabul for an anniversary trip with his wife, Daniel accidentally hits and kills a young Kochi girl named Telaya. He is let off with a nominal fine, in part because nomad tribes are ignored in the eyes of the law, but also because a mysterious witness named Taj Maleki intercedes on his behalf. Wracked with guilt and visions of Telaya, Daniel begins to unravel, running from his crumbling marriage and escalating threats from Taj, who turns out to be a powerful opium khan willing to go to extremes to save his poppies.

Available in Hardcover and eBook Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.


The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas

A deeply moving novel about a woman who thought she never wanted to be a mother—and the many ways that life can surprise us.

Rose Napolitano is fighting with her husband, Luke, about prenatal vitamins. She promised she’d take them, but didn’t. He promised before they got married that he’d never want children, but now he’s changed his mind. Their marriage has come to rest on this one question: Can Rose find it in herself to become a mother? Rose is a successful professor and academic. She’s never wanted to have a child. The fight ends, and with it their marriage.

But then, Rose has a fight with Luke about the vitamins–again. This time the fight goes slightly differently, and so does Rose’s future as she grapples with whether she can indeed give up the one thing she thought she knew about herself. Can she reimagine her life in a completely new way? That reimagining plays out again and again in each of Rose’s nine lives, just as it does for each of us as we grow into adulthood. What are the consequences of our biggest choices? How would life change if we let go of our preconceived ideas of ourselves and became someone completely new? Rose Napolitano’s experience of choosing and then choosing again shows us in an utterly compelling way what it means, literally, to reinvent a life and, sometimes, become a different kind of woman than we ever imagined.

Coming in April—in Hardcover, eBook, Audio, and Large Print Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click for a Discussion Guide.

Click to Request an eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.


The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin

A heartwarming debut novel following three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life’s curveballs, who are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing—and maybe even a second chance—just when they least expect it.

Forty-four-year-old Alice Holtzman is stuck in a dead-end job, bereft of family, and now reeling from the unexpected death of her husband. Alice has begun having panic attacks whenever she thinks about how her life hasn’t turned out the way she dreamed. Even the beloved honeybees she raises in her spare time aren’t helping her feel better these days.

In the grip of a panic attack, she nearly collides with Jake—a troubled, paraplegic teenager with the tallest mohawk in Hood River County—while carrying 120,000 honeybees in the back of her pickup truck. Charmed by Jake’s sincere interest in her bees and seeking to rescue him from his toxic home life, Alice surprises herself by inviting Jake to her farm.

And then there’s Harry, a twenty-four-year-old with debilitating social anxiety who is desperate for work. When he applies to Alice’s ad for part-time farm help, he’s shocked to find himself hired. As an unexpected friendship blossoms among Alice, Jake, and Harry, a nefarious pesticide company moves to town, threatening the local honeybee population and illuminating deep-seated corruption in the community. The unlikely trio must unite for the sake of the bees—and in the process, they just might forge a new future for themselves.

Coming in April— in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt. 

Click to Request an eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.


Highway Blue by Ailsa McFarlane

A hypnotic debut of broken love on the run, from a blazingly original young writer.

In the lonely, beat-up town of San Padua, Anne Marie can never get the sound of the ocean out of her head. And it’s here—dog-walking by day, working bars by night—where she tries to forget about her ex-husband, Cal: both their brief marriage and their long estrangement.

But when Cal shows up on Anne Marie’s doorstep one day, he upends her world once again. A gun goes off in a violent accident, hurling the two of them on the road in escape.

Through sweaty motel rooms and dark parking lots full of whiskey-soaked souls and fair-weather friends, Anne Marie sifts through the consequences of their crime. But this is also her search for love, in all its broken forms, and how the pursuit of love is, in turn, a kind of redemption.

Coming in May— in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click to Request an eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.


Things We Lost in the Water by Eric Nguyen

A stunning debut novel about an immigrant Vietnamese family who settles in New Orleans and struggles to remain connected to one another as their lives are inextricably reshaped.

When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle in to life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.

But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh grow up in their absent father’s shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity—as individuals and as a family—threatens to tear them apart. But then disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them.

Coming in May— in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click to Request an eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.


Brood by Jackie Polzin

An exquisite new literary voice—wryly funny, nakedly honest, beautifully observational, in the vein of Jenny Offill and Elizabeth Strout—depicts one woman’s attempt to keep her four chickens alive while reflecting on a recent loss.

Over the course of a single year, our nameless narrator heroically tries to keep her small brood of four chickens alive despite the seemingly endless challenges that caring for another creature entails. From the forty-below nights of a brutal Minnesota winter to a sweltering summer which brings a surprise tornado, she battles predators, bad luck, and the uncertainty of a future that may not look anything like the one she always imagined.

Intimate and startlingly original, this slender novel is filled with wisdom, sorrow and joy. As the year unfolds, we come to know the small band of loved ones who comprise the narrator’s circumscribed life at this moment. Her mother, a flinty former home-ec teacher who may have to take over the chickens; her best friend, a real estate agent with a burgeoning family of her own; and her husband whose own coping mechanisms for dealing with the miscarriage that haunts his wife are more than a little unfathomable to her.

Coming in March— in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click to Request and eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.


Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business—”Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Coming in April— in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.


The Sweet Taste of Muscadines by Pamela Terry

A woman returns to her small southern hometown in the wake of her mother’s sudden death—only to find the past upended by stunning family secrets—in this intimate debut novel, written with deep compassion and sharp wit.

Lila Bruce Breedlove never quite felt at home in Wesleyan, Georgia, especially after her father’s untimely demise when she was a child. Both Lila and her brother, Henry, fled north after high school, establishing fulfilling lives of their own. In contrast, their younger sister, Abigail, opted to remain behind to dote on their domineering, larger-than-life mother, Geneva. Yet despite their independence, Lila and Henry know deep down that they’ve never quite reckoned with their upbringing.

When their elderly mother dies suddenly and suspiciously in the muscadine arbor behind the family estate, Lila and Henry return to the town that essentially raised them. But as they uncover more about Geneva’s death, shocking truths are revealed that overturn the family’s history as they know it, sending the pair on an extraordinary journey to chase a truth that will dramatically alter the course of their lives. The Sweet Taste of Muscadines reminds us all that true love never dies.

Coming in March— in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt. 

Click to Request an eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.


The Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk Walsh

Inspired by true events, this vivid and moving story of a young woman zookeeper and the elephant she’s compelled to protect through the German blitz of Belfast during WWll speaks to not only the tragedy of the times, but also to the ongoing sectarian tensions that still exist in Northern Ireland today.

Belfast, October 1940. Twenty-year-old zookeeper Hettie Quin arrives at the city docks in time to meet her new charge: an orphaned three-year-old Indian elephant named Violet. As Violet adjusts to her new solitary life in captivity and Hettie mourns the recent loss of her sister and the abandonment of her father, new storm clouds gather. A world war rages, threatening a city already reeling from escalating tensions between British Loyalists and those fighting for a free and unified Ireland. The relative peace is shattered by air-raid sirens on the evening of Easter Tuesday 1941. Over the course of the next five hours, hundreds of bombs rain down upon Belfast, claiming almost a thousand lives and decimating the city. Dodging the debris and carnage of the Luftwaffe attack, Hettie runs to the zoo to make sure that Violet is unharmed. The harrowing ordeal and ensuing aftermath set the pair on a surprising path that highlights the indelible, singular bond that often brings mankind and animals together during horrifying times.

Inspired by a largely forgotten chapter of World War II, S. Kirk Walsh deftly renders the changing relationship between Hettie and Violet, and their growing dependence on each other for survival and solace.

Coming in April— in Hardcover and eBook Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt. 

Click to Request an eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley,


The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

In this remarkable debut based on actual events, as a team of male scholars compiles the first Oxford English Dictionary, one of their daughters decides to collect the “objectionable” words they omit.

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word bondmaid flutters beneath the table. She rescues the slip, and when she learns that the word means “slave girl,” she begins to collect other words that have been discarded or neglected by the dictionary men.

As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.

Coming in April— in Hardcover, eBook, and Audio Editions.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

Click to Request an eGalley on Edelweiss.

Click to Request an eGalley on NetGalley.

 


Want to hear more from exciting new voices in fiction? Watch beloved author Adriana Trigiani in conversation with debut authors:

Sanjena Sathian, Gold Diggers

Stacey Swann, Olympus, Texas

Pip Williams, The Dictionary of Lost Words

Our Spring 2021 Debut Fiction Sampler

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