A Life of Books with Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

A Life of Books with Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

In her debut novel, Cherie Jones tells a cautionary tale set mostly in Barbados. A grandmother uses a story about one-armed sister. Her granddaughter Lala listens to what happens to girls who disobey their mothers but the question is, does she absorb the story?

Years later, Lala is married to a petty burglar and their seemingly cozy lives are upended in a spiral of violence, crime, and deceit. What unfolds is, How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, a devastating debut that is a must-read. Be warned though: you’ll want to finish this in one sitting. So block out a lot of time one you start this.

Below, Cherie Jones answers the A Life of Books Questionnaire for Debutiful.

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10 debut books you should read this March

10 debut books you should read this March

It’s hard to believe it’s March again. The past year has been difficult for us all, but hopefully debut books helped get you through 2020. Let’s kick off the “new year” with another 10 debuts that will make you laugh, cry, and question everything you thought you knew.

These debuts are about families coming to terms with their grief, mothers moving on from dark times in their life, women named Sarah, and money.

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Sanaë Lemoine on France, teenagers, and creating The Margot Affair

Sanaë Lemoine on France, teenagers, and creating The Margot Affair

Sanaë Lemoine has lived all over the globe. When she was creating The Margot Affair, a specific time and place kept calling to her. Thus, Margot was born as a seventeen year old living in Paris.

Margot is on the cusp of adulthood when she decides to change the course of her own life, and as a result changes the trajectory of all of her relatives’ lives. When she reveals she is the secret daughter of a politician and a famous actress, her secret world is unspooled and readers get to watch as the wall of lies built up around her comes tumbling down.

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Jeni McFarland confronted her past to create ‘The House of Deep Water’

Jeni McFarland confronted her past to create ‘The House of Deep Water’

The House of Deep Water, the debut novel from Jeni McFarland, is an intimate portrait of three women arriving back to the town they grew up in. Beth was one of the small Michigan town’s only black residents and arrives with her two teenager children to help get her life back on track after experiencing devastating trauma. There’s also Linda, who recently left a bad marriage while pregnant. Her mother, Paula, who abandonded her family years ago also returns. All three are seeking a sense of community and family.

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6 debut books you should read this March

6 debut books you should read this March

Each month, Debutiful will recommend a handful of buzzworthy and under-the-radar debut books for you to read.

Spring is upon us and all of our to be read piles are heating up. The working list of debuts to read that are publishing this month was 14 and that, I’m sure, doesn’t even scratch the surface. Expect another list shortly called ‘6 more debut books from Winter 2020 you should read.’ There have been an insane amount of stellar debuts published so far this year.

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Meng Jin explores personal and global histories in her debut ‘Little Gods’

Meng Jin explores personal and global histories in her debut ‘Little Gods’

Time, family, and memory. Those were what was on Meng Jin’s mind as she began writing her debut novel, Little Gods. These questions drove her to write a layered novel about a mother from Beijing during the Tiananmen Square protests and her daughter, living in America, decades later.

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The 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize announced

The 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize announced

The Center for Fiction announced the seven book shortlist for their First Novel Prize. Of the seven, six were featured previously on Debutiful. Three were interviewed here (see below), while another I interviewed for Electric Literature.

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Karen Raney on crafting the characters in her coming-of-age debut ‘All the Water in the World’

Karen Raney on crafting the characters in her coming-of-age debut ‘All the Water in the World’

The characters that inhabit All the Water in the World, the debut novel from Karen Raney, are like tapping into the third season of your favorite television series. They’re all incredibly rounded and grounded.

In the midst of dealing with her relationship with her mother, learning to love for the first time, and all of the pains of being 16-years-old, Maddy is also diagnosed with cancer. Told between alternating chapters from Maddy and then her mother’s perspective, the story is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking.

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6 more debut books from the first half of 2019 to read

6 more debut books from the first half of 2019 to read

There have been a lot of debuts that have been published this year. I curated a list of the best debuts for Electric Literature and left off a lot of books I have featured here on Debutiful. Still, there are more debuts that somehow missed my radar.

The following six books are debuts that I have recently read or discovered through booksellers, fellow writers, and librarians.

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