Guile is my debut novel. It was released on March 1 by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It's a Spring Selection of the highly respected Junior Library Guild, and has already been earning enthusiastic reviews:

    "The setting is a blend of Venice’s canals and Louisiana’s bogs; the plot is an almost cozy mystery with red herrings aplenty; the heroine is as plucky as her sidekick is prickly. Add just a dash of romance and you’ve got yourself a fine gumbo of a book that, while satisfying in one gulp, may also have readers returning for second helpings."

    "Cooper adeptly captures the transition from adolescence to adulthood as Yonie faces temptations and hard choices, but the real star of the show is LaRue, whose primness amuses while her mutual loyalty with Yonie gives the story its heart."
    —Publishers Weekly

    "...Memorable, well-drawn characters...Those who like unusual fantasies will enjoy this and will identify with the appealing Yonie as she searches for her roots and a place to belong."

    "Constance Cooper’s debut novel delighted me from start to finish...The plot runs like the river delta it’s set in, its streams parting and rejoining and braiding around obstacles until it runs clear to its conclusion."
    —Sarah Avery, winner of the 2015 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award

Readers describe it as a cross-genre novel:

    "I love a mix of genres, and Guile was a total mashup with the perfect amount of fantasy, thriller, and mystery thrown together. If you've been looking for a fresh new book, then Guile is a MUST-READ!"
    —Book blog Eli to the nth

    "The alternate universe–it’s never indicated that their world was once ours–clearly marks it as fantasy, but the easy acceptance by all of the strange checks the magical realism box as much as any work of straight magical realism. I’ve been dying for a YA novel unlike anything I’ve ever read and Guile is absolutely that."
    —Paige, book blog The YA Kitten

    "'Guile' is an intriguing YA fantasy novel that blends several genres such as action, adventure, suspense and mystery together to create an original story that will have readers guessing until the very end."
    —Stephanie Ward, book blog A Dream Within a Dream

Here's a good description that doesn't give too much away:

    The water throughout the Bad Bayous is thick with guile, a powerful substance that changes objects and people exposed to it, for better or worse.

    Sixteen-year-old orphan Yonie Watereye ekes out a meager living posing as a "pearly," someone who can sense the presence of guile. Yonie's situation is precarious, to say the least: she isn't a pearly, and her "seeings" are performed by her cat.

    Already rejected by her papa's swamp-dwelling family, Yonie decides to investigate her mother's mysterious upper-class background. When her High Town relatives rebuff her, Yonie suddenly has new mysteries to solve. Was her parents' death really an accident? Where is her grand-aunt Nettie? And what unknown person is making malevolent use of powerful guile-changed things--one of which is nearly fatal to Yonie herself?

    Family ties, family secrets, a whisper of romance, and an array of guile-filled objects are artfully entwined in this layered tale of a young woman looking for her true family and her true home.

Guile started with a short story called "The Wily Thing" which was published in Black Gate Magazine in 2008. The short story was so well received that I returned to that world when I was ready to write a novel.

(Read an excerpt from the short story)

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