I'm so thrilled to have The Dyerville Tales Blog Tour stopping by today! Last month I had the pleasure of reviewing this fantastical story and interviewing author M.P. Kozlowsky. Below you can check out a Guest Post from the author and enter the awesome Giveaway...
The Dyerville Tales
by M.P. Kozlowsky
Walden Pond Press
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline meets Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs in M. P. Kozlowsky’s The Dyerville Tales, a powerfully imaginative middle-grade novel that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, from the author of Juniper Berry.
Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.
Its unique voice and ability to combine creepiness with great story and character development make The Dyerville Tales a real standout middle-grade novel.
In Search of Time to Write
Writers, in my experience, are a rather finicky bunch, constantly searching for the Goldilocks of situations in which to regularly expunge their brains of exposition and exciting plot twists for their future readership. I know because I’ve been there.
Years ago I needed complete silence to write. I needed zero distractions. I needed a long block of time without the slightest of interruptions. If anything disturbed my writing, however slight, it threw everything off. There were days when the super had to stop by to do some work and I was forced to throw up my hands and declare my writing dead for the day – I couldn’t begin knowing he might show up any minute and I couldn’t continue when he left, my mind and flow irreparably broken. Phone calls were like an ax to the screen and it got so bad that if I ran out of bread to eat for lunch, my routine was so thrown off that any writing would have to wait until the next day after a trip to the supermarket so that I could have my peanut butter with toast just like every day before, as if this was in some way tied into the work I produced.
This, of course, may be an extreme, but I know of many writers who need things to be just so in order to get some pages done. There are great writers – absolute masters – who will never be published because of these idiosyncrasies and irrational demands. But are these really just elaborate excuses? A fear of failure? Perhaps. Some people state they can’t find the time, some say they’re too busy or too tired or they have children or a job or countless other responsibilities, and I understand that; I truly do. As evidenced above, I needed things to be just so.
But things change. I got married, I had two children. There was no more silence, no more uninterrupted stretch of hours to write. I was faced with a drastic choice, adapt or kill the dream. I chose to adapt. I now write during my youngest’s naps and while my eldest plays with her toys or watches TV. I have to write through noise, through questions, through severe guilt and inconvenience and a million other things that come with parenting. I have to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have to do laundry and food shopping and care for a 15 year old dog. If inspiration is not there, I cannot wait for it to rear its head. I have to plunge my hands into the darkness of my mind and pull it free whether it’s ready or not. I get an hour and a half at a time. Twice a day. If I’m lucky. I don’t write at night because that time is for me to share with my wife. I don’t write on the weekends because that time is for me to share with my family. I have to make this work.
Many people, I know, would throw up their hands and complete their novel in the serenity of retirement. I’ve been there. But when you are a writer, the need to write has to burn through you, your fingertips have to sizzle with a desperate necessity to hit the keys. You have to make time. And all you need is 500 words. That’s it. Two pages. This essay. 500 words a day is one book a year. And if you can hit 1,000, that’s two books.
Not everyone can have a life completely devoted to writing. Not everyone can have a spouse like Nabokov’s, taking care of every little thing so that your genius can flourish. True, we all need someone in our corner – my career would never have even began without the support of my wife – but it is up to us to prove we really want it. Our situations cannot control us. We have to take control of our situations. We have to bend time, manipulating it to better serve us. That is the true strength of a writer. And the ability to thrive is in all of us. Seize it.
- M.P. Kozlowsky, New York City, April 2014
M.P. Kozlowsky was a high school English teacher before becoming a writer. Juniper Berry is his first book. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.
Walden Pond Press
Win a signed hardcover copy of
The Dyerville Tales!
The awesome peeps at Walden Pond Press have generoulsy offered one signed hardcover edition for one winner.
-must be 13+, one free entry per person
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
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DON'T MISS ANY OF THE BLOG TOUR STOPS
4/28 - Word Spelunking Book Blog
4/29 - Book Smugglers
4/29 - KidLit Frenzy
4/30 - Mundie Kids
5/1 - Bunbury In the Stacks
5/3 - The Book Rat
5/5 - Mundie Kids
5/6 - Bluestocking Thinking
5/7 - Small Review
5/7 - Paige in Training
5/8 - Novel Novice
5/9 - Buried in Books
5/10 - The Book Monsters
5/13 - The Flashlight Reader
5/14 - The Hiding Spot