Friday, May 9, 2014

[Blog Tour] Review/Interview: M.P. Kozlowsky (author of The Dyerville Tales) + Giveaway

This week, I am very excited to welcome M.P. Kozlowsky to the blog for an interview and review of his newest book, The Dyerville Tales. I'm also excited to be participating in the blog tour hosted by Walden Pond Press and to give y'all a chance, thanks to WPP, to win a signed copy of this amazing book.

Artwork © 2014 by Brian Thompson 
The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky, April 22, 2014. 336 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: publisher
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.
First Sentence:
Some tales are worth telling.

The Dyerville Tales is the first book written by M.P. Kozlowsky that I have had the pleasure reading, and I tell you this, I was very much impressed with the authors writing and ability to weave such a fantastic story. Needless to say, I will definitely be hitting up my library to read his other book, Juniper Berry, and eagerly awaiting any future releases from this author.

If you love middle grade books full of magic with a story that will hit you in the heart, then The Dyerville Tales is one that you need to read.  From the very beginning of the book I knew that this book would find its way into my heart, why, because the character’s story and journey to find happiness paired with the author’s writing made this such an interesting read.
     So, while Vince’s story starts out quite sad, especially as you learn how he came to be living in an orphanage, I  very quickly got pulled into his story as I saw him struggle with hoping that he’d find his father and that of giving up the search. Question is, do I think the author handled this well; I do because he never made Vince’s feelings feel forced and you just felt like you were there with him as he pushed on towards his destination.

As for the tales of Vince’s grandfather, Vincent, I enjoyed those immensely. At times, especially near the end, I was reminded of a certain fairy tale, but that only added to my personal enjoyment.
    One of the things I liked best about the tales of Vince’s grandfather would have to be that while a little crazy, you could almost see a lesson hidden within the stories, or at least I could. Finally, the artwork paired with each of the tales perfectly fit each of them, which was pretty cool and gave you a little visual to spur the imagination on.    

Even though there are many things that made The Dyerville Tales such a great read, the one that stands above all others is the writing. I simply loved M.P. Kozlowsky’s writing and the way he was able to capture the magic of the story, as well, as his ability to weave so many emotions into the life and story of Vince.  
    What is about the writing that pulled me in, well, that would have to be everything. I know vague, but there were so many different facets to the story and way the author wove all the pieces together that just made this such an interesting read for me. I really enjoyed watching the way Vince couldn’t help but hold out hope for a reunion with his father, and how his grandfather’s tales kept him going forward even when he thought he could go no further. It was just so interesting to see all these angles to story come together to form a whole, plus the tales were truly captivating.

While I really enjoyed The Dyerville Tales, I do wish that there had been a little more closure for Vince after the ending of his journey. Or at least one that was a little more present to the reader; even though I really liked where the book ended and how the reader could envision what they thought would happen. I guess you can say that the ending left me both happy, for Vince’s happiness, and wishing that there had been a little more to the story about his family and where his father is.

Final Verdict: The Dyerville Tales- Pure magic, that is what M.P. Kozlowsky’s writing is in his latest middle grade book. 

The Dyerville Tales earns

About the author:
M.P. Kozlowsky lives in New York with his wife and two daughters. Juniper Berry is his first novel.  The Dyerville Tales and Scarecrow Has A Gun will soon follow.

You can haunt M.P. Kozlowsky at-
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  1.  In seven words, tell readers about Vince and his story in The Dyerville Tales? 
Collision of fairy tales and real life.

  1.  Which of the stories from Vince's grandfather's book was your favorite to write? Can you share a two sentence teaser from it?
My favorite chapter to write was The Forbidden Room.  A good two sentence teaser might be the very first two sentences of the chapter:  Vincent sat chained to the wall, his gold body gleaming in the giant’s roaring fire.  Every day for a week straight now, the giant demanded that his prize pose for his amusement, like a living statue.

  1.  What did you enjoy the most when it came to writing about Vince? Why do you think readers will enjoy reading about his story?
Well, there is a lot of myself in Vince.  He is a troubled soul; he is in pain; he longs for his family, particularly his father, but there is also so much earnestness in him, a hope for a better world.  It was fun to take him on this journey of discovery, his life meshing with a life of fantasy.  I believe this is something readers will relate to.  We are all searching for meaning and understanding in our lives and what better way to do that than through the power of story, especially that of our ancestors?

  1.  Favorite newest middle grade title that you've read and why you liked it? What was your favorite book from your childhood?
I think Anne Ursu is one of the best writers out there, middle grade or not, and The Real Boy was a revelation.  As a child I would have to say Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  There is a bit of an homage to it in The Dyerville Tales, but, where Alice falls down a rabbit hole to visit this magical land, Vincent falls off a cliff.

  1.  Three things: Something your good at; something that annoys you; and something that you wish you could do?
Something I’m good at:  I would hope writing.
Something that annoys me:  Not having enough time to read and write.
Something that I wish I could do:  Direct my own film, preferably adapted from one of my own screenplays based on one of my own books.

  1.  What song do you think best describes you and why you think it fits?
Without a doubt, if you want to know me, who I am and the way my mind and heart work, there is no better song than “Things The Grandchildren Should Know” by Eels.  As they say, it was as if it was written for me.  A beautiful, haunting song.

  1.  If you could visit any fictional world for the day which would it be and why?
I’d go down that rabbit hole with Alice, or off that cliff with Vincent.

  1.  The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
This is not a light question.  A robot invasion is always at the forefront of my mind – as you will see once some of my recently completed books get published – although I believe it will be more subtle than an all out war.  However, to pick one heroine/hero, I would return to my first book and pull Juniper into the realm of the living.  Such a resourceful little girl she is.

  1.  Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
Right now I think I would prefer to work in a cave.  Living in Manhattan, with a wife and two young girls, I don’t have much privacy.  My desk is out in the open in the Living Room, just outside the false wall we put up so that my eldest could have her own bedroom, not that that prevents the interruptions, the sounds of the TV, her cries and questions, etc. (To think I once wrote in complete isolation and silence.) One day I hope to have a full on library/study, complete with fireplace and wrap around bookshelves with a ladder, a globe in the corner, a leather sofa – something like Juniper’s father’s workspace.  That’s the dream.

  1.  Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?   
I have recently completed a few very exciting books – one MG, one YA and one Adult.  All three are completely different from what I’ve done before, with not a hint of a fairy tale about them.  I hope to share more soon.

Now, I am definitely going to have to try Juniper Berry...since you picked her to save the world from a robot invasion. Thanks so much for stopping by and answering some questions Mr. Kozlowsky.

Don't forget, you can haunt all things Walden Pond Press at-
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One lucky, US, winner will receive a signed hardback of M.P. Kozlowsky's The Dyerville Tales.

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  1. I enjoy reading MG books. Seeing Neil Gaiman in the blurb has piqued my interest too because I like Neil Gaiman's work.

  2. I want to read this book bc I have summer off and I need to read as many books as possible! :D
    Mary G Loki


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