Welcome to my interview with Author Dan Poblocki and his latest release *cue booming voice* TALES TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT. This book has it all – an endearing main character, a creepy attic, and a suspense-filled world made up of multiple tales!
**Make sure you scroll to the end of this interview to enter for your chance to win your very own copy of this book!
TALES TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT by DAN POBLOCKI
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Amelia is cleaning out her grandmother’s attic when she stumbles across a book: Tales to Keep You Up at Night. But when she goes to the library to return it, she’s told that the book never belonged there. Curious, she starts to read the stories: tales of strange incidents in nearby towns, journal entries chronicling endless, twisting pumpkin vines, birthday parties gone awry, and cursed tarot decks. At the center of the stories lies a family of witches. And witches, she’s told, can look like anyone. As elements from the stories begin to come to life around her, and their eerie connections become clear, Amelia begins to realize that she may be in a spooky story of her own.
TALES TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT is the perfect next–read for fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark!. An excellent addition to Halloween round ups, middle grade readers will be glued to the pages, up way past their bedtimes, reading with flashlights, as they explore each of these interconnected stories. With frightening artwork at the start of each chapter, this book keeps readers engaged and terrified from beginning to end.
Hello Dan! It’s wonderful to have you join us. I am a huge fan of spooky books, so when I saw this book I knew I just had to chat with you about it. How about we start with – Can you describe Tales To Keep You Up At Night in five words?
Five words? I’ll try. How about these: Amelia’s tales comes to life!
Haha! It sure does.
Share a few insights into the story world you’ve created for your main character Amelia.
Amelia’s world is very much based on my own childhood growing up in the northeastern US. There was a time when my friends and I would ride bikes around our neighborhoods after school, occasionally pausing to relay some kind of legend to one another about some particular place we’d stumbled upon. Ravines. Deep forests. Strangers in grumbling cars. Spooky old houses. All of these elements felt like classic elements of scary tales, so I used them to fill Amelia’s world and set the stage.
Ooh . . . I think we might have lived in similar neighborhoods.
Tales To Keep You Up At Night is like a story – well, more like a bunch of stories – within the main story. How did keep all the details that weave the inner stories to the main story straight?
I use writing software called Scrivener, which allows me to sort each chapter into its own file. While I was writing one story, the software allowed me to pull up the other stories. This helped me remember what was what. Also, keeping lists and notes of which characters appeared in each tale helped me keep things straight. It was a challenge!
That’s a fantastic writing tool. I’m sure some of our writing readers use it.
Okay, random question: Picture Amelia standing in a grocery store. What three snacky foods will she purchase to eat while she’s reading from the old book in the attic?
Mmm. Snacks and devouring a book go hand in hand. Amelia’s the type who would probably grab a pack of strawberry Twizzlers, some chocolate milk, and maybe some Teddy Grahams or a bunch of grapes. 🥛
STORY CHARM 🌟
Why will middle grade readers relate to Amelia and Tales To Keep You Up At Night?
I hope that the readers will see themselves in Amelia in the way she cares for and worries about her family. This part of her personality is what drives her to do what she does, to fight for them, and to try and survive the scary troubles that arise.
Aw, she definitely will touch the hearts of readers.💚💚💚
What do you hope readers will take with them after reading this tale?
A whole bunch of different ideas. But most important: To look closer. To question what’s presented as the Absolute Truth.
AUTHOR INSIGHT 🔍
What is it about writing stories that moves you to keep writing?
My brain just keeps demanding I put my ideas on the page, and so far, I’ve listened.
Were you a reader as a kid?
I liked reading. But even more, I loved exploring book stores and the library. All the possibilities of the worlds on the shelves made me curious. Early on, what I loved most were comic strips: Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, The Family Circus. Anything that gave me a sense of accomplishment. This is kind of why I wanted to write in the short-story format – to appeal to readers (like myself) who might feel intimidated by longer work, but whose attention would be rewarded if they choose to read ALL the stories.
Did you have any favorite books to read when you were a kid?
I loved books by John Bellairs, Mary Downing Hahn, Bruce Coville, Shel Silverstein, and Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Favorites include The House With a Clock in Its Walls, Wait Till Helen Comes, The Monster’s Ring, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and The Headless Cupid. Then, of course, came RL Stine and Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan – whose books were like candy. I ate them right up.
Do you have any advice or suggestions to share with librarians, teachers, and parents of how to encourage a love of reading in their middle grader?
I’m not a librarian, teacher, or parent, but I have a distinct memory of being a middle grader. What I wanted at that time was access to books, all kinds of books, because I never knew what I might find myself in the mood for. Also, I loved when I was allowed to read what I wanted to read. I will say that I’ve gotten much mail from parents and teachers who’ve shared that kids who’ve never wanted to pick up a book before ended up LOVING some of mine. Scary stories can be a gateway for reluctant readers to step into worlds of literature, so maybe, start there!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Poblocki is the co–author with Neil Patrick Harris of the #1 New York Times
bestselling series The Magic Misfits (writing under the pen–name Alec Azam). He’s also the author of The
Stone Child, The Nightmarys, and the Mysterious Four series. His recent books, The Ghost of Graylock
and The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe, were Junior Library Guild selections and made the American Library
Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list in 2013 and 2014. Dan lives in Saugerties, New York, with
two scaredy–cats and a growing collection of very creepy toys.
About the illustrator: Marie Bergeron was born and raised in Montreal. After studying cinematography,
she attended École de Design. Her style is inspired by many things, including films and games,
contrasting a more graphic approach with organic strokes. Her clients have included Marvel Studios,
Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Fox Entertainment, and more.
Enter for your chanced to WIN a copy of TALES TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT. Giveaway runs through August 24th. Winner will be announced on Twitter (and in the comments below) on August 25th. Good Luck!🍀🍀🍀And if you like spooky books, feel free to check out more HERE and HERE! Thank you for stopping by to support Dan. Your visits are always appreciated.