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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

ℚ♫ Labors of an Epic Punk - Mark and Sheri Dursin


Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Labors of an Epic Punk (, Twin Wizards Press, 307 pages), a Young Adult Myth Retelling Fantasy.

“If you love Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and John Hughes movies, then you will love this book! I could not put it down.”

“With so many young adult books out there that tend to focus on the dark side of human nature unfolding in dystopian settings, this book gives us something fresh and inspiring!”

“This book is perfect for anyone who has ever felt like they didn't fit in at one time or another...felt like challenges facing them are too big to take on.”

“A wonderfully diverse cast of characters!”


|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to Mark and Sheri Dursin; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Labors of an Epic Punk , or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Labors of an Epic Punk is a book about a son’s relationship (or non-relationship) with his father, a group of high school students (some misfits, some not) who form an unlikely friendship, and a journey to discovering what it really means to be a hero.

 Below are some songs we think fit our story! The last song is Someday by Rob Thomas, for some reason, Mark always imagines that song being played over the ending credits of the movie!"
What was the inspiration for Labors of an Epic Punk ?
MARK: "Labors of an Epic Punk is a mythological retelling based on Homer’s Odyssey. I’m a high school English teacher, so I’ve taught The Odyssey to ninth graders for years. But here’s the thing: students love mythology…but they hate the mythological texts we ask them to read.

I am constantly mystified at how profoundly my students dislike The Odyssey. They think it’s too boring, too old, too disconnected from their lives. And we want our book to fill that void—between teens' inherent interest in mythology and the inaccessibility of the original sources."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
MARK: "This may sound kind of obvious, but our book is something I’d like to read. Here’s what I mean: so many YA books are described as “edgy.” They have scenes of murder or incest or rape or sexual abuse. Just so dark. And I’m just not really drawn to those kinds of books. I want my stories to be dramatic and compelling, sure, but I also think you can find drama in normal, everyday situations.

Sheri and I grew up in the 80s. We were teenagers when all the John Hughes movies were in the theaters. Those movies had regular teens, experiencing regular teen problems—and they still spoke so profoundly to a whole generation.

We’re trying to do the same thing with Labors of an Epic Punk, which we’re pitching as Clash of the Titans meets The Breakfast Club. Yes, the book takes place in ancient Greece, and we have monsters and mythical flutes and underground labyrinths…but we also have five kids from different backgrounds who come together and just try to survive high school."

Why should we read Labors of an Epic Punk and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?

SHERI: "As Mark mentions above, our story is unapologetically optimistic. While our characters are by no means perfect, they are essentially good to one another. Labors of an Epic Punk celebrates friendship, loyalty, and kindness…qualities we find every bit as heroic as strength, power, and might."
Can you tell us something quirky about Labors of an Epic Punk , its story and characters?
SHERI: "The characters in our book are based on Homer’s Odyssey, but we introduce a twist by having the poet himself as one of the main characters.

Scholars know very little about the “real” Homer. So we chose to portray him as a gay teenager with a physical disability. He’s obsessed with gods and heroes, and this brings him into Mac’s orbit as he devises the plan that sets Mac off on his heroic journey."
Who would you recommend Labors of an Epic Punk to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
MARK: "I would say that anyone who likes retellings—not just mythological retellings—would enjoy our book. And we’ve been told by many reviewers that fans of Percy Jackson would like what we did. Disclaimer—there’s not really a ton of magic or fantastical elements in our book. The gods don’t make any appearances; no one metamorphoses into a laurel tree. We always say that it’s a high school story that just so happens to take place 3,000 years ago."
If you could / wished to turn Labors of an Epic Punk into a movie, who would be your dream team?
SHERI: "The only person I would trust to bring our book to the big or small screen is Greg Berlanti. He’s created and/or worked on Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, the CW’s Arrowverse, and the movie Love, Simon. Mix all of those shows/movies together and you’ve perfectly captured the spirit of Labors of an Epic Punk."
What is your writing process?
MARK: "Writing Labors of an Epic Punk was truly a collaborative effort from start to finish. It started with a conversation in the car: we were driving to the beach, and Sheri told me about this idea she had about telling a mythological tale from a teenager’s point of view. Then we started brainstorming, and as each of us built on each other’s ideas, the story evolved. We kept having some of our best discussions in the car. Finally, we took all our notes and started composing the narrative, taking turns with writing and editing as we passed each chapter back and forth, sometimes dozens of times. Often we had to negotiate, but it’s all part of the process. As far as writing goes, this process may seem unusual. In fact, a fellow writer once remarked to me, “I don’t know how you can write a book with another person.” Well, after having this experience with Sheri, I don’t know how you could write a book any other way."
What is in store next?
SHERI: "We’ve already begun work on a sequel! There’s a new adventure in store for our five main characters based on some mysteries and clues we’ve planted in Labors of an Epic Punk. The adventure in book two will involve the search for Andie’s father and we’ll introduce some quirky new characters (and some dangerous ones!) And we promise some romance is in store for Homer!"
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Here’s a picture of our dog, Chowder. We rescued him from a shelter in Houston, Texas about nine months ago. He’s the sweetest, most gentle dog you have ever met. And he’s absolutely NOTHING like Iota, the nasty, misbehaving dog who appears in Labors of an Epic Punk."
Hello Chowder, you beautiful sweet little baby! Lots of cuddles to you from all of us at BooksChatter :-)

Mark, Sheri, thank you so much for sharing Chowder with us. You have been brilliant :-)


A school story that just so happens to take place 3,000 years ago, Labors of an Epic Punk is a tale of friendship and transformation, regret and redemption, and a reminder to us all that even heroes need to survive adolescence.

Labors of an Epic Punk
Available NOW!

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5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting and for the fun interview!

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your amazing interview, thank you!

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