Boy Walks Into a Bookstore that Isn’t There — What’s the Punchline?

When I set out to write a new book, I guess I just don’t give a good goddamn about genres and such. I just get an idea (or a kernel of an idea) and I run with it. I follow its labyrinthine trail until I find myself at the end. Where it takes me, I do not know until I get there. Hence my upcoming young adult novel, BOOK OF DREAMS!

I had a kernel and I needed to chase it down. BOY WALKS INTO A BOOKSTORE THAT ISN’T THERE. Sounds like one of those A PRIEST, A RABBI AND A PHILOSOPHER WALK INTO A BAR jokes, but I swear to you it isn’t. There is no punchline. It’s not a joke. It’s the method by which my stories come to me. First, there is a title. It comes from the ether and lands on my screen. BOOK OF DREAMS. But what does that mean? Book of Dreams? That is such a common name, bound to be conflated with something already out in the world. Doesn’t matter, says my brain. It’s the title I’m giving you…run with it!

So, with a title in hand I have my next thought. A BOY GOES FOR A WALK AND STUMBLES UPON A BOOKSTORE WHERE HE KNOWS FOR CERTAIN A BOOKSTORE SHOULD NOT EXIST. OOh…what happens when he walks inside? I mean, this bookstore is NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE HERE!!??

I am at the mercy of my thoughts. I merely chase them down to their ends. I do this more to find out where they lead than for any other reason. This thought, this title, this bookstore joke that’s not a joke that does not have a punchline? It’s now a story I find difficult to pound down into ONE TRUE GENRE. It’s like those toys from the 70s that acquaint children with shapes to build their spatial dexterity.

Where does this story fit on the genre spectrum? It is contemporary, it is horror, it is suspense, it is fantasy, it is paranormal. But when it is all, is it also none? Is there room for stories that zig back and forth across the genre lines with disregard? I had to ask myself that question, because I have created one. I believe the answer is yes. I have read them. Therefore, they exist. I can’t start a story and follow it through to the end and honor it without allowing it to become what it is on its own. I’m okay with its inability to fit ONE specific genre. It’s the story that matters. What happens when a boy walks into a bookstore that isn’t there? It’s a question filled with intrigue…one I had to find out the answer to. So I wrote it.

It comes out in MAY 2022. That’s a short six months away! I’m excited to put this new book baby into the universe. I hope the question that made me race to find the answer also has readers curious. You can preorder BOOK OF DREAMS now. It’s being published by the wonderful queer publishing house DUET BOOKS, the YA imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS. Read about it on the Interlude Press site HERE.

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns. The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

Pre-Orders have ALWAYS been important for both the author and the publisher…and never more so than during a pandemic. I’d love it if you would consider pre-ordering this new forthcoming baby of mine! Here are some of the places you can pre-order BOOK OF DREAMS:








Put it on your TO READ SHELF on GOODREADS!

A boy walks into a bookstore that isn’t there…

What happens next? Pre-Order now to be among the first to know!

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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