October 30, 2015

Welcome to New Hamelin • The Peddler's Road (+ Q&A + Giveaway)

The Peddler's Road book cover
The Peddler's Road by Matthew Cody
Series: The Secrets of the Pied Piper #1
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher || Hardcover
[I received this book from Penguin Random House. This in no way affects the content of my review.]

It is said that in the thirteenth century, in a village called Hamelin, a piper lured all of the children away with his magical flute, and none of them were ever seen again. Today tough, pink-haired Max and her little brother, Carter, are stuck in modern-day Hamelin with their father . . . until they are also led away by the Piper to a place called the Summer Isle. There they meet the original stolen children, who haven’t aged a day and who have formed their own village, vigilantly guarded from the many nightmarish beings that roam the land. 

No one knows why the Piper stole them, but Max and Carter’s appearance may be the key to returning the lost children of Hamelin—and to going home themselves. But to discover the secrets of the Piper, Max and Carter will have to set out on a mysterious quest down the dangerous Peddler’s Road.

Reading middle grade can be such a delight, as in the case of The Peddler's Road. It really was quite fun to read about Max and Carter, and their wildly whimsical, danger-filled, magical adventure in the Summer Isles. I enjoyed the imagination that went into writing this story; I also appreciated the heart that went into creating the relationship between these characters. While the magical beings aren't necessarily anything new, and while the characters are pretty typical of stories of this ilk, I couldn't help but be drawn to the humor and regard that fills these pages. It's a fun new addition to middle grade, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Cody has in store for Max, Carter and their friends.

I'm so thrilled to be a part of the official blog tour for The Peddler's Road today! I got the opportunity to ask Matthew a couple of questions about his novel, and I'll be sharing his answers with all of you today. Without further ado, let's welcome Matthew Cody!

Alexa: Hi Matthew, and welcome to Alexa Loves Books! I love books that are inspired by fairy tales, and your latest series, The Secrets of the Pied Piper, is one such story. What made you decide to write a story inspired by the tale of the Pied Piper?

Matthew: Hi Alexa, and thanks for having me! For those who may not be familiar with the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, in a nutshell, it's about a 13th century village that was overrun with rats. Rats in the cupboards, in the baby's crib, everywhere. One day, a piper shows up and plays a magic tune that leads all the rats away, but when the townsfolk refuse to pay him, he returns in the dead of night and uses his magic flute to steal all the children away. One hundred and thirty, to be exact.

I think I, like a lot of people, read that original story and my first question was - where did the children go? I didn't really have any interest in retelling or reinterpreting the original story (it's so good!), but answering that question seemed to me like a story in its own right and worth telling.

Alexa: I also really love that this is the story of two siblings on an adventure! Did you know from the start that you were going to be writing about a sister and brother duo? And were you inspired by real life sibling relationships in your own life?

Matthew: Yes, I did know at the start that this was going to be my siblings book. I have two brothers and a sister, so I know what a joy (and pain!) siblings can be. And your relationship with them as a kid is unlike any other relationship you'll ever have as an adult. It's unique.

So with Max and Carter being on this adventure together, they have the advantage of having someone beside them that they can totally count on, someone they can trust. And the stakes are so much higher because family is involved.

But they also have to deal with all the tiny little annoyances and quirky relationship stuff that brothers and sisters share. They push each other's buttons, even when they don't mean to. It's not quite as bad as running from monsters while having your little brother stick his finger in front of your face and chanting, "I'm not touching you!" but it gets close!

Alexa: Can you give us a hint of what's to come in the next books in The Secrets of the Pied Piper series? I'm definitely curious to find out what happens next!

Matthew: In book two of The Secrets of the Pied Piper, titled The Magician's Key, we will meet some new major characters, including the introduction of what may very well be the creepiest villain I've ever written. Plus, some minor characters that were favorites of early readers get more time to shine (I'm looking at you, Bandybulb the kolbold!).

Beyond that, it's really hard to talk about the next books because of a huge plot twist at the end of book one (teaser!), but I will say that my model for this series structure was very much Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, in that I wanted the three books to feel at the end like one massive novel broken up into several parts. So while each book has its own distinct beginning, middle and end, they do very consciously lead directly into the next one. I wouldn't call the endings cliffhangers, but I do think each book puts the characters into a very new and exciting part of the journey that will make you anxious to get a hold of the next volume. And the wait won't be long. The Magician's Key will be out in 2016, and the third book with the oh-so-secret title will be out the year after that!

Thanks for answering my questions, Matthew! I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what adventures lie ahead in this series. For all you lovely readers out there, The Peddler's Road is out in the world and you should be sure to grab a copy for yourself! And now, here's the moment you've been waiting for - a giveaway. I'm giving away one copy of The Peddler's Road to two (2) winners! So there are two books up for grabs. All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Please bear in mind, this is US ONLY.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops!
10/19 - Reads All the Books (Guest Post)
10/20 - On Starships & Dragon Wings (Manicure Based on Cover)
10/21 - Such A Novel Idea (Playlist)
10/22 - Lili's Reflections (Top 10)
10/23 - The Cover Contessa (Guest Post)
10/26 - Bookiemoji (Q&A)
10/27 - I Turn the Pages (Guest Post)
10/28 - The Book Cellar (Top 10)
10/29 - Swoony Boys Podcast (This/That)
10/30 - Alexa Loves Books (Review & Q&A)


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)