Wednesday, June 27, 2018

NBtM Tour Labors of an Epic Punk by Mark and Sheri Dursin

Labors of an Epic Punk
by Mark and Sheri Dursin


GENRE:   YA Fantasy, Myth Retelling



Mac is an epic punk. No wonder: after his dad went off to fight in the Trojan War and never came back,
Mac spent his childhood evading his mom's scumbag suitors—all one-hundred-and-eight of them. Of
course, he turned out this way—a moody, friendless sixteen-year-old who blows off work, alienates
everyone at school, and pulls pranks. But when he trains a flock of birds to defecate on the headmaster,
Mac (short for Telemachus) goes too far. The administrators give him an ultimatum: prove that he's truly
the son of Odysseus by doing something heroic—or get out. 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.


Excerpt Two:

Mac never remembered his name. He only knew him as the short kid with the bad foot and the big mouth who had the distinction of being, almost without peer, the least “cool” kid in school. Not because of his height, exactly (he barely reached Mac’s shoulders), or any other aspect of his physical appearance—his floppy black hair, say, or his ill-fitting school-issued tunic. And not even because of his pronounced limp, caused by a twisted, misshapen left foot. Those things didn’t help, certainly, but he could have been better looking than Adonis himself, and none of that would have mattered. He was just different.

And today, the kid was definitely different. While everyone else had on these goofy battle accessories, this guy was decked out in an obviously homemade furry cape with a hood, a circular mane-kind-of-thing tied around his chin.

“What are you supposed to be?” Mac heard someone ask, as the pitiable sap limped to the front of the group, wearing his weird get-up and clutching a large sack and a bunch of scrolls.

“For your information,” the kid said, disdainfully, “this is an original Nemean lion costume.” Met with silence, he clarified. “Uh, Nemean lion? Heracles had to kill it as one of his labors? You people honestly don’t know the Nemean lion?”

“Why do you have it?” another person asked.

“My mom made this for me when I was in the fifth grade.”

“You can fit into something from the fifth grade?” an anonymous voice asked.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

For many years Mark, a high school English teacher, and Sheri, a freelance writer and blogger, wrote
independently. No matter the writing project—newspaper articles, retreat talks, college recommendation
letters, fan-fiction, blog posts on spirituality or 80s pop songs—they tended to work alone. Separate
rooms, separate computers. But raising their twin sons helped them discover an important truth: All
Good Things Come in Twos.

Interview with Mark Dursin:
1. What is your favorite part of this book and why?

MARK:  Well, my favorite part of the book is the ending, because I think we end on a very optimistic note—and that’s rare. But obviously, I can’t give too many details about that here. So I’ll tell you about another part of the book I enjoy. It’s a scene that takes place at a high school dance attended by all of our main characters. And I like this chapter not only because we learn a lot about the characters but also because it serves our larger purpose. See, Sheri and I always said that, even though the book is mythology-based, we are really telling a coming of age story; the mythology is always supposed to be a metaphor for the teen experience. So, in this case, asking a girl you really like to dance—which is what our main character Mac does here—can be just as scary as facing a mythological beast

2. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

MARK: I’d have to say Mac’s roommate Theo, because he’s just this good-natured, relentlessly charming guy who is determined to seek out the fun, all the time. (He’s definitely a good influence on Mac, who tends to be a bit of a brooder.) As for what we’d do…the story is set on a fictional island, so I assume we’d go to the beach and just play games all day. I’d probably be exhausted after hanging out with Theo for a few hours.

3. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

MARK:  My gut is to say Catcher in the Rye, since that’s the book that made me think I could be an English teacher when I first read it as a sixteen-year-old. But I actually think I might go with Great Gatsby. I teach that every spring, and every time I teach it, I get something new out of it. It’s only nine chapters long, but there is so much going on in that book.

4. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

MARK:  None of our characters are “real”—well, except for Homer, the actual writer of The Odyssey and The Iliad who is a main character in our book. Only our Homer is a gay, physically disabled teen obsessed with heroes. As for everyone else—we definitely filled our narrative with familiar mythological characters, only with new motivations or histories.  But we also invented characters of our own.

5. What made you want to become a writer?

MARK: Being a reader. Appreciating how authors put together stories and elicit emotions with just words. I enjoy books that not only entertain but also make you think.  Books that can be considered “good literature” but aren’t stuffy or overly scholarly.  I wanted to go out and write the kind of book that I would enjoy reading.



Mark and Sheri Dursin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn
winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win but also for helping us find some terrific books to read. I have a family who loves reading so this helps me out since they all have various genres.

  2. What books or movies influenced this book? Congrats on the book tour. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  3. This place is so special! Speaking of special, this is how our evening went. I met my buddies in the downstairs part of Chicago venues, which is more than just an average kind of bar with a lot of woodwork.

  4. I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

  5. What are you currently working on?

  6. What is your favorite part of developing characters?

  7. Which of your characters do you most identify with?

  8. How did you come up with name of this book?