"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blog Tour (Guest Post and Giveaway): THERE WILL BE LIES by Nick Lake (YA)

by Nick Lake
Release date: January 6th, 2015
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Thriller
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: ARC from the publisher.


In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.



There Will Be Lies is a story about a modern girl, Shelby Jane Cooper, but it’s also a story about Coyote, the trickster god of myth, and a story full of tricks and lies, as the title suggests.

The story begins with Shelby, living at home in Arizona in a very protected environment with her single mother. She’s home schooled, she doesn’t go out, she’s been taught to fear men. Her father died long ago. Then Shelby gets hit by a car and, lying on the kerb, sees a coyote appear between buildings. The coyote says, “There will be two lies, and then there will be the truth, and that will be the worst of all”. Shelby wakes up in hospital, her ankle injured, and pretty soon her mom is whisking her out of there, and into a hired car with all their belongings. She tells Shelby that her father is really alive, wants to kill them, and can find them now that the hospital know their names. But that’s just the first lie…

Meanwhile, Coyote keeps appearing to Shelby, keeps taking her to a strange world called the Dreaming where she is meant to kill a Crone who has captured the First Child. You could think of it as an Arizona road trip thriller with SWAT teams and guns and knives and cabins in the woods, crossed with a fairytale.

So Coyote is a pretty major figure in the story – he’s effectively the guide who leads Shelby through the events of the book. And I think that’s because I’ve been preoccupied with trickster figures for a long time. Like Coyote, like Anansi the spider in West Africa, like Loki, like Prometheus. They’re endlessly fascinating – they are liars, they play tricks, but they also do things that benefit mankind. They are inherently ambiguous. They steal fire from the gods, which is an act of thievery but also protects man from wild animals, allows for cooking food; they scatter the stars across the sky when they were meant to be arranged in rows, giving chaos to order; they create Death, giving meaning to life; they separate the moon and the sun. (Coyote does all of those in Navajo and/or Apache myth.)

And they lie. Which is appropriate for a book called There Will Be Lies.

But they lie in ambiguous ways, and their lying is not necessarily malign. Often, in fact, the tricks and chaos they perpetrate end up creating a better world. Coyote angers the River God in Navajo myth and ends up causing the flood that destroys the Third World – but he is also the one who leads mankind up the reed into the Fourth World, the one we live in now. Who gives us language.

There’s an Apache myth where Owl is eating too many people and Coyote resolves to stop him, not least so he can eat more people himself – but also, genuinely, to help mankind, which kind of gets to the root of his ambiguity. He stops Owl by lying. He issues a challenge – he and Owl must each regurgitate their last meal, and the one who has been eating people will be the only one allowed to eat people in future. But, Coyote says, they both have to close their eyes. So they do, and Coyote vomits up some crickets, and Owl vomits up some human meat, and Coyote swaps them round in their hands so that when they open up their eyes Owl is confused, and Coyote has won.

He saves people from Owl, who has been preying on them, by winning the exclusive right to eat people himself.

Pure Coyote!

Anyway, and I realize this a long blog post already, but I have been wondering what it is that fascinates me about these trickster gods, and I think I’ve worked it out. There’s an anthropological theory from Claude Levi-Strauss about why trickster gods are trickster gods, and it basically says that they don’t fit into any obvious category, which makes them intrinsically shifty.  

In Strauss’s framework, grazing animals are associated in the shamanic society with Life, and predators with Death. Coyotes and crows, which are carnivores but scavengers, are neither predator nor prey, and so sit somewhere between Life and Death and so, as tricksters, can mediate between the two. They are often messengers between people and gods, between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

This was an influential theory, but mostly debunked now – a major flaw of it is that, actually, coyotes do sometimes act as predators, hunting in packs, and bronze age Native American societies absolutely knew this. BUT I do think there’s something in this idea of mediation, of standing between, of negotiating between humanity and the sacred, which is so often the role the trickster plays. It’s what Legba does – the loa of the crossroads in Haitian vodoun, who is a recurring figure in my book In Darkness. If you want to communicate with the gods, with the creator even, you can’t do it directly, you have to go through Legba. (Interestingly, there’s an idea that stories like that of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads owe as much to West African religious beliefs as they do to the biblical devil – plenty of descendants of slaves in the American South would have been familiar with the spirit of the crossroads.)

Anyway, I’ve been asking myself why I keep playing with these trickster intermediaries – Legba, Coyote, and Crow (who appears in my first book, The Secret Ministry of Frost). And I think it’s because these figures are gateways between the contemporary and the eternal, and so are books. In my Printz acceptance speech  I talked about XXXX Eliade, and his theories of religion, and I’m going to talk about it here too – because one really interesting thing about him is what he thinks about stories.

For Eliade, one of the universal features of religion around the world is that it posits a realm that existed before ours, a before-the-fall when gods walked the earth, or we lived in Eden, or there was no time, and Coyote and Owl and the River God were real and among us. And for him, much of what religion provides is a Sacred Return, a way to go back, temporarily and more-or-less symbolically (depending how many hallucinogens you have taken) to that sacred world.

Going to church, taking part in a coming of age ritual in a smoky tent, being sent into the wilderness for forty days, fasting, meditating, dancing – these are all kinds of Sacred Return.

And so, Eliade said, is reading a book.

By picking up a novel, reading the words on the page, you exit the present and enter a place and time that is outside of your immediate experience, you enter the Sacred, the Dreaming, whatever you want to call it. You are Shelby, being taken by Coyote into a space beyond space.

Coyote is Shelby’s guide, but our guide is the book in which they both appear.

Books are our tricksters, for those of us who love them. They mediate between us and the world of story.

They are a modern form of an ancient magic. 

So, yes, There Will Be Lies will trick you. Characters will lie to you. There will be twists. But I guess what I like about stories is that, like the trickster Coyote, they may disrupt order, they may be a source of misrule, but they always come together in the end. And they always provide an escape from the ordinary world.

Yet there’ll be a twist before the end. In this one at least.

- U.S. only.
- Must be 13+ to enter.

(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales will not be held responsible for any lost, damaged, unclaimed, etc. prizes.)


Nick Lake is the much-acclaimed author of In Darkness, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, and Hostage Three, which received three starred reviews and was named a Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Boston Globe Best Book of the Year. 

He is also the Publishing Director for fiction at HarperCollins Children's Books UK. 

Nick lives near Oxford, England.

THERE WILL BE LIES Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 5- The Quiet Concert
Tuesday, January 6- Cuddlebuggery
Wednesday, January 7- The Book Addict’s Guide
Thursday, January 8- Writing My Own Fairytale
Friday, January 9- Just A Broke Bookworm
Monday, January 12- Ex Libris Kate
Tuesday, January 13- Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Wednesday, January 14- Bookish
Thursday, January 15- Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
Friday, January 16- Andi ABCs

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