The Dragon in the Bookshop is a fabulous story of tragedy, courage, bravery, and hope. Ewa takes you on a quite unexpected journey, following Kon and his new-found friend Maya who find a very large and very unusual footprint by the sea. Kon, who is tortured by the loss of his father, finds his voice when he discovers that it may be down to him and Maya to save medieval Krakow from the jaws of despair. I highly recommend losing yourself in this wonderful story.

I’d like to thank Ewa Jozefkowicz for joining us in the VIP Reading blog to talk about her latest book, The Dragon in the Bookshop.

This story has a real folktale feel to it. Is it based on one?

Indeed it is. It’s based on the real legend of The Dragon of Wawel Castle – a scary beast who terrorised the city of Kraków back in the Middle Ages, eating its inhabitants out of house and home. The king put out an award for anyone who could rid the city of the dragon, but nobody was up to the task. I always felt that the dragon was a little misunderstood and that there was a lot more to him – that’s why I decided to feature my own version of the legend in The Dragon in the Bookshop. 

Where did you get the name of the dragon from?

In one version of the original legend, the dragon was known as ‘Yellow Eye’ due to his glowing bright eyes. I thought this was a powerful name and I decided to keep it. 

Kon’s story is tragic. Is it entirely fictional or is Kon a re-imagination of a real person?

A lot of Kon’s story is based on my own experience of losing my dad as a teenager. It was a difficult time in which I felt very lonely, despite being surrounded by lots of caring and wonderful people. I wanted to explore those initial feelings through the character of Kon, and to show that the people we love are never really gone. 

It strikes me that The Dragon in the Bookshop would make an incredible graphic novel. Is this something that could happen? Or that you have thought about?

That would be incredible! In all honesty, I hadn’t thought about it before, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I think it would be an amazing idea. 

I was desperate for Kon and Peter to recognise each other and have a moment, but it was cut short. Why?

I’m glad you asked, as it’s something I pondered on for a while when I was writing the scene. In the end I wanted to make it a less obvious reunion. I ultimately wanted to show that sometimes it takes a while for us to spot that the people who mean a lot to us and who have passed away, are everywhere – you just need to know how to look for them. They’re in the things we do every day, in what we say, and even in the books that we read. 

A Likely Story, whilst not completely central to the story, is still very important. Is owning a bookshop an ambition of yours? If so, what would you call it?

A Likely Story is based on a bookshop in which my dad worked when I was little. But I would love to own one myself! And what a great question… what would I call it? Maybe ‘The Bookworm,’ as I’ve always considered myself to be one.

I imagine Maya’s song to sound almost like Enya (showing my age!) did you have an artist or style in mind when you imagined her singing?

Another great question! I definitely imagined it as a bit otherworldly, so Enya isn’t far off. Perhaps a bit like the music of Icelandic band, Sigur Ros… I love listening to their songs, even though I don’t understand any of the words. To me, it’s the beautiful music of fairies and elves. 

Growing up, did you always want to be an author?

Yes, always. I would sit in a bookshop or library imagining how awesome it would be to have written one of the books that I was reading. 

What are your plans for the immediate future? Are you currently working on another book?

I am! It’s early days, but I can tell you that it’s a story about twins. I have twin daughters myself and I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between twins. 

Can you describe the The Dragon In The Bookshop in three words?

Mythical, Magical, Mysterious!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and answer our questions.

Thank you so much for having me!

Q & A hosted by
Ben Morgan – VIP Reading Team