Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Blog Tour: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake | Polish Superstitions + Giveaway

I am extremely honored and excited to be one of the stops on THERE WILL BE LIES blog tour! Today I'm here to tell you a bit about the superstitions and old beliefs that are very common in my country of origin; Poland. Hope you'll enjoy my post and, please, stop by next week to read my review of Nick Lakes fantastic new novel!

About the book:

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

Hardcover, 464 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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.

Polish Superstitions

  • excessively credulous belief in and reverence for supernatural beings.
  • a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.

According to an old Navajo belief, if a coyote crosses your path, you will be hurt, suffer an accident, or be killed. Nick Lake was not familiar with this myth prior to writing the first draft of There Will Be Lies, and yet, Shelby seeing a coyote is a crucial moment in the story. It's a bad omen and a premonition of all the terrible things to come. 

I'm not here to talk about how creepy that "coincidence" is, though. I'm here to tell you a bit about superstitions that are native to my country of origin; Poland. I'm not going to go as far as to claim that these superstitions originated in Poland, because I simply don't know if they did, but I'd like to share a few of the most popular beliefs that my family and people I know have been living by for generations.

Knock On Wood

One of the most popular superstitions is knocking on wood. Whenever something good happens or we openly comment on our good fate (say: "Our business is doing so well! Customers are pouring in, we seem to have such a good luck with all the clients, it's been a great year!"), we immediately say "better knock on wood to not jinx it!" 
This, as it turns out, is because our ancestors used to knock on unpainted, wooden plank (from the coffin), to shoo away the devil who is waiting to claim the soul of the dead.

Handshake with the devil

It's also a very common belief that the doorway separates the safety of the inside from the dangers lurking outside, and, therefore, one should never shake hands while standing at the door (especially when people coming in were still standing outside). A handshake like that invited evil forces to enter your home and, inevitably, brought bad luck.

Never go back

Every time we planned a trip with my parents (vacation, family visit, or even a shopping trip to the mal), and, after leaving home, one of us would realize that we forgot something, my mom would always insist on not going back for the forgotten item, or - if it was something absolutely necessary - to at least sit down while at home, even just for a second, before leaving again. Many people believe something really bad would happen if you turn back from your path. A circle of life would break, bringing bad luck. It is, therefore, crucial to always sit down before turning back, allowing the circle of life to close again. 

Black Cat, Bad Luck

Here, in Poland, we also believe that if you're driving (or walking), and a black cat crosses your path, you will probably drop dead, unless you do something to break the bad spell. You can spit through your shoulder (both of your shoulders, for good measure), turn around a few times, or - and that's a pretty mean option, but hello, you're about to drop dead! - you can stop or slow down enough for another person walking/driving behind you to pass you. Your bad luck will stick to that person. Problem taken care of!

Let the dead ones rest.

We also strongly believe that if a family member dies, it is crucial to arrange the burial ceremony for before the first weekend from their passing. A body should not lay in the morgue over Saturday and Sunday, because then the dead family member is very likely to get lonely and restless and cause another family member to die. This is very cryptic, I know, and I will always remember how my grandmas freaked out whenever a burial ceremony couldn't be arranged for the same week from the passing. They took it very seriously, and frankly, it always scared me senseless! 

Other bad omens and things that could bring bad luck are: Friday the 13th (pretty universal, right?), walking under the ladder (because it knocks off the good spirit sitting on your shoulder for protection), breaking a mirror (7 years of bad luck!), spilling salt (a big quarrel between family members). It's also a good idea to tie a red ribbon on your newborn's stroller or hand for protection from bad spirits and evil spells. 

So let me ask you this now; are you superstitious? What superstitions do you believe in?

Author Bio:

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. Visit him online at and on Twitter at @NicholasLake.

Giveaway Widget:

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Giveaway Guidelines:
This is a US only giveaway for age 13 and over.

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