Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Blog Tour: Mitchell James Kaplan on Why I Love Dreaming

Today I am pleased to welcome Mitchell James Kaplan to my blog as part of the blog tour for his new book Into the Unbounded Night. Welcome Mitchell!


I am not going to tell you why I love dreaming. I don’t know why I love dreaming. I don’t even know what dreaming is. When I’m dreaming it is everything but when I’m awake it is nothing. It never happened. By the same token, when I’m dreaming, the world I inhabit while awake doesn’t exist and never existed. It’s as if I were given not one life, but many, all within the short span of years allotted to mortals. It feels like a rare privilege even though it may be a common and insubstantial one.

Fortunately, the “short span of years” is only a waking concept. Not a dreaming one. There is no such thing as time in dreams. That’s because there is no causality. Anything can happen, in any order. Dreams expand our lives beyond the finite.

I am not a person who enjoys flying in my dreams, or spying on friends, or exploring places I have never been. I do not aspire to have control over where I go or what I see. Sometimes I may think I am in charge of my dream-destiny but then something happens that robs me of that conviction. The same occurs in “real” life. The reasons for all the important events, including the circumstances of my birth, where I went to college, and how I met my wife, are beyond my understanding.

Lately my dreams have been dark. Everyone wears masks. A little boy, whom I had never seen in any world, walked up to me from out of a crowd and told me, “You will be dead by morning.” It felt so real. I woke with a start, roused my wife, and told her where I had stashed my life insurance policy. She muttered something and fell back asleep.

In the morning, I was not dead, as far as I know. But I remain convinced that little boy was telling me something important and I feel an urge to do something before it’s too late. Maybe I’ll go into an economically challenged neighborhood and find a kid to mentor. That would be something. Yes, I must do that.

Where did this desire come from? Is it a result of that dream? Do dreams even have a purpose? I have no idea.

What I do know is that who we are is a result of all our experiences, conscious and unconscious. We carry around this residue of our past—or rather, of our pasts. Every place we have visited, everyone we have met, in dreams as well as in “reality,” affects who we are today, how we got here and where we are going.

Some people live vertically, others horizontally. When you’re dreaming, you’re lying in bed. You’re living horizontally. When you’re climbing the corporate ladder, or any social ladder, you’reliving vertically. Maybe some people know how to do both but I don’t.

I am not going to claim that dreams are some kind of portal. I don’t know whether dreams suggest we have souls, or that there is life after death. For that matter, I don’t know whether emotions, including love, joy, and sadness, are real. The things that matter most are the things we cannot understand. Maybe they matter precisely because they defy comprehension.

About the book


Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Regal House Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 231 Pages
Genre: Literary/Historical

When her village in Albion is sacked by the Roman general Vespasian, young Aislin is left without home and family. Determined to exact revenge, she travels to Rome, a sprawling city of wealth, decadence, and power. A “barbarian” in a “civilized” world, Aislin struggles to comprehend Roman ways. From a precarious hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, she becomes the mistress of a wealthy senator, but their child Faolan is born with a disability that renders him unworthy of life in the eyes of his father and other Romans.
Imprisoned for her efforts to topple the Roman regime, Aislin learns of an alternate philosophy from her cellmate, the Judean known today as the Apostle St. Paul. As the capital burns in the Great Fire of 64 AD, he bequeaths to her a mission that will take her to Jerusalem. There, Yohanan, son of Zakkai, has been striving to preserve the tradition of Hillel against the Zealots who advocate for a war of independence. Responding to the Judeans’ revolt, the Romans—again under the leadership of Vespasian—besiege Jerusalem, destroying the Second Temple and with it, the brand of Judean monotheism it represents. Yohanan takes on the mission of preserving what can be preserved, and of re-inventing what must be reinvented.
Throughout Into the Unbounded Night, Aislin’s, Faolan’s, Vespasian’s, and Yohanan’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways that shed light on colonization and its discontents, the relative values of dominant and tyrannized cultures, and the holiness of life itself—even the weakest of lives.


Praise for Into the Unbounded Night

“In Into the Unbounded Night, Mitchell Kaplan offers a rich rendering of war and humanity in first century Rome — of tradition and loss, and the transformative power of healing and collective memory to find one’s way home.” – Nichole Bernier, Boston Globe Bestselling author of The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D
“Mitchell James Kaplan is the gloriously talented writer of this dramatic, intense story of conflicting emperors, slaves, priests and exiles in a first century world whose roots and traditions are increasingly torn apart by the brutal rule of Rome. Men and women search for belief and reason, out of which will emerge a new Judaism after the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple as well as the early beginnings of Christianity. A writer of enormous scope, compassion and poetry, Kaplan has written several of the most compelling characters you will meet in the pages of a book. Into the Unbounded Night sweeps over you like a succession of huge waves. It is truly a major novel.” – Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award recipient, author of Claude And Camille: A Novel Of Monet
“Kaplan’s prose is so rich and agile I felt I was breathing the air of these ancient places, and his evocation of character is no less palpable. Fully embodied and driven by ambition, grief, the clear-eyed desire for truth, and fierce maternal love, these characters plunge, march, and stumble toward their fascinating and entangled destinies.” – Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling novelist of I’ll Be Your Blue Sky and award-winning poet
“I’m a big fan of historical fiction when it’s as good as Mitchell Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night. Vividly imagined, Into the Unbounded Night pulls the reader along with beautiful prose, strong characters and a wonderfully realized story.” – Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize
“A beautiful, informative book. It was gripping throughout, the research never overwhelms the story, but is always part of it. [The] writing is lyrical and evocative of time and place. All the characters are real and interesting. Loved it!” – Martin Fletcher, National Jewish Book Award winner, author of Promised Land
“From the mystical lore of Albion to the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem, Kaplan’s meticulous research and evocative writing meld seamlessly to create a vivid, textured, and richly imagined story.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times and International bestselling author of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt and Looking for Me
“Set in Rome and Judea after the crucifixion of Jesus, Mitchell James Kaplan’s finely crafted and intense second novel delves into the minds and hearts of truly captivating characters. An excellent read.” – Eva Stachniak, winner of the Canadian First Novel Award, author of The Chosen Maiden
“Sensually provocative, verbally sharp and critically witted, Mitchell James Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night brings to life the tumultuous birth of Judeo-Christian monotheism in this intimately woven narrative brimming with righteous and riotous characters striving for survival and transcendence across the ravished landscapes of Judea, the Roman Empire, and Britannia.”
– Jessica Maria Tuccelli, an Okra Pick winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance for her debut novel, Glow
“Kaplan weaves an intricate literary tapestry to create a poetic exploration of early Judeo-Christian and Roman history. He builds a diverse yet connected cast of characters whose encounters inspire timeless self-examination and advance the course of history. An engrossing work not easily forgotten.” – Therese Walsh, critically acclaimed author of The Last Will Of Moira Leahy and The Moon Sisters, founder of the literary blog, Writer Unboxed

About the author

Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.
After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.
He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 31

Review at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, September 2
Review at Books and Zebras
Friday, September 4
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Saturday, September 5
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Monday, September 7
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Tuesday, September 8
Interview at Novels Alive
Feature at I’m Into Books
Wednesday, September 9
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Thursday, September 10
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Friday, September 11
Feature at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, September 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, September 16
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, September 17
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Friday, September 18
Guest Post at Book Bustle
Monday, September 21
Interview at Books & Benches
Tuesday, September 22
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Wednesday, September 23
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader
Friday, September 25
Review at A Book Geek


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 copies of Into the Unbounded Night! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Unbounded Night


  1. Thank you very much for hosting Mitchell & his blog tour today!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  2. It seems like an interesting Roman story ... thx for bringing it to my attention ... I'm curious about the Romans after traveling around Europe & seeing all what they left ...

    1. The Romans certainly left their mark didn't they!