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Friday, May 6, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky, Guest Post

Why hello there, insatiable readers.
Happy Friday to you all!

Today is a very exciting day here on the site.  Thanks to our good friends over at Walden Pond Press (Thanks, Kellie!), I was fortunate enough to grab a spot on the Juniper Berry blog tour.  Let me tell you, this recently released literary gem is A LOT of fun....but not all sunshine and roses.  No really, it's got mostly doom and gloom which a chance of sunshine if only things would work out for dear Juniper and her friend Giles....but that's a post for another day.  Today's feature is a GUEST POST from author M.P. Kozlowsky himself on...are you ready for this...a topic of my choosing!  For those that have already heard about or even read this story, you can probably guess what I asked.  For those that have yet to experience the dark fun that awaits, I'll enlighten you.  My question was this....

How was this story born?  Where did the idea come from?  I mean, being handed the world on a string (or ribbon in this case) is not an everyday occurrence nor something to take lightly as we see here.

That's right.
I asked away and the author was kind enough to grant us a little insight into the just how this book came into being.  Ready to check it out?  I thought you might be.  Without further adieu....please welcome, author M.P. Kozlowsky!


Guest Post:  Author M.P. Kozlowsky
The "Birth" of Juniper Berry

The very first image I had when conceiving the story for Juniper Berry was of a child holding a balloon. But I didn’t know why. I was sure there had to be something more to this balloon, something out of the ordinary, but what was it? There’s something iconic about a single balloon tied to a string and grasped in the hand of a young boy or girl. It is the essence of innocence. Once I acknowledged this, I knew what I had to do. The innocence of a balloon, yes; I wanted to tear that down. In Juniper Berry, I wanted the balloon to transform into a symbol of such fear and temptation and evil, that after reading the book, one could never look at a balloon in quite the same way. If someone was carrying a balloon or two or three or, horrifically, a whole dozen, down the street, I hoped people would tilt their heads and see the colorful latex differently than they ever had before, maybe eye the carrying suspiciously – what if? I wanted to forever alter the reader’s perception. A balloon is no longer a balloon. And when one was sighted, wherever it may be, I wanted it to be synonymous with Juniper Berry.

From here, I wondered, well, why is she carrying a balloon and why is it such a frightening, sinister image? Not long after, the explanation, which I will not disclose here, came to me. Then, in effect, the entire plotting process became like a hundred links of chain, one connected to the other – this is always the case when I am plotting and outlining. Once one aspect of the story is revealed it leads to another question which leads to another and another and so on. Eventually the entire book is stretched out before you. For example, I knew there had to be an urgency to Juniper’s quest. Immediately it struck me, I knew she had to rescue her parents. Of course, I realized, they got to the balloons first. But, why? Well, they’re famous. I imagined them to be similar to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, two mega superstars constantly hounded by the press and paparazzi, a certain image to upkeep, a particular lifestyle to maintain. This, I knew, had to have an effect on Juniper, which led me to her isolation. Her parents initially would want to keep her safe, away from the public eye. Of course, as a young girl, Juniper would not understand any of this and would desperately yearn for some type of connection with the outside world. This is where her spyglasses – binoculars, monocular, telescope, etc. – came in. And the links in the chain continued to stretch and stretch, all the way to the end of the story.

Details are something different. The particulars – tiny quirks, brief asides, particular images – always come last for me and I find them in various places, inspiration striking at the oddest of times. I’ve found ideas in movies, books, commercials, on the street, in phone conversations, magazines, newspapers, and so on. I keep a dozen little notepads around to jot down ideas whenever I am fortunate enough to have them pop into my head, even if said idea is not applicable to the story I am currently working on.

Every writer has his or her own method, and when I actually sit down in front of the computer, my process becomes rather peculiar. I don’t believe a writing method can be taught; it just comes naturally – to each his own. When it is working, don’t question it, just write and write and write. And so I’ve done.


Author's VERY SHORT Bio

M.P. Kozlowsky was a high school English teacher before becoming a writer. Juniper Berry is his first book. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.


So, do you think the author accomplished what he set out to?
Do you see a red balloon and feel a shudder run through your body?

----    O_O    ----

Needless to say this book was a surprise in more ways than one and something I'd certainly recommend to readers though night time reading for the little ones may be best to be advised against.  My review will be live on my site in the coming days, but in the mean time, check out the awesome book trailer...

Creepy good fun, right?
But wait!
There's more.


To celebrate the release of M.P. Kozlowsky’s debut novel Juniper Berry, Walden Pond Press is inviting all writers aged 9-14 to write his or her own tale of terror and temptation in at least 500 words. One grand prize winner will receive an iPad and a library of Walden Pond Press eBook, paperback and hardcover novels and his or her story published online at Author M.P. Kozlowsky will select the winner. To learn more:


Pretty cool, right?
For more fun than you can shake a stick at or float a red balloon casually down the roadway without anyone sure to check out the rest of the Week 1 stops along the blog tour as it makes its way through the blogosphere.  In case you missed them or wish to plan ahead, here's a glimpse....

Monday, May 2nd – Review at There’s a Book, Review & Interview at Alison’s Bookmarks

Tuesday, May 3rd – Guest Post at My Friend Amy

Wednesday, May 4th – Review and Giveaway at Reading Vacation

Thursday, May 5th – Interview at Literary Asylum

Friday May 6th – Guest Post...HERE!

Saturday May 7th – Review and Giveaway at National Examiner

Sunday May 8th – Interview at National Examiner

Monday, May 9th – Review, Guest Post and Giveaway at The Book Smugglers
Special thanks to Kellie at Walden Pond Press for chance to participate in this fabulous tour.  For more information on the book, just click here.  To find out more about the tour as well as their upcoming titles, don't forget to follow along on Twitter.
Until next time...happy reading!


Misha said...

I think I am in love with the cover for the book! Even though I don't read such books, I can read this just for the cover. What an awesome trailer and an interesting guest post :)
As an answer to your question - no I don't see a red balloon and feel a shudder go through my body LOL

Kate @ Candlemark said...

Oh, wow, this sounds neat...and the book trailer is AMAZING. Yowza.

Gina said...

Misha: LOL...yes, that cover is definitely an eye catcher to say the least. ^_^ (Oh and on the balloon reaction....if you read it, you will... O-O)

Kate @ Candlemark: Agreed! ^_^

D.M.Cunningham said...

Wonderful insight. I do look at balloons differently since reading Juniper. I love the mystery and darkness of this book. I actually pictured older classic Hollywood actors in a black and white era with the story because of the timeless energy of the book. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing.

Tales of Whimsy said...

I'm super curious about this book and look forward to reading your review.

Gina said...

D.M. Cunningham: Definitely agreed there. That's pretty much the image the parents evoked for me as well. It was really quite a book.

Juju: Oh you should be. ^_^

The1stdaughter said...

I'm loving every single one of these posts from M.P. along the tour. His story is so unique in many ways and I love his own personal story behind it.

I absolutely look at balloons differently now! And event trees in a way. Such a good post, I especially like his insight into writing and how he jots things down where ever & whenever. Love it!

Gina said...

the1stdaughter: Oh yes...agreed. Every stop is definitely worth looking into. As for the trees....yes, almost forgot about that part. ...and the crow. O_O

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