Guest Post: Author M.P. KozlowskyThe "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 BioM.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.
Pretty cool, right?
For more fun than you can shake a stick at or float a red balloon casually down the roadway without anyone noticing....be 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!