The DMS was lucky enough to interview M.P. Kozlowsky, author of the middle grade novel Juniper Berry.Lizzy recently reviewed this spooky, new story, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, M.P. !
What inspired you to
write Juniper Berry?
I was in a certain place, a certain frame of
mind, when I wrote Juniper Berry. I had something very
specific and personal to say and, thus, created her journey to closely mirror
that of mine as a writer. There are many parallels, many similar doubts
and frustrations, but can also be interpreted to reflect many varying themes
aside from the one I primarily intended.
How long did it take
you to write Juniper Berry?
draft was produced at a rather frantic pace, perhaps just three months.But with rewrites and edits and much second-guessing,
the entire process might have lasted close to a year.
What are some of your
favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired
Where did you come up
with the characters Juniper and Skeksyl?
When I wrote Juniper Berry, my wife was
pregnant with our daughter, Margeaux (I would later dedicate the book to her).
I wanted to create a character she could admire, that any young girl could look
up to. And so I made her an inquisitive girl who knows exactly who she is - a
quality that is becoming more and more rare in this day and age - a girl who
sees no need to blend in with others, no need to go along with the crowd. She
is strong but also vulnerable, intelligent but always wants to learn more. She
is quirky and different and accepts the same in others. I couldn't think of
anyone better for my daughter to identify with.
Skeksyl is a combination of many frightening
characters, but none more so than evil incarnate, the Devil, Satan, Mephistopheles,
etc.To be as terrifying as
possible, he had to have something that a good person would want, he had to be a
salesman of sorts, the ultimate seller of dreams.Of course, beneath that cloak he is barren of a soul, eaten
away by his own evil.
If you could befriend
a character from any of your books, who would you befriend? Why?
I suppose if
I were a young boy again, there is no one I would rather spend time with than
Juniper.I could only imagine all
the fun times to be had with her, all the exploring and intriguing adventures
we would be involved.She is
definitely somebody who would pull the best out of those around her.
Where do you like to
write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?
I write at my
desk, which, when I have a bigger home, I hope to put in an office lined with
books.As I work, I need complete
silence and as little distraction as possible.Nothing should be able to penetrate my thoughts, as I always
feel, at nearly every point in my life, very vulnerable to such invasions.
If you could live
anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
If it were
possible, I would love to live in a secluded part of the country, a very small
town with few neighbors and a quaint village and beautiful scenery.I’d like to escape, much like J.D.
Salinger did, and people would have a difficult time tracking me down.
Where can we purchase
books can be purchased in the usual places: in most bookstores and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
and pretty much everywhere else. I
have completed another children’s book, a YA book, and an adult book, which you
should keep an eye out for in the near future as well.