Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blog Tour/Interview for Juniper Berry

I'm very excited about today's blog tour for Juniper Berry. This is a fabulous middle grade with a great message for it's readers and has a fabulous character that girls will be able to look up to. Today we have Juniper Berry's author M.P. Kozlowsky with us. You can read my review for the book here.

Juniper's parents have not been themselves lately. In fact, they have been cold, disinterested and cruel. And lonely Juniper Berry, and her equally beset friend, Giles, are determined to figure out why.

On a cold and rainy night Juniper follows her parents as they sneak out of the house and enter the woods. What she discovers is an underworld filled with contradictions: one that is terrifying and enticing, lorded over by a creature both sinister and seductive, who can sell you all the world's secrets in a simple red balloon. For the first time, Juniper and Giles have a choice to make. And it will be up to them to confront their own fears in order to save the ones who couldn't.

M.P. Kozlowsky's debut novel is a modern-day fairy tale of terror, temptation, and ways in which it is our choices that make us who we are (quoted from Goodreads).

Juniper is such a wonderful character. What do you admire most about her?
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.

If we were to visit Juniper at home, what books would we find on her bookcase?
Juniper would definitely have a worn copy of The House At Pooh Corner sitting on her shelf because it reminds her that even when we grow up we can still be children. She would have The Wonderful Wizard of Oz because it teaches her that there will always be magical faraway lands to explore but that there's still no place like home. And she would have many reference books on dozens of different subjects, because she still trusts them over information found on any computer.

Giles falls into the temptation of asking for one wish to come true. Had you been in his shoes, what is something you could have asked for?
Well, at the time of writing the book, I'm sure I would have asked to be a successful author. This was on my mind throughout the creation of the story, and within the text there are many parallels to the journey one takes to be published. I can really relate to Juniper's struggles. A lot can be read into the book in this regard.

Dimitri is a fabulous character I love what he tell Juniper on pages 151-152. Who inspired his character?
Dmitri is the only steady adult glimpsed in the book. Juniper's parents have not been quite right lately and her tutor is obsessed with fame and pop culture, etc., and Skeksyl, well, we don't even know what he is. So, I needed somebody to hover in the background, to look over the children, guide them from afar, but never interfere. This was something the children had to do on their own. He wasn't based on anybody in particular. He was my everyman, a man who makes mistakes, but, in the end, learns from it and knows what is right and what is wrong.

What was one of your favorite middle grade books to read growing up?
One that affected me the most is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. It was a groundbreaking book, and there haven't been very many like it since, most likely due to the narrowing of the industry, especially in the children's realm. I have recently completed a children's book somewhat inspired by it, although it delves into a bit darker territory, but with a sincere and important message to tell. I hope it one day sees print.


Thank you to M.P. Kozlowsky for being with us today.

M.P. Kozlowsky (very short!) Biography:

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.


Juniper Berry Writing Contest: 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 their own tales of terror and temptation in at least 500 words. One grand prize winner will receive an iPad, a library of Walden Pond Press eBook, paperback and hardcover novels, and his or her story published online at walden.com. Author M.P. Kozlowsky will select the winner. To learn more:www.walden.com/win/juniperberry.

Juniper Berry Blog Tour: Part II
Tuesday, May 10th - Interview and Giveaway at Another Gray Day
Wednesday, May 11th - Interview at Bri Meets Books
Thursday, May 12th - Interview at Book Yurt
Friday, May 13th - Review and Giveaway at The Book Maven's Haven
Saturday, May 14th - Review at MundieKids
Sunday, May 15th - Guest Post at Kid Lit Frenzy
Monday, May 16th - Review and Giveaway at Kid Lit Frenzy
Tuesday, May 17th - Interview and Giveaway at MundieKids
Tuesday, May 17th - Guest Post and Giveaway at The Cozy Reader

Thank you to Walden Pond Press, we have a copy of Juniper Berry we're giving away! To enter, please fill out the form below.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~