Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Juniper Berry Blog Tour & Giveaway: M.P. Kozlowsky on Inspiration & Influences

Hello everyone, and welcome to our stop on the Juniper Berry official blog tour! Today we are thrilled to have debut author M.P. Kozlowsky over to celebrate the release of his YA/MG novel – a tale of terror and temptation.

Ladies and gents, please give a warm welcome to M.P. Kozlowsky!

I picture a parent reading to a child. This is what I do when writing a children’s book like Juniper Berry. It is where I find the narrator’s voice, the rhythm of the sentences. I picture a room without distractions – no tv, no electronic devices, no video games, toys neatly tucked away, lights turned down low – just a child in bed with the covers pulled up to his or her chin, and a mother or father sitting in an adjacent chair, rocking slowly back and forth, licking a finger and turning the pages one by one. The stars are out, maybe a dog is curled up on the floor. A clock ticks. Imagination is rampant. It is an ideal situation. It has a certain beauty to it, a delightful charm. There are hundreds, thousands of stories to be found in that hypnotic voice, forever reading to the child in our minds. This is the basis of great storytelling.

Sometimes, I picture myself as a child in that bed – what did I enjoy, what did I want to hear? Granted, my childhood was atypical. Often, I found life to be dangerous, perplexing, mysterious, sad. Craving escape, I gravitated toward darker fare – books like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Treasure Island; movies like The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz, Labyrinth and Edward Scissorhands. I write to captivate that boy once again. I write to convey the dangers of the world and the light hidden deep within it – there is always a way through the oppressive gloom and a child must know that. Juniper witnesses this terror first hand; she is pulled in dark directions, all seems lost; there is great temptation. Only the path of truth will bring her where she needs to be.

But where I write first for the child, I am always acutely aware of the adult sitting bedside. After all, as C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And every great children’s book written since has loudly echoed this statement with the power behind their words, the complexity of their emotions and underpinnings. Even films have adopted this aphorism as their own – Where the Wild Things Are, Spirited Away, Rango, and just about any Pixar movie, among a plethora of others, will serve as excellent examples. I take this quite seriously. I want the child to enjoy the book on one level, while the parent simultaneously enjoys it on another, wondering how the author managed to slip such a detail into a story seemingly written for grade schoolers. I want the child to return to the book years later, perhaps to even read it to his or her own child, and discover entire new depths in which to plunge. How did I miss this? they will wonder, developing a newfound admiration; it is almost as if there are two books. It is why in Juniper Berry alone, there are quotes and allusions to T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” references to the philosophy of Kierkegaard, history and satire, science and sociology, mythology, numerology and pop culture. These are clearly my adult influences merging with those of my youth – my lifelong quest through reading coming full circle.

It is not difficult to find inspirations and influences, and it never should be. They are attracted to us more than we are attracted to them. They seek us out, attach themselves, and guide us through life whether we are aware of it or not. No need for a desperate search, they are in everything we do. We are our inspirations and influences. We have been from the beginning.

More About the Book:

Check out the official Juniper Berry book trailer:

Also, 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:

About the Author:

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.

Giveaway Details:

Courtesy of the publisher, we have ONE copy of Juniper Berry up for grabs! To enter the contest, simply leave a comment here answering this question (in the spirit of the book): what single temptation would you consider (if only for a second!) giving up your soul for? The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only, and will run until Saturday May 21 at 11:59PM PST. Good luck!

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  • SBT
    May 9, 2011 at 5:22 am

    My temptation would have to be becoming world famous and insanely rich!

  • Katrina
    May 9, 2011 at 5:24 am

    I sold my soul to a friend at the tender age of thirteen. For chocolate mints. I have regretted it ever since.

  • SandyG265
    May 9, 2011 at 5:32 am

    A magically replenishing pot of my Mom’s spaghetti sauce.

  • Alexandra
    May 9, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I can’t imagine a situation where I would ever consider selling my soul. Indeed, why would I sell my soul when I have Katrina’s to barter with as well?

  • Rebecca
    May 9, 2011 at 6:26 am

    The ability to time travel at will.

  • Tina
    May 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hmm… I think I would consider giving up my soul if I could eat anything I wanted without getting sick from it or gaining weight. I’m allergic to half of my favorite foods

  • Linda
    May 9, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I already have this book, thanks to a friend who gave it to me as a birthday gift. I’m just excited that you featured the author and wanted to let you know that.

  • Lauren
    May 9, 2011 at 9:11 am

    One Temptation only? Sheesh. Maybe magic powers…Ooo, or flying…no, no, the ability to heal…oh, or wisdom…or….

  • jenmitch
    May 9, 2011 at 10:04 am

    hm. i don’t believe in a soul, so, it wouldn’t take much for me to make an exchange! immortality would be a good start…

  • Tammy
    May 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Flight. No hesitation. Though I realize it would be cold and I’d probably get bugs in my teeth.

  • Kaethe
    May 9, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Uninterrupted reading time.

  • Susan Laura
    May 9, 2011 at 10:53 am

    My temptation might be the promise of health, wealth and happiness for my children.

  • MarieC
    May 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    So hard to nail it down to one…but in this day and age, I’d have to go agree with Susan Laura on health, wealth, and happiness.

  • Laurie L Young
    May 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Hmmm . . . I’ve been trying to sell my soul for years to find true love. Keeps getting spit back . . .

  • Scribe Kira
    May 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    a ability to live a hundred different lives, fulfilling all of my dreams, instead of being forced to pick just one future.

  • Scribe Kira
    May 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    an ability to live a hundred different lives, fulfilling all of my dreams, instead of being forced to pick just one future.

  • Scribe Kira
    May 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    oh sorry commented twice!!! please disregard this comment the one right before. only cont the first one!!!!

  • Maya S
    May 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Hmmm…my temptation would probably be guaranteed true love and happiness. How could you turn that down?

  • John
    May 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    My single temptation would be the ability to travel to a completely different world. Movies like Spirited Away and Coraline, as well as stories like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and others made me think that was just the coolest thing. If I ever had the chance to get transported to a Japanese-style anime world with Kohauku…you better believe I would take that.

  • Andrea
    May 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    The ability to fly, cause that would be so worth it ^^;

  • Katy
    May 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    the ability to enter books as the main character…. especially Claire in the novel Outlander!

  • Amy C
    May 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I would consider selling my soul for a magical world: not just a magic power, but an actual world that I’m privy to. (Not so much Narnia as Harry Potter, with the magical world being in this world.)

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    May 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I would consider selling my soul for the power to heal people. Please enter me in contest.

  • Paige Morgan
    May 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Like Andrea, the ability to fly would tempt me.

  • Jen B.
    May 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I would give up my soul if the world could be permanently at peace. Please enter me in the contest. jepebATverizonDOTnet

  • Stephanie K.
    May 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I would give up my soul for true love.

  • Kay-Kay-Bay
    May 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I don’t think I’d sell my soul unless something terrible happened to me, and I was extremely depressed. But if that were the case, I might just to be at rest and not hurting so much.

  • Kate M.
    May 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I would consider (for about three seconds, or maybe longer…) selling my soul to be independently wealthy so I could have all the time in the world to read the books I need to catch up on!

  • Audra Holtwick
    May 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I would sell my soul to be able to lose weight

  • Jackie
    May 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I’m going to be all goody two-shoes and go with peace on earth. That, or an extra two hours just for me each day.

  • Rena
    May 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    definitely magical powers! or I’d consider it anyways…

  • Angela
    May 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I would consider giving up my soul in exchange for the lost innocence of childhood. But only for a moment until I realized that those two things are mutually exclusive.

  • Maureen
    May 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t know, maybe eternal life or unimaginable wealth.

  • Chelsea B.
    May 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Um. Getting to see the new HP movie, like, yesterday? Ha! I jest :mrgreen:

  • Melissa (Books and Things)
    May 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    For health… maybe… hm… 🙂

  • Courtney
    May 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I would give my soul for true lasting love.

  • Sarah
    May 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    The single temptation for me would easily be being able to eat my homemade baked goods without gaining weight. Oh yes, I’d serioulsy consider giving up my soul for that.

    this book sounds fab btw! I just read your review and I’m excited to get my hands on the book.

  • Mary
    May 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Hmm I’d probably consider giving up my soul if it was my last choice, and i had a terminal disease or something really horrible.

  • LeAnn
    May 12, 2011 at 11:04 am

    This is vain, I know, but I’d give my soul to have the perfect model body. As someone who’s never worn a two-piece swimsuit before, or who rarely shows her upper arms, it would be kind of nice. 🙂

  • Ginny
    May 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I would say the ultimate temptation is one where I’m given someone that I could be with forever and we fit better than two puzzle pieces. But in exchange for my soul……? I don’t know if I could do that.
    By the way, thanks for the opportunity to receive this book!

  • Alina
    May 13, 2011 at 7:42 am

    For health, happiness and love

  • Morgan
    May 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I would sell my soul for a never ending library and unlimited time to read everything in it.

  • Erika
    May 14, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I would have to get unlimited time travel abilities that don’t require you to age at all. That way I could keep going back in time to read all the books in the world. And I could also spend all the time in the world with my family. That way I wouldn’t have to sacrifice any time with one for the other.

    I’d love to be entered! Thanks.


  • Maria S (pronounced Mariah)
    May 17, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Neverending free dark chocolate (without gaining weight) and free books with unlimited time to read them…no other pressing responsiblilities!

    Ok so that was three things but they all go together!


  • Review: Juniper Berry by M. P. Kozlowsky | CSI: Librarian
    June 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

    […] did I get it: After reading a review and also guest post from the author on The Book Smugglers, I knew I had to read this […]

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