Monday, October 29, 2012

Author Interview with M.P. Kozlowsky

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?

The first 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 you?

I tended to stick to the classics as a child. Authors like Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury, Shel Silverstein, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, and books like Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Watership Down, Charlotte’s Web, Treasure Island, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Alice in Wonderland, and Wizard of Oz, among hundreds of others. Comic books, too, played an important role in my literary upbringing.

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 your books?

My 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.

Author Website ☞ Harper Collins Children's ☞ Read the reviews! 


  1. Congratulations on the release of Juniper Berry! Loved the interview!

  2. Nas- Juniper Berry is a great book. So glad you enjoyed the interview. :)