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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

An Interview with Joanne and Karen Rock (J. K. Rock) -- Authors of the Camp Boyfriend Series!

Hey everyone! Today I'm very happy to welcome the two halves of the pen name J. K. Rock, Joanne and Karen, to my humble little corner of the interwebs.

I have a confession to make . . . I haven't had the chance to read Camp Boyfriend yet! But I will. You can find it here on Amazon, and the prequel novella, Camp Kiss, is absolutely FREE! I must say that was a good marketing move. Not only do you get to see how it all started, but you can see risk-free whether or not you like Joanne and Karen Rock's writing style. What are you waiting for? Go download it!

So now that I've introduced them, let me welcome J and K!

*round of applause*


Thank you so much for having us on the blog today! We’re so excited to meet you and your blog readers.

1) tell us a bit about yourself and CAMP BOYFRIEND
J – I’m a writer from the romance world who loves Young Adult books and wanted to try writing one. Camp Boyfriend is my first attempt at YA, and it was all the more fun as I wrote it with my sister-in-law, who is an eighth grade teacher and an expert in YA books.
K- I have my first adult romance coming out in the fall, but Camp Boyfriend is my first YA book. As Joanne said, I’m also a teacher and really wanted to write my own YA after years of seeing what kinds of books kids choose for their free reading time. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job to help kids who say “I’m not a reader,” find books they can’t put down. In Camp Boyfriend, a girl’s ideal summer is turned upside down when her school boyfriend wants to go to camp with her. It’s a book about friendships, boys, and fun, but it’s also a book about finding your identity.

2) what was the spark for CAMP BOYFRIEND?
J-We wanted to write a book set in the summer because so much can change over a single summer. People go on vacations or they move. They find themselves in different situations than during the school year, and so often that changes them. As we brainstormed settings for a summer story, one of us mentioned “camp” and it just started snowballing.
K-When an idea is right, we know! The ideas started flowing fast and furious as soon as we hit on the summer camp idea. We loved so much about that setting, especially since Joanne and I both attended camp as teens. You never forget those summer friendships, the crazy counselors, the swim tests or- of course- the boys.

3) when did you discover your love of writing?
J- I loved writing even in high school but I wasn’t sure how to use it until I was in graduate school and I realized I wanted to write a novel. I was on track for teaching English at the college level, and did this for a few years before I sold my first book, but the whole time I was teaching, I was writing on the side.
K-I was reading novels behind my math book in high school, so the love for stories was always there. It took a little longer for me to decide I had to write my own, but once I did, I couldn’t stop until I got it right!!

4) if you had to be a fictional character (it can be one of your own or someone else's), who would you be?
J- Can I be Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights? Sure, she dies young. But to be beloved by Heathcliff? Swoon!
K- Scarlett O’Hara. Because who doesn’t want to put off their worries until tomorrow? And – bonus- there is Rhett. Dreamy sigh.

5) what are your literary pet hates?
J- Characters I can’t get behind. I don’t like it when characters keep making bad decisions. It’s fine at the start of the novel, but if they don’t grow and change, why am I reading?
K – Dialogue that doesn’t sound authentic from teens. That drives me crazy because I feel like, if you don’t know how kids really talk to each other, who can you possibly know how they think?

6) if you could only read one book ever again, which one and why?
J- Argh! I find it so tough to choose one of anything. I suppose it’s cheating if my “one book” is a Norton anthology with twenty books stuffed inside? If I only got one book to take to a deserted island, that’s definitely what I’m doing. But okay… non-cheater answer is probably Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. She’s an amazing author and I love that book so much.
K-The Fault in Our Stars. I’m still so in love with that book!  But then, all of John Green’s work amazes me.

7) if not an author, what do you think you'd be doing right now?
J- I would be a college professor, surrounded by books, talking with students about books and reading a lot of books!
K- I adore teaching middle grade and high school students. They inspire me.

8) any fictional crushes? ;)
J- Did I mention Heathcliff? Although lately, I’m also crushing on all the boys Simone Elkeles writes. The Fuentes brothers are dear to my heart.
K- Augustus. He’s all mine! (Hannah here with a sidenote: you're going to have to fight my friend Ellie for him . . .)

9) what's the best thing about your job? Is there anything you don't like?
J- I love writing the heroes. It’s so fun to put myself in a heroine’s shoes. Although working with my amazing sister-in-law is a cool job perk too. The only thing I don’t like about the job… hmm… it really is my dream job! But I guess sometimes it’s tough to maintain the fun of a dream job when you work hard at it every day. I try hard to always maintain the fun of writing and never to let it become strictly “a job.”
K- Because this is my first year on the shelves, I’m still amazed by it all and I’m always finding new fun things about writing. Right now, there’s nothing I don’t like about, other than shutting down the computer at the end of the day because… what if I miss something important??!!

10) what's next for you now, after CAMP BOYFRIEND?
J & K – We have so many more camp stories to tell! This is a three-book series- Camp Boyfriend, Camp Payback (4/14) and Camp Forget-Me-Not (8/14). But we have novellas planned in between them, too! Readers already have seen the FREE prequel to the series, Camp Kiss. But we’ve got two more novellas as well, including CAMP CHRISTMAS, which will release this winter.


Thank you so much for having us on the blog today!

Aren't they nice? And I have to say I completely agree with their answers to question 5. I'm glad neither of them said Ethan Kozninsky from Dreaming Anastasia for number 8 . . . HE IS MINE!!! I call dibs.

It was a pleasure to have you here today, J and K! Make sure you download Camp Kiss, everyone! See you back here on Friday :)