Thursday, March 13, 2014

His Hometown Girl with an Author Interview

On tour with Prism Book Tours...

Welcome to my Book Tour stop for

His Hometown Girl

His Hometown GirlHis Hometown Girl

by Karen Rock

Mass Market Paperback, Large Print, 331 pages

March 1st 2014 by Harlequin

He'd always managed to best her…

Jodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he's not playing fair.

Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that's always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?


1) What inspired you to start writing? 
Hi, Natalie! Thank you so much for having me on your blog, The Written Adventure. I was inspired to write from a very young age. I listened to my father as he read me fairytales before bed and drifted to sleep, imagining my own happily-ever-after stories. I love how books can carry you away from your regular life and make you feel and experience new things. I’ve always wanted to be a part of that!

2) When did you decide to pursue your talent? 
My publication journey began four years ago when my sister-in-law, Joanne Rock, began encouraging me to write. As she’s a Harlequin writer, I loved bouncing ideas around with her and talking about her career, though I never dared to imagine it was something I could do. Yet, with her encouragement, I wrote most of what I think was a first novel... it was tough to tell since it was such a hot mess! Joanne, however, was kind enough to read the parts that I sent her and encouraged me to keep going. I decided to start another book and finished it! What a thrill. It was an accomplishment that gave me so much confidence until the rejection letters started coming in *sigh*. Still, Joanne believed in me and suggested we write a Young Adult romance series together. Incredibly, we sold it that year, and I had to pinch myself to believe it was true.

Then, I received a mass email from Joanne’s agent, Barbara Rosenberg, about a new line for Harlequin called Heartwarming. These were to be contemporary love stories that were deeply romantic and tender. My imagination went haywire. I love the raw emotion of YA literature and here, at last, was a line from Harlequin that would allow me to go to the emotional places I love to write in. I wrote Barbara (now my agent as well) and asked her if an idea I’d had might work. She sent it to Senior Editor, Victoria Curran, who asked to see three chapters and, after submitting them, later contacted my agent with a contract offer for my first Harlequin, WISH ME TOMORROW. I now have another contract for four more Heartwarming romances and each story is so special. I can’t wait for them to be available to the public!

3) When you're not writing, what are your hobbies? 
I love reading -*SURPRISE*- lol. But I also love antiques, including old books, and spend time hunting them down at garage sales. I have a first edition, second print of GONE WITH THE WIND, and it’s in my special curio cabinet where I look at it so often! I also love spending time with my two dogs and cat, arranging, rearranging then putting everything back the way it was in my gardens- sheesh- and cooking my grandmother’s recipes. Whenever I make them, I feel like she’s still with me.

4) Is there something special or specific that inspires you as you write? 
Life is a struggle. True stories where people overcome the odds, triumph through hardship, grow stronger because of setbacks, inspire me so much. The human spirit is an amazing thing, and I want to tell stories that celebrate that quality. Love, above all other things, is the greatest achievement of all. If we can open ourselves up, become worthy of it, and work toward finding and keeping it, we’re the richest people in the world. My romances are meant to inspire readers to take those chances, even if they have challenges in their lives, to find true love.

5) Are you a planner or a punster?

Hah! I hadn’t heard the term punster- but if it’s like the word I use- ‘pantser’ as in write by the seat of your pants, then I’m a bit of both. I write a detailed synopsis that establishes the internal and external conflicts, the characters, scenes/events where the conflicts escalate, character turning points, the black moment and how it will resolve. I include transition scenes between those moments that advance the conflict, but those are negotiable in my mind. Sometimes they change completely as I go along, depending on how the story feels to me.

6) What are some of the hardest parts of writing?
Rejection. Easily- it has to be rejection. You need to have thick skin as a writer. Even a published writer. Even a NY Times bestselling author because there is always going to be criticism from your critique partners, your agent, your editor, your fans and your reviewers. No one is immune. Ask Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling. They’ll agree. The trick is to separate the comments that are intended to show you what you could do better versus ones that are more mean-spirited. You can just tell based on how the feedback is given. Once, someone rated my book a one star because she didn’t like that it had a hero recovering from cancer. She hadn’t read WISH ME TOMORROW and felt that based on the subject matter, no one else should either. Those kinds of things can shake your faith in yourself. But I’m thankful for all constructive feedback and take from it the things that will help me grow as a writer- a goal I will have until the end of my career! (When did Barbara Cartland retire?)

7) Do you like to read in the same genre you write in?
Yes and no. I want to take care not to be influenced by what other romance authors are doing or how they sound. But... I love romance novels, so I can’t help but gobble them up. The trick is to find balance, so I read suspense thrillers, historical fiction, young adult, literary, horror, detective/crime novels, dystopian, science fiction and fantasy novels. I think reading so broadly helps make me a well-rounded writer. (If I’m wrong- it’s still fun doing it)

8) What is the most satisfying part of being a writer?
Hearing from fans is the most satisfying part. Hands down. My last novel, WISH ME TOMORROW, told the story of a single father who’s in remission for cancer. He’s struggling to deal with the aftermath of his illness and parenting two troubled children who are worried they may lose the only parent they have. I received letters from readers who either had cancer in their lives or in their past and so many brought me to tears. I meant so much that they related to Eli as well as to Christie (a grief counselor who lost her brother to cancer) and that the book touched them. It humbled me to know that what I wrote made them feel like someone else understood what they’d gone through and gave them hope.

9) Who are your two favorite authors?
Nicholas Sparks has had a great influence on me. He writes deep love stories that are full of rich, real-life experiences that are not always easy, but are honest. I’m so inspired by him and his beautiful stories. I’m also very inspired, on the YA end of the spectrum, by John Green. He also writes contemporary stories that include such touching, raw love stories. Like Nicholas Sparks, tears are shed, but I never feel manipulated into feeling that way. Both of these authors tell us such moving stories, and I hope that I do too. 

10) Why do you write? 
I write for the same reason I read- to feel connected to people and their stories. Although I write fiction, my inspirations come from real-life and I work hard to reflect that in each of my stories. Although I love a good Viking/pirate/sheik/millionaire romance, I’m moved to write romances about everyday people who aren’t perfect, but find the perfect person for them. That is a huge achievement, and one I hope my books inspire people to go after.
11) Do you have a certain time and place for your writing?
I love writing in the mornings and revising in the afternoons after lunch. Mornings are all about new possibilities and afternoons are the reality check- lol. As for place, I write in a recliner within eyeshot of my front door. Both of my sweet, elderly dogs, need to go out a lot, and I want to make sure I know when they need go and don’t make them wait.

12) Do you have other stories you plan to write?
I have three more books contracted with Harlequin Heartwarming and each is very unique. I can’t wait to share them! I just finished one about two very different people- one’s a dreamer, the other a pragmatist- who team up to create a start-up company designing a dating compatibility app. It’s been a lot of fun trying to answer the question: Can love come with a guarantee?

Karen Rock has adored romance since receiving Harlequin
Presents books from her grandmother each summer. She formed her Young Adult
writing partnership, J.K. Rock- pseudonym for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, with
her sister-in-law and Blaze author, Joanne Rock in 2011. When Karen heard of a
call for submissions to Heartwarming, Harlequin’s latest line, she was inspired
by the possibilities of writing unforgettable, deeply romantic, tender love
stories that mothers would feel comfortable sharing with their daughters. When
she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking
her grandmother's family recipes, hiking the ‘high peaks’, and redesigning her
gardens. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband,
daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the
concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love. 

For more information
about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website,
Facebook page, or follow her on twitter. She’d love to hear from you!

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Grand Prize: Hand-stitched, authentic Amish quilt (uses their overlapping
heart-stitching- pattern), with matching dust ruffle for a king-sized bed, signed copies of 
Wish Me Tomorrow & Camp Boyfriend, and some surprise swag (US Only)

1 - Paperback/ebook copies of Wish Me Tomorrow and Camp Boyfriend (format is winner's choice, paperback for US Only) and $20 Amazon gift card
2 - ebooks of Wish Me Tomorrow and Camp Boyfriend (INT)

3/16 - Tour Grand Finale

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