J.K. Rock is the fabulous writing team of Joanne and Karen Rock. Joanne is here today chatting about their first release in the Camp Boyfriend series. Joanne is giving away a copy of Camp Boyfriend to one lucky commenter!
Sonya, thank you so much for having me! The support of the YA writing community has been so fantastic and it’s really helped Karen and I to find our readers.
1. What led to creating this joint writing effort?
I’d written adult romance in the past and always enjoyed chatting about my stories with my sister-in-law, Karen. I’d seen some of her writing in YA- short stories and plays that she wrote for her eighth grade drama club. Her work was always fun and engaging.
In trying to convince her to publish her own novel, she said “we should write one together,” and the suggestion really called to my Muse! I love exploring new creative channels and writing with a partner is a very different process. There’s never a chance for writer’s block since one of us always has an idea for where to go next.
2. What surprised you the most about writing Camp Boyfriend?
We were both happily surprised at how fluidly the writing went, but even more surprising was the feedback from our editor and agent that they would have never guessed the book was written by two people. Our voices blended well between sharing a vision for the story and revising each other’s work. It also helps that we’ve known each other for so long.
3. Lauren is a strong, likeable heroine. What tips can you give writers on how to create strong heroines?
We gave Lauren flaws that we hoped readers would relate to, but we also worked hard to give her a strong sense of self. Yes, she struggles with her identity and who she wants to be, but we gave her a distinct personality underneath that. We wanted to show her character in how she struggles to make good decisions for herself and still consider the people around her.
4. Without giving too much away, between Seth and Matt, how did you determine who Lauren would end up with?
Lauren grows a lot in this book. She comes to understand and accept herself more, and we thought she should be with the guy who grew more during the course of the novel as well. Neither guy was perfect. They are flawed, but very likable characters. We thought Lauren would go for the boy who was farther along his personal journey.
5. How did you manage to keep the book funny and sweet while handling some of the heavier issues teenagers experience (like divorce)?
This is where having two authors really helps. Sometimes one of us would do a read and edit for the humorous tone, while during another pass, one of us would edit for character growth and conflict. It’s easier to ensure the tone is balanced when you’re individually reading for both elements.
I’m a big fan of that great line in the movie,Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” We think that kind of emotion is very real and relatable. Even at Lauren’s most angsty, she’s got a sense of humor. Or, at very least, one of her friends will try to make her laugh. Being able to maintain a sense of humor even when life is dishing out hard lessons is a great coping mechanism.
6. What comes next for the Camp Boyfriend series?
We’re looking forward to the Cover Reveal for our free novella, CAMP CHRISTMAS, due out this fall. We hope readers will enjoy seeing some of the Camp Juniper Point characters on their Winter Break from school. After that, book 2 is CAMP PAYBACK, which is Alex’s story. That releases in April of 2014, while CAMP FORGET ME NOT comes out in August. Readers can learn more about the series and the novellas between books at Camp Boyfriend.net.
We’re always happy to meet new readers and we invite friends and followers to our homes online:
J. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners – and sisters-in-law - Joanne & Karen Rock. Although they started out sharing an annual shopping trip, they ended up discussing their favorite films and books, joining the same book club and talking about writing…a lot.
Their debut novel, Camp Boyfriend, is the first in a three-book series that was plotted during family pool parties. Their creative partnership is unique in that they enjoy passing a book back and forth, each adding a chapter and fine-tuning the chapter before.
In addition to their joint writing, Karen writes for Harlequin Heartwarming with her critically-acclaimed debut, WISH ME TOMORROW out this month. Joanne is a national bestselling author for a variety of Harlequin series.