Friday, July 27, 2012

Author Interview with Karen Pokras Toz

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Karen Pokras Toz, author of the middle grade novel Nate Rocks the World. Lizzy recently reviewed this fun book, 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, Karen! 




What inspired you to write Nate Rocks the World


In today’s world of electronics, I felt that kids (including my own kids) just weren’t reading as much as they should be. Reading is fun, and interesting, and inspiring and I wanted to spread this message! I wanted to write something that kids would enjoy reading and at the same time be something relatable to things they were experiencing in their own lives.


How long did it take you to write Nate Rocks the World?


Nate Rocks the World took me about six months to write and then another six months or so working on the editing and publishing side.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

Oh absolutely! Judy Blume was and still is one my favorite authors – I loved all of her books, it’s really impossible to pick one favorite. As an adult, I have been enjoying re-reading her books with my own children. She is my inspiration and my mentor. I’ve had a few people compare Nate Rocks the World to Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing (stylistically... to me, that is a huge compliment).

Where did you come up with the characters Nate and Abby?


Nate is a combination of my three children. They are all so creative, intelligent, fun, and funny. There’s a little bit of all of them in Nate. Abby – well – let’s just say I might have been a bit of a pain to my own brother when we were kids (sorry about that!)

If you could befriend a character from any of your books, who would you befriend? Why?



Great question! The answer is - I don’t know if I could choose just one! Let’s start with who I wouldn’t want to be friends with – that know-it-all classmate Lisa Crane. She would drive me insane! I don’t think I would be able to be as nice to her as Nathan is. Abby I could probably handle. Of course I’d want to hang out with Nathan and his friends, Tommy and Sam. I probably have the most in common with Nathan’s mom, so I guess I’d go with Mrs. Rockledge.

Where do you like to write?  Do you listen to music while you are writing?

I love music, but not when I’m writing – for that I need total silence. My husband and I just renovated a small room in the back of our house so that I could have a “real” office. It’s lovely, but I cannot write in there lol! I guess I’m just used to all these years of having to write with my laptop propped on my legs either in my bed or on the couch.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

I don’t know! I’ve travelled to some wonderful and beautiful countries; it’s hard to pick just one location! There are also some equally fabulous places here in the US. I would love to live somewhere that has fabulous views, plenty of culture, mild/dry climate, and friendly people (oh – and hi-speed wifi!)

Where can we purchase your books?

The Nate Rocks books are available pretty much anywhere books are sold, online and in stores. If you don’t see Nate Rocks on the shelves of your local store or library, please ask for them to order it! 

30 comments:

  1. Great to learn more about the authors behind the books, this was a great author interview.

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    1. Hi Petty- Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed the interview. :) ~F

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    1. Hi Patty- Thanks! Glad you love them! Thanks for stopping by. :) ~F

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    1. Thank you! A lot of authors come up with their titles after their books are written, but I always seem to come up with a title first, and then dig right in to the story.

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  4. THis was great. I loved the trailer and a peek at the story. Very fun. Congrats, Karen.

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  5. I haven't read this one but enjoyed Nate Rocks the Boat, so I'd like to read the one that started Nate Rocks.

    It's fun to hear the personal side of your writing, Karen. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Barbara! I think you'll enjoy Nate Rocks the World, especially having already gotten a peek at his world.

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  6. Thanks so much for the interview - I had a lot of fun!

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    1. We are so happy to have you on our blog today! Nate Rocks is a great series to get kids reading. It was such fun to learn more about the story behind the story. :) ~Stephanie and Jess

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  7. Compared to The Fourth Grade Nothing huh. Sounds good to me then. The title reminds me of Nate the Great. The name Nate must be popular (:

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    1. Yes - so many "Nate's" have written to me that they love all the books with their name in it. I don't have a Nate of my own, but it seemed to be the only name that really flowed for the title.

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  8. Great interview. I can't write with music on either. I like to listen to music before I write. It gets me inspired.

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    1. Yes - I find it very inspirational too :)

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  9. I like it quiet when I write, too. Great to meet you, Karen. All success.

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  10. Love the premise of this book. The book video was too cute!

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    1. Thanks - I can't take credit for the video - somebody did it for me, but they really did a great job!

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  11. Totally agree that kids just aren't reading like they used to, even my two boys, I haven't read this one yet !!

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    1. It's a shame isn't it? I loved to read as a kid (still do!) and I read to my kids so much when they were little. Hopefully one day soon the reading bug will hit them!

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  12. Dashing out to get NATE for my classroom library.

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    1. Hi Leslie, You will enjoy it! Nate Rocks the World is a fun read, and sure to be a hit with your class. Thanks for stopping by : ) ~ F

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  13. Nice interview! I like writing with music in the background, but can't finish a sentence if I have the Internet on ...

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    1. Hi Claudine- me neither, lol! Always fabulous to hear from you : ) ~ F

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  14. That is cool that main character is a combo of her kids.
    Thanks for review,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. Hi Brandi, It is very cool- I always love to hear where the ideas for characters come from. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! ~ F

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  15. What a fun sounding book! And the idea that it is a total of her 3 children's personalities is ingenious.

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    1. Nate Rocks the World is a lot of fun. So glad you enjoyed finding out how she created her characters. :) ~F

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