Jen: Today we welcome the last of our guests from the Summer Lovin’ Tour, Karen Rock. Karen, will you share a short bio with us?
Karen: Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Karen: Under an Adirondack Sky is book #3 in my Walsh Family series. It’s a contemporary sweet romance that is a reimagining of one of my favorite love stories of all times, The Sound of Music. In many ways, the novel is based on my experiences working with at-risk teens as a teacher. It’s a story about a school psychologist, Rebecca Day, who’s longed for the family she’s never had and an over-taxed pub owner, Aiden Walsh who’s been struggling to raise his large family of brothers and sisters on his own after losing his parents. The two come together on a school trip for troubled teens that’s designed to take them away from their regular worlds help them view themselves and their lives in a different, healthier light. The Adirondack retreat program is a real program that my former school, and many others around the country use, to strong success with these disadvantaged and very deserving kids. It gives them a new lease on life, and for my hero and heroine, a chance at love.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Karen: Emotional, Romantic, Contemporary
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Karen: That is always the challenge! I use my iPhone notes page a lot and I have about twenty-five book ideas on there right now and counting, none of which I used for the six-book cowboy romance series proposal I just submitted- go figure- haha.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Karen: I always do quite a bit of research for my books. For UNDER AN ADIRONDACK SKY, I was able use my own experience as a former teacher working with at-risk teens. Although these children can be the challenging, they are also the most rewarding to work with. Many of them have difficult home lives and disabilities. It was always a joy to see them grow and transform through programs like the Adirondack Wilderness retreat (a real program run in NYS). I’m thrilled to have included their stories in this heartwarming, contemporary romance. Additionally, the heroine in the novel, Rebecca Day, is modeled after my sister, Catherine Defayette, who is a school psychologist. She gave me great insights into specific exercises and therapies that helped make this book an authentic experience that I hope readers enjoy.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Karen: I would cast Jennifer Lawrence as Rebecca because I believe Jennifer has that quirky/goofy/caring personality that’d be perfect for the part. For my hero, Aiden, I would cast Bradley Cooper because he has great chemistry with Jennifer, because he looks exactly like my hero, and he’s intelligent, funny, and romantic.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Karen: Winning the 2015 Booksellers Best Award for my Harlequin Heartwarming contemporary romance: A LEAGUE OF HER OWN. If only I’d been at RWA Nationals to receive it! My best friend, who won the short contemporary romance category, texted me during the awards ceremony and said, “Dude! You just won!” I had a bowl of ice cream to celebrate ☺
Jen: What’s next for you?
Karen: Next up is Book One in my USCG military Blaze series: HIS TO PROTECT out October 2016 and a Heartwarming suspense, A COWBOY TO KEEP out in February, 2017. For details, please check out my website at http://www.karenrock.com