Skip to main content

Interview with author Karen Pokras Toz

Today, I'd like to welcome Karen Pokras Toz, author of the Nate Rocks series and Millicent Marie is Not My Name. You can read my review of Nate Rocks the World here.

Q. Welcome to My Book Retreat. So, who or what inspired you to become an author?

I wish I knew the answer to this one! I was never really interested in writing, although I’ve always loved to read. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I caught the writing bug. It sounds crazy, but one day, I just opened my laptop and started writing. I haven’t stopped since.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the Nate Rocks series? How did you come up with the idea for that series?

Nate Rocks is about 10 year old Nathan Rockledge. Nathan is your typical 10 year old with an huge imagination. He loves to draw, and every time he starts to doodle, he winds up drawing himself into adventures where he becomes Nate Rocks – hero, rock star, astronaut, and the list goes on. The book is geared toward reluctant readers in the 7-12 age group and has a great message about self-esteem and friendship. The idea for Nate Rocks was inspired by my own three very creative and artistic children.

Q. Millicent Marie is Not My Name is your latest book. Can you tell me a little about it?

Yes, Millicent Marie came out in early October. Sixth grader Millie (as she prefers to be called) suddenly finds herself as her school’s anonymous advice/gossip columnist when her younger brother publishes her private diary as a blog on the Internet. Millie is a great story to teach your 7-12 year old about bullying and respect. Millie also has her own “real life” blog now called “Millie Says” (

Q. I'll definitely have to check out her advice! What are you working on now?

At the moment, I am working on the third Nate Rocks book. In this book, Nathan and the crew go on a school trip to New York City. I hope to have this book available in the spring of 2013.

Q. What are your strategies for making characters seem real so the reader connects with them?
I think having three children helps me tremendously. Really, they give me so much material on a daily basis. I try to incorporate real life issues and topics that are important to my own children in all of my books.

Q. What sorts of relationships and experiences do you most like to explore in your writing?

Well I’m definitely intrigued by parent/child and sibling dynamics. The relationships in my stories are all taken to extremes, but I think that is what makes them funny and interesting. At the same time, I am not a fantasy writer. While Nate does have some great adventures, the base story takes place in the here and now.

Q. What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I love to read and spend time with my family.

Q. What genres and authors do you most enjoy reading?

I’ve been venturing into so many new genres lately that I don’t normally read. My favorites are historical fiction and memoirs.

Thanks so much for visiting with me at My Book Retreat! I'm looking forward to sharing Nate and Millie with my kids!

For more information about Karen Pokras Toz, visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or Amazon.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…