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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” (http://www.karentoz.com/millie-says.html).

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.

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