This is my stop during the book blitz for Camp Christmas by. Camp Christmas is a novella which is part of the Camp Boyfriend series and is free to download on the publisher website!
Hannah never meant to be a mean girl – at Camp Juniper Point or at her high school. It just sort of happened during one painful year when her parents split and her life fell apart. Who knew being mad at the world would catapult her to popularity? But since changing the status quo would make her some serious enemies, she’s prepared to ride out her time until graduation. That is, until a camp friend calls her on the act during their school ski trip. Will Julian out her to her friends? Or will the guy she once accused of being King of the Nerds make her wish she was a whole lot more like him?
Why did you decide to write a Christmas themed novella? How do you feel about Christmas and how do you celebrate Christmas?
While we were writing Camp Boyfriend, we quickly became enthusiastic about the story possibilities for characters at Camp Juniper Point. We grew attached to all of them and started talking about the kinds of other stories we’d like to see. One of our ideas was to write a story set during the school year so we could see one camp character outside of camp. We were intrigued with the idea of some of the characters knowing each other away from camp—and maybe having a different relationship at camp versus at home.
From that idea, we tried to figure out a way to bring a “camp” feel to the story even though it was set during the school year. We talked about some kind of field trip or adventure experience that would let the kids be outdoors and in nature. That led to someone saying “ski trip” and someone saying “at Christmas.” Like all the best ideas brainstormed together, the concept sprang to life so organically that I don’t even remember who said what. It just happened and we both loved the idea of a Christmas story.
Being married to brothers, Karen and I end up celebrating a lot of holidays together and Christmas is no different. We love the holidays! Our husbands are two of eight siblings, so family parties are big, noisy and fun. We laugh a lot and make crazy amounts of food. We test new drink recipes alongside new cookie recipes. A lot of family parties are pot luck so no one gets stuck doing all the work. Plus, we all like to try each other’s concoctions, so it’s perfect that everyone brings a little something to a Rock gathering.
Can you tell us a bit about the Camp setting in this series, how the camp setting influences the story and what your own connection is with camp?
In Camp Christmas, we meet characters from Camp Juniper Point during the school year, so the setting is away from the North Carolina camp, unlike the rest of the books and novellas in the series. However, the setting puts the characters out in nature, testing their skills more than they expect in the great outdoors! Their camp experiences prove helpful.
We love the settings in all the stories for the way the characters connect with nature. That’s certainly not a goal- who thinks about connecting with nature as a teen?!—yet kids who go to camp often comment on the way the outdoors awed them. Being in nature, even if that’s not your favorite part of camp, is something special and out of the ordinary. Also, there is more opportunity to experience the power of nature—getting lost in the woods, tipping a canoe, fighting the rapids in a kayak, climbing a mountain. Or in the case of Camp Christmas, a major snowfall.
Karen and I both attended summer camp as teens and loved it. We are not outdoorsy girls by any stretch, but I think we both came away with deeper appreciation for the deep quiet of a summer night in the remote mountains or the awe-inspiring power of a lightning storm with only a piece of canvas over your head. Of course, we also came away with plenty of memories about boys met while at camp and the friendships we made. All of that helps fuel our stories.
How did your interest in reading and writing start?
Karen and I both have long histories with books, reading and writing! I know Karen had teachers point out her writing skill to her early on in her academic career, but I’m taking full credit for twisting her arm into using it more
But before writing…there was books. Karen’s house is stuffed with every YA known to mankind. She took her job really seriously as an eighth grade teacher and read absolutely everything out there to give the best recommendations to her students. She is great at matching up reluctant readers with the right kind of story to pique their interest.
As for me, my love of reading began when my parents read to me as a child. They love books and shared that love with me. I read every Nancy Drew book and then moved straight on to Wuthering Heights! I got a Master’s degree in literature so I could study books more and learn from people who adored them as much as me. After grad school, it became apparent the only way I could crawl deeper inside a book was to write my own, and that’s just what I did.
If I had to choose between reading and writing, I’d always take reading. It’s easier and more fun to let someone else pull me along on a story until I’m completely drawn into another world. But I think I would always come back to writing because it is fun to try to create that magical experience for someone else.
JK Rock is the pseudonym for writer duo Joanne and Karen Rock. Why did you decide to write the Camp Boyfriend series together, how do you write this series together and what do you like or don’t like about writing a series together?
Joanne and I have been close friends and sisters-in-law for many years. We both married into the Rock family- a group of seven brothers and one very strong and awesome sister. We adore our in-laws, but when get-togethers got a bit intense, sports-wise, we always found a corner to quietly lose ourselves in a conversation about books and writing. Joanne had been writing for Harlequin for years, and I soaked up all she shared about her experiences as a working author. I felt so complimented when she asked for my opinion on some of the plots of her books, and loved hearing about and reading them.
One day, Joanne encouraged me to try writing and I have to admit, my first attempt was a complete fail! I loved creating dynamic characters and interesting situations, but had no clue how to tell a story. Joanne read through my attempts, was so generous with her help, and encouraged me not to give up. Eventually I completed my first YA novel, and we were both so excited when many agents requested the full. Joanne also shared my disappointment when it was rejected. While commiserating during one of shopping/lunch trips to Burlington, VT, we started discussing the possibility of writing a YA book together. Since we shared the same love of books and story-telling, and got along so well, we knew it’d be a wonderful experience! One idea led to another and by the time we’d finished desert, we had the rough outline for the first book in the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, and ideas for two more to follow. We fell in love with the concept, the world and characters we imagined that day, and couldn’t wait to get started.
Within the month, we’d met several times to outline the plot, develop the characters, and create the world of Camp Juniper Point. With all of the pieces in place, we began swapping chapters to write based on previously agreed upon plot events. Once one of us received a chapter from the other, we would read through, add suggestions, then write the next one before sending it back. If one of us had a preference to write a particular scene, we made sure that it went to that person. In that way, we both felt fulfilled and energized by this unique process.
Writing can be, at times, a lonely process. Yet writing with a partner means you aren’t alone. In those moments of doubt or question, when you aren’t sure if the direction you took is the right one, you have your co-writer to call. Problems no longer seem insurmountable or even that difficult when you have another brain to help figure it out. What’s more, it’s great to surprise each other with funny lines or swoony moments. Since writing with Joanne, I too have begun writing on my own for Harlequin. It’s satisfying in a different way, but not quite as much fun. That spirit is reflected in the CAMP BOYFRIEND series. Sometimes we made each other laugh so hard, our husbands wondered if we were really ‘working’. It often didn’t feel that way!
The books in the Camp Boyfriend series are Young Adult, but you both also write Adult books, Can you explain why both genres appeals to you and what is the difference between writing for Adults and Young Adults and what you like about each of them?
We love writing both genres! Writing Young Adult and Adult Contemporary Romance allows us to craft genuine and moving love stories that appeal to readers of all ages. Many of our YA fans are adults who love teen fiction as much as we do. Some of our YA fans have read our adult romances and loved them too. Romance is classic. It’s an experience, no matter your age, that all can relate to. Writing for teens and adults allows us to explore a full range of romantic experiences and not limit ourselves to only one age group. It stretches us as writers, and challenges us to dig deeper into the genre.
YA Contemporary Romances are about firsts. First crush, first kiss, first heartbreak, first love… there’s a delicious sense of fragility and awkwardness about it… like a springtime garden. The promise and potential for greatness. An insistent sense; an urgency. The characters haven’t been hardened yet by disappointments and throw themselves into experiences that may or may not turn out the way they’d hoped. While YA characters’ reckless exuberance and rebellion can sometimes lead to epic fails, it can also lead to incredible joy. These extremes are unique to adolescent literature and teen life. Who hasn’t felt like they were on top of the world one day and wish they didn’t have to get out of bed the next? (Okay- maybe that was just my teen years- lol)
Adult Contemporary Romances are about second chances. These are adults who’ve survived their mistakes or adversity, yet may not have fully healed from these experiences. They carry scars that affect the way they view love, sometimes making them reject the very thing that is best for them. What is amazing about this genre is to show how it’s possible to overcome the challenges you’ve faced in life and to grow enough to be able to find lasting love. I adore these characters so much because they’ve been hurt, or have an obstacle that holds them back, yet find the strength to overcome them. There is nothing that brings me to tears faster than two imperfect characters who discover that they are perfect together.
Each book in the camp boyfriend series has a different main character, but former main characters do make an appearance in later books. How did you come up with the idea to write this series this way and what are the pros and cons of writing a series with different main characters?
It really comes down to a matter of author preference. It’s a very subjective choice. For us, we were intrigued by the opportunity to use the same world, but dig deeper and focus more on specific characters in different books. Both of us are people watchers. It’s fun to sit in a park and imagine the lives of the individuals that pass us. In CAMP BOYFRIEND, we have that opportunity. In one book, a character is a supportive best friend with a bit of an anger issue. In another book, that BFF is now the main character. We get a much better understanding of her, why she has this temper, and root for her as she grows and finds true love. An even greater jump happens when we switch our focus to another cabin entirely, a different set of girls, and get to know them in a way we hadn’t before. You never know someone until you’ve walked in their shoes. And you never know a character until you’ve read his or her story. It’s a thrill to live in a different character’s world and inhabit their lives for different books, rather than staying with only one protagonist for the entire series.
The benefit to writing books with different main characters is that we never feel like we are covering the same ground. Each character has his or her own unique points of view, challenges, and goals for us to explore. This keeps us on our toes as writers as we need to look harder at these characters and envision what kinds of stories will help them overcome what’s been holding them back from finding love. We both want to give our readers fresh and dynamic stories every time. By shifting the series to a different character with each book, they still have the Camp Juniper experience, while seeing it through the unique experiences of that protagonist.
A con to writing books with different main characters is really a logistical issue. It is actually quite intensive work to make sure that the large cast of the series is consistent throughout. Their back stories may be more developed given a particular novel, but they need to match what was written about them in other books. Also, the timeline of events need to match up, requiring meticulous planning. In the series, we actually have an overlapping scene that appears in two books. Both scenes are told from different characters’ points of view. We needed to ensure that every concrete detail matched, while making it seem different and specific to that character’s perspective. However, the extra work is worth the effort when the end result is so rewarding!
Sisters in law Joanne and Karen Rock write Young Adult books under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. They bonded on a set of bleachers, watching their respective Rock boyfriends play baseball, and later, as young wives married into the same big family. Today, they have fun reliving teen drama on the pages of their YA books in their ongoing Camp Boyfriend series, which reviewers have noted for its authentic treatment of navigating relationships and self-identity. Individually, Joanne and Karen write adult romance books for Harlequin. Joanne is a three-time RITA Award nominee and Golden Heart winner. Her books have been reprinted in twenty-six countries and translated into twenty different languages. Karen’s debut romance, WISH ME TOMORROW, has garnered critical acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of a cancer survivor’s journey. You can learn more about their upcoming projects and previous releases at http://jkrock.net
You can find out more about J Rock and their work by visiting (here) at their author site and or (here) at the Camp Boyfriend Site, conversing with them On Twitter (Joanne, Here) (Karen, Here), or by visiting theirFacebook (here), Pintrest (here) or Goodreads (here)pages.
You can find out more about Camp Christmas on Goodreads(here) It is free to download on the Spencer Hill Contemporary website (here) or you can buy it on Amazon for 0.99$ (here).
While it is part of the Camp Boyfriend series it can also be read as a stand alone.
So far this series contains 3 book: Camp Kiss (Camp Boyfriend #0.5), Camp Boyfriend (camp Boyfriend #1) and Camp Christmas (Camp Boyfriend #1.5).
This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.
The book blitz runs from 17 December till 21 December, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours here
One of the giveaways is US Only, here is what you can win: signed copies of J. Lynn’s FRIGID, Kimberly Sabatini’s TOUCHING THE SURFACE, J.K. Rock’s CAMP BOYFRIEND, journal, chinese lantern, pen, stickers, assorted bookmarks, friendship bracelets, Camp Boyfriend pen and mini-flashlight and Bath and Body Works Triple Moisture Cream in Aruba Coconut.
The other giveaway is open international and is for a 25$ gift card