09 March 2008

Guest Blogger: Joanne Rock

Please join me in welcoming Joanne Rock who writes for both Harlequin Blaze and Harlequin Historicals. Joanne is busy with her two March releases, Getting Lucky (Blaze) and A Knight Most Wicked.

A Knight Most Wicked
A Perilous Seduction...

Baseborn Tristan Carlisle had fought his way to a knighthood. On the threshold of gaining land and power, he would not be distracted from his ultimate goal.

Until, deep in the Bohemian forest, he encountered a woman with unforgettable green eyes. He never expected to see her again--but then the gypsy arrived at court as a lady in waiting. Convinced that she was an ambitious impostor, Tristan set out to seduce the truth from Arabella--assuming he could resist the power of her charms...

You write for Harlequin's Blaze line in addition to medieval historicals. How do those two experiences compare?

I really enjoy the creative challenges that come with writing more than one style of story. Blaze appeals to me for its sexy, modern storylines and the ability to write snappy dialogue that draws from contemporary speech. On the other hand, I like penning historicals for the more escapist settings and the potential for a more epic backdrop. Because I like to write strong heroines, it appeals to me to put my characters into medieval times when social expectations were radically different and women had more to rebel against. It's fun to put characters in different social settings and see how they change and adapt to the curveballs life throws. Whether a woman is faced with a cheating spouse conducting Internet affairs or she's faced with forced marriage to a neighboring lord with a reputation for brutality, I'm interested in how she handles what life dishes out.

Joanne RockHow are you able to raise a family and make time for writing?

Managing my time is an ongoing process that I revisit a few times a year to make changes and adapt to the kids' ever-changing schedules. Also, effective time management comes from knowing how much time I need to do various jobs, something I've learned by trial and error over the years. I try to pay attention to when I work most effectively and honor those times of day when my creativity seems to be highest. I can get the most done when I work at times of day where I'm alert and tuned into writing. Whereas I can sit for twice as long in the late afternoon without accomplishing nearly as much just because that seems to be a slow time of day for me personally. Learning my working rhythms has helped me make the best use of them so I have more time for family.

Prague CastleWhat sparks your creativity? How are you able to come up with new ideas?

So many things spark creativity for me that it's hard to pin them down. I am struck by couples I see in real life and I'll wonder how those personality types got together in the first place. Other times, I'll read about a historical time period and wonder how a woman set against that backdrop would manage if she were dropped into that moment. Articles in the newspaper will give rise to new scenes and settings in my contemporaries. I'm also inspired by my girlfriends and their personalities. I'll spin a few characteristics from one with a few characteristics from another and see what she'd be like if I brought her to life on paper. All of those things have given birth to fun books for me and I hope they continue to for many years! For more on coming up with new ideas, check out my column on "Roots of an Idea."

What are you working on now?

I'm writing a Blaze slated for release in January 2009 for a miniseries called "24 Hours Lost." My couple is splitting up until life throws them a curveball that lands them in a Mexican desert together where they have no choice but to face their problems. I really enjoyed the concept.

Getting Lucky by Joanne RockAny other projects in the works?

Next up is a military hero for the "Uniformly Hot" series in Blaze next year. I'm also hoping to write a Blaze Encounters story with a series of sports heroes. And, of course, I've pitched another medieval story so here's hoping I'll be back to my well-loved historicals, too!

Review snippets:

"Rock starts with an unusual setting (Bohemia) and makes it work. Her character-building skills give us a hero and heroine who are deeply emotional and engaging."
~ Romantic Times, 4 stars

"Packed full of intrigue... Ms. Rock spices things up with unfettered passion, kidnap attempts, traitors, and keeps you guessing until the very end."
~ Writers Unlimited

"A tale deftly woven with historical details, emotional turmoil, political intrigue, and fantastic love scenes."
~ Romance Junkies


Thanks for stopping by today, Joanne! Now readers, you have the chance to win a signed copy of A KNIGHT MOST WICKED along with her March Blaze, GETTING LUCKY. Nice! Just leave a comment or a question for Joanne. Winners will be drawn in one week. Good luck!