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Interview: Karen Pokras Toz, Author of Nate Rocks the World

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Karen Pokras Toz is the author of the middle grade fiction book, Nate Rocks the World.

Karen is a member of the Association of Independent Authors, Independent Author Network, and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a happily married mom of three great kids aged 5-14, one extra furry older semi-cranky cat (in his own 16 year old right) and two rambunctious kittens. Yes – it’s a bit of a zoo at times. I tell my kids all the time to ‘dream big.’ This year, I decided to take my own advice by publishung my very first novel – a children’s book geared toward 7-12 year olds, called Nate Rocks the World. I also enjoy blogging about my chaotic life with a teen, tween and little one. Besides writing, I love to spend time with my family, cook, and garden.

What made you first decide to become a writer?

I began writing quite recently actually. About a year and a half ago, I sat down with an idea I had been carrying around for a while for an adult contemporary novel and quickly discovered that I love to write! The book, although about an adult, had several flashbacks back to the main character’s childhood. It did not take long to realize that I preferred writing in a child’s voice. Soon after, I began writing Nate Rocks the World.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

Nate Rocks the World is the first book in the Nate Rocks series, about a quirky young boy who draws cartoons that come to life. Nathan Rockledge is your typical 4th grader – he has an overprotective mom, a dad who tries to be funny, and an annoying teenage sister. He loves to hang out with his two best friends, and he does not like going to school. He may seem ordinary, but once he starts drawing, watch out. He suddenly transforms into Nate Rocks – 4th grader extraordinaire – saving the day time and time again. Nate Rocks the World uses humor and adventure to show that even kids can accomplish great things. The book is geared toward 7-12 year olds.

What inspired you to write it?

At about the same time I started writing, I noticed that my two older children (aged 13 and 10 at the time) were becoming less and less enthusiastic about reading. Getting them to read anything beyond what was required for school was torturous. They complained there was nothing fun to read. I decided to prove them wrong by writing a book! The main character is inspired by the two of them, as well as my youngest who was 4 when I started writing. My oldest son is the cartoon artist of the family. My daughter is a dancer and very creative, and my youngest son loves to make up stories involving super heroes. I rolled them all together to create one fabulous Nate Rocks!

What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this book?

The book was written for kids, mainly 2nd-6th graders. The importance of encouraging young children to fall in love with reading is so vital. I wrote this book with the hope of getting kids to want to read more. While the feedback from kids has been wonderful, I am also getting a lot of praise from parents and adults, telling me they love the book as well. I think any reader who is young at heart will love following the adventures of Nate Rocks, and realize you don’t have to be a super hero to rock the world!

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Nate Rocks the World is available in both digital and print forms at most retailers – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Itunes, and more. For direct links, please visit my website: http://www.karentoz.com/books–purchase-info.html.

If you could meet any writer (living or dead) who would it be?

I would love to meet Judy Blume, but to be honest, I’d probably get so overwhelmed by her greatness, I wouldn’t even be able to speak. I grew up with her books and now my own children are loving her books. She definitely has influenced my writing style.

What is one fact about yourself you wish to share with our readers?

English was not my best subject growing up … don’t tell my children.

What is up next for you?

I’m currently working on the next book in the Nate Rocks series and having so much fun writing all new adventures for Nate. I hope to publish it next summer.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Encourage the children in your life to read and use their imagination each and everyday! For more information please visit www.karentoz.com.

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About Cheryl C. Malandrinos

  • Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!

  • Excellent interview, and congratulations to Karen on the success of Nate Rocks the World – it’s well deserved!