Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Guest post and Amazon GC giveaway from Nate Rocks the City author Karen Pokras Toz! #amwriting #naterocks #giveaway

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I have a very special treat for you today my lovelies! Karen Pokras Toz, award winning author of the Nate Rocks books as well as other middle grade fiction and fiction for adults, has stopped by on her tour to talk to us about the differences between writing for adults vs. writing for children and to offer a little giveaway for all you wonderful Nate fans! Hi Karen. So glad you stopped by. Give us the scoop.

Thank you to my friend and author A.B. Shepherd for inviting me on her blog today to discuss the differences between writing for adults and children. While many writers prefer to stick to one genre, I’ve been venturing out lately, writing children’s books, contemporary fiction, and now romance/chicklit. There’s a big difference between these genres, but of course, the biggest difference is in writing for children and adults. 

As a parent, I think the obvious differences are in language and theme. I certainly don’t want my own children reading books that have inappropriate language and content, and I’m assuming you don’t want your children reading that either. With my kid’s books, I also have to make sure the vocabulary is age appropriate – not too easy, yet not too hard. These considerations, I’m really not thinking about when writing for adults. 

As a writer, I’m also looking at tone and level of detail. Is the tone of the dialogue too mature when writing for my young audience? Maybe I need to lighten it up a little for kids, while still getting the same message across. In the same regard, when it comes to detail, I find myself having to explain a lot more when writing for kids. For example in Nate Rocks the City, the teacher hands each child in the class a journal, which winds up being Nate’s sketchbook for the story. But as I was reading through the first draft, I realized, I never explained where the pen came from. In my head, I heard this one kid (reader) asking “Oh yeah? Well where did the pen come from?” So I went back and added that detail. If it was an adult book, I don’t think that voice would have appeared. 

That’s pretty much how my writing goes. I not only have imaginary characters talking to me, but I also have imaginary readers talking to me. But it’s all good, because they remind me of my audience, and the differences I need to keep in mind when writing. 
Great to know how your writing process works Karen. Thanks for that. Now tell us about your latest Nate book.

Hey New York! Are you ready for Nate Rocks?
Fifth grader Nathan Rockledge has been counting down the days—and meals—until his class trip to New York City. Now that the big event is finally here, he can barely stand the excitement. After all, isn’t this what being a fifth grader is all about? Oh sure, his Mom is one of the chaperones, his annoying sister Abby is tagging along, and that know-it-all classmate, Lisa, will be there as well. However, none of that matters. Not when he’ll be with his best friends, Tommy and Sam. While seeing the sights, his teacher wants his class to take notes, but Nathan has other ideas. With paper and pencil in hand, Nathan prefers to doodle, transforming himself into Nate Rocks, boy hero. Amid ninja pigeons to fend off, aliens to attack, and the baseball game of the century to save, will Nate Rocks be able to save the day one more time?

About the author:
Karen Pokras Toz writes middle grade and adult contemporary fiction. Her books have won several awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, the Grand Prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of the Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). For children, her books include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie is Not My Name, & Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adult readers, Karen’s books include Chasing In
visible, and her soon to be released, Whispered Wishes series. A native of Connecticut, Karen now lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. For more information, please visit

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So where can you find and connect with Karen? 

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  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today!

    1. You are welcome Karen. Nate is such a great fictional friend for middle schoolers and it is wonderful of you to share your thoughts with me and my readers - not to mention your FABULOUS prizes. :)