From Daring Damsels to Hockey Hotties– Joanne Rock


The force of the arrow roared through him as it struck the shield still clutched in his hand.  Bemused, he stared as the flaming arrowhead  ignited the shield with lightning speed.  The heat of the burning wood finally penetrated his dulled wits, and Malcolm  withdrew his grip from the rapidly disintegrating armor.  Although not an heirloom, the shield had been crafted by Laird McNair for his son.  Malcolm was disappointed to see it ruined, but it had served its purpose today, protecting him from what would no doubt have been a mortal blow.

From the stout defense of the walnut tree, he peered up to the northern watchtower, from whence the missile had come.  He blinked to clear his vision, knowing his eyes must deceive him.

Yet there she was.

A woman.

Standing defiantly on the crenellated parapet, she did not even bother to duck behind the safety of the wall now that she had discharged her deadly shot.  She lowered her crossbow, her gaze never leaving her intended victim…

The fey creature was no kitchen maid.  She reeked of nobility. Her green-yellow gown shimmered with the precise hue of newly unfurled spring leaves, and even from Malcolm’s considerable distance, he could see the voluminous folds and rich color conveyed wealth.  A golden girdle sparkled around her hips in the sinking sunlight.

And her hair…

The woman’s hair outshone her adornments. It floated in a halo about her head and shoulders, rippling clear down to her waist.  Loose flaxen strands caught by the breeze gave the impression of gentle disarray.  She looked like a pagan sacrifice to the ancient gods of spring.

Rock-The Laird's LadyHave you ever finished a book and then flipped right back to the front to start reading it again?

That’s what happened to me way back in 2005 when I read The Laird’s Lady

Rosalind and Malcolm’s story hooked me hard.  Every now and then, after all these years, I still drift off, thinking about it.  That story had just the right amount of history,  plus wounded, driven main characters, and in particular it had something  I hadn’t seen in a lot of historical romance–a strong, kick-butt heroine.   Now it’s available only in eBook and in paperback at used bookstores, but I’ll tell you that this book won me to medieval historicals, and the author became my go-to girl for medieval romance. 

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting that author several times at conferences and events around the country, and I can tell you she’s as sweet and generous as she is lovely and talented.   She now has more than 60 books under hejoanne rockr belt, and I’m so pleased to introduce you to her today. 

Sven is pouring drinks, so y’all give your orders to one of the guys–they’re all here–the whole crew has gathered ’round to meet today’s guest, and you’ll soon figure out why. 

Everyone please give a famous lair welcome to  one of my long-time favorite authors, Joanne Rock.

*loud applause and whistles*

Cassondra:  Joanne, thank you so much for joining us in the lair today!  First things first though…what would you like from the bar?

Joanne:  Thank you so much for having me here! I’m feeling right at home and it’s always nice to visit with you. Since you were kind enough to ask, I’d love a margarita.

Cassondra:  *speaks up over sounds of ice being scooped and drinks being shaken behind the bar* I read your bio when I was getting ready for the interview, and saw that you went to the University of Louisville.  That was new to me since I thought of you as being from Florida, then the Northeast.  I tend to think our childhoods are a big part of what makes us the writers we are. Will you tell us a little about where you grew up and your moves about the world?

University of LouisvilleJoanne:  Surely! *smiles and nods at Sven as he sets her margarita and  my glass of Cabernet on the small, rustic table between us*  I grew up south of Albany, New York, on a farm along the Hudson River. I used to like to sit by the river and watch the trains go by on their way to New York City.

Eventually, I would be on the train every summer while I worked in Manhattan as a teenager. It was fun and exciting, but it taught me that I was as much a farm girl as a city girl. Like Goldilocks, I’ve always been in search of the perfect place for myself and neither of those places were quite right. Louisville, Kentucky, on the other hand, was a great fit!

Cassondra:  I love Louisville. It’s my favorite Kentucky city.

Joanne:  The city is charming with lots of arts and culture. Outside the city, it’s wonderfully rural and you feel right at home hanging out with the neighbors in the backyard for weekend picnics.

 Cassondra:  But you’ve moved around a bunch since then, right?

Joanne: *nods and takes a sip of her drink* Since my Louisville days, I’ve relocated a fair amount for my husband’s then-job as a sports editor. We lived in Utah, Ohio, Louisiana and Florida before an extended stay in upstate New York again. These days, I’m trying to be a snowbird even though we have kids in schoSesame Street Story bookol. I think the change of scenery inspires my work and keeps me energized.

 Cassondra:  As prolific as you are, I’m sure it’s extra- important to keep the well filled so the stories can flow.    Do you remember what made you fall in love with books?

 Joanne:  I probably fell in love with books because my parents read to me a lot and they so obviously loved reading as well. I saw my parents read all the time. My dad used to read a Sesame Street story to me called “The Diamond D and the Dreadful Dragon” and we were so silly with it.

Cassondra:  Hmmm…on a lark I went looking for that story, and I think I’m vindicated in believing the childhood of the writer influences what she writes.  The first line reads

 Dozens of years ago.

In a drafty castle.

Duke David of Dundeedle did dwell.**

And…..*dramatic pause*… you grew up to write romance set dozens of years ago in drafty castles. 

Joanne:  *liRock--The Knight's Returnfts her margarita glass and grins*   My dad also liked to arrange my wealth of stuffed animals into storybook vignettes as a surprise for me when I got home from school. One day, he’d made a newspaper hat for my stuffed dog so he looked like Robin Hood.  Another day, one stuffed bear was trying to shoot an apple off another stuffed bear’s head. From my early childhood, stories came to life for me in a fun way.

Cassondra: What a gift that was!…Your parents gave you the gift of story, and you now give that gift to all of us who are readers.   *cheers and more catcalls from the audience* 

You went on to school for  a higher degree in English.  What were your plans for that, and how did you end up in romance?

 Joanne:  I got my Bachelor’s degree in Communication and then wondered why I hadn’t gone to school for what I loved most- English.

I had tried to be very practical about my education, but I ended up realizing there’s such a thing as being too practical and that you will be best served by following your passions.

So on the day that I started my Master’s coursework, I was simultaneously beginning my first romance novel. I literally wrote the opening on campus before my first class. The dream of writing a book and the dream of studying English literature went sort of hand-in-hand for me.

I ended up in romance because I love everything romantic- from the Romantic poets, to Arthurian romance, to chivalry and modern day genre fiction. Romance speaks to me because I adore the big, sweeping emotions associated with the tradition.

Rock--Learning CurvesCassondra:  You’ve written more than 60 books, so your call story—and your first sale—were a lot of words ago, but not so long ago in terms of time.  Do you mind telling the story?

Joanne:  I don’t think a writer ever gets tired of reliving the happy memory of the first sale! I had written several full manuscripts before selling one. I wrote medieval historicals first but realized there simply weren’t as many outlets for historicals, whereas – at the time- 75% of the romance purchased by editors was contemporary. So I tried my hand at contemp in a line that I read anyway- Harlequin Temptation. I was scared to try it at first, but the story really flowed well! I knew I was on to something.

 Cassondra:  Ah, I miss the Temptation line.  Rock-One Man Rush

Joanne:  *nods* Another benefit to writing contemporary romance- and for Temptation in particular- was that editor Brenda Chin was so incredibly accessible to writers at conferences and regional workshops. She was an active contest judge too. So I got my stories in front of her and she gave me feedback and encouragement that were like pure gold to a new author. I sold to her within a year and settled into a very happy publishing schedule.

 Cassondra:  *glances around room as she swirls wine in her glass*  All of Bandita Anna Sugden’s hockey hunks are standing around the edges of the room today. 

Joanne:  I’ve been fanning myself the whole time. 

Cassondra:  They wouldn’t miss your interview for anything, because one of your series is about a family of brothers, including two amazing hockey players, Kyle and Axel.    Why hockey?

Joanne:  *smiles aRock--Her Man Advantaget good-natured catcalls from hockey hunks*   What’s not to love about a hockey player? *more catcalls*  They are incredibly hard-working athletes in a sport as tough as any out there. I follow a lot of sports, including the NHL, and hockey players also strike me as super down-to-earth for professional athletes. So it was a pleasure to write about a couple of hockey guys in my recent Murphy Brothers series.

Cassondra:  Tell us about that series?

Joanne:  There are five brothers (four plus a sort-of foster brother they took in- a Finn who started living with the family when he played on a junior team with one of the brothers) and their family dynamic really spoke to me. My husband has six brothers, so I get to see those relationships in action all the time!

The prequel to Murphy Men is actually a free online read.  You can get it here  Living the Fantasy.Rock--Making a splash

Cassondra:   *waves wine glass at Buddies*  Y’all definitely need to read that.  You’ll love it, I promise.  And you can read the blurbs for the different books, plus some excerpts by clicking on the links below.   Joanne, tell us the reading order?

Joanne:   After Living the Fantasy, the books are in this order..

 Book 1 -Jack and Alicia’s story,   Making a Splash

Book 2- Keith and Josie’s story, is  Riding the Storm

Book 3 – ORock--Riding The Stormne Man Rush is the first of the hockey books, about Kyle and Marissa. 

Book 4–Her Man Advantage, is Axel and Jennifer’s story.  Hockey defenseman Axel is the foster brother from Finland.  

Book 5-Full Surrender, wraps up the Murphy brothers’ stories with Stephanie and  Uniformly Hot! Lieutenant Daniel Murphy.

Cassondra:  I love all these guys, and of course I have a thing for guys in military uniform, but I gotta tell ya, I  totally fell for Axel. *fans self and takes a long sip of wine* 

Ahem….Rock-Full SurrenderNow let’s time travel a bit, from the very modern, very steamy world of Harlequin Blaze. 

As I said earlier,  I first discovered Joanne Rock books because of historicals.  I’m always interested in why writers choose a certain period of history.  In particular the earlier periods when there were fewer creature comforts.   Why medieval for you?

 Joanne:  I like the independence of the feudal estate. It gave rise to a way of life that was unique to each household since the lord of the land functioned like a king in his realm.

Medieval nobles had to be Alphas, and it’s a setting where I can accept an Alpha guy for being that way because people would die if he wasn’t strong enough to hold his lands. There’s something very primal about this responsibility, and the medieval hero is unique because of it.

I also like the epic scale of a historical since the stakes were so high. A wrong choice could mean death. For a Rock--Vanquished by the Vikingwoman, an indiscretion could mean losing her position and her way of life forever.


 Cassondra:  You’ve been doing a lot of the shorter Undone stories for Harlequin.  Will you tell us about those? 

Joanne:  I’m writing a lot of shorter historicals right now because there is a demand for them. Readers appreciate short content to read stories on their lunch hour or after work and feel like they’re getting a complete, satisfying read. Harlequin puts the “Undone” stories out in anthologies overseas and I hope they’ll find more interesting ways to package them here too. I have a Viking story up next for Undone- VANQUISHED BY THE VIKING– and then I’ve got some Victorian set stories planned with a ghost who’s a Highlander. So it’s set in the Victorian era but the hero is still a laird from a time period I love!

Cassondra:  Do you have plans for more full-length medievals? 

Joanne: I’m not sure when I’ll write a new full length historical, but one of these days! Adding the Young Adult books to my schedule really shifted things around for me, but I will always return to some kind of medieval stories. They are a core part of what I love to write. 

Rock JK-Camp BoyfriendCassondra:  Speaking of the Young Adult, let’s talk about the latest writer hat you’ve donned.  You’re presently writing the Camp Boyfriend YA series as JK Rock with your sister-in-law, Karen.  Can you talk a little about that series ?

Joanne: Camp Boyfriend is the first of a three-book series with Camp Payback out in April 2014 and Camp Forget Me Not in August 2014. Readers can learn more about the series- and the FREE novella downloads between books- at

Cassondra:  You hooked me instantly with these stories.  I never went to camp when I was a kid, but I could SO relate to the heroine, Lauren. 

Camp Juniper Point

“Truth or dare, Piper?”

I twisted my friendship bracelet and eyed my  fidgeting bunkmate, relieved it wasn’t my turn in the hot seat. Yet. Would Piper shake up our seven-year first-day-of-camp tradition and surprise the cabin by taking the dare? Either way, I wanted this mega-humiliating game over before it began. I edged closer to our window fan, my mind whirling as fast as its blades, knees jittering.

“It’s hot. Let’s swim.” I twirled prescription goggles in the expectant silence. Anything to avoid a turn that could lead to me revealing my secret camp crush. I loved my Munchies’ Manor cabin mates, but they were bloodhounds in sniffing out drama. And liking a guy we’d been friends with  forever, one who treated me like a little sister, was a camp soap opera I did not want to star in. What if I crashed and burned? I’d never liked a guy before. At least, not one I knew in real life.

Not when it mattered.

 Cassondra:  Camp or no camp, I’ve felt that.  What inspired you to write Young Adult novels?

Joanne:   I love Young Adult books. I’m thrilled that there are so many offerings for teen readers and I think it’s a great sign for publishing in general that YA is thriving. Part of the reason I wanted to try my hand at a YA was because writing a wide variety of material helps to keep my storytelling fresh. Tackling new challenges makes all my work stronger. But the other reason I wanted to work in YA was for the chance to work with my sister-in-law, who was interested in writing. She’s very talented, and as an eighth grade teacher, had a special affinity for YA books. When we brainstormed a potential project to develop together, Camp BoyfrRock--Soldier's Christmasiend emerged in full-fledged Technicolor.

Cassondra:   You’ve moved to warmer climes for the winter season, just in time for your own kids to start school.  As you dig your toes in the sand, what’s up next for Joanne?  

Joanne: I’ve got two Blazes coming out this fall/winter and I look forward to sharing them with readers. One is a Uniformly Hot! Christmas novella in A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS with fellow authors Leslie Kelly and Karen Foley. If you want a hot man in uniform for the holidays, please check this one out!!

 Then, in January, the follow up to MY DOUBLE LIFE goes on sale. MY SECRET FANTASIES is another first-person Blaze, an idea that readers really responded to in MY DOUBLE LIFE. And the down-on-her-luck heroine of MY SECRET FANTASIES is so fun that it’s a blast to be directly in point-of-view as she meets sizzling hot Damien Fraser. Here’s the blurb:

 All I wanted was to escape the media frenzy I left behind in L.A. and open a cute little shop on the Sonoma Coast. Simple, right? But Damien Fraser—the hunky property owner—isn’t exactly thrilled about my reality-TV-star status. Still, I’m pretty sure that all he needs is a little creative convincing…and I’ve learned I can be very creative. 

I started writing a naughty novel, and with every sexy scene I write, things between me and Damien get really hot. Now the hero in my book is starting to look more and more like Damien, and I’m well on my way to becoming my brazen sexpot heroine. But when my real life and my fictional life collide, my fantasies just might cost me all of my dreams….

Rock--My Double Life 

Okay Bandits and Buddies,  have any of you ever done what I did with The Laird’s Lady–finished a book and just flipped right back to the beginning to read it again?

Did you fall in love with books by having other people around you read?  Or read to you?

Have you ever read a medieval romance?    Are there any medievals on your keeper shelf?

Have you ever read a Joanne Rock book?


Do you ever read Young Adult books just for the great stories?  If so, what’s your favorite Young Adult series?

Joanne has brought some great giveaways.  Two random commenters will win a copy of MY DOUBLE LIFE or CAMP BOYFRIEND (your choice)!

Y’all can find Joanne all over the place: Website /Goodreads /Twitter /Facebook /Amazon/ J.K. Rock

**(Snippet of "The Diamond D and the Dreadful Dragon" taken from The Sesame Street Story Book,
Random House, 1971.)


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  • Jane says:

    Hi Joanne and Cassondra,
    I don’t think I’ve ever reread a book right now. I can’t remember how I fell in love with books, but it might have been when our after school program took us to the library every week for children’s reading hour. I love medieval romances and some of my favorites include Julie Garwood’s “The Prize” and Samantha James’ “My Lord Conqueror.”

    • Cassondra Murray says:

      Wooot! Jane, you get the rooster! You’re good for him I think. You keep him in line.

      I haven’t read either of the medievals you mentioned. I’ll definitely have to try those.

      Libraries and Librarians will be the salvation of our world I think.

      My mom took me to the library at least once a week, sometimes more, and loaded up two big bags with books for me. She was determined that I have all the books I could read. I credit her with my love of story.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      I love Julie Garwood books! And your good memories of story hour make me so glad that librarians find time to arrange programs like that!!

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        Hey Jane! Congrats on the rooster! Joanne, I’m with you in that I’m so glad Librarians still make and have the time to do reading hour with kids. It’s so delicious to see them all sitting, with rapt attention, listneing to a story.

        My sons’s schools do this too, they have mystery readers – the kids get clues throughout the morning as to who the mystery reader is, then one of the moms or dads comes in and reads. Pretty cool way to do it. I do it every chance I get.

        • Joanne Rock says:

          That is so neat about the mystery reader!! I love seeing creativity in teaching any subject to kids- reading or anything else. And just that extra element of “guess the reader” adds a nice dose of fun.

      • Dianna Love says:

        Hi Joanne – Great interview (kudos to you and Cassondra). I’ve loved your writing since reading the first book by you and I’m so glad you’re still writing historicals. I fell in love with them long ago when I read Julie Garwood. I have no idea how I missed THE LAIRD’S LADY, but I’m going to get that one in just a moment! 🙂

        Your Young Adult project is wonderful, too. That’s so great for you to be able to write with your SIL. It says how special your relationship is. You have a talent for being uber-prolific and every book is better than the last. Just keep writing and best wishes on all your series.

        • Joanne Rock says:

          Coming from you, Dianna, that means so much!! I sure do hope the books continue to bring something fresh to readers every time. I go back and forth between wanting to deliver a consistent read (ie- something readers count on from an individual author’s voice) and wanting to offer a little something different, too! It’s a tight rope walk, and I may not always get it right. But I figure if the stories stay interesting for ME, there are bound to be some readers who will come along for the ride, too!

          Sending a cyber hug to you for hanging out today… I know how busy you are!

        • Cassondra says:

          Hi Dianna! *waves* Thanks for stopping in to say hello!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Joanne and Cassondra

    Great interview Ladies and I must change the fact that I have not yet reada ny of your books Joanne 🙂 they sound great. I so love medievel stories and totally agree with Jane on the two she has mentioned they are on my keeper shelf and I have Johanna Lindsey’s medieval and Margaret Mallory has some great ones out there as well and Mary Reed McCall.
    I learn’t to read books at a young age my Mum would take us to the library and always encouraged us to read but I normally read them myself and I have not finishes a book and re read it but they often stay in my head for a long while.

    Have Fun

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hello, Helen!

      I recently re-read a bunch of favorites from my teenage years to see if i still loved them as much now as I did then. (I was almost scared to do it… what if the books I once adored didn’t hit me the same way?) But if anything, I loved those books even more because I saw more in them, I think. One of the old favorites was Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. What a great Gothic classic… still gripping today!

      • Cassondra says:

        Joanne I’ve recently pulled out some old books–ones I haven’t read in a long while, and was sad to say I was kind of disapponted in one of my favorites. It hadn’t changed of course. I”VE changed. *grin* Glad yours were still as good as always.

    • Cassondra says:

      Helen you are such a voracious reader, I’m not too surprised that you don’t re-read, because I know you have a to-be-read stack I’m certain. That’s when I stopped going back to old books I loved–when my TBR pile got where I was afraid of it.

  • Mary Preston says:

    I grew up in a house full of books with parents that read. Our weekly visits to the library were a highlight of the week.

    I’ve never re-read a story back to back, but I do have stories I re-read at least once a year.

    My daughter introduced me to YA. Basically thrusting books at me and saying I MUST READ!!

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Mary!!

      Our kids return our love of reading, don’t they . I think that’s great that your daughter pulled you into the world of books she loves! There are some fabulous YA stories out there. It’s nice to have a reading guide through the offerings! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today… I’m excited to be here :-).

    • Cassondra says:

      Mary, I think the YA stories out there take some chances other books just don’t–storylines, etc. That makes for good reading. I’ve been reading more YA recently and I’ve loved it.

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations to Joanne on all her new books out and coming out soon. My mother always had a book to read, usually a Harlequin, and brought us to the library regularly to take out books. I do enjoy reading YA stories. My favorite ones are by Katie McGarry.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Maureen! I love Katie’s books too… so glad there are more coming out from her!

      Thank you for the book cheers. I feel very fortunate to have been writing books for this long– to still have things to say and to have wonderful readers who want to hear :-). It’s a challenging career in a lot of ways, but so rewarding too.

    • Cassondra says:

      Maureen, so far almost everyone has mentioned the library! That doesn’t surprise me, but it makes me so grateful we had one in our small town. As a kid, I wouldn’t have gotten to read nearly as much if that hadn’t been so.

  • Teresa Hughes says:

    Hey Joanne and Cassondra!!

    I am actually part of Joanne and Karen’s street, Rockstars! Love Joanne’s books! If you haven’t read Camp Boyfriend you NEED to! Its awesome! Joanne and Karen write together flawlessly. You won’t be disappointed!

    My mom always read to us. By the time I was a teenager I was reading 2 books a week. One summer I read like 30 books. I can’t remember not reading.

    One book I read back to back was To Kill a Mockingbird. Love that book!!

    Glad you were with us today, Joanne. Great interview!

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Teresa!! So nice to see a Rock Star presence here :-). Cassondra and I are friends from way back so this was a fun interview to do with someone who has known my work through a lot of incarnations!!

    • Cassondra says:

      Hey Teresa!
      To Kill A Mockingbird about killed me. I love the book, but endings like that one–they just won’t let go of me. I was depressed for a while after reading that. I haven’t re-read it because of that reason. I know it’ll have the same effect again because the writing is so powerful.

      Glad to know you love Joanne’s books! I haven’t read Camp Boyfriend yet, but it’s on my list! I got part of the way into Camp Kiss but didn’t get it finished before this blog went to press. *grin*

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        I’m right there with you Cassondra! I will never, ever forget Mockingbird, but I’ve also never re-read it because of that uber sad, bittersweet ending.

        I’ve never re-watched the movie either. :>

        • Cassondra says:

          Jeanne, you’re a better woman than I am for watching the movie. I’m not going near that. I’m so incredibly “visual” that I’d never get over it.

  • Laurie G says:

    Once on an airplane when I didn’t have another book with me. Normally I would not do this as I have too many books on my TBR pile.

    My parents were avid readers. They went to the library every week. My mother also received books through a mail order book club. My older brother and sister also read a lot. I remember being in charge of the TAB book orders at my school in 7th and 8th grade.

    Yes Elizabeth Lowell’s trilogy: Untamed Forbidden and Enchanted (I have all 3 on my keeper shelf), Claudia Dain: The Holding, The Fall, The Marriage Bed …Margaret Moore:Tempt Me With Kisses, My Lord’s Desire, A Warrior’s Bride…, Madeline Hunter By Desire, By Possession Merline Lovelace: Alannah, Julie Garwood Ransom(on my keeper shelf)

    Yes I’ve read and enjoyed a few of her Blaze books.

    YA- I’ve enjoyed Stephanie Myers’ Twilight series, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Young Olympians

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Laurie G!! We’ve both got those Elizabeth Lowell books on our shelves. Adore them! Her books made me want to write medievals.

      I’d love to see more historical YAs. Lisa Klein writes some and I’m excited about Jenn McGowan’s new Tudor series, but I’d love more! Of course, I’d love more historicals for adults too ;-). When you’re passionate about a subgenre, you can’t read enough, I guess

      Thank you so much for visiting! I’m having a blast today…

      • Cassondra says:

        Joanne, I wonder why there aren’t more historical YAs. I think that age group would embrace them, for certain.

        Maybe I’m wrong, I dunno. I haven’t been that age in a long, long time, and don’t have any of my own.

    • Cassondra says:

      Wow, Laurie G, that’s a great list!

      I’m going to have to write down some of those titles.

      Glad you’ve read Joanne before! If you haven’t read Kyle or Axel’s books, I have one word for you. *slurp*

  • karen rock says:

    What a terrific interview from the talented Joanne Rock! I’ve been a fan, sister-in-law and now writing partner through the years and I can attest to the fact that she is every bit is kind and genuine in person. I’m lucky to have her in my family and to have enjoyed her wonderful books all of these years!

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hello, partner!!! Thank you for sharing the fun here with me today… don’t the Romance Bandits put out one heck of a spread?

      Thanks also for the kind words… it’s been a fun two years getting to work with such a creative and energetic writing partner! It’s been really neat to approach the writing process in a different way :-).

    • Cassondra says:

      Hello Karen, and welcome to the Bandit lair!

      Loving your work with Joanne so far. I actually find it a little unusual to have two people who can write together, let alone two people in a family. From observation, it appears the process can make or break a friendship.

      • Joanne Rock says:

        It’s interesting, that’s for sure! I think we have a really good friendship foundation, which definitely helps. You know how sometimes, when you’re getting to know someone, you don’t always interpret their emails properly because the tone doesn’t necessarily come across? Little things like that aren’t an issue for us, because we know each other well. Also, I think there’s a real faith in one another that we would always want what was best for each other. So those are really good characteristics to ground the partnership. Other things can be massaged along the way– agreeing on how to write a character or how to roll out a promo plan. But if you have an open-hearted friendship, I think that smooths the way for anything else!

  • Sandyg265 says:

    I do re-read books but I’ve never finished one and then started it over right away.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Sandy! I didn’t think I’d done this either, but the more I thought about, I know I’ve kind of done it with suspense books that really surprised me when I wanted to see if they’d really laid all the clues out there for me . I’ll flip back to the beginning and start hunting…. often, I get sucked in all over again if it’s a great book. It’s a real talent to slide in the subtle clues!

      • Cassondra says:

        Joanne I’ve done this as well..gone back to see, “how did she DO that?” Then found myself, two hours later, on into the book, way beyond the point I’d gone to find.

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Sandy,

      I don’t immediately reread very often. It’s when I can’t stand to leave the story world and those characters. If I’ve enjoyed the ride that much, and there aren’t other stories in that world, that’s when I’ll do it. This happened more often before I got my Kindle. There might be more stories in the series, but I didn’t have them RIGHT THEN. Now I can just push a button and I have the rest of them.

  • Hi Joanne – Welcome to the laird…er…lair 🙂

    I know I still have LEARNING CURVES somewhere around here. I don’t reread books mainly because the TBR pile would be very upset if I didn’t keep drawing from the top in a timely fashion. However, I LOVE medieval romance. There’s been a small resurgence of medievals set in Scotland but would love to see more Vikings and crusaders with all the pagentry and brawny men.

    As for falling in love with books, my mom was a big reader. I don’t think she ever read a book to me, but I think she figured she didn’t have to as I started reading them myself fairly early. But I remember seeing her reading a book all the time.

    Loved all the excerpts. You are truly a talented writer in all genres.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Donna, I remember my mom having a book all the time too! :>

    • Cassondra says:

      Donna, I actually don’t have memory of a specific book my mom read to me, but I have a vague sense that she did–and I KNOW she read to me BEFORE I was born. So it makes sense that she read to me afterward too. I think my (much older) siblings also read to me on occasion. I also started reading as soon as somebody gave me the slightest hint how to do it, and I’ve never stopped since.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Donna!! I have such good memories of the whole production process for Learning Curves. And so many writer friends shared it all with me and cheered me on since I’d marched that book around the contests long and loud on my way to a sale!!

      I’m with you on Vikings and Crusaders both!

  • Minna says:

    have any of you ever done what I did with The Laird’s Lady–finished a book and just flipped right back to the beginning to read it again?
    No, but there are books, like Miranda’s Viking by Maggie Shaayne, which I’ve read about 100 times.

    Have you ever read a medieval romance? Are there any medievals on your keeper shelf? Yes, but there are no medievals on my keeper shelf.

    Have you ever read a Joanne Rock book? Yes, in more than one language, too.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Hello Joanne! Nice to see you here. I see we have something in common, other than books, the moving often and usually ending up by a fairly large body of water. Although I’ve ended where you began, in southern In, less than an hour from New Albany/Louisville. I lived in other southern In cities and towns, but met hubby and he’d only lived in 2 places before we got together and while he would have loved to stay in his own little town, we couldn’t find anything there. So we’ve been in the same house for almost 29 years. After living here 5 years I began getting itchy feet. Didn’t realize what was going on until I realized I’d never lived in one place for more than 4 years. I always thought I wanted my kids to go to only one school, but it probably wasn’t a great thning in the long run. Lucky for them we are right between Evansville and Louisville, so we always had a choice of cities and what they had to offer.
    As a lttle girl I remember my mother taking us to the library, although I have more momories of her telling me the stories of childhood. But as soon as I learned to read I NEVER wanted to be read to, I hated it! The teacher would always stop to soon. Then I learned there wasn’t just the one copy on the teacher’s desk and I could get the books on my own at the library. I was sooo happy. I always tried reading to my kids, but I think they knew I hated readiing aloud, so they weren’t interested in me reading to them and heaven forbid they did anything I liked to do. As adults all 3 have turned to reading, not as much as me, but at least they read, which makes me happy to see. And they love reading to their own children, as do I. Reading to my grandchildren gives me more pleasure than almost thing.

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Amy,

      I think I knew at one time that you were not so far from me (I’m in Southern Kentucky) but I always seem to forget that.

      As to reading–I don’t remember loving “being read to” when I was a kid, but gosh, my husband has the best voice. Smooth and deep. Sometimes I can talk him into reading out loud to me, and I absolutely love it now. I haven’t explored audio books much, but in the past few months I’ve decided I need to go back to those, since I love someone reading to me. Hmmm…maybe I could get my husband a side job reading audio books. *grin*

      • Amy Conley says:

        Cassandra, does hubby do accents too? >grins<
        It is strange, when hubby and I go on trips we have gotten into the habit of listening to audio books, and I love it…unless we don't finish the book before getting to our destination, then the rule is stopping the book and no listening til we get back on the road…it kills me!
        And there are several books I reread yearly.

        • Joanne Rock says:

          I have made a promise to myself to listen to more audio books! I think it will help me be more patient on car rides PLUS I’ll have the added benefit of reading more books! That’s truly my only complaint about being an author. I read less now!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hi Joanne!! Welcome to Lair!! I love the sound of your books! Cassondra, great interview. You’ve recommended Joanne’s books to me, and I know I have at least one on my TBR pile. Grins.

    I have totally finished a book, flipped back to the beginning and started again. grins. I’m often a re-reader if I’ve liked a book. But there’ve been a few where I ve reread immediately – Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts, Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey, Bourne Identity by Rob’t Ludlum….

    My Dad was a librarian and my mom was an English teacher so I can’t remember a day in which I didn’t have a book or love being read to. :> Both my parents read all the time. :>

    • Cassondra says:

      Ha! How did I know my evil twin would have flipped back and started over, right then and there. You scare me sometimes.

      I still have to read Chasing Fire You and Nancy keep hounding me about that Nora book.

      I will admit right here that I hated the Bourne Identity movie. They did a bad job explaining what was happening and I was confused the entire time. Then there were SO many things he did that a real operative would never do. Walking around with that screaming red bank bag the entire film? OH Hellz no! I just could not get past that. It drove me so nuts that I ranted about it for days. I finally turned to Steve adn said, “Did you like it?” He grinned and shook his head. “None of my friends liked that film.”
      Ha! I was vindicated.

      Okay rant over. Back to the subject. You have to pull Joanne’s book out of the stack. Right NAO.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Jeanne! Thank you for the warm welcome! I’m having such a great day here.

      I’m adding the Nora book and Mercedes Lackey’s to my TBR stack- read Ludlum, love Bourne (sorry Cassondra!!). But while Cassondra couldn’t get past the red bag (I totally get that!) my eye stopped on Matt and never wavered. Dreamy. Sigh…

  • Deb says:

    I reread books all the time! I sometimes even reread the last 20 pages or so to get my quick romance fix. I enjoy medieval romances, but there just don’t seem to be many out there in Romanceland much anymore. Your books sound great, Joanne. Thanks for the interview today, Cassondra and Joanne!

    • Cassondra says:

      Ah finally! Another reader who does what I do (besides Jeanne of course *grin)

      The trouble with going in to reread just a few pages?–That’s how I get hooked back into it.

      If an ending is really, really good, I’ll do this though. Just the ending over and over.

      I agree, there are fewer medievals than there used to be. Or it seems that way anyhow.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Thank you, Deb!! I love this idea of re-reading those last twenty pages for a “romance fix”… so perfect! And if you know the story anyway, it makes sense you *would* enjoy reliving those moments.

      I have a new reading strategy for the days when my eyes are too tired to move. I could always manage the last twenty pages!!

  • Joan Kayse says:

    Hi Joanne! (Waving madly from LOUISVILLE)

    So glad you could join us today! I remember my first meeting with you. Have I mentioned it? (like for the 100th time). I met you at my first conference in New Orleans with Renee Ryan and was so touched by your GH acceptance speech I vowed to be there “someday”. While I didn’t get to make that speech, I did final in the GH with my Roman historical and met these wacky women known as Bandits.


    I love historicals no matter the time setting, but as we Bandits recently discussed on our loop, we have been opened up to other sub-genres by this very blog. My FAVORITE YA author is Katie McGarry, another Louisville gal whose series debuted with Pushing the Limits. That was a great book but the SECOND Dare You To? OMG!

    Now, off to chill with the kittehs. Have another drink….I told Paolo to run a tab for you 😀

    • Cassondra says:

      Haha Joanie!

      That conference where we were all finalists together feels like a long time ago now, to me. I’ve always been glad we all met that way.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Joan!!! (Waving Madly Back!!) So good to see you and I’ve been having so much fun today, and not just because of the margaritas although, thank you all, I don’t mind refreshing my glass just a bit.

      I will never be tired of reliving that GH year because everything about it was touched by magic. I have the card my husband sent to me in New Orleans. The roses arrived hours before the awards ceremony. (And my husband does NOT send flowers often… especially not in those leaner days ). The card said “You’re OUR Golden Heart.” It was from him and our sons. I was so touched. Then, when I realized i couldn’t take the flowers home on the plane, I honestly depetaled them and slept in rose petals that night. I do not lie. Ask Cathy Mann, she’s my witness .

      So… my GH night ended in the scent of roses and much happy joy!

      • Cassondra says:

        Joanne, what a great story! I’m so sorry you couldn’t take your roses home with you though. *pouts on your behalf*

  • Welcome to the lair, Joanne, and congratulations on all your projects! What a fun interview, Cassondra.

    Joanne, I’ve been reading you since your Temptation days so I’m extra happy to see you here today!

    I have to agree with others who name Julie Garwood for medievals. I still have all her medievals on my keeper shelf. Also, Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsay and at least one early Amanda Quick. I was on quite a medieval kick a few years ago. 🙂

    I used to immediately start re-reading books all the time, but not so much anymore. The last one I did that with was AIN’T SHE SWEET by SEP. I still reread that one occasionally. I just love her wonderfully flawed characters. 🙂

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Kate, I’m sending you an extra cyber hug for reading me since my Temptation days. (((hugs))) Thank you!

      I have to agree with you on SEP. Love her books so much. I think Breathing Room was my favorite, but ask me tomorrow, and it might be a different one. There’s a lot to love!

    • Cassondra says:

      Ah, Kate, I think everybody in the lair knows Ain’t She Sweet is one of my faves. I started rereading it again last week, but got distracted and haven’t been able to finish.

      I’m glad to know you flip the book over and start again immediately. Nice to know I’m not the only one.

  • bn100 says:

    Read medievals; haven’t really read YA

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hello, my friend!! Thank you for stopping by the blog AND for reading those medievals. I must write some more!

      Did I mention I’m writing a Highlander ghost for Undone? It’s so fun…

      • Cassondra says:

        Joanne, you did mention your Highlander. That sounds very interesting. What made you go with the ghost angle?

        • Joanne Rock says:

          LOL- a need to do something different! I’ll bet that answer doesn’t surprise you at all. I wrote one sort-of ghost in a Blaze (GETTING LUCKY) and I always wanted to do more of a full-fledged ghost.

          When Historicals started to encourage different kinds of plotlines for Undone, I knew right where I could make my ghost work!

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi bn100. If you try some YA, you’re probably going to get hooked, so just be warned!


  • Heathercm2001 says:

    What a great interview! You have definitely caught my interest! I think those Murphy Brothers are going to be my first Joanne Rock reads! They sound wonderful, and the camp series sounds fun! Everything here sounds great!

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Heather!! That’s a good deal! I fell hard for those Murphy brothers… all of them. I just enjoy the dynamic between brothers or guys who know each other well. The competitiveness, the bluster, the need to call each other on any moment of b.s…. the dialogue writes itself . But underneath it all, there’s such a fierce loyalty. That touches me all the more for the way it’s hidden and you don’t always see it right away.

      Thank you sooo much for dropping by the blog and I’m highly recommending the margaritas. Paolo knows what he’s about!

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Heather! *waves* You’ll love Joanne’s books. And btw, did you see that you won one of Lexi George’s books from the August blog? Check out the Bandit Booty listing. ;0)

      • Heathercm2001 says:

        I saw that! I sent you an email. Hopefully it went through! I sent it from my phone and it sometimes leaves me wondering. Plus, sometimes they go to spam. *fingers crossed*

  • CateS says:

    About the only genre I’ve not read is the vampire/werewolf stuff.. I grew up with science fiction because of my dad, But Roberta Gellis was my intro to medieval.. and I still love all of Jude Deveraux’s !

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Cate!! Roberta Gellis was in the same romance chapter as me at one point and- after I got over being a huge fan girl- I realized she was an incredibly delightful person too. Such a treat to have her in the group!

      If I ever retire from writing, I’m going to jjust hang out with everyone and spend my time going to conferences . We sure have a great sense of community in the romance world!

    • Cassondra says:

      CateS, I’ve read some vampires, but they’re not my go-to genre.

      That said, I’ve learned to never say never. I said I’d never write futuristic, but I have a series all plotted now. Have no idea when I’ll get to write it, but it won’t let go of me.

      So one of these days, I may end up a fan of vampires.

  • Chelsea B. says:

    Okay Bandits and Buddies, have any of you ever done what I did with The Laird’s Lady–finished a book and just flipped right back to the beginning to read it again?– Not the whole thing, but I’ve definitely flipped back to my favorite parts!

    Did you fall in love with books by having other people around you read? Or read to you?– I don’t have a lot of people in my life who like to read– not for fun like I do, anyway! I was read children’s stories when I was little, but other than that I only have one friend who reads like I do– and she lives so far away! Boo! 😉

    Have you ever read a medieval romance? Are there any medievals on your keeper shelf?– I can’t say that I have, but I do have a few waiting for me on my shelf!

    Have you ever read a Joanne Rock book?– No, but I know good and well I own a few!

    Do you ever read Young Adult books just for the great stories? If so, what’s your favorite Young Adult series?– I LOVE Young Adult. In fact, Twilight brought on my love for reading! I thought The Hunger Games was absolutely amazing, Oh, My, Goth by Gena Showalter is terrifically original, City of Bones was quite fun (just saw the movie which was AMAZING! Completely blew me away) Warm Bodies is one of the best ever– I could go on and on!

    • Cassondra says:

      Chelsea B, it’s great to see another YA story lover here! And it’s clear that your TBR pile must be almost as big as mine! LOL!

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Chelsea! How did I miss a book called Oh My Goth by Gena, who I love so desperately?? Must read!!

      Thank you so much for visiting the blog AND for picking up some of my books even if they haven’t quite surfaced to the top of the TBR stack . I know we can all identify with that! I have friends books on my Kindle that I’m dying to start and just haven’t had time. (see my post above on audio books!! I really hope that helps me read more!)

      There are definitely a lot of great stories coming out of YA lately. It’s been exciting getting to know all the more authors and their wonderful work.

  • Joanne, welcome! Great interview, y’all. 🙂

    I love medievals, and have read several of yours. I can’t say which ones at the moment because the books are in chaos and I’m not sure where they are. I also love sports stories and me in uniform. These look great!

    Cassondra, yes, I’ve done immediate re-reads several times. To Kill A Mockingbird was one, and as Jeanne notes, so was Chasing Fire, which, yes, you must read.

    My grandfather used to read to me, and I think that may be when I began to fall in love with books and reading.

    As I said, I do live medievals. You know that. I’m not much for YA, as a rule.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Nancy! Thank you so much for the welcome. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since Cassondra and I set it up :-).

      You mentioned your books are in chaos… mine are too and it makes me feel very unsettled!! We are trying out splitting time between NY and FL (testing a theory if you can be a snowbird before the kids graduate high school ) and most of my books are not with me. I miss them!! I love just knowing they are close. What if I need to look up a character or a great scene in someone else’s book? What if I need one of my fabulous historical reference books? What if I just want to stare at my books of Pre-Raphaelite paintings or Renaissance art??

      I don’t dare think about it too much or I start hyperventilating. Am also trying out life with “less,” which is fine for most everything, except when it comes to books!!

      • Joanne, I know exactly what you mean about wanting to find things. My books, alas, _are_ all with me, just in a state of chaos. Paring down almost anything we own would be easier than pruning the books. *sigh*

        And that was meant to be MEN in uniform, not “me.” :-/

    • Cassondra says:

      Nancy, I wondered if you would weigh in, knowing how much you love medievals. I think the need to pare down stuff is apparently never ending.

      STuff is sticky, and I’m trying to unstick myself. Been trying all year.

  • Paula R says:

    Hello Cassandra! Hi Joanne **waves madly** Have I ever read a Joanne Rock book…hmmm, let me think about that for a quick second…Have I not read a Joanne Rock book is the better question…lol! Love Joanne’s voice, and I follow her from genre to genre…Love her Blazes, and her YA voice is awesome too. I love medievals as well, and I have read a few of hers, but I missed this one. I want!!! I discovered Joanne late, 2008, and I have been glomming her stuff for a while now. I am going to find this book! The Medieval time period is one of my favorites in history. There have been several books that I finished, and went right back to the begin, to start again; I learn something new each time.

    Thanks for having Joanne, and the hockey players…love the Murphy clan!!!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Paula!! So glad you found time to stop by! Especially when you say things that are so nice 🙂 Thank you!! It’s a treat to find readers who read across the genres I write because they have unique perspectives on my work.

      I’m so glad I had the chance to write the Murphy brothers books for Blaze. Even though they didn’t come out under one series banner like Single in South Beach, it was great writing a longer series again. I love those because you can really dig into the world and learn a little more about the characters over a longer span of time.

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Paula,

      Yes, you definitely need to dig up Joanne’s early medievals. They were magic!

      Thanks for coming by the Bandit lair!

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    I love Historicals and Medievals are my favorite time period. The book version of it though as I’m actually rather fond of personal hygiene. LOL

    I started reading Joanne’s books after I *met* her on eHQN years ago. 😉

    • Cassondra says:

      Hi Marcy, and welcome!

      So glad you’ve already found Joanne’s books and can testify to how awesome they are.

      But let me give you a *high five* about wanting to READ about the medieval period, not live in it. I like my creature comforts, and OH YES, definitely like the ability to get clean any time I want.

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Marcy!! We go way back, don’t we? I was visiting with some of the eHQ hosts at RWA this summer and they were on their eleventh PJ party or something crazy and I thought… wow! I’ve been at this for awhile now :-).

      It’s been *so* incredibly fun and thank you for being a part of that!!

  • Kimh says:

    I do not do it u read from beginning,
    Love sports theme books whoo,, congrats
    Love blazes thnanks for giveawy

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Hi Kim! Thank you for checking out the blog :-). I love Blazes too… am dying to pick up Leslie Kelly’s latest. Love her books always, but the cover is so great too!

  • flchen1 says:

    I HAVE done that, re-read almost immediately, although I will tend to jump a little bit more with a re-read and might not read every chapter or line as carefully. I’ve most recently done it with Meljean Brook’s Heart of Steel…

    I’m not sure what tipped me into love with books, but yes, my parents did read to me, and I know my parents are both big readers. I recall interrupting my mom’s reading occasionally and recognize now what a hard thing it was for her to pull herself away 😉

    I have read medievals, including some of Joanne’s 🙂

    And yes, I’ve read quite a few Joanne Rock books, both historical and contemporary, but haven’t yet picked up her YA one written with her SiL…

  • I’m on Joanne’s street team, Rock Stars, as well! Joanne is one of the nicest people I know. When I first spoke with her I had no idea she’d written so many books because she’s so down to earth and friendly. It’s really impressive isn’t it? I’m looking forward to reading more of her stuff!

    By the way, I highly recommend Camp Kiss and Camp Boyfriend! I write YA as well, and I loved every second of the books!!

    • Joanne Rock says:

      Cindy!! What good fortune that we met :-). I’m high-fiving you AND giving a shout out to social media for introducing me to so many amazing people. When Karen and I first started planning our promo strategy and thinking about all the places we wanted to *be* online, it sounded like a lot of work. And while it sorta was, the pay off of creating those digital homes has been so fantastic. I’m kicking myself for not getting better connected a long time ago!!

      Thank you so much for visiting the lair and I’m so glad you enjoyed the Camp stories!! 🙂

  • pearl says:

    Your talent is wonderful. Love to read your books which are special.

  • Kimh says:

    Any winners