Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview with Karen Toz

This week, on Novelwatch . . .

Lettuce welcome the brilliant Karen Toz!

Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife and mom. Karen grew up in Orange, Connecticut and graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Finance. She also attended the University of Richmond, where she studied law and business, receiving both a JD and an MBA. Karen has spent the last several years working as a tax accountant, writing in numbers. She recently discovered a passion for writing with words. In June 2011, Karen published her first children’s novel Nate Rocks the World. She is currently working on the second book in the Nate Rocks series to be published in 2012, and she is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Association of Independent Authors (AIA), and the Independent Author Network (IAN).

Nicole: When did you start writing? Has writing always been a big part of your life? Will it continue to be?

Karen: I only start writing about a year and a half ago. In my *other* life, I work as an accountant – I’ve always been a numbers person, but now that I’ve discovered writing, I feel like I’ve opened up a whole different side of myself. Yes – I would hope writing continues to be a big part of my life.

N: What inspired you to begin writing?

K: It’s hard to say. I had been carrying around an idea for a book for many years now, but was never able to figure out how to write it. At some point in 2010, I decided it was time to put pen to paper (or in my case – fingers to keyboard!)

N: Name your favorite book. What is it about it you like?

K: I don’t know that I have a favorite book – I love so many books! The Harry Potter series ranks up there, though. Besides the fact that the stories are wonderful, I love that they are books my entire family can read and enjoy and talk about together.

N: Tell us about your favorite (of your characters). What are his/her motives? Why is s/he your favorite?

K: Well of course, I love Nate, but I think the character who I love the most is Claudia Rockledge (Nate’s Mom).  Poor Claudia – bless her heart – she so wants to be the perfect homemaker and mother, but unfortunately everything she touches just turns into a hot mess. But see, Claudia really has no clue about any of it - her husband and kids perfected the art of nodding and smiling, leading her to believe she is great at anything she tries.  Come to think of it – my husband and kids nod and smile a lot ... hmmm.

N: Tell us about your least favorite (of your characters). What are his/her motives? Why is s/he your least favorite?

K: At the moment I’m working on the second book in the Nate Rocks series. There is a character in that story who is bully. I really do not like him, but I’m working hard to find him some redeeming traits.

N: What genre is your favorite to read? To write? Why?

K: I actually love to read literary fiction – character driven stories are my favorite. I love the way they explore human nature and relationships. When it comes to writing though, I love to write funny and adventurous stories for kids. I think it’s because as a kid I loved to read, and more and more I see kids reaching for video games over books. I feel as though if they had something fun to read, they’d think about picking up a book the next time they are looking for something to do.

N: If you could become one of your characters, who would it be and why? What would you do differently in your story?

K: Oh well, I would love to become Nathan. Who wouldn’t want to be the star of their own adventures and fantasies? My fantasies of course would be a bit different than a ten-year-old boy’s fantasies– (no not that!!) They would definitely involve a shopping spree (or two.)

N: How do you write? Do you have a special place, do you listen to music, how much do you write a day, etc.?

K:  I write whenever I can find a quiet space and a good amount of uninterrupted time. I used to set my alarm to wake up before everyone else just to write, but now that all three of my children are in school (yay.) I mostly write during the day when it’s just me and the cats here at home.

N: Okay . . . random question time. If you could get away with just one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

K:  Oh I have such a long list! Are you sure I can only pick one thing? Okay – it would have to be that I would never have to do laundry again.

N: If you could go back five (or ten or twenty) years in time, what writing advice would you give yourself?

K: Just do it! Don’t wait until you are forty-something to start writing!!

Thanks for that marvelous interview! You can find out more at or swing over to Barnes and Noble or to purchase this astounding piece of literature.


  1. Thank you so much for the interview!

  2. Fantastic interview. FYI: Nate isn't the only one who rocks...Karen Toz rocks, too!!!