Author Speed Dating: Joanne Rock

Author Speed Dating(1)

If there’s one thing I enjoy almost as much as writing books, it’s READING books. I love discovering new authors, too. So I thought my blog would be a perfect place to introduce my authors friends to potential new readers. Only to give it a twist, we’re doing this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. The clock is ticking. Ready! Set! Go!

This week’s guest: Joanne Rock



15 Questions

1. Which Disney princess (or prince) do you wish you were more like? And which one are you really most like?

Snow White. Jasmine.

2. Monopoly or Battleship?


3. How many books have you published, and how many are still tucked in a drawer somewhere?

Published: 83. Tucked in a drawer: None complete, but about 5 partials.

4. If you had no audience, and no regrets would follow, what midnight snack(s) would you be gorging on tonight?

Crème brulee. Bread pudding. Some cracked pepper kettle chips. Nachos and chicken wing dip.

5. Blahniks or Nikes?

Flats only for this arthritis sufferer, so Nikes.

6. Give the title of the first manuscript (published or unpublished) you ever wrote.


7. If you were marooned on a deserted island with plenty of food and water but with only one book to read and re-read, which title would you hope for?

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon

8. In which genres and sub-genres have you been published?

Contemporary Romance, Medieval Historical Romance and Young Adult fiction.

9. Pizza and beer or steak and Chianti?

All of the above.

10. How old were you when you had the first inkling you might be a writer, and what gave you that hint?

Age 10. I was obsessed with textbooks, reading and writing.

11. In 10 words or less, give your best writing advice to aspiring authors.

Trust your gut. Don’t give up.

12. TED Talks or Cupcake Wars?


13. Which one of your own fictional heroes would you have taken home if you could?

Billionaire athlete Jean Pierre Reynaud from Secret Baby Scandal. Sweet, wealthy, and an athlete… Swoony.

14. What is your most ridiculous fear?

Spinach in my teeth.

15. If someone has never read one of your books, which title would you recommend she read first?

Nights Under the Tennessee Stars. I love that one!




Whispers Under a Southern Sky

By Joanne Rock

Returning from the grocery store to purchase supplies, Amy took the Partridge Hill Road slowly, climbing the sharp incline with a respectful speed. She was wary of the potholes and cavernous cracks in tarmac that looked like the town had been ignoring it for decades.

Her car was on its last leg, an eBay deal she’d snagged for next to nothing after her previous vehicle had died. A gray sedan built for efficiency and not comfort, the car was held together with duct tape, furnace cement, a few well-placed zip ties and a whole lot of You Tube video knowledge on DIY mechanics. She was proud she’d kept the thing running this long, but she wasn’t about to risk her luck on one of those black holes.

Even if that meant she couldn’t zip past the house where Sam Reyes was rumored to live.

She kept her eyes on the road so as not to risk any accidental sightings. Not that she wasn’t curious, of course. Her long-ago boyfriend had been hot as a teenager when other boys were still gangly and awkward. Her imagination could fill in the blanks quite nicely to envision him as a man full grown. She didn’t need that visual confirmed. Especially not after they’d had the world’s most awkward non-breakup.

He had just up and disappeared. Vanished into thin air with Gabriella Chase, a particularly adorable majorette who probably would have been homecoming queen. If she hadn’t left school to run away with Sam. His mysterious email—weeks later–claiming that he’d left to “help a friend” hadn’t exactly eased her anger.


The car dipped down into a rut she hadn’t seen. The passenger side tire scraped something sharp, a grating noise against the wheel. She hit the gas on instinct since her vehicle was prone to stalling.

And yet, of course, her sedan died right there.

“Unacceptable.” She closed her eyes. Willed the vehicle to life. “If not for me, you would be in a scrap heap.”

Sadly, it wasn’t her first dialogue with the vehicle. But for the first time, the cursed thing seemed to listen because it fired up again with a cough and a splutter.

“Yes!” She hit the gas hard, desperate to get out of sight from the last house on Partridge Hill Road.

She wasn’t a woman who enjoyed being rescued and, thankfully, her closest neighbor would be saved from that role today. Racing up the rest of the hill, she dodged the remaining pits and crevices, flush with victory and the knowledge she had enough supplies to last her for the next two weeks. She wouldn’t need to worry about seeing anyone until she felt well settled in and—

Oh. Crap.

A large man stood on the porch of the hunting cabin.

Dressed in black and wearing dark sunglasses, the figure stood with his back to her, his large shoulders bent over something he seemed to be examining on the front porch swing. A hit man deciding which weapon to use? Her brain churned out a whole series of crazy possibilities when he did not turn toward her as she slowed the car.

Fear crawled up her throat since no one should be here. Her sisters had promised her—promised—that they would let her decide when she wanted to see the family. No one else knew she was here. And the guy on the porch sure didn’t look like he was selling something. Or trying to convert her.

Why hadn’t the man noticed her yet? She debated backing down the road again. She could just slide it into neutral and she’d be at the bottom of Partridge Hill in moments. Then suddenly, even with her heart beating hard and the car’s heater blowing on high, she realized she could hear the wail of an infant.

Even as she told herself that made no sense, the man on the porch straightened from whatever he’d been studying on the wooden swing. He held a baby in his arms.

But that wasn’t nearly the most shocking thing about her uninvited guest.

Because the man in front of her was Samuel Reyes….


A September 2016 release from Harlequin Superromance, WHISPERS UNDER A SOUTHERN SKY is available from these retailers: Amazon , B&N, Harlequin.


About Joanne

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences, she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to intensive study with fellow author and friend, Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

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40 thoughts on “Author Speed Dating: Joanne Rock”

  1. I hope to find Whispers under a Southern Sky in the next few day’s. You’re afraid of spinach in your teeth? Now , that I’ve never heard of. I have a huge fear of snakes. It doesn’t matter if they are the size of a worm or a huge python. When I was very little I could hear them in the walls even at night. Granted none got inside but I don’t think I can ever forget it. I haven’t liked them since. The same goes with mice, rats, frogs/toads, bees, and mosquitoes, and spiders! I’m now highly allergic to the itty bitty ones so I have to always be on the look-out for them.

  2. Pam, your note made me think of Harry Potter speaking Parsel tongue! I don’t mind snakes as long as they aren’t close to me :-). Its when they sneak up on you that I have a real problem with them! So glad you stopped by today…

  3. I have to say, Joanne, that an obsession with text books is an odd route into writing fiction! I love it. (When I think text book, I think math, for some horrifying reason…)

    Can’t wait for you to publish book #100!


    • It probably is a strange way to go… but my text books were more of the “fill in the blank” variety and my homemade crossword puzzles were usually about Greek mythology and characters from Harriet the Spy. A fascination with word play still makes titling books a fun game for me!

      Thank you for the good publishing wishes… figuring out what year book #100 could possibly happened is as complicated as my math problems get these days .

  4. Nights under the Tennessee Stars was my personal favorite, so I can waif for your new book , besides I have read some bad ones lately, so I am looking forward to one I know will be awesome…I always have had an obsession with reading books as well!! I love sharing and connecting stories I love to read with friends and family. I also will promise if I ever see spinach in your teeth to let you know ( although somehow I can never see that actually happening) if you promise not to let any snakes in my room!!

    • My husband’s making homemade pizza tonight, Diana. He doesn’t do this much anymore, but it was a staple when we were dating– the only thing he could make ;-). I don’t know that it would pass muster with a foodie, but I love it because it brings a lot of happy memories along with the pepperoni .

    • Dana is a clever hostess for coming up with the fun questions. I really had to think about the Disney princess, even though I was in a speed round!! But I picture Jasmine as having a fiery side and Snow White as being totally unflappable. Did she stress when she was left alone in the woods? Nope. She moved in to the closest cabin and put the whole forest to work doing dishes and cleaning house. I envy that ability to find joy in the tough times!!

    • Thank you, Kate!! It’s been so fun thinking about books today instead of the tropical storm raging outside on the Florida Gulf coast. Hoping my laptop and I don’t float away!!

      • Kerri, after writing all day sometimes it is scary to see how my words fall apart! I’m lucky my critique partner can read my mind most of the time and knows what I meant to say even when I’m not sure myself!! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog 🙂

  5. This was fun getting to know more about you. The books sounds great and just added to my wishlist, you know in case I do not win. 😉

    • I appreciate that!! I’ve had such a good time writing this series. Book #5 comes out in March 2017 and will be Wishes at First Light. I just finished up the revisions on it and feel so proud of the Heartache series. Thank you for stopping by the blog, Kimberly!

  6. Love reading about your life & Loves & your wonderful books. Pizza is my favorite food. Thanks for this very generous giveaway.

    • I have had so much fun with giveaways in the past year. Seeing other authors be more creative with them has given me incentive to up my game and I’m surprised how much I like finding color-coordinating things to go with my book. I hope to do some fun new pics for my Superromance release this month for Instagram and I will giveaway any of the goodies I buy to get good pics. On my wish-list– a pretty backpack with the same colors as the cover!

  7. Love the Q&A–especially the one about food. All of the above is definitely the way to go! Looking forward to your newest release!

    • I know!! I am game for everything from backwoods Creole places where they have the smoker to BBQ on the side of the road (yummmm) to the pretty spots that make the dishes into artful surprises. I’m in it for the ambiance as much as the cuisine, and there’s a story in every new place I wander :-). So glad you stopped by, Christy!

  8. It’s an interesting Q&A to be sure. I didn’t realize that you have a Masters in Literature nor that your husband is a professional athlete. The time that I met you at RWA in Orlando, we discussed your vacation in France and the TGV and both of us being Francophiles (I had An Angel in Provence with me). Long time ago! This story does pique the curiosity and fits with the other “Under the Tenessee Stars” that I’ve read. Good luck with it!

    • Hi Trudy! My husband was a sports editor for the first ten years we were married… that’s what brought us to lots of different cities around the U.S. It was a fun way to travel and attend m
      any sporting events! I remember we met, but unfortunately the France conversation wasn’t me…. I’ve never been abroad. I’ve written books set in France though… one of my favorites, The Knight’s Courtship was set in Provence… I wonder if we chatted about that? I definitely travel vividly in my imagination :-). So fun to catch up and thank you for checking out the Speed Dating feature!!

  9. Coming in late this evening, Joanne. So glad Dana asked you to speed date. It’s a marvelous way to meet you. I haven’t read your books yet, but I’m adding them to my shopping list. Well, maybe not all eighty-three at one time. 🙂 Which one would you recommend I read first?
    Lovely to meet you!

    • Loralee… smiling at your note. It is a mountainous backlist, isn’t it? LIke climbing Everest!! I think it depends what you like reading best for where to start. If you love the home and family stories, like Superromance, I’d start with Promises Under the Peachtree. For my sexy reads, I’d hop right in with His Secretary’s Surprise Fiancee, my first Desire story. I’m writing lots more for Harlequin Desire next year and have been loving the world of billionaires!

    • Linda, I don’t carry a compact in my purse these days, so I tried to use my phone as a mirror the other night after dinner while at a restaurant. The only problem?? My aging eyes couldn’t see if there was spinach in there anyway, and I had to dig out my reading glasses to see the phone — all the while being nice and subtle about it . Just call me Ms. Classy ;-).

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