Spotlight on Joanne Rock

by Catherine Mann

Joanne Rock danced for days when she received her first sale call from Harlequin Temptation. She positively tangoed when she sold two Blazes and another Temptation only six weeks later! To cap off her Cinderella year, Joanne recently added a Golden Heart win to her impressive list of contest credits.

Joanne had been writing for five years when she got The Call from Harlequin Temptation editor Brenda Chin. Five years wasn’t nearly enough to prepare her for the thrill of selling a book, according to Joanne. “I squealed for hours afterward, and burst into spontaneous giggles for days. The news that I’d achieved such a long-term dream was tremendously fulfilling.”

The dream began in graduate school while she earned her Master’s in English. “Sure Chaucer was fun,” Joanne claims, “but once my homework was complete, I gravitated to books by Elizabeth Lowell and Teresa Medeiros.” A former college teacher, public relations coordinator and copy writer, Joanne decided to follow her dream of penning a romance novel when she became a stay-at-home mom to her three boys.

Prior to publication, Joanne launched her dream in a stunning sweep through the contest circuit. Her contest savvy led directly to a contract when she entered the Harlequin sponsored Blaze contest that tallied over six hundred entries. LEARNING CURVES, previously titled HOT FOR TEACHER, tied for second place and received an editor request. Joanne’s work winged its way to Canada with an impressive resume of contest endorsements. A seven-time contest winner, Joanne capped off an exciting year with her second Golden Heart finalist nod, and ultimately a Short Contemporary win.

No doubt, former marketing maven Joanne has combined her advertising skills and writing talents in capturing just what the Temptation/Blaze lines are seeking. For writers targeting Temptation or Blaze, Joanne suggests a close analysis of the lines, reviews the lines garner, and back cover blurbs on the eHarlequin website. “The tone of Temptation has been changing over the last
few years to result in a sexier, edgier read. The hook seems to be a big factor in what sets books apart, as does a fast-paced style.”

Joanne’s first book, LEARNING CURVES, hit the shelves as a Temptation “Heat” in January 2002.

This article first appeared in NOLA News, North Louisiana Story Tellers and Authors of Romance in July 2001.