Hello everyone! I am so excited to welcome the dynamic duo of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock to the blog.  Lisa and J.A. are here to talk to use more about their newest release, Mark Cooper Versus America.  They have also brought a copy to give away to one lucky reader. So please join me in giving them a big welcome!


mark cooperLisa: Mark Cooper from MARK COOPER VERSUS AMERICA came into existence somewhere during the writing of THE GOOD BOY, when J.A. and I argued a lot about flat whites, kitchen benches, rubbish bins, and all sorts of other tiny cultural misunderstandings and language difficulties. And sure, maybe I argued the most, but that’s because I knew that in the end I was going to lose. Because Loose Id is a U.S. publisher, so they were never going to let me keep my footpaths and car parks and doonas, were they? But I felt it was my patriotic duty to defend Australian English to it’s death in that particular manuscript. Then, J.A. and I noticed something. All this bickering might not be pointless. There might actually be a fun story in here.

J.A.: Stop saying doona.

mark cooper 2Lisa: Some books have themes. If MARK COOPER VERSUS AMERICA has a theme, I think it’s Portaloos and Bears. Seriously. A lot of our emails focussed on portaloos and bears. Then the universe sent us a sign. Here is the sign.  Yes, it’s a portaloo, and it appeared on my footpath courtesy of the construction workers fixing the road. And here’s a close up of the sign on the side.mark cooper 3

Yes! IT’S A BEAR! With the universe’s obvious approval, we soldiered on.

J.A.: There is only one S in “focused.” But yes, the bear portapotty was an amazing coincidence. Unless is wasn’t a coincidence. Lisa has a strange habit of knowing the names of all my family members before I tell them to her.

But spy or no, I was excited when Lisa said she wanted to write about an Aussie boy going to a U.S. school and getting involved in a fraternity. I didn’t know a lot about fraternities, except once in college I went as my friend’s date to the ZBT spring formal. I ate my own mint chocolate mousse and then when everyone got up to dance I went around to other tables and ate the untouched mint chocolate mousses. I was like a little mousse vacuum.

Also when I think of fraternities, I think of paddles. Although apparently that’s not really a thing anymore.

undercover brother posterBut we decided my limited knowledge was enough to proceed on. I was still in grad school at the time and offered to go undercover in a fraternity for research purposes. I thought it might be an opportunity to simultaneously film a wacky comedy called Undercover Brother. Then I was informed this was already the title of a movie. And that espionage wouldn’t be necessary, because, the Internet. 

After many days and hours of research, and e-mails that said things like, “Check out this video of guys electro-shocking each other’s nuts!”, Lisa and I were basically honorary members of the Greek community.

OK, maybe not. But we knew a lot more than we had previously, and we also knew that we didn’t want to attack Greek culture in the book. We wanted to be as honest as possible about the potential benefits and difficulties of being involved in Greek life.

mark cooper 3Ultimately, Mark and Deacon proved the perfect vessels through which to rehash our English arguments. And gave us an opportunity to go a little retro with a paddling scene.

We hope you enjoy.


Lisa and J.A. are giving away a copy of Mark Cooper Versus America to one lucky reader. Leave a comment below to enter. The contest closes on Saturday, February 1st at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post
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