These are the days I know I’m doing something right, when I am approached by an Australian writer who found us and would like to offer themselves for an interview! This is why it really does give me a sense of pride to introduce you to Australian romance writer, and member of Romance Writers of Australia, Rachael Johns. This interview gave me some definite laugh out loud moments and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
How did you come to be a writer?
Funny story actually – I broke up with my first boyfriend and was terribly depressed, as a 17 year old it usually is about these things. But I took things that step further, I decided to write our story and recreate the ending. It was such a beautiful love story, unfortunately I killed my great love off to a nasty disease. However I got the writing bug. Over a decade later, I’m still writing but have decided I much prefer Happily Ever Afters.
What can you tell us about your journey to publication?
From the day I decided to write a book to the day I got The Email that someone actually wanted to buy one from me, was fourteen years – so it was a LONG journey! During that time I tried my hands at many different kinds of writing. I tried chick-lit and I tried aiming for Mills & Boon, in the end, I think I found my niche somewhere in the middle! I even got an Honours degree in writing somewhere along the way; although to be honest, I’ve learnt a lot more from the Romance Writers of Australia organisation and all they offer their members than I ever learnt studying writing at uni.
Your first book came out with Carina Press in December. Can you tell us a bit about it please?
One Perfect Night is Cameron and Peppa’s story of recovering relationship tragedies that leave personal and physical scars to find love a second time. It was originally targeted at Mills & Boon and has a boss/employee hook with the added bonus (at least I think so) of a Christmas theme. My favourite part about this book though is that it deals with adult night terrors (the hero’s), which as a sufferer myself is something close to my heart.
Can you share some info with us about the publication, you lost me a little talking about your first book and then your first print book?
Ah, sorry One Perfect Night is published by Carina Press, which is a digital first publisher, so it is not available in traditional print bookshops. You can however buy it from Carina Press, Amazon and most other e-book sellers. But my first book which will be available in PRINT is Jilted.
Jilted is your upcoming June release, your first print book, can you tell us a little about the story?
Jilted is what I’m dubbing a semi-rural romance – by this I mean it’s not as rural focused as say Rachel Treasure or Fiona Palmer’s books but it focuses more on small communities and how they rally round their own. And at its core, it’s most definitely a ROMANCE! Here’s the pitch I wrote to sell the book:
When soapie actress Ellie Hughes returns to the small rural community of Hope’s Junction, she risks the unbottling of ten years of secrets. But her godmother needs her, and Ellie isn’t one to let those she loves down. Not with the guilt of what she did to Flynn Quartermaine still burning her heart.
One look at Ellie and the hurt and love farmer Flynn has tried so hard to hide comes roaring back. But he’s a man now, and big enough to forgive her betrayal, if not forget. No matter how loyal the locals think they’re being in bullying Ellie, he can fight his own battles. Except protecting Ellie resurrects emotions he’d thought well drowned, and as she needs him more and more, he can’t resist another taste of what they once shared.
As their love rekindles, so does the need for truth. But with emotions made fragile by the past, revealing the tragedies and heartbreak of ten years ago could cost Ellie the one man she’s always loved. While Flynn must overcome his fear of once more being JILTED.
Where do you get your character inspirations, are any of your characters people you have ever known?
Isn’t that the kind of answer one should never reveal? But seriously, although there might be tiny bits of me and people I know in the characters, I’ve never directly copied someone. I get my inspiration from the types of people that live in the country towns I live in – mostly these are hardworking folks who loving living in the bush and would do anything to support their town and the people in it. I WISH I knew some of my heroes! And just to keep my friends happy, I’ll sometimes pop in a little trait that they’d recognise – for example Ellie in JILTED loves drinking Fanta, as does one of my very best friends. The characters in my urban romances are complete figments of my imagination – cos my life isn’t URBAN at all!
Has romance always been your genre of choice?
Yes. Around the time I broke up with my first love and started writing, I also read Bridget Jones’ Diary and was hooked. Back then, I didn’t specifically think about the fact that I was writing romance but in all my early (cringe-worthy) stories, there’s a girl and a guy she wants to be hers. And when I think back, the books I read in high school were all romances too – mostly inspirational ones actually, because I went to a Christian school and that’s what was in the library Warning: my books aren’t inspirational! I do enjoy crime and thriller-esque stories and I have fantasies about adding a bit of mystery into my next book! Watch this space.
How do you find the time to juggle it all, and what do you like to do in your spare time?
I wish I knew the answer to the first part of this question. Somehow I wrote Jilted during our first year running our own business (a small supermarket in rural WA) and while looking after three boys under seven. In my life there isn’t a lot of free time and at the moment writing is what I do in it. This usually occurs at night after my kids have gone to bed. My poor hubby spends a lot of time on the couch on his own watching TV.
What do you most enjoy reading, and what are you reading right now?
Romance, believe it or not. I read both category romances and longer women’s fiction with strong romantic elements. Some of my favourite authors are Lisa Jewell, Susan Wiggs, Marian Keyes and Jenny Crusie. I like feel-good romances that make me laugh. I also read a lot of rural romance and other fabulous Australian authors. Right now I’m reading Scared Yet by fellow RWA member Jaye Ford – I won’t be reading it late at night on my own!!
What’s next for Rachael Johns?
I’m currently writing another semi-rural romance with the working title Man Drought. Most of this story takes place in a rundown country pub in a town very short on females. I’m having a LOT of fun with it and I hope one day readers will enjoy it too. And I’m also waiting to hear on another submission with Carina Press – this story, entitled Hollywood Heartbreak, is the start of a series.
Can you tell us what being a woman means to you?
Being able to do some amazing things that men simply can’t!! Yes, I’m referring to having babies, but being a woman is about so much more. It’s about female friendships, fun and solidarity. It’s about having empathy for others. It’s about pampering – of which I don’t get nearly as much as I’d like. It’s about being able to be a tom boy, get down and dirty but the next day dress up as a princess!! It’s about opportunities and embracing them. It’s one big and beautiful package.