Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Writing Buddy Wednesday: Rachael Johns

Featured today on Writing Buddy Wednesday is fellow Fremantle conference team member, Rachael Johns. I've known Rachael for a number of years via RWAus and I believe we met online with the 50KsIn30Days many many years ago. Rachael always seems to be happy go lucky, and she writes rural and contemporary romance.  

Now let's talk to Rach! (as she's affectionately known).

Welcome Rachael to the Taverna.

Thanks so much Eleni! It’s fabulous to be here *grin*

In just over a year, you’ve had four stories published (two with Carina Press; Two with Harlequin Australia). Can you tell us about your road to publication?

It took fifteen years and then everything started moving pretty fast. As you can see it’s a long story, but I’ll give you the short version! After wanting to be a primary school teacher forever, I changed to writing the week before starting uni. This was because after breaking up with my high school sweetheart, I somehow turned to writing as therapy and discovered I loved it. Sadly, uni taught me little about the craft of writing a good novel and I ambled about for years, not really knowing what I was writing or how to write it. I was writing what I call Literary-Chick-Lit – I was trying to write something that would win great literay prizes (aka what uni lecturers had tried to mould me for) where all I really wanted to write was something like Bridget Jones Diary (I LOVED that book)! In short, it didn’t work.

Anyway, the one good thing I took from my degree (okay probably not the only thing but definitely the best) is an article I’d found at uni about writing for MILLS & BOON. Almost ten years after starting to write, I decided I’d try my hand at writing a romance. While pursuing this I found the Romance Writers of Australia and through their newsletters, online innovations and conferences, I started to learn what good writing needs – things like conflicts! I entered a number of RWA contests and did quite well, then I finaled in a Mills & Boon contest and came runner up in the world! It was still another two years, but because of the friends I met through RWA and the support of editors willing to offer advice on the way, I eventually wrote a book that someone wanted to buy (ONE PERFECT NIGHT). Within a few months of that, I’d sold another one (JILTED). It’s all about preservation and finding your niche *grin* 


You have two releases currently out – Man Drought (Harlequin Australia) and Stand-In Star (Carina Press). Tell us a little about them.

MAN DROUGHT  is a rural romance set in a small fictional town called Gibson’s Find where the population is almost completely men (Who wants to go there?). The heroine is a widow who, looking for new direction and meaning in her life, buys the town’s run down pub. She has all sorts of challenges as she meets the locals and tries to revive the old place – but the biggest challenge of all is the unwanted attraction she develops towards local farmer, Gibson Black. He’s none too pleased about Imogen’s arrival or his growing feelings towards her either! 

STAND-IN STAR is about as far from MAN DROUGHT as you can get while still being a contemporary romance. It’s a fish-out-of-water story of an Aussie girl who unhappily goes to Hollywood to accept her estranged sister’s posthumous Academy Award. On arrival, she’s descended upon by paparazzi and rescued by an old friend of her sisters, who not only has preconceived dislike for her, but happens to be an ex paparazzo himself. Sparks fly and this is probably the sexiest book I’ve yet to write.

What is it about the rural romance genre you enjoy and are attracted to?

I love writing and reading about the dynamics in small rural communities – where everyone knows everyone and their business, where half the town is related. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it’s not. But small towns also have a great sense of community and they always pull together and look out for each other in an emergency. It’s these things, and the fact that such characters can be found in the bush, that attract me to rural romance!

What or who inspired you to write?

I kind of answered this above – sorry! I started writing when I broke up with my first love. I wrote our story. It was diabolically written and I killed him off (so no one else could have him) but as well as being cathartic, it unleashed a dream inside me I didn’t even know was there. From that moment on, I wanted to write, be published and one day be able to spot my books in a bookshop J

What do you love about being a writer?

Being able to write in my pjs or comfy house clothes. Being able to write in bed with my electric blanket in winter. Creating worlds and characters and playing God to both! The exciting potential of a blank page. The fact I’m basically my own boss and can choose my hours around family and other commitments. The people I’ve met through writing. The readers who send me emails saying they’ve loved my book. The fact I can count reading as research AND books are tax deductible. Romance Writing conferences! Googling hot men in the name of character research… I could go on forever!

What are you working on now? And what’s in the near future for Rachael Johns?

I’m currently editing my September release for Harlequin Australia. It’s working title is OUTBACK DREAMS but that is likely to change. It’s a friends to lovers story and explores some emotional issues of family disharmony, grief and living with an autistic family member, but I hope that it is also fun and easy to read. Uplifting, not depressing.

What would be your ultimate research trip? ;))

I have always wanted to go to Alaska for some reason. I’d start there and work my way down the continent. Lots of story potential there I reckon!

You work in a family run business, are a wife and mum, are part of the Riding the Waves conference team. How do you balance work-life?

With a very supportive husband who doesn’t mind yielding a vacuum and the most amazing, selfless mother in the world. Seriously, without my support team, this wouldn’t be possible. I don’t iron, and I hardly ever watch TV – and if I did, I don’t think I’d be able to fit in writing. However, I make sure to read as much as I can, so that it’s not all work and no play J

Thanks for joining me, Rachael.

Thank you so much for having me :)

You can find Rachael at her following hang outs on the web....





MAN DROUGHT – January 1st 2013, Harlequin Australia (currently only available in Aus/NZ territories)

Imogen Bates moved to the small rural town of Gibson’s Find to start a new life for herself after the death of her husband. Tired of being haunted by the painful memories of her old life, Imogen set her last remaining hopes on the little town and, in particular, pouring her heart and savings into restoring The Majestic Hotel to its former glory. But while the female-starved town might be glad to see a young woman move in, not everyone is happy about Imogen’s arrival.

Sheep and crop farmer Gibson Black once dreamed of having the kind of family his grandfather reminisces about, but he’s learnt not to dream anymore. Living in the mostly male town suits Gibson down to the ground...and he won’t have anyone — least of all a hot redhead from the city — change a thing.

Imogen has never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when it concerns her last chance at happiness. She’s determined to rebuild the pub and create a future for the little town. But can she create a future for Gibson and herself, too?

To buy links:


Harlequin Australia

STAND IN STAR – January 7th 2013, Carina Press

As an anthropologist, Holly McCartney is more comfortable in a museum than shopping on Rodeo Drive. She isn’t prepared for the media frenzy on her arrival in L.A. to accept a posthumous acting award for her late sister….or for her sister’s gorgeous friend Nate Devlin to come to her rescue. Though he resents her for some reason, she can’t fight their irresistible chemistry—especially when the paparazzi force her to stay at his mansion.

Photographer Nate only agrees to help Holly survive Hollywood for her sister’s sake, but she soon gets under his skin in a way no other woman has. The more time he spends with her, the more his attraction grows and he finds himself opening up to her in ways he never expected. But will ghosts of the past stand in the way of their perfect Hollywood ending?

To-buy links:


Barnes and Noble

Carina Press



Jenny Schwartz said...

Rach, you make writing sound awesome! Sssh that's meant to be a secret :)

Lovely interview, Eleni

Jennie Jones said...

I'm half way through Man Drought and loving it! Look forward to your future 'Alaska Outback' soon Rachael! (Lovely blog site Eleni).

Rachael Johns said...

Haha - sorry Jenny!!!

LOL Jennie - Alaska Outback!!!

Jenn J McLeod said...

Always lovely learning more about you.

Sloane Taylor said...

Eleni, I absolutely LOVE the Taverna. I meet new authors weekly that I MUST read. Such is the case with Rachael Johns.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Thanks to everyone for popping in.

LOL, Jenny. The secret is out!

Thanks Jennie.

Rach! - I have these books sitting in my TBR pile. Looking forward to them.

Jenn - I learn more about the author buddies each week. It's so cool.

Sloane - great to hear. I'm glad I'm giving you more to read! :)

Rachael Johns said...

Hi Jenn J! Thought you'd be sick of me by now!

And yes, Sloane - Eleni has SUCH a great set-up here!!!

Carla Caruso said...

Lovely to read more about you, Rachael - and congrats on all your success. Definitely not overnight and well-deserved! Sounds like when it rains, it pours, in terms of the publishing contracts you've landed. Am envious that you seem to have the art of time management down pat. x

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