AUSSIE MONTH with Rachael Johns
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your background with regard to writing?
I actually have an Honour degree in English Literature and Writing, which Fiona Palmer recently told me I should make public because it might get me noticed by the literary crew, but to be honest, the writing degree did nothing to help me where I got today and I’m happier with the genre fiction crew anyway. I’d been writing for almost ten years when I finally found Romance Writers of Australia and that’s when I finally started to hone my craft and learn what it takes to write a good book. Before that I was writing with no idea of what I was writing or where I wanted it to be published. It was almost another six years after that before I got my first book contract so I had a long writing apprenticeship but I don’t think it was a waste. I learnt a lot in that time and am still learning on a daily basis 🙂
Tell us about The Next Season:
My most recent book is a novella called The Next Season (only available digitally at this stage). It’s a first-lovers reunited story (which is my favourite type of romance) and is set in a fictional tourist town on the beautiful south west coast of Australia.
What inspired this novel?
The Next Season is loosely linked to a Christmas novella that came out in December 2013. The response from readers was that they wanted more of this little town of Wildwood Point and my publisher was also eager, so I looked at the characters I’d written in that book and tried to find a possible hero or heroine for the next. Really, it was reader and publisher enthusiasm that got me writing this little book.
What are you reading right now?
I’m actually almost finished We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which was a Booker Prize finalist in 2014. It was chosen by a member of our book club and has taken me longer than most books to finish. I can’t wait to get stuck into a romance and top of my pile is Jackie Ashenden’s Mine To Take.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
Drive around Australia in a campervan with my hubby and three boys.
Best thing about being an Aussie?
I’m not sure I can choose one thing – we aren’t called THE LUCKY COUNTRY for no reason. Australia is a beautiful country, which such diversity in landscape and people and that makes for a very enjoyable place to live – there’s so much of it to explore, which is why doing so is on my bucket list! That’s my serious answer, but of course the real answer is Tim Tams!
What you want readers to know about the romance genre?
Besides that it’s awesome? I think romance is often looked over as trashy, easy reading but I want to say just because it’s easy and enjoyable doesn’t mean it’s trashy. I love romance cos I’m guaranteed a feel good happy ending, but I also like it because within that there is such variety and many of the romance books deal with serious and important issues. It just doesn’t feel like you are being lectured while reading them. I also want readers to know that romance isn’t just for women. I have a number of men who are very passionate romance readers and I bet their wives are very lucky women!
What have you got in store for your readers in 2015?
I’m very excited about 2015 and have quite a variety of things to offer my readers. In March I have The Road to Hope, which is linked to my first rural romance Jilted. This was a very fun book to write because I got to return to Hope Junction but it was also challenging in that I took a character that wasn’t well-liked in Jilted and made her the heroine of this book. Then in September, I have something totally new and different for me – a biker book set in New Orleans. Motorcycle romance is quite a big thing at the moment but I have to admit, my book may not be for the die-hard MC readers. My hero is a guy who has returned reluctantly to the MC after ten years in exile, so it’s not quite as hard-core as some I’ve read. Then to mix it up even more, I have my first women’s fiction book – tentatively titled The Patterson Girls – out towards the end of 2015. This is a book that focuses more on the relationship between four sisters, but of course there’s still a lot of romance in it. I hope everyone will enjoy my 2015 books.
What were your big achievements of 2014?
I hit a couple of Australia bestseller lists in 2014 with Outback Ghost and that was very exciting. I also completed two full length novels and a novella and once again made Booktopia’s Top 50 Australian authors, coming in at Number 19.
The Next Season
Sometimes going home is the hardest thing you can do…and sometimes the hardest thing turns out to be the best.
When Zoe Bennett’s boyfriend cheats on her, leaving her homeless, jobless and practically broke, she returns to the only place she’s ever felt safe and at home – Wildwood Point. She hopes to heal her heart and find a job to get herself back on her feet – but she has forgotten how small Wildwood Point is.
Until a couple of months ago Shaun Elliot’s life was sweet – a job he loved and big plans for the future. Until, that is, his long-time girlfriend turned down his romantic New Year’s Eve marriage proposal in front of all their family and friends. Angry, hurt and feeling like he is the laughing stock of small town Wildwood Point, Shaun has sworn off relationships while he works out what to do with himself and his life.
The last thing he needs is to find his high school sweetheart stranded on the side of the road. She broke his heart when she left him seven years ago, but he’s never been the type to ignore someone who needs help…