At any given time editors, publishers, writers, and readers struggle with a novels backstory—too much, too little, too deep, too shallow… there are some major equations in play when deciding how much backstory to offer, what’s important, when, and why.
But that’s not the case when we want to get to know our favourite authors a little better… No, when it comes to getting to know our fave Aussie romance authors, we want to know it all, every single detail… So here’s our first backstory story (!) with international bestselling author, Rachael Johns.
Tell Us Your Backstory with Rachael Johns
“Although I devoured ALL The Babysitters Club books in my childhood and early teens, I was never a HUGE reader in high school – in fact, I got through high school English with only ever finishing one book. It was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in case you’re curious, and I keep meaning to go back and reread it one of these days. Anyway, I digress. I’m pretty certain my lack of reading was because I was spending more time obsessing about boys, or rather one particular boy. And yes, I do mean obsessing.
I liked the same boy most of high school and actually kinda stalked him for a few years until he finally gave in and asked me to the year twelve ball. I thought this was it – he was the love of my life, we’d get married, have babies, live happily ever after (you can see I was a romantic back then too). It may well have worked out this way if not for teenage emotions and dramatics. One day after five blissful months and two days, boy said something I wasn’t that impressed with and in my drama queen manner, I told him I thought it wasn’t working out. He agreed and that was me accidentally dumping the supposed love of my life.
For some reason, I turned to writing to try and ease my wounded heart. Over the summer holidays, I wrote 80,000 horrific words of our story. It was boring – every single thing we ever said to each other – but even then I knew you can’t end a story by accidentally dumping someone. So I gave him a horrific disease and I killed him off! It was the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done and the best part was, nobody else could have him any more. He was dead to me! And that was easier for a 17 year old to recover from than an accidental dumping.
And this was how I caught the writing bug. As much as I hated the reason why I started writing, I fell in LOVE with the actual writing and decided a week before I was due to start studying primary school teaching that I wanted to be an author instead. I transferred to a writing degree at uni (which was probably the worst thing I ever did but that’s a WHOLE other blog post). I wrote that first story in the summer of 97/98 and I didn’t get my first offer to publish until April Fools Day (I know, right?) 2011. I’m a slow learner!
But things happen for a reason – and all those years spent learning my craft and realising what kind of book I was meant to write were like an apprenticeship. And like any good professional, I am still continually learning my craft and hopefully improving my stories.
Dreams can come true, even if it was a dream you didn’t realise you had to start with!”
For more information about Rachael and her novels, visit her website.
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