AWW Feature: Rachael Johns, a lesson in writing romance.

Welcome Rachael Johns!

I’m excited to welcome Australian romance author Rachael Johns to Book’d Out today. Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a supermarket owner by day, a mum 24/7, and a writer by night. She lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. At 17 she began writing, enlightened by the thought that she could create whatever ending she liked, and almost a decade later, after many, many attempts at writing different types of novels, she joined the Romance Writers of Australia association. It was there that Rachael learnt there was more to writing a book than just typing out random thoughts. She learnt about the craft, conflict, consistent characters, etc, and also discovered that she LOVED contemporary romance!

Jilted is Rachael’s debut novel with MIRA books.

“After more than ten years away, Australian soap star Ellie Hughes returns to the small country town of Hope Junction, determined to remain anonymous while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda. But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn’t long before the people of Hope are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie’s visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago. Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together again, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. For Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter. When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?

You can read my review of Jilted HERE. Read on to learn more about Rachael and her journey to the publication of Jilted…

A Lesson In Writing Romance 

I’ve been writing for fifteen years now. I started after breaking up with my first boyfriend and putting pen to paper as therapy. For YEARS, I wrote a crazy mish-mash of literary chick-lit. When I say literary, I mean that I was writing what I THOUGHT I should be writing, what my university lecturers THOUGHT I should be writing. Yes, I have an Honours degree in Writing, which I mostly see as a waste of three years. I did this degree about a decade ago now and I’m sure that writing courses across the country have drastically improved, but it wasn’t until I joined Romance Writers of Australia that things started falling into place. That I really started learning how to write.

Even after four years studying English and writing, I had yet to grasp that good books have CONFLICT as well as cool characters and an interesting plot (maybe I’m a bit slow). I don’t think anyone had ever mentioned the term VOICE, which is what editors and publishers often say they look for ahead of grammar and good spelling, etc. After years of not getting anywhere with my writing, I had a bet with one of my old uni friends to see who could write a Mills & Boon book first. I had NEVER read one in my life but really, how hard could it be? (That’s tongue in cheek by the way J)

As with everything I do, I threw myself into the task. I went to the library and sneakily borrowed a whole bag-full of M&B romances and went home to devour them. What surprised me is that I truly enjoyed them. I’d go so far to say I loved them. The first category romance I read was Barbara Hannay’s  Having The Boss’s Babies and she hooked me. These books were nothing like I’d imagined – they were fun, interesting, well written and dealt with serious emotional issues. I wanted to write one more than ever. In my journey to achieve this, I stumbled across the Romance Writers of Australia.  I signed up immediately and was blown away by the information about writing that was suddenly at my fingertips but even more so by the support offered by this fabulous group of writers.

I’d been involved in writing organisations before and none were like this one. In the others it was always a bit of a contest – who could actually get published. It was like we were all competing for the elusive prize of publication. But that was not the case in RWA – here it was about friendship and comradeship, support towards a joint goal. Through RWA I met my critique partners and some great friends, I entered writing contests, went to conferences jam—packed with workshops, and I got the opportunity to pitch to actual real-live editors.

Despite coming runner-up in an international Mills & Boon writing contest, I never found a home there and I started writing longer fiction instead, but I’ll be eternally grateful that my bet with my friend inadvertently led me to the most supportive writing organisation I’ve ever been a part of. My Australian books are set in rural communities and thus explore the issues that crop up in rural towns, but my main focus is still romance! While JILTED deals with serious issues such as rape, alcoholism and terminal illness, it is in essence a Romance. And this is something I’m incredibly proud of.

If there are any aspiring writers out there, whether you write romance or something completely different, I recommend joining Romance Writers of Australia because the knowledge and support this organisation can offer is priceless.

Thank you Rachael for your participation in the AWW feature here at Book’d Out!

You can find Rachael Johns at:

Website I Blog I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads

Jilted is available to purchase

@Harlequin Australia I @BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia I Via Booko

@Amazon {Kindle}

Also by Rachael Johns

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenny Schwartz (@Jenny_Schwartz)
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 11:40:25

    RWAus is a wonderful community, professional, welcoming and supportive.

    I look forward to reading your review of Jilted, ShelleyRae. I enjoyed it 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  2. Julie @ Knitting and Sundries
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 12:14:57

    What a cool interview! I wish I had some talent for writing, but I’m more than happy to content myself with reading novels by other people who actually have the talent!

    Like

    Reply

    • rachael johns
      Jun 12, 2012 @ 13:26:13

      I’m sure you’ve got plenty of talent Julie, however sometimes (don’t tell anyone) I wish I didn’t want to write because it means I lose valuable reading time 🙂

      Like

      Reply

  3. Ali Ahearn
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 14:19:54

    Hey Rach, just dropping in here to put in a great big vote yes for Jilted. Had to give myself a hard talking to after chapter 5 to STOP READING ALREADY and get back to my DEADLINE!! But am loving it!

    Like

    Reply

  4. rachael johns
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 15:12:04

    Aw Ali thanks so much!!! Good luck with that deadline 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  5. Michelle Walker
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 16:13:21

    Great feature Rach, and I can’t wait to read your review Shelley.

    Like

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  6. Ingrid
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 17:50:47

    Well done Rach & a very good interview and well deserved wrap of RWA – they truly are a most professional, nurturing and supportive organisation. I was going to buy your book but all sold out in Big W in Bunbury.:(

    Like

    Reply

  7. Trackback: Bookish news and publishing tidbits 13 June 2012 | Read in a Single Sitting - Book reviews and new books
  8. Jenn J McLeod ~ Come home to the country...
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 17:14:58

    I’m a bit late coming in here, but ditto on the RWA comraderie Rach and I loved learning more about your journey on this blog.

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  9. Trackback: The passion to write | Write right

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