Today’s guest here on Let’s Talk Books needs no introduction, but I’m going to give her one anyway.Rural Romance superstar Rachael Johns published her first print book Jilted in 2012 and has hit the ground running with best sellers every since. Her writing is flawless, her characters engaging and often swoon-worthy, and more important her stories are real and about small towns that just about everyone can relate to in some way or another. I’ve been reading Rachael Johns loyally since Man Drought was released in 2013 and with each new release I’m at that shelf grabbing a physical copy to hold in my hands. All of this is to say, that you can imagine just how excited I am today to be able to host Rachael Johns on my blog, and share our book talk with you all. I’m not fan girling a little bit here at all – only massively.
I’m an English teacher by trade (please don’t hold that against me), a mum 24/7, a chronic arachnophobic, a Diet Coke addict and a writer by night. I rarely sleep. I live in rural Western Australia with my hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training.
I’ve been writing since I was 17 when I broke up with my first boyfriend (at the time I thought he was The One and was hugely devastated in the fashion of all 17 years olds). For some reason unbeknownst to me, I turned to writing as a form of therapy for my broken heart. It was enlightening to realise that with writing I could create whatever ending I liked. I wrote the story of me and The One and actually ended up killing him off. The writing was therapeutic, the story was cringe-worthy but I had caught the bug.
What are you currently reading?
The Saddler Boys by Fiona Palmer
What was the last book you bought?
The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington
Do you prefer to read books in print or electronically?
Until recently the answer would definitely have been print, but I’m getting sick of all my books gathering dust, so I’m now only buying books I know I’ll want to keep and I’m trying to read the rest on my Kindle. I think I’m slowly training myself to like reading digital more.
What do your bookshelves look like? Do you have an organisation system (genre, colour, author…) or are you just happy to go with the flow?
Hah – I WISH they had some kind of organisation. Only tonight I was looking downstairs where we have 5 metres of bookshelves along one wall, thinking I really need to try and sort it out.
How Often do you read?
Daily – even if only for ten minutes before bed. If I don’t, I get grumpy!
Describe what you would expect to find in your dream book?
My all time favourite books are those that make me laugh out loud. The last I remember doing this was Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella. I read to relax and escape the stresses of my everyday life, it’s MY time and I want to be entertained. Saying that I also love a really good emotional read that makes me FEEL!
How do you choose what to read next?
Mostly it’s random – my TBR pile piles up on my desk and I’ll pluck whatever my mood fancies when I need a new book. When I’m starting to write a new book though, I will read books that may include similar subjects and books for research, so then my choices are a little more thought out.
So you’ve started a book and discover it’s not for you. Are you more likely to discard it or finish it?
Once upon a time I would read right to the end, but I’m getting older faster and there are SO many books I WANT to read that I no longer waste time on one that isn’t grabbing me. I’ll persevere longer if it’s a) a book club book b) a book by someone I know or c) a break-out book – I want to know WHY that particular book hit the mark for so many!
If you could read any book again, for the first time, what book would you choose?
I HAVE A BED MADE OF BUTTERMILK PANCAKES by Jacyln Moriarty. Loved it SO much when I read it about 13 years ago and have recommended it many times since. Part of me wants to reread it to see if I still love it just as much and part of me is scared that if I do, I’ll wonder why I loved it so much first time around.
What is about books that appeals to you so much? What is your favourite part about reading?
THAT is such a very tough question. I think I love the escape into a whole new world where I meet all these fascinating people with such interesting lives. I live vicariously through the characters. Also these days as a busy mum and with all the other things I have to juggle, reading is SUCH a treat, so just having the time to read is probably my favourite thing!
Can you tell us a bit about your writing style. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you prefer to write in 1st or 3rd person? Are you an early riser writer or a late night owl writer?
I’m definitely a pantser – I keep trying to plot, but the most I can do is work out who my characters are (what they want and what is stopping them getting this, their backstories, etc) before I start. Sometimes I know some key scenes and this makes me feel better about starting, but I don’t write a whole outline or anything. I have never written anything in 1st person, but never say never, I don’t mind reading it when it’s done well. I’m more of a night owl and pre-publication I did most of my writing at night, but these days having to get kids up early and organised for school, kinda dictates my sleeping habits. I rarely write at night now as I’m too tired – most of my work happens during the day when the kids are at school!
Was there any particular book that inspired you to start writing?
BRIDGET JONES DIARY! Or rather it inspired me to write the kind of book I wanted to write, rather than the kind of book I THOUGHT I should be writing. At the time I was at university doing a writing degree and they were all about poetry and literary fiction, whereas I just wanted to write something people could read on a train or at the beach and enjoy!
Do you have any advice to other writers out there?
Work hard and don’t give up! Honestly, that’s the secret. But also join a group of like-minded people. Find your tribe. Mine are the Romance Writers of Australia and they are awesome. Oh and read lots – whatever you can get your hands on. I study fabulous books while I’m reading them – when I read Liane Moriarty, I think I may as well give up and go get a “proper” job, but she also inspires me to want to improve!
And lastly, what are you currently working on?
I have just started my next rural romance – THE TALK OF THE TOWN – which will be out March 2016. I’m very excited about this story, parts of which have been mulling around in my head for many years. It’s about a single dad dairy farmer, a ghost and a girl with a past! Oh and it’s the start of a new rural series for me!
To learn more about Rachael Johns and her books, visit the following social media sites: