I’m super delighted to introduce to a talented and lovely writing friend, Rachael Johns. Rachael is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a chronic arachnophobic and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons.
In 2016 The Patterson Girls was named General Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. Rachael has finaled in a number of other of competitions, including the Australian Romance Readers Awards. Jilted won Favourite Australian Contemporary Romance for 2012, The Patterson Girls won the same award for 2015 and she was voted in the Top Ten of Booktopia’s Favourite Australian Author poll in 2013.
Rachael lives in the Perth hills with her hyperactive husband, three mostly gorgeous heroes-in-training, two fat cats, a cantan¬kerous bird and a very badly behaved dog.
Take it away, Rachael!
TALK OF THE TOWN has been mulling about in my head for a few years and, like all my books (and probably most author’s books) it is a collaboration of a number of tiny little ideas that refused to let me be.
Ghost towns – abandoned or neglected old towns fascinate me. As I have lived in small rural communities for the last 11 years, I have driven through a number of these towns on my way to and from other places and I always wonder about how and why what was once a thriving community died. I feel sorry for the beautiful, old, neglected buildings. I always knew I wanted to write about a town that had been abandoned by its residents and left to fall apart.
Dairy farms – I’ve written a lot about sheep farms and even beef cattle farms, but TALK OF THE TOWN is my first rural romance set in dairy country. This is surprising because I have always loved dairy cows, ever since spending a few days on a friend’s dairy farm in the Isle of Gigha (Scotland) when I was twenty-four years old. That is a long time ago now so when I decided that my latest rural hero would own a dairy farm, I had to do a little more recent research. A friend of mine grew up on a dairy farm and still lives in dairy farming country. So she asked friends of hers if she could bring me round one morning (early one morning, like before the sun rose) to get an idea of exactly what being a dairy farmer involved. I got to see them bring in the cows, put them through their rotary milking machine, ask lots of questions and even meet their newest calves (which are simply adorable). I took lots of notes and lots of photos, which I looked back on when writing the dairy scenes of the book.
Final piece of the puzzle – I cannot tell you exactly what this is because… spoilers (you’ll have to read the book to find out what I’m talking about), but the heroine of TALK OF THE TOWN is actually loosely based on a friend of mine who once told me about her dark past and how she’d left it behind. A few years back when I was running (during my brief dalliance with jogging) past her house early one morning, a line appeared in my head: “She had enough skeletons in her closet, she could deal with a few ghosts!” I knew then and there that this line and the “she” it would refer to needed to go in a book and that it was finally time to write my ghost town where this “she” person could have escaped to.
It still actually took a few years before I wrote this book and during this time I mulled this story over in my head – adding other things that I thought would fit, including ice-cream and Maremma sheep dogs – so when I finally sat down to write the plot was pretty much in my head. But that didn’t mean it was easy to write. TALK OF THE TOWN was a challenge because both the hero and heroine are keeping secrets from each other (one on purpose, one without realising it) and this made it hard to show them getting to know each other and falling in love. But hopefully I pulled it off and hopefully if you read TALK OF THE TOWN, you enjoy my story which was inspired by ghost towns, dairy farms, friends, ice-cream and dogs!
Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife.
But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.
Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more.
But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?
CLICK ON LINKS BELOW:
Website – www.rachaeljohns.com
AND A GIVE AWAY! Winner’s choice on any print book in Rachael’s backlist! Leave a comment below and on 10 May Rachael will draw a random winner.
What Rachael (and I!) would like to know is what is your favourite farm animal and why?
UPDATE: And the lucky winner is RITA WRAY! Congratulations, Rita!
23 thoughts on “Behind the Story: Rachael Johns”
I also love Ghost Towns and feel sorry for the old buildings. I feel like it’s such a waste, people should fix them up and use them. Then the buildings would look happy again. I also hate when people bulldoze the buildings down, it is like destroying history.
Yes, this is exactly it. Especially when old buildings are usually so much more unique than modern ones!
I forgot to answer the question, got carried away with the ghost towns. I grew up on a farm in N.S.W but my parents grew produce and we had a few dogs. I worked on a farm where they had cows so I think that would have to be my answer. Cows are really nice friendly animals.
Hi Rachel, I just read Outback Ghost and loved it! As for my favourite farm animal, it has to be horses. However, I come from dairying stock and love Friesian cows too! Good luck with the new release xx
So glad you liked GHOST and go the cows! x
Piglets.how could you not love piggies. Im an avid animal lover and would own many animals but i live in the city with only a tiny yard.i would dearly love a teacup piglet to take everywhere and to dress it up.yes im a weird one.im way to scared to buy one in case it turns out to be a huge porky pig who would take up my whole bed..
Love your books Rachael.
Oh I do agree. But if only piglets didn’t have to grow up! x
Hi Rachael, my favourite animal is a border collie/kelpie. We had these dogs on our farm and they are great working dogs and loyal ,faithful friends. I don’t really need to win a book from your back list because the only one haven’t read is ‘Talk of The Town’. Love reading your newsletters and posts.
Aw thanks Dee – and I agree, collies and kelpies are beautiful animals. x
Coming to Australia from the UK aged 11,to a property in the middle of the bush in NSW, I was very homesick and lonely, school by correspondence,after about 6 months I was put to work on the property,falling in love with the main black and white collie dog,there were lots of other dogs but Bob was my friend.
Bob sounds very special! x
My favourite farm animal would be an alpaca. Even though they are not as popular on farms as cattle, sheep, horses, etc, I adore their beautiful alpaca fur (or fibre as it is known), and think that they are just so cute!
OMG I am obsessed with alpacas – was actually wondering how to bring them into the next rural romance, which will be the sister from TALK OF THE TOWN’s story!
Hi! Rachael and Alli Sinclair,
My favourite farm animal is the rooster .I love the big red comb and his attitude that he us the king of the farm.You need no alarm clock when he is on the farm.
Ooh now that’s an unusual one but YES, roosters kinda command respect! x
I love cows as a child I had a “pet” cow Penny, she was jersey cross Aberdeen Angus, I told her all my secrets, she loved oranges. I was devastated when she was sold as was not a good breeding cow, so my father said. She would stand still and let me hug her and spill my stories
She sounds adorable! x
Hi, Love most animals but especially chickens – I love their eggs, their clucking and their stubbornness- they are colourful, early risers and love to run !
I have to agree – I quite like chickens myself! x
Growing up on a sugar cane farm there wasn’t many animals. However I loved the dogs that kept the snakes away.
Best of luck with the new release Rachael xx
Wow – would love to know more about sugar cane farming and yay for the dogs keeping away the snakes. x
loved your email!
Congratulations on Talk of the Town. Every time I pick up one of your books everything else gets forgotten…. housework, looking after the kids (‘Yes you can watch tv – just leave me in peace!’) , food and especially sleep!!!
My favorite farm animals are definitely the dogs – Kelpies. They are amazing workers, loyal & heaps of fun. I’m pretty sure there would be many a farmer who could thank their ‘best mate’ for getting them through the tough times that so many of our farmers experience.