West Australian author, Rachael Johns, has carved her mark in the romance writing industry, publishing her first book in 2011, and subsequently writing 22 books in the rural romance, category romance, and women’s fiction genres.
Before becoming an award-winning author, Rachael studied writing and teaching, worked as a camp counsellor, English teacher, copy-writer and library officer, and ran a rural supermarket with her husband. A wealth of experience and a love of books helps Rachael create rich plots, relatable characters, and page-turning bestsellers. She writes in a pink and white cabin in the backyard of her Perth hills home, devouring copious amounts of Diet Coke as well as wrangling a menagerie of pets and three boisterous sons.
Released by Harlequin HQ in November 2017, The Greatest Gift delves into the world of infertility and egg donation, with a fun insight into the hot air balloon industry. The story begins with successful radio presenter, Harper Drummond. A proud career woman, Harper has had enough family dramas to rule-out traditional motherhood but is drawn to the concept of helping a couple in need. Claire and Jasper desperately want to start a family and connect with Harper as a potential egg donor. Their roller-coaster journey will have you laughing, crying and empathising throughout. Warning – it will also make you want to book a hot air balloon flight!
I’ve been a fan of Rachael’s since stumbling across her books at my local library, and her latest offering did not disappoint. The surprise twist had me sobbing – fishing rod in one hand, novel in the other – during a family fishing weekend, but there were enough heart-warming scenes to balance out the heart-wrenching mid-point.
Short and sweet Q & A with Rachael
Current book on your bedside table: The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
Favourite Australian holiday destination: Busselton, WA (lots of other places I’d like to go to but this is my annual summer holiday, and I love it)
What’s your preferred drop? I love a good rose or sparkling wine.
Guilty pleasure? Tim Tams, or non-food, a massage.
Pet peeve: Non-writers asking how my writing is going!
Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for: Emily Madden, very excited about her second book THE LOST PEARL, which is out in September.
Established authors who inspire you? Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes, Marian Keyes, Nora Roberts, Lisa Jewell.
Best thing about being a writer? Not having to get all dressed up and put make-up on to go to work.
Worst thing about being a writer? Crippling self-doubt.
Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence? What song/channel/podcast do you have on high rotation? Silence – my house is full of noisy boys, so silence is golden.
TV/film crush: Liam Hemsworth (his role in THE DRESSMAKER – phwoar!!)
The best non-writing related prize I won was… When I was seven, I won a pink helmet in the Constable Care Colouring Competition. I thought that was pretty cool back then. Come to think of it, I haven’t won much since!
Top three tips for aspiring authors? Read lots – in and outside your genre; don’t be in a hurry to get published – take time to learn your craft and practice; find your tribe – you need good writing friends to get you through all the highs and lows of this business!
Proudest author moment? Ooh, tough question – getting that first contract was pretty amazing, but I’d have to say THE PATTERSON GIRLS winning the ABIA (Australian Book Industry Award) for General Fiction in 2015 – as far as I know, it’s the first time a book with a large romantic element won!
If anyone gives me flack for writing in the romance genre, I tell them… Surprisingly, I don’t actually get a lot of flack. Most people are fascinated and want to know more!
Rural fiction writer Maya Linnell honed her journalism skills at a country newspaper before moving to PR and now fiction. She loves living in regional Victoria with her husband, three children and a growing menagerie of animals. Their hand-crafted home recently graced the front page of the Owner Builder Magazine (December/January 2017/2018 edition), along with a series of articles she wrote about their unique building project and hand-made bricks. When she’s not writing, Maya can be found sneaking strawberries from her garden, trying to replicate recipes from food magazines, attempting yet another DIY project, or devouring a good book.
Follow Maya on Instagram.