Q&A with Australian author, Rachael Johns

rachael johnsRachael, thank you for taking the time to stop by The Australian Bookshelf to talk about your latest novel, Man Drought. Congratulations on the release of your second rural romance novel with Harlequin Mira.

 Please describe Man Drought in five words.

Fun. Emotional. Sexy. Fresh. Hot

 What inspired you to write Man Drought?

A couple of different things inspired Man Drought. 1) An article about Australian rural towns with a very small percentage of female residents and the things they were doing to try and revive their towns. 2) Travelling through a number of small towns. I noticed the pubs were often beautiful, historic buildings entirely neglected. I’d love to see more of these old watering holes brought back to their former glory and as I don’t have the means to take on a project myself, I decided to write about it instead J

What do you love about life in a small town?

The community spirit. The fact you can walk down the street and know almost everyone you pass. I love that half the town is often related so you need to be careful never to say anything about everyone and I love that if there’s an emergency or a death or even something happy, the whole town will be there to support those in need. I also really love community events – quiz nights, football games, kids sport, the Christmas Tree we have every year where the kids come along and get a present from Santa. Some people think there’s no social life in the country but usually there’s actually a very rich one.

What do you enjoy especially about writing Australian rural romance?

I like writing stories that are fun and easy-to-read but that are also realistic. Stories that could happen. I love living in a small town and therefore I like to share with my readers some of the highs (and occasionally lows) of living the rural life. There’s so much fun and scope that can be had writing about small communities!

What are you currently working on?

I’m between books at the moment having just subbed a book to Harlequin Australia. I’m hoping they’ll like it and it will become the first in three linked rural-set books. The next book is about an ex-showjumper and the new cop that is come to town. There’s a fire, maybe a case of OCD and the mystery only barely introduced in the first book gets explored a little bit more. This is the first time I’ve written a story with a slight suspense plot, so I’m hoping I can handle it!

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Mostly housework and I’m by no means a domestic goddess but my three boys seem to go through an abundance of clothes and I’m ALWAYS washing. I don’t iron though. And sadly I don’t watch much TV anymore either but there are a few shows I’ll stop everything to watch. At the moment, Downton Abbey is one of them. Of course I love to read and do as much of that as I can as well. In addition to writing, I work in our family business, a small supermarket in rural Western Australia. My main job there is doing the magazine returns, which is actually a lot of fun.

And just for fun, when writing do you prefer…

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? None of the above. If I’m out I’d choose hot chocolate as I don’t drink tea or coffee at all. My writing drink of choice is definitely Diet Coke. Tsk, tsk, I know!

Plotting, pantsing or both? 
A bit of both. I like to have a bit of an idea whom my characters are and where the story is going when I start, but I by no means outline the whole book beforehand. I find it much easier to write if I know what will happen in the dark moment of the book and how it will be resolved though. I love it when things crop up in my book that I hadn’t planned but they work really well and often become an integral part of the book.

In MAN DROUGHT, I wanted the heroine to have two best friends but I didn’t really have any idea about them until I wrote them on the first page. For some reason I made one of them pregnant and this became a major part of the book in the end. Also I had one of the heroine’s best friends buy her a vibrator and never expected what I now call ‘The Random Vibrator’ to become a big part of the book, but the scenes including it are some of my favourite.

Quiet solitude or background noise?
I prefer quiet solitude but that’s pretty much a fantasy in my world. I can’t afford to be too picky when it comes to writing time.

A warm, sunny day or a rainy day? 
This is a toughie but I think I’ll choose the rainy day. I quite like being curled up in bed with my electric blanket and my laptop on a cold winter’s day J

Typing or pen and notepad? 
Typing. I do keep notebooks, which I scribble ideas down in when they hit at inconvenient moments but my mum (a computer teacher) MADE me learn to touch type in the school holidays when I was ten and so I can type much faster than I can write. And then it’s actually legible!

Thank you so much for stopping by Rachael.

Thank you for having me. It was a blast!

Find out more about the author @ Twitter, her blog and Goodreads.

Man Drought can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers.


Synopsis: Imogen Bates moved to the small rural town of Gibson’s Find to start a new life for herself after the death of her husband. Tired of being haunted by the painful memories of her old life, Imogen set her last remaining hopes on the little town and, in particular, pouring her heart and savings into restoring The Majestic Hotel to its former glory. But while the female-starved town might be glad to see a young woman move in, not everyone is happy about Imogen’s arrival.

Sheep and crop farmer Gibson Black once dreamed of having the kind of family his grandfather reminisces about, but he’s learnt not to dream anymore. Living in the mostly male town suits Gibson down to the ground…and he won’t have anyone — least of all a hot redhead from the city — change a thing.

Imogen has never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when it concerns her last chance at happiness. She’s determined to rebuild the pub and create a future for the little town. But can she create a future for Gibson and herself, too?

And released this month with Carina Press, Stand-In Star is also available.


As an anthropologist, Holly McCartney is more comfortable in a museum than shopping on Rodeo Drive. She isn’t prepared for the media frenzy on her arrival in L.A. to accept a posthumous acting award for her late sister….or for her sister’s gorgeous friend Nate Devlin to come to her rescue. Though he resents her for some reason, she can’t fight their irresistible chemistry—especially when the paparazzi force her to stay at his mansion.

Photographer Nate only agrees to help Holly survive Hollywood for her sister’s sake, but she soon gets under his skin in a way no other woman has. The more time he spends with her, the more his attraction grows and he finds himself opening up to her in ways he never expected. But will ghosts of the past stand in the way of their perfect Hollywood ending?


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