It isn’t often that you get the chance to meet and talk with an internationally bestselling author, and it’s even rarer to get the opportunity to meet two in the same evening, but that is exactly what happened at the Three Anchors at Middleton Beach. Rachael Johns, was there to promote her new book “Lost Without You” and Anthea Hodgson, author of “The Cowgirl” was accompanying her. Supported by Hamish Cameron from fabulous local bookstore Paperbarks the evening started off with Anthea interviewing Rachael about her writing processes and life experiences. Originally from the UK Rachael moved to Western Australia as a small child, then later with her own family they lived in Kojonup for 6 years before spending 5 years in Goomalling where they owned the local supermarket. She is now based in Perth and writing full time but still loves visiting Albany and Denmark for holidays when she can.
Like her books Rachael was warm, chatty and very modest about her literary achievements. “Lost Without You” will be her 23rd published book and it tells the poignant story of four women, one wedding dress and a long-held secret that connects them all.
Rachael refers to her genre as “Life Lit”, encompassing all types of relationships and the different ways that humans interact with each other. “Women’s Fiction sounds so restrictive, “Rachael says, “My stories explore modern-day relationships and address themes such as family drama, adoption and grief in a true to life way.” Her writing style and stories have gained a huge following and she was awarded the AusRom Today’s ‘Best Established Author 2018’ accolade in December.
An avid reader as a child she enjoyed Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitters Club series but it wasn’t until she turned 17 and had her heart broken that she turned to writing as a way of expressing and processing her emotional turmoil. “My first book was rubbish,” she laughs, “But the experience of writing it was wonderful. So freeing! After that point, I was hooked,”
It took Rachael a further 15 years to get her first book published, and she uses this experience to encourage and demonstrate to aspiring writers how they should never give up. “A lot depends on writing the right thing at the right time for the right publisher. A lot of luck is involved in getting pulished.” Harper Collins gave her that first publishing deal and she has stayed with them ever since, despite offers from other publishing houses. “They’ve always been good to me,” she says, “We work well together.”
Not one to be constrained by one writing genre Rachael manages to write in both Life Lit and Rural Romance. “It’s funny, “she says, “When I’m writing a Rural Romance book I think ‘oh, Life Lit is so much easier!’ but then when I am writing the Life Lit books I just think ‘I really wish I was writing a Rural Romance!’ It’s all good, it kind of gives you a good balance.”
A typical writing day for Rachael involves sitting down at the computer after her three boys have headed off to school and then reading back what she has already written before continuing her story. “As you can imagine, when it’s the beginning of the story it doesn’t take too long before I get stuck into the writing again. But when I’m on page 400 it can take a little longer!” she grins, “I don’t stick rigidly to plot outlines and my characters can sometimes take the story in unexpected directions. But I like that. That’s when the magic happens. Sometimes you write a story and put a little detail in there that you may not fully understand at the time. But then, later in the story, it suddenly becomes apparent why you needed that little detail, and that’s the beauty of it, that’s where the magic is!”
Rachael admits that some writing days are harder than others, but she says that her readers and supporters are always her inspiration to keep going. It is at once abundantly clear that she adores connecting with her fans as much as they love meeting her. She is generous with her time as she signs the books personally, chatting with everyone about stories, families and life in general.
Nobody feels rushed, nobody gets left out and everyone leaves satisfied, with a happy smile on their face and a treasured story tucked underneath their arm. A perfect summer read!
Rachael Johns books are available online and in all good bookstores and you can also join the Rachael Johns Online Book Club which has 1240 members and growing! You can subscribe on her website www.rachaeljohns.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.