Outback Dreams: Review and an Audience with the Author, Rachael Johns

October 7, 2013 Reviews 0

I am super excited to have a wonderful Australian romance author on My Written Romance today! Rachael Johns is here to answer a couple of questions about herself, and to tell us all about her fantastic new rural romance, Outback Dreams.

Outback DreamsFaith and Monty are both looking for love…but they’re looking in the wrong direction.

Faith Forrester is at a crossroads. Single, thirty and living on a farm in a small Western Australian town, she’s sick of being treated like a kitchen slave by her brother and father. Ten years ago, her mother died of breast cancer, and Faith has been treading water ever since. She wants to get her hands dirty on the family farm. She wants to prove to herself that she’s done something worthwhile with her life. And she wants to find a man…??
For as long as he can remember, Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property and moved to Perth, and ever since, Monty’s dreamed of having his own farm. So for the last ten years, he’s been back on the land, working odd jobs and saving every dollar to put toward his dream. Now he finally has the deposit. But there’s still something missing…??
So when Faith embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart, and Monty’s dream property comes on the market, things seem like they are falling into place for them both. Until a drunken night out ends with them sleeping together. Suddenly, the best friends are faced with a new load of challenges…
Monty and Faith are both ready to find a life partner and settle down, but have they both been looking in all the wrong places?

A few of my thoughts:

Now I loved this book. The friends-to-lovers trope is done so beautifully here. You could just imagine the struggles that Faith and Monty were confronted with – imagine all of a sudden, your very best friend becomes something so much more to you. I can’t say that would be easy.

There was so much that impressed me about Outback Dreams. The believability of Faith and Monty as friends, as well as lovers, was perfect. I love the uniquely Australian dialogue and imagery scattered through the story. I particularly admired the inclusion of an autistic character – knowing people who have family members on the spectrum, the way in which this was handled was sensitive and relevant.

I give Outback Dreams 5 out of 5. I am very excited to say that this is the first in a series by Rachael, and I for one cannot wait to go back and revisit Bunyip Bay!

And now for the interview:

Hi, Rachael! Welcome to My Written Romance!

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m an English teacher by trade, a supermarket owner by day, a mum of three energetic but gorgeous boys and wife to a very supportive but slightly hyperactive husband. I used to do my writing at night but since being published I’ve tried to get into more of a routine. I cram-write on the days my four year old is at kindy and snatch other periods of time between doing the washing, reading pictures books, listening to home readers, playing Chess with my seven year old and cooking things that make me fat. Oh and I hate spiders (fear them with a passion) and you’ll never catch me ironing! Pink is my favourite colour and I’m considering dedicating my next book to Diet Coke.

Can you give us the Cliff’s Notes version of what your book is about?

Outback Dreams is a friends to lovers story about Faith and Monty who are both at turning points in their life. Monty is on the cusp of achieving his childhood dream of buying his own farm and Faith is tired of being treated like Cinderella by her brother and dad. They are both ready for love but it’s never crossed their mind that their ‘one’ might be each other. After a drunken night they sleep together in a tent and freak out at the change in their relationship.

In addition to the main romance plot, Outback Dreams also looks at grief, loss of loved ones and the issue of Autism and how it affects family members.

In short, Outback Dreams is about working out what is important in life and chasing your dreams with everything you’ve got!

What is it that you love about this book, and in particular your hero and heroine?

I love the friends-to-lovers romance trope – I’ve been reading this hook for YEARS and was surprised a while back when I realised I’d never attempted to write one. I love stories in which the hero and heroine are already really close friends but something happens, which takes their relationship to another level.

Monty is adorable. He’s a good-looking, hardworking, all round nice guy. The old ladies in town adore him and are constantly baking cookies for him and offering to do his ironing. But underneath his ambitious, confident exterior is a man who is hurting deeply and holding onto some pretty serious resentment. Nothing better than a tortured hero!

Faith is just one of the guys. She’s gorgeous in a girl next door way, she’s good at sport and likes Star Wars better than chick flicks. She’s loyal to the nth degree and the kind of person you’d want in your corner! She’s feisty and fun – what’s not to love!?

What is your favourite part of the writing process? Is it creating characters, world-building or is it typing The End?

I LOVE beginnings. I’ve always felt the first third of a book is my strongest part of writing, the rest of it requires more from me. Also there’s nothing more exciting than a blank page and all that potential waiting for me. It’s also terrifying and I’m constantly scared I’m going to muck it all up. I’m not much of a plotter, so I rely on the fact that I’ve created strong characters with issues to work through and that they will take me along with them on their journey!

Who is your writing superhero? Why?

The author who inspired me to pursue my passion to write was Helen Fielding who wrote Bridget Jones Diary. I loved her easy to read style and her humour. Other favourite writers such as Lisa Jewell and Marian Keyes also inspire me. One author who I discovered later than most is Nora Roberts. I read all her new releases now and am trying to catch up with her other works – but hey, she’s written about 200 so it may take me a while. Truth is I admire any writer who writes one book and then does it again and again and makes a good career out of doing what they love!

Outside of writing, what do you do to relax?

Relax? What’s that? As I said above we have a small business and three young kids, which means if I’m not writing, I’m often in the shop or doing something with or for the boys. I find baking – anything sweet – relaxing and I wish I had more time to curl up with a good book. One day I want to learn to patchwork, cos I used to be quite good with a sewing machine and love craft!

What’s next for you?

Following Outback Dreams, my next release is The Kissing Season, a novella releasing with Harlequin Australia in December. This is the story of family black sheep Hannah Elliot who went travelling, married a guy in Vegas, who left her when she got pregnant. She’s back home in Wildwood Point (a small town in Western Australia) for Christmas and is trying to hide her secret from her family till after the New Year.

Enter Matteo Mascione, also home for Christmas. He’s a successful businessman who hasn’t put roots down anywhere. Sparks fly between he and Hannah and from the moment they meet he’s trying to lure her into a holiday fling.

Thank you so much for stopping by My Written Romance today, Rachael. It’s been a pleasure having you here! I shall celebrate with a Diet Coke!

Now you’ve listened to Rachael and heard my thoughts, I think you should get hold of Outback Dreams and block out some time to read it.

Here are some purchase links: Amazon (Kindle) – Harlequin (print and eBook) – Booktopia (print) – Google Play (eBook).

Where can you find Rachael on the web?

Rachael JohnsYou can learn more about Rachael on her website, http://www.rachaeljohns.com.

She can also be found on Facebook (Rachael Johns) and Twitter (@RachaelJohns).

If you also want to check out what things inspire her stories, check Rachael out on Pinterest.

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