In 2012 a fresh new voice burst onto the rural fiction scene. Rachael Johns (author of Jilted) writes heartwarming, contemporary romances with engaging characters and well crafted stories. She is proving to be one of Australia’s favourite rural romance novelists. (Rachael is also enviably prolific!) I’m very pleased to welcome her to Pilyara for a chat about her new releases, and her sexy small town heroes, including her husband …
Thanks so much for having me on your blog!! I’m really excited to have two books out in January – STAND-IN STAR with Carina Press and MAN DROUGHT with Harlequin Australia – and today I’m talking my MAN DROUGHT hero.
Gibson Black is a rather grumpy and guarded character when he first arrives in the book. Personally, I’m rather partial to grumpy heroes but I knew I needed to give him something (and quickly) that would make him sympathetic to the readers.
In addition to giving him a gorgeous relationship with his grandfather, which showed he could be a nice and caring person, I also made him a volunteer ambulance officer. In my rural romance books I like to explore all aspects of small communities and since living in rural Australia myself, I have noticed that it is the volunteers that keep the towns going.
Probably at least half the adult population of small towns volunteers for some community group at some stage or another – whether it be a sports group, community daycare, clubs, fundraising events, the fire brigade, State Emergency Services or the (in WA) St Johns Ambulance.
My heroine’s best friend goes into premature labour in MAN DROUGHT and Gibson is called as an ambulance officer to attend her. I won’t give all away, but suffice to say both Gibson and Imogen (the heroine) see a different side of each other this night. Imogen realizes there is more to Gibson than meets the eye – that to give so much of his own time to a volunteer role and to be so tender with her friend, he must be a good bloke underneath. This insight piques her interest and she determines to find out more.
I’m lucky that when writing these ambulance scenes, I had my own hero at home to read what I’d written and make sure it was authentic. My hubby, Craig, has been a volunteer ambulance officer in two different rural towns for six years now. I love the ad on TV that shows these volunteers as heroes rather than some of the people given hero status in our community. Craig goes out in the night, he leaves our business sometimes for hours on end to attend to calls. He has spent four out of the last six Christmas’s always from our family for part of the day doing ambulance work. All unpaid, all because he knows this can be a life or death service in rural Australia. Craig is one of many men and women in rural Australia who gives hours, even years of their lives to helping their towns and the people in it.
I’m glad in MAN DROUGHT I got to pay small tribute to the work that these amazing volunteers do! And I hope that if you read MAN DROUGHT, you won’t judge Gibson’s grumpy exterior too quickly. He’s soft and gorgeous inside!
(NB. The photo is of my hubby – but it’s a few years old, he won’t let me take a recent one! )
What about you? What qualities do you like to see in a hero? And what is something that immediately puts you off?
Thanks for this great post Rachael. Nice to know you have your own real life hero at home! Best of luck with your new releases …
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?
To buy links:
Harlequin Australia: http://www.harlequinbooks.com.au/product/9781460892978
Also available on iBooks, Google Play and Kobo.
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?