Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Author Spotlight - Rachael Johns

Today the Minxes are very proud and pleased to welcome one of our very best writing friends to the blog. We are all overjoyed that Rach's hard work and wonderful writing has been recognised by Carina Press. Here's Rach to tell you all about her debut!

What is your writing process?

There’s supposed to be a process? Oh dear! Well... I guess maybe I do have SOME sort of process. I generally start with a premise or a seed of an idea. In ONE PERFECT NIGHT I wanted to write about a hero who had night terrors and I wanted a Christmas story. The characters evolved from there. I’ll then usually write some notes about their conflicts – but this is something I REALLY need to work on. For my last few novels, I’ve written a rough synopsis before starting to write – either to enter into a contest or to show an ed. After the synopsis and the character conflicts, I dive right in. I usually steam ahead for the first four or five chaps and then DOUBT overwhelms me. I wail a lot to my CPs and think this is the worst thing I’ve ever written and there’s NO WAY I can do it. But I plod on.

I do VERY little rewriting – but polish a lot as I go. So far my only major rewrites have been the result of revisions from editors. I LOVE the idea of rewriting but just can’t seem to work myself up to it unless I have a request for revs.

Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?

I’m pretty lucky in that I live in a small town and there’s not much opportunity for shoe shopping. I DO love shopping online but shoes have never worked for me that way. I DO however procrastinate in a zillion other ways – the Internet being my biggest time-waster. I don’t know if I have any method as such, other than trying to reach a word goal every day. And I try to write every day (although I often fail miserably at this)!

Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?

I’m rolling on the floor laughing at this question. Does that count as a fitness routine? The short answer is no. The expanded answer is that I go through exercise binges, not generally when I’m in the middle of writing a book though. I use no-time as a fabulous excuse 

Do you believe in writer's block?

Yes and no. Yes, when I’m struggling – lol – and no, when I’m on a writing roll. Although I think if you’re writing as a career, you sometimes have to write through such down times. I think blocks are often the result of taking a wrong turn or not having enough conflict in the story. When I’m blocked I often go back and read everything I’ve written in a wip so far. Yes, it’s time-consuming but I figure it’s better to do that than waste time on crap words.

Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book?

If so, did it get you into trouble? Hmm... am trying to think, but I don’t think I have. I’m sure a lot of the things in my books have happened to other people but not to me. The closest I’ve probably got is writing a magician hero – my grandfather was a magician!

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

To be honest, I barely FEEL published yet. Am still pinching myself at regular intervals. I think the difference is I feel less guilty for taking time to write. Aside from that, I’m still doing everything pretty much as I was before. Promotion is no longer a dirty word.

In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?

I try to blog regularly (lol) and have a Facebook Author page and a Twitter account. I could hang out on Twitter all day but I’m trying to limit myself. I’m also on Good Reads but not very active there. Oh and I love guest blogging on fabulous sites such as this one 

What is your top promo tip for other authors?

Write more books.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That sometimes you do have to follow your gut and doing revisions that don’t sit right with you is not always a wise move. I’ll clarify – this book was first aimed at Mills & Boon. I was asked to make revisions, which included removing the Christmas element and the family element and losing the boss/employee hook. While I’m all for doing revisions if requested, I think you need to look at whether the revisions will stay true to the story. Mills & Boon may as well have asked me to write another book. I tried, but it just didn’t work out because it was no longer my story. Saying that I did quite heavy revisions for Carina too but they didn’t ask me to change the essence of the story.

What was the most fun part of writing this book?

Can I say typing The End? No? Alright... I have to say it was brainstorming the characters and coming up with their premise. I love the beginning of creating a novel.

And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?

I think Cameron would take Peppa away at Christmas to a place that is covered in snow. He’s a bit of a romantic underneath his tough exterior and I think he’d like to experience the magic of Christmas in a cold climate with her. I’m thinking there’d be an isolated log cabin and a wood fire involved.


Peppa Grant's fellow employees may call their new CEO Mr. McSexy, but she's also heard that he's aloof and distant. Cameron McCormac certainly seems cold toward Christmas when she meets him at the company's annual party...but he's also the sexiest man Peppa has ever seen. And when he offers to forgive the damage she accidentally caused to his expensive car in exchange for accompanying him to his family's holiday get-together, she agrees.

Cameron needs a date to the family party to get his matchmaking relatives off his back. Their chemistry is instant and undeniable, leading to an incredible one-night stand. But Peppa wants love and family, while Cameron's only interested in temporary pleasure. When their relationship takes an unexpectedly serious turn, will he run the other way—or will he give love a second chance?

Carina Press

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Rachael has kindly offered a give-away to one non-minxy commentator so please get commenting to get yourself in the running for a fab early Christmas present!


Rachael Johns said...

Thanks so much for having me!! And for counting me as one of your best friends - the feeling is mutual.

Think I'd better change the bit I wrote about rewriting. I'm having to learn to do much MORE of it :(

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Rach!
I'm five chapters into One Perfect Night and loving it. Great interview.
Cheers :)

Scarlet Wilson said...

Fab to see you here Rach and congrats on your release!

Anonymous said...

Your grandfather was a magician? No wonder you can pull a great story out of a hat! Am looking forward to reading One Perfect Night on my smartphone app!

Sally Clements said...

Yay! this is so exciting, Rach, congratuations!
Thanks so much for going minxy for the day too, it's great to have you here!

Leah Ashton said...

Great interview, Rach!!

I'm so looking forward to curling up with One Perfect Night :)

Romy Sommer said...

Thanks for being here today, Rach. Especially since it's the busy holiday season and all.

I loved your line about the most fun thing about writing a novel!

Rachel lyndhurst said...

Many, many congratulations on your debut, Rachael! It sounds FAB!


Sri Pammi said...

Your book sounds fab, Rachel!!
And it's so important to keep the vision of your own story too...

Hope the next year brings more successes your way!!

Maya Blake said...

Super congrats on your debut, Rachael, and also on the wonderful reviews One Perfect Night is garnering. So very thoroughly deserved!!!

Catherine Coles said...

So very happy for you, Rach, and can't wait to read your book. I have it on my Kindle. I haven't read a Christmas book yet this year so yours will be a first in several ways!

Lots and lots of luck with it xxx

Maria said...

It must have taken a lot of guts to say no to the revisions suggested by a major publisher and go with your vision. It must feel great that your story has found a home.

Isn't it ironic how the internet can save you time (i.e. while shopping) yet be a huge time waster, cutting into your writing time?