Rachel Johns is an Australian romance author, and one of a few authors I’m able to meet with face to face from time to time. Please welcome her to Magical Musings! Rachel writes Australian rural romance, and I thought it would be fun to introduce our US readers to the Aussie rural romance phenomenon.
Rural Australia Breaks into the US!
By Rachael Johns
Down under we’ve coined a genre called RURAL ROMANCE and it is booming. It’s the biggest selling genre in Australia at the moment and new authors are being contracted all the time. My first rural romance (published in Australia in 2012) was recently published in the US with HQN and hopefully other Aussie rural romances will follow.
So WHAT is rural romance? These are books set in small rural communities in Australia, where the main incomes for the towns are agriculture (and occasionally mining). Therefore these stories are populated with farmers – male and female – and the setting is often as much a character as the hero and heroine with floods, droughts and other natural disasters throwing spanners in their lives. These books explore what life is like in rural Australia – living on the land and in small close-knit communities.
The heroes are appealing in much the same way as the cowboy hero has always been popular in romance. Think men who can “do” stuff, are good with their hands and look good in dirty jeans and a scruffy t-shirt. Not to mention those wide Akubra hats and Blundstone boots. Of course hey look even better when it gets a little steamy and they have to take off those shirts. Hubba hubba!
The heroines are often strong, independent women who run properties themselves – they are more likely to wear boots than high heels, drive a ute (pick-up truck) and have a dog that works just as hard as they do. Or they are city-girls who find themselves (and the love of their lives) in the outback.
I believe the appeal of these books lies in both the setting – lots of city folks fantasize about moving to the country and getting closer to nature – and also in the community aspect. In addition to the romance between the main characters, these books explore the dynamics of small town life – the good, the bad and the ugly of everyone knowing everyone else’s business. This is probably my favourite thing about writing rural romance. In JILTED the book opens with various communities gossiping about the return of Ellie Hughes who left town ten years ago when she abandoned one of their golden boys at the alter. I portray the good and the bad of country life, but in the end the good outweighs the bad and I honestly believe there is more good about living in rural Australia than bad, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to write these stories.
I’m a converted country girl myself. I spend the first twenty-odd years of my life living in the city and then moved to the country with my new husband. At first it was hard and I felt like an outsider but I soon fell in love with this lifestyle and I cannot imagine ever going back to the big smoke. For years I’d been trying to write and get published with little success, but only when I started writing about living in small rural communities did I finally achieve my dream.
I hope that in my books, I give readers insight into what it is like in OUTBACK AUSTRALIA – our people, our land, our customs, our animals and much, much more.
When the rights for JILTED were bought for the US, I was told I would have to change the language for the overseas market, but in the end we decided on putting a glossary in the front of the book as well, so if you read JILTED you’ll get the authentic Aussie version. Who is game to give it a go?
Rachael Johns lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes in training. Her town is supposedly the home of the possums. In 2014 she was one of the highest selling rural romance authors in Australia, ranked number nineteen in Booktopia’s Favourite Aussie Author poll and was nominated in a number of categories in the Australian Romance Readers Association. You can find Rachael online at her website, and also on Facebook and Twitter.
She’d left him at the altar, but her heart was always his…
After more than ten years away, Australian soap opera star Ellie Hughes returns to the small town of Hope Junction, determined to fly under the radar while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.
But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn’t long before the people of Hope Junction are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie’s visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.
Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. Because Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.
When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?