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January Author Stalker with Rachael Johns!

Celebrating with Rach at Thai Pothong in Newtown, after her fabulous event for Just One Wish at Better Read than Dead (November 2019)

Can you believe it is 2020 and we are already two decades into the new millenium. It is scary how fast the years fly by, especially when I am already struggling to find the time read all the new books on my tbr pile. But I made time to read the fabulous new novel by the equally fabulous Rachael Johns, Just One Wish, and trust will want to make the time to read it too.

Oh what I would give to meet her endearing character Gralice and share a glass of wine with her. I may not be able to meet Gralice but I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Rachael at one of her Sydney events last November and as you know my life philosophy is 'nothing ventured nothing gained' so you guessed it, I asked her if she would like to join me and some of my writing/book loving friends for dinner afterwards and was totally stoked when she said yes!

L-R Shelley, Rachael, Dianne Blacklock (my mentor who also happens to be Rachael's editor), writer Elena Sardella, voracious reader Kay Hart, author Sandie Docker, Georgina Brito & Claudine Tinellis (author & Talking Aussie Books podcaster).

She has such a brilliant sense of humour and is a total sweetheart, and that bubbly personality shines through in her novels. In 2016 her novel The Patterson Girls was named General Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

And Rachael and I have something important in common...We are both stalkers!! We owe a huge debt of gratitude to a young man whom Rachael stalked in high school, which led to her writing her very first story.

'I’ve been writing since I was 17 when I broke up with my first boyfriend (at the time I thought he was The One and was hugely devastated in the fashion of all 17 years olds). For some reason unbeknownst to me, I turned to writing as a form of therapy for my broken heart. It was enlightening to realise that with writing I could create whatever ending I liked. I wrote the story of me and The One and actually ended up killing him off. The writing was therapeutic, the story was cringe-worthy but I had caught the bug.' (extract from Rachael's website).

Rachael writes books in both the Rural Romance and Life-lit genres and brings to life such relatable characters who will have you rooting for them on the sidelines. The only problem I have is finding the time to work my way through her extensive back catalogue (I lost count at 24 books!).

So drum roll please, and I will hand you over to the lovely Rachael.xx

Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?

A: Don’t follow ALL the rules. Know the rules but happily break them as when you follow every rule to a tee, your unique voice gets stripped away. Protect your voice and your writing – get feedback on your writing but be careful about accepting all of it.

Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?

A: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty or Big Little Lies by the same ;)

Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?

A: Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson – I want to reread it one day to see if it really is that gut-wrenching or it was just my mood at the time. It’s the ONLY book that’s ever made me cry.

Q4: Coffee, tea or ? (what is your favourite drink?)


A photo of what my desk looks like as I'm approaching deadline, littered with my beloved poison!

Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?

A: Oh Lord, WHICH TBR pile? I have ones scattered all through the house? I just bought THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY after hearing a few people rave about it, so hope to get to that soon.

Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?

A: Gralice from JUST ONE WISH – I’d love Helen Mirren to play her!

Jay from JUST ONE WISH – have to be Michael Fassbender as I said in the book that’s who he looks like.

Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?

A: Only one!? Hmm… I think my family goes without saying, so books or cats, books or cats, books or cats?! Too hard to choose just one!

This is a photo of Gibson (named after my hero from MAN DROUGHT), the cat I couldn't live without but who could easily live without me! lol!

Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?

A: I would love to visit Alaska one day, but in terms of places I’ve been, I loved Salzburg in Austria and I have a weird, slightly obsessive love affair with New Orleans. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I feel more alive and myself than ever when I’m there.

Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?

A: Always wanted to be the newsreader for Channel 7! lol

Q10. How long does it take you to complete your first draft?

A: About four months (but sometimes I have breaks in that time for edits or life stuff). When I’m writing a novel, I aim to write five days a week and produce about 2000 words a day. I don’t always achieve this, but I find if I have a goal, I’m much more likely to get close. I’m not a perfectionist but I’m super lazy and hate revisions, so I edit previous chapters each day when I’m in the first draft zone as I like to submit as polished a version as absolutely possible.

'Three women, three secrets, one life-changing journey.'

'Alice has always been a trailblazer as a scientist, activist and mother. She knew her choices would involve sacrifices, but now, on the eve of her eightieth birthday, she's beginning to wonder if she's sacrificed too much.

Alice's daughter, Sappho, rebelled against her unconventional upbringing, choosing to marry young and embrace life as a homemaker, but her status as a domestic goddess has recently taken a surprising turn.

Ged has always been the peacemaker between her grandmother and mother. A tenacious journalist, she knows what she wants in life and love, yet when everything in her world starts falling apart, she begins to question whether she really knows anyone at all.

At a crossroads in each of their lives, Alice, Sappho and Ged embark on a celebratory trip together, but instead of bringing them closer, the holiday sparks life-changing consequences and lifts the lid on a fifty-year-old secret.

Can Ged rescue her family if their story is built on a betrayal?

From bestselling, ABIA award-winning author Rachael Johns comes an engrossing and wise novel about ambition, choices and what it means to be a woman.'

Thank you Rachael for being my January Author Stalker Victim. As this post goes live Rachael is hopefully poolside, an ice cold diet Coke in hand, working her way through one of her tbr piles and her summer reading list!!

Just One Wish is available through leading bookstores and online.

If you would like to find out more about Rachael, purchase her novels or join her online book club, you can find her here:

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Rachael Johns
Rachael Johns
Jan 04, 2020

Thanks so much for having me on your wonderful blog, Shelley. xx


Kay Hart
Kay Hart
Jan 02, 2020

Almost finished reading Rachael’s new novel and I’d love to meet Gralice too. She sounds like such a character. It was a pleasure to meet Rachael in November.

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