Thanks for joining us and as you are such a prolific author, we have lots to talk about. For those who don’t know, Juanita writes across several genres: rural romance /rural suspense/ small town USA NASCAR /paranormal (Greek gods.) She is also a contributor to the popular Bindarra Creek series as well as Country Shadows, Country Whispers and Country Suspense (3-in-1 paperbacks from Harlequin Mira with various other authors).
Can you tell us how many books are in each series?
In the first Bindarra Creek series published in 2015 and 2016, A Bindarra Creek Romance, there are thirteen wonderful stories that introduce readers to the town and the characters. Nine of the authors then produced a short and sweet anthology. These stories are now slowly being released as separate titles. In this latest series, A Town Reborn, readers can return to the lovely town of Bindarra Creek for their best reading adventure yet with the return of some of the lovely, colourful characters of the original series. And, of course, meet some new ones too. My book, Promise Me Forever is the eighth (and last) book in this latest series.
Here is a list of series I have written:
- Wongan Creek: Whispers at Wongan Creek, Secrets at Wongan Creek and Shadows over Wongan Creek
- Under the Law: Under Shadow of Doubt, Under the Hood, Under Cover of Dark
- Bindarra Creek: Home to Bindarra Creek, Promise Me Forever
- The Calhouns of Montana: Montana Baby (previously published as Overdrive), Montana Daughter (previously Fast Lane) and Montana Son (release date 2 June 2020)
- The Gods of Oakleigh: Finding Paradise
Let’s start with some ‘getting to know you’ questions
Are you a lark (a morning person) or an owl (late night)? That depends entirely on the muse and what mood she’s in 😊.
What is your best time to write? When I’m alone, the house is quiet and there is nothing to distract me.
What do you like to do when you are not writing? Anything except housework! I’m a keen car enthusiast, terrible gardener, average wine drinker, unenthusiastic exerciser who loves reading, writing and music.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer so I could put all the bad guys in jail.
What was your dream job when you were younger? I once had a job offer to assist in running a holiday resort by the sea. I thought that would be the ideal job.
What will you do for Valentine’s Day? Is Valentine’s something to like to celebrate? This Valentine’s Day I’ll be celebrating the release of Promise Me Forever. Jack and Meg are my favourite characters so far.
QUESTIONS ABOUT WRITING
- Have you always wanted to be a writer? Even as a little girl, I loved writing, reading and telling stories.
- What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out? Learn absolutely everything you can about your craft and keep learning. A good writer never stops learning.
- What comes first, the plot or characters? The characters. I’m a total pantser.
- How do you develop your plot and characters? I give my characters free reign to tell the story chapter by chapter and then I edit it.
- How do you come up with the titles to your books? I’ll give it a random working title and then as the story develops, I’ll brainstorm a title to suit.
- What is the most difficult part about writing for you? Editing the story. By the time I’ve been through it two or three times, I’m convinced its rubbish, lol.
- How do you do research for your books? I read a lot, travel, Google, stalk a few people (kidding!) and ask for help from willing professionals.
- On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing? As much time as I can juggling a hectic day job, family and real-life commitments.
- Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? Yes! I love to hear from readers. You can email me via my website contact form https://juanitakees.com/meet-and-greet/ On the same page, you will find links to all the places I am on social media. I’d love to see you in my book club at https://www.facebook.com/groups/607880523038543/ .
- How many unfinished manuscripts do you have? Way too many! I have many new ideas floating around in my head at any given time, so I’ll write the first chapter or two, then let it rest a while. In comparison to many authors out there, I am a slow writer. I only manage to write two books a year because I like to let them breathe a little before editing them too.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR BOOKS
- How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? I’ve published twelve books to date but have written many more. Picking a favourite is always hard. I’d have to say Whispers at Wongan Creek, because that has been an outstanding favourite with readers.
- What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)? That I have a serial killer mean streak when I write suspense. Sometimes I scare myself 😊.
- Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special? Choosing a favourite character is like choosing a favourite child. I love Jack from Promise Me Forever but I also adore Travis from Whispers at Wongan Creek. Both men are strong characters but they have a softer, fun side too.
Sonia says- Yes, Travis won my heart too.
- You’ve written rural suspense/romance genre and small-town USA genre. Do you have a preference? I love writing my Australian stories best. That’s where my heart is.
- Do you find writing heroes or heroines easier? It depends on who is ‘talking’ to me on the day 😊.
- What gives a hero personality, and do you fall a little in love with them as you write? How he reacts to the heroine defines his personality. I do fall in love with my heroes all the time. I need to love them to make them real on the page.
- Where can readers find out more about you and your books? Pop onto my website at https://juanitakees.com/
- Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write? The Wongan Creek series and the Bindarra Creek books.
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK
- Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb? Promise Me Forever is more than just a romance between Meg and Jack. It’s a story about community, loyalty, faith and trust. Between the pages, you’ll find a connection within the Bindarra Creek community borne out of the trials that have strengthened the town rather than broken it down.
- Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers? Jack has another love in his life, but it’s not necessarily a flesh and blood woman.
- Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? Yes! Meg’s aunty, Phyllis, is colourful character.
- If so, what is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel? Aunty Phyllis may have her own love story one day, who knows?
- If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it? I’d love Chris Hemsworth to star in all movies made from my books 😊. I think for Meg, I’d cast Bella Heathcote (Jane Bennett in Pride and Prejudice)
Sonia says – I’d pretty much cast Chris Hemsworth in anything!
Thank you so much for chatting with us.
Photo Credits – Graphics by Nas Dean, Paradox Book Covers & Formatting and J Kees.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4N9Gz9
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0843CKWKM/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0843CKWKM/
News correspondent, Jack Hughes, is sent to sleepy Bindarra Creek to escape the spotlight after a scandalous fake video goes viral. He’s in the fight of his life to save his reputation. In a town only determination has kept from dying, the last thing Jack is looking for is love.
The Bindarra Creek Museum is Meg Moonie’s life. But with her granny dead, a murder suspect on the run and the police asking questions, she struggles to keep the museum and Mary Moonie’s dream alive. Jack is a handsome distraction, but Meg has been hurt by a roving reporter before. Men who couldn’t put down roots never promised forever. If only he wasn’t so easy to fall in love with…
Finding love and hope in small towns with dark secrets …
Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.
Juanita loves to hear from fans and would love for you to share her writing journey:
Book Love Book Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/607880523038543/