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.
Q. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I would definitely consider romance writers’ conferences as literary pilgrimages. Every year aspiring, emerging and established authors gather together in a small corner of the world in search of their tribe and knowledge. I’ve attended five in the last seven years. It’s a great way to meet new friends and catch up with old ones, all while developing one’s writing craft and refreshing the creative well.
Q. What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Aside from some cheeky authors trying to trademark everyday words, I think it’s those who abuse the royalties and rewards systems, like the most recent book-stuffing scandal. Practices like these are unfair on all the other authors who are trying to earn a place in the market. My pet hate though, is the predators who prey on aspiring authors. Always make sure you check a publisher thoroughly before you sign a contract.
Q. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both! It depends on how the characters are behaving 😊. If the story is flowing, it’s great, but if it’s not then the whole process can be draining on the energy levels.
Q. What is your writing Kryptonite?
It used to be wine, now it’s chocolate.
Q. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
I get reader overwhelm (regularly!) because there are so many good authors and books on my TBR list to choose from that I don’t know which one to read first!
Q. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to be original in delivering what readers want. 😉
Q. What do you expect from an author when reading a book, short story or article?
Complete engagement from the opening paragraph right up until the end.
Q. What authors did you dislike at first, but grew into?
Tough question! I can’t think of any.
Q. How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
I like to give the reader an emotional rollercoaster ride with all the comforts of a happy ending.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Mmm… maybe? 😉
Q. Tell us about your travels.
I love discovering new places. Growing up, I travelled all over South Africa to some of the strangest places, including a place called the Valley of Desolation near Graaff Reinet, and the town of Nieu Bethesda where you can find the very spooky Owl House, the home of reclusive artist, Helen Martins, whose real life story is worthy of a book.
Since then, I’ve visited the USA, Japan and England. All very different in history and culture. And, of course, I’ve done a fair bit of travel around Australia too.
Q. Has it (your travels) added to your inspirational well, or taken from it?
Travelling definitely inspires me. There are stories all around us, wherever we are in the world, and I love to people-watch. In the USA, my romantic suspense mind was inspired by Alcatraz. In Japan, I wanted to write about a Samurai and a wedding. In South Africa, I planned a story about rhino poaching while I glamped at Shamwari Game Reserve. Our trip to England was all about discovering history and romances past, because who doesn’t love a good fairytale about a prince and a princess? This year, we’re heading back to the USA to visit custom car garages and NASCAR race tracks, and hopefully get a few famous signatures on the cover of Overdrive.
Q. Why ‘The Write Practice’?
Practice makes perfect. The more you write and edit, the more you learn and the better you get at it.
Q. Do you have any expectations of your readers?
The expectation is on me to deliver a story readers will love. I can’t expect readers to love a story if I don’t love it myself.
Q. On your writing journey, what has been the lowest and the most painful moment and vice versa?
The writing journey is an emotional rollercoaster, much like a character arc in a story. Just when you think you’ve perfected your art, something comes along to make you see things in a different light. For example: you’ve written a great story and you’re bouncing off the walls because it’s great! Then your edits come in and you see the mark up, and you wonder WTH were you thinking and HTH will you ever fix it? (Cue the wine and chocolate!)
Lowest and most painful moment: That day, six years ago, when I found out my debut US publisher had sold out to another, far less stable and reputable one. It resulted in an unpleasant, lengthy battle to get my rights back. Thankfully, it all came good in the end and, a couple of years later, the book was published by a far more reputable, solid traditional publisher.
The highest moment: The day I received an email to say that Whispers at Wongan Creek had been selected as one of the books in a 3-in-1 paperback bind up called Country Whispers with Tricia Stringer and Elizabeth Dunk.
If you would like more information on Juanita’s books, or if you would like to touch base with her, why not take at a look at her website: http://www.juanitakees.com
Alternatively you can find her on
Thank you Juanita for talking with us today!