Rural Romance, with Rachael Johns

Author pic couch Rachael JohnsIt’s my pleasure to introduce my friend and fellow Aussie, Rachael Johns, to the lair today!

After achieving mega popularity in Australia, Rachael is bringing her special brand of rural romance to the U.S. market. 

So what, exactly, IS rural romance? Rachael explains….

Hi everyone and a huge thanks to the lovely Christina Brooke for inviting me to the Romance Bandits Lair. I’ve been quietly reading this blog for years and almost have to pinch myself now that I’m actually here. Well, enough fangirling.

I’m Rachael Johns, an Aussie romance writer, who until recently has mostly been published down under. I have a couple of ebooks available in the US but this month my first ever print book is out and it’s in a genre that I think may be new to many of you.


This romance sub-genre has been booming in Australia over the last few years, a little like New Adult has been in the rest of the world. But what exactly is rural romance?

In short, it’s a book with a romance at its core that is set in a small, Australian country town where agriculture/farming is the primary industry. Think red-dust and sweeping paddocks of wheat/canola/your grain of choice, sheep and cattle, the odd kangaroo, gorgeous old homesteads with verandas all around and the people that live in these remote places. As this is romance, our heroes are not only farmers, they are hot, good-looking, hardworking farmers and our heroines are helpless but to fall in love with them.

Jilted US cover finalWhen a friend first suggested I try write a rural romance (I’d been targeting Mills and Boon for years with not much luck), I immediately thought it wasn’t for me. I’m not a farmer or a farmer’s wife and I definitely couldn’t tell you the various parts of a tractor or how to help a cow give birth. BUT I’ve been living in small rural communities for the past ten years and now I consider myself a converted country girl.

I love almost everything about living in small rural communities but one of the things I find really fascinating are the dynamics between the people of these communities. I love it how locals band together in emergencies, support each other through crises and celebrate each other’s success. But this can sometimes be horrible for someone who wrongs one of their own and grudges can be held for a long time in the country.

It was this aspect I chose to explore in JILTED – in which my heroine Ellie left the town golden boy, farmer Flynn Quartermaine at the altar on their wedding day in front of practically the whole town. When Ellie returns to look after her sick godmother ten years later, there aren’t many people who are happy to have her back and this made for lots of fun and dramatic scenes.

I guess our Aussie rural romances are a little similar to the western or small town romance of some of romance writing greats and I hope you’ll enjoy JILTED just as much.


She left him at the altar, but her heart was always his…

After more than ten years away, Australian soap star Ellie Hughes returns to the small country town of Hope Junction, determined to remain anonymous 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 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 again, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. For 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?

BanditBootySo here is my question for you readers, for a chance to win a print copy of JILTED: Flynn Quartermaine’s most embarrassing moment was being jilted at the altar, what is YOUR most embarrassing moment?

For more information on Rachael and her books:


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  • Helen says:

    Is he coning to visit

    Have fun

  • Jane says:

    Welcome Rachael,
    Congrats on your first print release. I’ve seen McCleod’s Daughters and wondering if that’s what you mean by rural. One of my most embarrassing moments was when I got so drunk at a club that I passed out on the dance floor and my friend’s husband had to use the fireman’s carry/lift to get me out.

    • Yep – that’s exactly what I mean!! McLeod’s Daughters on the page instead of the screen. Great show though 🙂 LOL on your friend’s hubby using the fireman’s lift!

  • Helen says:

    Hi Rachael

    Woohoo love having you visit and huge congrats on the release of Jilted in The States 🙂 🙂

    I love rural romance and your stories I highly recommend them 🙂

    My most embarrassing moment was when I was in a school play many years ago the sewing teacher had made my outfit out of crepe paper and during the play the pants split not fun lol

    Have Fun

  • flchen1 says:

    Hi, Rachael! Your stories sound fun–I think rural romance sounds a bit like small-town romance, which I know I enjoy! As for embarrassing moments, I tend to block those from my memory, and the other stuff happens so often I’m no longer embarrassed that I’ve forgotten the other person’s name mid-conversation, for instance… *sigh* 😉

  • Hi Rachael! Hi Christina! Rachael, welcome to the lair! So glad you’re a long-term fan! As you’d know, we’ve had quite an Aussie contingent through here. Congratulations on your US release for Jilted. I hope you sell a million. That’s a gorgeous cover!

  • Mary Preston says:

    I LOVE the cover for JILTED.

    I’m terrible with names and faces. So, I will ignore people who know me & literally embrace strangers. I should not be let out of the house.

  • Shari says:

    Congrats on your new release. As a teenager I took a bite of a chicken breast and said, boy is this juicy. I said in mixed company.

  • Bec Rutland says:

    Hi Rachael

    I’ve read Jilted and absolutely loved it. I look forward to reading Outback Ghost too.

    I also saw your interview on Sunrise – you were awesome!

  • Tania McLean says:

    Hi Rachel ~ I love the Rural Romance books (say that fast after a wine or 2!!!) it’s so great to read books set in a gorgeous landscape.
    My most embarrassing moment ……losing a shoe down a storm drain on a night out in the city, then having to spend the night in a lovely frock but with joggers on as they were all I had in my car!!

  • Bec Rutland says:

    Hi again

    My most embarrassing moment was when I went to McDonalds and wanted to order a hash brown and hot cakes, and I asked for hash cakes… they girl who was serving me tried so very hard not to laugh, but when I started laughing, so did she, then she told her colleagues what I”d asked for and they all burst out laughing too!! 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    Let me assert that most of my embarrassing moments are mostly forgotten and shall happily remain so.

    One that I remember distinctly was that I was playing a harpy (Mrs Pettigrew) in a melodrama for school. I had the most awful pink gingham gown with a curly red wig. I had to utter some flirtatious line directed at the hero. (Yes, I had a crush on the hero. I mean he played football, was in the drama club, and got good grades. Tall, dark, and handsome. ) I got to the end of the line and instead of calling the character by name, I said Joel. I just wanted to die as people hooted, laughed, and applauded.

    Mortified, I went up to the home ec lab (chosen because it had a garmet rack). On the radio, Barry Manilow was singing “This One’s For You.” I started daydreaming of actually having someone who loved me. The drama coach, our math teacher, came over to me, and spun me around. “You were marvelous darling; now we just have to do that again tomorrow night.”

  • Laney4 says:

    So many examples, so little time. Suffice to say, the first one that “popped” into my mind deals with flatulence. ‘Nuf said.

  • Huge welcome to the lair, Rachael! Thank you very much for being with us today.

    So sorry not to get here earlier. I hosted a massive family gathering this afternoon and everyone has just gone home. My feet hurt! I haven’t sat down all day.

    One of my most embarrassing moments was meeting Liz Carlyle, one of my favourite authors for the first time. My reaction was so over the top (I think I may have genuflected) that I frightened the poor woman. I always regret not greeting her more calmly and having a decent conversation but I was such a fan girl!

    I’m sure there are worse embarrassing moments but I’ll stick to that for now!

  • vickie says:

    Hi Rachel! Boy trying to figure one embarrassing moment. I was at work, started that time of the month and didn’t realize it. You guessed it! But did it have to be white pants and me sitting on a new office chair. Ugh!

  • catslady says:

    I can happily say it’s been a while. I had two episodes of getting up and falling back down when having a little too much to drink. The first time I was young and didn’t know any better and the second time I was old enough to know better lol. I also remember talking about someone and they were standing behind me – I learned to keep my mouth shut after that one lol.

    • Old enough to know better. Snork! Catslady, that’s hilarious. Ack I know what it’s like to be talking about someone and they’re standing right behind you. I remember calling a colleague at work a “pretty boy” in quite a disparaging way and he was standing right behind me. He quirked an eyebrow and said, “Pretty boy, huh?” Gah!

    • Oh dear… I have a friend who says things how they are. She was in the local cafe recently and talking to her sister about another local. She got tapped on the shoulder by the woman behind them who said, ‘Do you know that’s my cousin you’re talking about?’ My friend said, ‘That may well be but she’s still a ….’! That’s gutsy – lol I would have been mortified!

  • Deb says:

    I am pleased to know you are writing about rural Australia. I used to read many Harlequins by Helen Biachin (sp?) And Kerry Allyne, and what scares me is that I remember their names, ha! I always enjoyed reading about romance in the Outback on a sheep station. Congratulations, Rachel!
    Many embarrassing moments….Talking to a neighbor about building a little shed just a few weeks ago, and I used the word joust instead of joist, and knew it was wrong the minute I said it. But what burned me a bit was that my husband corrected me before I could do so myself! Huh!!

    • Deb, Helen Bianchin is one of the loveliest women in the business. I’m so glad you’ve read her books!

      Ack on the word swapping. Can happen to anyone. And I also hate being corrected by my spouse!

    • Thanks so much Deb!! It was VERY hard to get the book accepted by a US publisher unfortunately, so hopefully it does well so more can follow. We have some fabulous Australian romance authors just waiting to take the world by storm 🙂

      • Cassondra says:

        Rachael, I really hope they catch on here. I love reading about Australia, though I know so little about your country. I think the crossover should be easy, since we have the basic language in common. Don’t know why the US publishers haven’t bought into it before!

  • Bonnie Gonzales says:

    My most embrassing moment could have killed me I thought I was really going to die. We were at a swimming pool I was floating sitting in an inner tube when my best friend and my husband thought we should see who could swim to the end of the pool the fastest so I went to hop out of the tube my butt was stuck and I just flopped over with my head under water my Butt in the air I could not get out I though I was going to drown and I didn’t know why they didn’t do something to help me they were laughing their heads off finally my husband put his hand on my butt and pushed me out.

  • Kim says:

    Congratulations on the new release. Luckily, there’s been no major embarrassments – just the occasional falling over something in front of people, jumping up & pretending you didn’t hurt yourself.

  • Cathryn Hein says:

    I have too many embarrassing moments to mention! Although I did smack myself up by walking into a Stobie pole (a special South Australian invented concrete and steel power pole) while reading a book once. Blood nose, scraped forehead and the humiliating laughter of an entire primary school. Well, maybe not the entire school but it sure felt like it at the time!
    Thrilled for you about the US release of Jilted, Rach. Wonderful to have our Aussie stories and heroes venturing into new lands.

  • Joan Kayse says:

    “the odd kangaroo,”

    Hmmm..what makes them odd? 😀

    Sorry to be SO late to the party Rachel. Buy welcome to the Lair and I love small town/rural stories. Can’t wait to read yours!

  • Cassondra says:

    ‘m late to the party as usual, but wanted to drop in (working on taxes at the moment) to say hello Rachael and welcome! It’s so wonderful when one of our own gets going and then comes on the blog as a guest. We love that!

    I admit your story sounds fabulous. I’m wondering if “rural romance” is what I think of as “small town romance” here? That’s what I’m attempting at the moment, and it’s a far cry from what I started out to do, but I’m loving every minute. I did grow up in a farm community so I don’t know why that wasn’t an automatic go-to for me, but like you, I thought “no way.”

    I think keeping the reader interested and the conflict at just the right levels is hard, but I sure love it when a writer does it well. From your blurb, I’m guessing you’ve nailed it. I’m completely intrigued and about to hit the buy button on the Kindle.

    So excited for your success!

    • Sounds exactly like it Cassandra. And I feel that I’m probably even more small-town than specifically rural, which in Australia tends to mean VERY farm-ish! If you know what I mean. I focus more on the dynamics of small communities than actual farming life!

  • Cassondra says:

    OH! Forgot to answer the question. Embarrassing moments…Jeez…there are so many, I’ve kind of gotten over myself and it’s a little hard to embarrass me now. It’s possible, but I don’t get embarrassed over small things much. I just wave it off and think, “oh well, just proves I’m human.”

    Falling down in high heels and a dress–I’ve done that a bunch on slick floors because I was allowed to wear only dresses for the first two years of high school–I fell up the stairs once in front of the hottest guy in school. That was bad.

    Freezing on stage during my first ever performance–normal, and we all go through it, but it’s unforgettable–that was awful.

    Recently I was about to introduce two friends of mine to a group of people, and I turned around and said, “This is XX and his….*long, pregnant pause*….f-f-f-FRIEND, XXX.” They are a gay couple, and I’d forgotten to ask them how they wanted to be introduced. Barely stopped myself from saying “partner” or “boyfriend” and froze from the worry of outing them if they didn’t want that. They still laugh about it. It was bad.

  • Amy Conley says:

    OMG there aaare so many. I would have to say when I was 13 and started my period whild wearing white shorts. BTW I was at school when this happened.

    Your “”RURAL ROMANCE” reeminds me of McLeod’s Daughters….I havve all 8 seasons on dvd. And it is the one and only show I wrote fan fiction for, hence owning all 8 seasons, I won them with my fan fic. 🙂

  • Amy, I think Rachael’s books are very reminiscent of McLeod’s Daughters so you’ll love hers too!

    Congrats on the fan fic. That’s awesome!

    Btw so sorry about your embarrassing moment. It’s such a difficult time! Who’d be a woman?

  • bn100 says:

    Accidentally walking into a door

  • Diana Huffer says:

    Oh lord… this is horrible… There were these “tough guys” that used to hang around our school. My bff and I would hang with them. I, quite unexpectedly, lost my virginity to one of them. You know, nearly every girl falls for the “bad boy” once in their lives. When I told my BFF, she called me on it in front of a BUNCH of kids! I was mortified! It was meant to be a secret between BFFs but she was merciless… thought I did a horrible thing letting him take me… ugh… it’s not like I enjoyed it… geesh… It wasn’t the act itself that got to me but the reaction of my BFF really did me in! We didn’t speak again for many years later… then it was an unsettling peace… **sigh** Teenage angst! 🙁

  • JackieW says:

    An embarrassing moment was once when my twin sister and I double dated and traded places with each other but were found out..needless to say our dates were not amused. That was the last time we dated those guys.

  • Laurie G says:

    My most embarrassing moment was giving my first speech in Speech class. I started sweating and every other word was umm. I had huge sweat marks under my armpits.