In a town full of men, how has Imogen ended up in a total Man Drought?
Imogen Bates moved to the small rural town Gibson's Find following the death of her husband. Hoping to kickstart a new life and move on from her painful past, she pours her heart and her savings into restoring the town's rundown old pub, The Majestic Hotel, to its former glory.
Not everyone in the female-starved town is happy to see a young woman move in and take over the pub. Living in a town dominated by males suits handsome sheep farmer Gibson Black, and he won't let anyone, least of all a gorgeous red head from the city, change a thing!
Imogen is determined to create a future for herself in the town, but can she create a future for Gibson and herself, too?
Following the success of her women's adult fiction, Rachael Johns plunged into writing farm lit, giving it a sassy, romantic twist which has proved to be a triumph with her bestselling first title " Jilted.
Her second farm lit novel Man Drought was inspired by Rachael's home town, where she loved to observe each person and the sense of community.
Rachael lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-intraining. As an active member of Romance Writers of Australia, Rachael has been a finalist and runner up in a number of romance writing contests.
Author: Rachael Johns
Interview with Rachael Johns
Question: What inspired the story of Man Drought?
Rachael Johns: I've lived in a country town for about eight years and we've driven through a lot of country towns to and from my mother-in-laws (as she lives in WA); I always see run down pubs which used to be the social centre of the town; the beautiful buildings have become derelict and often when you walk in you feel as if it is a dodgy place. I would love to renovate a pub myself, but I don't have the tools or the money to do that which is why that was the first idea that came into my head. I also read articles about how a lot of country towns are lacking in women and there are a few programs being run in Victoria and WA where they got city girls to go to a country pub and they'd run different events so they could meet the local boys. These different things all came together as fun ideas for a book.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Imogen?
Rachael Johns: Imogen came to me fairly early on and I wanted someone to leave the city because they weren't happy and wanted to leave memories and have a whole new life. Imogen was going to a town where there were hardly any women and she had to resolve that she was never going to have another relationship again. It was fun to have her challenged in finding someone that she was attracted to and having to go through the internal turmoil of what she thought was going to happen for the rest of her life, change.
It was fun creating Imogen's friends because they played a big part in the book and the characters develop as I write. In the first scene I introduced her two friends who I made different; one was quiet fashionable and very city whilst the other friend was pregnant and although that was a spare of the moment thing, that pregnancy becomes a huge part of the book.
The fun of writing comes in developing the characters as you go along and finding out things about them.
Question: Have you ever sat down and researched renovating a pub, for yourself or the book?
Rachael Johns: Not really, however I live in a town where the pub really needs to be renovated and I know people in the town would love someone to come buy it and revive it. When I was running, each morning, I would always run past the pub and look in the windows at what needed to be done. The book doesn't focus on the technicalities of renovating the pub but it talks about the revival of the social side. The physical fixing of the pub is not a major focus.
Question: What do you enjoy about writing romance set in a rural setting?
Rachael Johns: I am a romantic at heart, I love listening to people who have found their happy ever after and weddings which is why I'm destined to write romance. In regards to the rural setting, I really love the small community aspect and the dynamics that occur in a country town where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everyone's business; it's hard to have a relationship without half the town putting their two cents in. It's interesting writing a romance where the two in the relationship can't help having the rest of the town involved.
Question: Are you currently working on another novel?
Rachael Johns: I have submitted another novel to Harlequin Australia which is hopefully the first in a three book rural series that focuses on two characters who have known each other forever but haven't really looked at each other as possible partners until something happens and that changes everything for them. The series will have a mystery plot the whole way through about a missing person that will be resolved in the third book. I look forward to writing the next two in that series.