This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Juanita Kees.
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.
Over to Juanita …
Thank you for hosting me today and sharing books that spark joy.
Growing up, books and stories were a lifeline in our house. My parents didn’t own a television until the mid to late seventies, and because of heavy sanctions in South Africa, our television programs were limited to mostly local productions anyway. As a result, most nights after dinner, we would listen to the radio, play board games or cards, or read a book. When Christmas time came around, our gifts almost always contained a girl’s annual filled with beautiful pictures, puzzles and stories.
Both my parents were avid readers and encouraged our reading habits. Saturday mornings were always ‘library day’ for us and I used to look forward losing myself among the bookshelves. My father was (and still is) a wonderful storyteller. He’d make up campfire and bedtime stories, and some of them he and my uncles even recorded on tape with sound effects. We used to love listening to those. So I owe my gift for storytelling to him.
These days, I find a digital reader much easier to read on because of my rapidly failing eyesight, but I do still buy paperbacks I know will be keepers, especially those written by my favourite authors. I have a special bookcase for those books which is quickly running out of space. I keep all the books authors have signed for me, because those are super special. If they’re unsigned, I might pass them along or do a book swap at our local fish and chips shop, who have come onboard with a community book swap drive.
I very seldom lend out books that are special to me, mostly because I’m afraid I might forget who I’ve loaned them to and won’t be able to get them back. My bookshelf is an eclectic mix of Australian rural fiction, romance, suspense and thrillers with a handful of biographies here and there. It reflects my ever-changing taste in reading and researching, including a book by Adam Platinga called “400 Things Cops Know” and a collection of Great Australian CWA stories by Bill ‘Swampy’ Marsh.
When I’m writing, I always have these research books at hand, and Valerie Parv’s The Art of Romance Writing is never far away my keyboard. I try not to read books written in the same genre while I’m working on a new WIP, for fear of an idea that isn’t mine sticking in my head. So when I’m writing Australian rural romantic suspense, I’ll read an historical novel by Stephanie Laurens, Anna Campbell or Anne Gracie, for example.
The book that sparks joy for me is one that was given to me by a lady who I worked with when she was writing stories of her own in her late eighties. Almost blind and crippled with arthritis, she handwrote her short stories and I typed them up for her. Unlikely Friendships is a collection of short stories and picture book by Jennifer S. Holland. The quote from Temple Grandin states that it “shows the power of friendship”. Hadassah gifted me the book because we had developed an extraordinary friendship over the three years we worked together. I will remember her every time I pick up that book.
Shadows over Wongan Creek (Book 3 – Wongan Creek Stories)
When the shadows ride in Wongan Creek…
Fenella Rose-Waterman is happy running The Cranky Lizard winery until a broken relationship lifts the lid on the Pandora’s Box of her past. After years of repressed memories haunting her dreams, she is forced to face the truth to find justice. But with truth comes a danger that puts everyone she loves at risk.
Kieran Murphy left Wongan Creek a newly-wed and returned a widower. He believes he and his young son will find healing in the town that healed him once before. Instead, he finds the woman he loved running scared, her life in turmoil and her business under threat.
As the shadows of the past gather on the horizon, will they lose their chance of happiness or will they find healing together?
Kobo ~ Amazon AU ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ iTunes ~ Google Books ~ Harper Collins ~ Romance.com.au
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