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Guest blogger: Penelope Janu

9 December 2018

I’ve always loved to dream up stories. Always. As a child, when I was a passenger in a car (or sitting on a swing, or riding a merry-go-round) I’d imagine I was on a horse, galloping. After I was given my first horse, a fat little pony called Fudge, I imagined I was an Olympic competitor, going into the final round of the show-jumping event. As I grew up, I lay in bed at night and thought up so many historical romance stories, from beginning to end, one after another, year upon year, that I think I’d rival Anne Gracie and Anna Campbell in the number of Regency heroes and heroines I’ve created (though I’d lag far behind them in terms of prose and historical accuracy).

When I became an actual writer, there was never a doubt that I would write romance novels. I loved reading romance. I loved the characters, the complications, the happily-ever-afters. And, after so many years galloping over rugged terrain, and creating memorable heroines and heroes in my mind, I had no trouble thinking up stories. But what I did have to learn was how to communicate with readers. How could I demonstrate that the characters I was writing about were absolutely positively made for each other—if only the characters could see it!

The tension between being a dreamer and a writer, for me, particularly came to the fore when I was writing my most recent novel, On the Same Page. The heroine, a modern-day Miles Franklin, is a historical romance writer who writes secretly under a pseudonym. The hero, Lars Kristensen (who starts to bear a startling resemblance to the characters Miles creates), is a publisher of literary fiction, and determined to uncover Miles’s true identity. On an intellectual level, these characters believe they couldn’t possibly fall in love. But as they get to know one other (and start to express their true feelings through the letters they exchange), they work out that, when each overcomes their preconceptions and prejudices, they are, in fact, perfectly suited.

I’d like to wish a very happy Christmas to the wonderful ARRA community. Thank you so much for the knowledge and the insights you’ve shared this year, and for your laughter and friendship.


You can find Penelope here: Website | Facebook

Penelope is giving away a paperback copy of On the Same Page to one person who leaves a comment. Australian addresses only. Giveaway closes 23 December 2018. (UPDATE: the giveaway is now closed. The winner was jaykkay.)

On the Same Page

Sometimes a girl just has to do what’s in her heart …

By day Miles Franklin, named after the famous author, is a successful lawyer. But by night she writes historical romance novels under the pen name Emma Browning. When Miles’s assistant covertly enters her boss’s novel in one of Australia’s biggest literary awards—and it wins—Miles’s perfectly ordered world is torn apart.

Lars Kristensen smells a rat. As the CEO of Iconic International, the company publishing Miles’s prize-winning novel, he’s determined to meet the author and uncover her true identity.

But Miles is equally determined to protect her privacy—and to keep writing—even if it means mastering pole dancing, and choreographing a love scene in the back of a horse-drawn carriage … Well, she is a romance writer, after all.

Miles has the grit to keep her secret, but Lars has the smouldering looks and arrogance of any romantic hero she has ever imagined.

Hmm. Sometimes a girl just has to turn the page …

On the Same Page won the 2017 XO Romance Prize and was published by Brio Books on 1 December. It is currently available in Big W and where all good books are sold. It is also available as an ebook on Amazon and elsewhere.

Buy it online here: Booktopia (paperback) | Amazon (ebook)

  1. Veronica The Burgeoning Bookshelf permalink
    10 December 2018 8:10 pm

    I’ve recently read it and loved it. Miles was a wonderful character and very relatable.

    • 10 December 2018 10:42 pm

      Hello Victoria. I was very happy that you enjoyed On the Same Page. I think quite a few people can relate to Miles. Much as we’d all like to take on the world, sometimes that is a very difficult thing to do. I think many people ‘make a difference’ while being true to themselves, even if they are shy or awkward. This was something that I really wanted to portray in the novel. I hope you have a lovely Christmas (with lots of time to write!)

  2. 9 December 2018 5:45 pm

    It sounds like a fun read and something that I would enjoy.

    • 9 December 2018 9:47 pm

      Hi Sonia. Thank you. And good luck in the draw!

  3. Malvina permalink
    9 December 2018 5:43 pm

    Hi Penelope, this sounds terrific. Congratulations! I’ve just finished your story in the anthology Our Country Christmas as well, and it was lovely to read. Thankyou.

    • 9 December 2018 9:50 pm

      Thank you Malvina. And you liked The Six Rules of Christmas? I genuinely loved writing this story. There were a lot of my Christmas traditions in this story. My mum is English, and my mum in law was Austrian, so I was lucky enough to experience the English and European traditions. Good luck in the draw!

  4. Mary Preston permalink
    9 December 2018 11:43 am

    I like the sound of the heroine for “On the Same Page”.

    • 9 December 2018 9:51 pm

      Thank you, Mary. She is painfully shy but smart and sassy. Complex – but I really enjoyed writing this character. And the hero of course! Good luck in the draw!

  5. jaykkay permalink
    9 December 2018 10:41 am

    I like books written by writers about writers. Would love to read it 😀

    • 9 December 2018 9:54 pm

      Thank you! Yes I loved exploring the ‘writer’ aspect of this character. And being an avid reader of romance fiction, I think we shared quite a few views on how some people who don’t read romance, simply do not appreciate what a wonderful genre it is!

  6. Anonymous permalink
    9 December 2018 9:17 am

    Looking forward to reading this one Penny.

    • 9 December 2018 9:55 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! And best of luck in the draw!

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