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Author spotlight: Juanita Kees

22 February 2019

We’re featuring a wide range of Australian authors participating in ARR2019 in venues across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. 

Today we’re having Elevenses with Juanita Kees, author of ten romances in the genres of Australian rural romantic suspense, Australian fantasy/paranormal and small town USA stories. She will be attending ARR2019 in Perth.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

When I was sixteen and the first story idea came into my head during a very boring maths study class. I quickly penned the basics into the back of my exercise book.

Why romance and not a different genre?

I love happy endings. We can find love anywhere it chooses to find us. Whether that’s through a blind date, fighting the enemy or solving a crime. I like a good strong plot that gives the lovers a challenge or a goal to aim for but, ultimately, they reach that HEA.

What was the first romance you read and why did you love it?

Gosh, that’s a long time ago! Way back in the 1970s. One of the first I read would have been Goblin Hill by Essie Summers. Betty Neels and Helen Bianchin were more of my early favourites. I loved them for their sweet innocence and the places they allowed me to travel to. And of course, their swoon-worthy heroes to sweep me off my feet.

What is the single most important characteristic for an aspiring author wanting to be a published writer?

Perseverance. Closely followed by patience.

What is your favourite part of creating a story?

Character creation: the characters are the glue that binds the story together.

What is your best tip for fighting writer’s block/writer’s fear?

Write through it. Words are words, even if they’re not very good ones and you have to edit them later. Jump to the scene you want to write and feel comfortable with. Take a walk to clear your head or spend time in the garden or near water, reflecting. Brainstorm with a critique partner or friend. If all else fails, wine and chocolate.

Pick a favourite (bold your preference)

  • series or stand-alone?
  • ebook, paperback or hardcover? (With my eyesight failing fast, I find digital readers are easier because I can increase the font to a comfortable size.)
  • first person or third?

Who has been an inspiration to you, in life or your writing career?

That’s a hard question. There have been many people over the years who have inspired and supported me. As an aspiring then emerging author, I had the support of many RWAus members who are still very good friends and mentors today. My critique partners and writing group inspire me every day. They bring out the whip and crack it when I’m dragging my feet or losing faith or suffering from a bout of writer’s fear. If I had to choose one person in particular, it would be Valerie Parv, whose book The Art of Romance Writing inspired me to try my hand at writing romance. And of course, all those wonderful romance authors from 1970 right through to today, whose books I’ve loved from cover to cover.

Tell us about your latest release, Shadows Over Wongan Creek, in 100 words or less 

Fenella Rose-Waterman is happy running The Cranky Lizard winery until a broken relationship lifts the lid on 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.

What else will you be working on in 2019?

I’ll be editing and polishing books 2 and 3 of Calhoun Customs Garage, as well as writing two new Australian rural romantic suspense titles. All going well, I’d like to continue work on book 2 of the Gods of Oakleigh in between. I’m also working on a just-for-fun story that is building slowly chapter by chapter. I call it my writer’s block book. It’s my go-to story when the words won’t flow on the WIP.

Please recommend an Aussie romance you read recently

I’ve just started reading Aussie author, Susanna Rogers’ new Mosh series. Holler and Howl was an emotional read about rock and roll star Nick Steel, who has some life lessons to learn if he wants to win the heart of his true love. This is a story about coming home and realising you can’t always get what you want. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to Down and Dirty (which, despite the title, isn’t an erotic romance).

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2019 yet, you can buy one here.


  1. 22 February 2019 5:29 pm

    Have fun meeting your lovely readers in Perth. Juanita 🙂

  2. Claire Louisa permalink
    22 February 2019 11:32 am

    Fabulous interview 😊 I’m looking forward to all Juanita’s new books. And even more to meeting her in 5 weeks time.

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