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Guest blogger: Juanita Kees

9 June 2019

Creating the Calhouns

Hello dear readers and thank you to ARRA for hosting me on the blog today.

I am a huge V8 racing fan and have had a love affair with cars forever. Growing up in a family of mechanics and panel beaters, it came as no surprise that I would end up working in (and marrying into) the motor industry. My passion for hot rods grew, as did my interest in custom car garages, thanks to programs like Count’s Kustoms, Monster Garage, Overhaulin’ and of course, Australia’s own Greg Rust from Rusty’s Garage. So, when I proposed the Calhoun Customs Garage family to Tule Publishing way back in early 2017, I was very excited to be turning my passion into a series. But how to turn this passion into a romance all readers could love and relate to? Therein lay the challenge.

Ex Nascar race king, Marty Calhoun, has built a legacy for his family, and now it’s time to round them up and bring them home to claim it. Each of his five children have hearts in need of overhauling. They all have hard lessons to learn. The one thing Marty wants most is to see his children find happiness and love at Calhoun Customs Garage. The books were difficult to write, despite my passion for cars. I thought writing them would be a breeze. I knew my plot, I knew my cars, I knew my characters, I had this series in the bag. Right?

Wrong! Like any rebuild, makeover or renovation, I soon found myself all over the track as I hit plot snags, hidden bumps in the road and challenges I’d never expected to have to face, no matter how much planning or plotting I did. I soon realised that, in my attempt to keep the technical side believable, I’d forgotten all about the romance and writing from the heart. But with the help of a group of amazing women, their critique and a very experienced editor whose suggestions often resulted in me rewriting huge chunks of the books, I could overcome all those obstacles.

Interestingly enough, the last contracted book in the series is titled Burnout. A title I couldn’t possibly have realised would have as much significance as it did in my writing journey. Mason’s story was the hardest to write of them all. His journey started with an event in book 1, Overdrive, that shattered his family and became crucial to the over-arching plot of the series. I hadn’t meant it to be that way, but sometimes our characters know better than we do. Boy, did Mason throw me a curveball.

The message I’d like readers to take away from this series is that love has the power to heal all wounds, overcome difficult obstacles, and family is everything. I hope the men, women and children of Calhoun Customs Garage steal your hearts as they find love and rediscover the true meaning of a family bond.

Books in order of release:

Overdrive (June 2018)
Fast Lane (July 23, 2019)
Burnout (TBA, 2019)

Steers full throttle through life, love and redemption to find a home within your heart ~ Isha (Goodreads)

More information and buy links available here.

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.

You can find Juanita here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub


  1. 20 June 2019 2:52 pm

    We used to go to the drag races down in Melbourne. There some real beasts, (cars) among then and a hell of a lot of screaming noise. And a driver call Fang. He had a moustache with two long bits on each end died gold. So much fun. All the best with your series, Juanita.

  2. 15 June 2019 2:16 am

    I loved the first book in this series and can’t wait to read the rest. I enjoyed hearing about your writing experience as well as your background growing up with a car enthusiast family.

  3. 11 June 2019 6:20 am

    sound like a wonderful message as well as a lovely story.


    • 20 June 2019 12:17 pm

      Thank you, Denise. The Calhouns have taught me as much as I have taught them 🙂

  4. 10 June 2019 4:21 pm

    Just popping in to say hi and loved this blog post. Can’t wait for more Calhouns!

  5. 9 June 2019 10:49 am

    I can relate to hot rods but not so much to loving cars. Nevertheless I wish you the very best.

    • 9 June 2019 6:31 pm

      😀 Cathleen, hot rods are so much fun. Thanks for popping in!

  6. 9 June 2019 9:57 am

    Hi Juanita

    Oh I loved Overdrive and am looking forward to the others in the series, I do enjoy a good romance with heartfelt emotions 🙂

    Have Fun


    • 9 June 2019 10:25 am

      Thank you so much, Helen ❤ Trinity and Reece have a very special story to tell. Not long to wait now!

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