Fremantle Gazette - - LIFESTYLE - Sara Fitzpatrick Pic­ture: David Baylis

WHEN are you go­ing to write a proper book?

This is an all-too-fa­mil­iar ques­tion for Rachael Johns.

Li­brar­i­ans, book­shop as­sis­tants and ac­quain­tances have been pos­ing the query since her first romance novel was pub­lished in 2011.

“You see them roll their eyes and they’ll make a lit­tle joke like ‘Is what you’re writ­ing like 50 Shades of Grey?’,” Johns said.

“Of­ten peo­ple who make a com­ment like that haven’t read any romance or women’s fic­tion.

“They of­ten think the romance genre is just romance but no book is just one thing – crime isn’t just crime.

“Romance read­ers would get bored very quickly if there was no va­ri­ety in romance.”

The Perth mum of three and in­ter­na­tional best­seller has pro­duced 22 books in six years.

The past three have steered away from ru­ral romance and veered into com­mer­cial women’s fic­tion, fo­cus­ing on re­la­tion­ships other than ro­man­tic.

Johns was not pres­sured to change di­rec­tion, how­ever; she sim­ply had new ideas and a will­ing pub­lisher.

She be­gan writ­ing at 17 af­ter “ac­ci­den­tally” dump­ing her boyfriend in high school.

“I wasn’t big into writ­ing and read­ing at school – I was more boy­ob­sessed. I was madly in love with my child­hood sweet­heart – like we all think we are at 17 – and then I ac­ci­dently dumped him at the end of Year 12,” Johns said.

“He said some­thing I didn’t like and I said ‘I don’t think this is work­ing out’ and he said ‘Yeah, I think you’re right’.

“I had in­stant re­gret and was ab­so­lutely heart­bro­ken and for some strange rea­son, in the sum­mer hol­i­days be­tween Year 12 and start­ing uni, I be­gan writ­ing this book. I guess it was a form of ther­apy.”

Johns wrote 80,000 words of “ab­so­lute rub­bish” about the re­la­tion­ship.

“I re­alised that ac­ci­dently dump­ing some­one is not a very ex­cit­ing way to end a book so I gave him a hor­rific dis­ease and killed him off,” she said.

“That book has never seen the light of day and never will.” OUT AND ABOUT IN YOUR SUB­URB KNOW­ING IS JUST A TOUCH AWAY­mu­ni­ d479219

Rachael Johns en­tered the world of writ­ing af­ter an “ac­ci­den­tal” breakup in high school.

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