Saturday, 10 November 2012

Spotlight - Juanita Kees

Please click date button to view entire post.
Hi everyone,
                     Today we are lucky enough to have the wonderful Juanita Kees dropping by. Juanita is here to talk about her new book, Fly Away Peta. One lucky reader will win a pdf copy of Fly Away Peta, so please leave your name & email address to be in the draw. The comment button is located at the very end of this post. :)

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and now proudly Australian, Juanita is a freelance writer of book reviews, blogs, web content, advertorials, newsletters, resumes and training manuals. Juanita is a freelance editor for US Publisher Damnation Books, and proofreads scientific text books for Elsevier Press, Oxford, UK.
Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing romantic fiction. When she’s not writing, editing or proofreading, Juanita is the cleaning fairy and mother to three boys (hubby included, his toys are just a little more expensive). Her not-so-miniature Daschund, Sam is her critique partner and keeps her company while writing.
Hi Juanita and welcome!
Thank you so much for having me here today, Nicole. The thing I love most about Australian fiction is that we have so much material to draw from for our stories. Our history might be young but it’s rich in culture and character. There are so many places in this wonderful land of ours to write about. I’m not sure which I had more fun with: writing FLY AWAY PETA or researching the Western Australian town of Williams where it’s set.

What type of romance do you write?
Contemporary with a touch of suspense.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I use the wonderful profiling tool from Valerie Parv’s THE ART OF ROMANCE WRITING to create their persona. Then I choose a star sign for them and build their personalities around that. Although (like real people) they do tend to develop their own personalities as the story grows!
I do a very basic event plan (again using a tool from Valerie’s book) and create a collage of places, people and scenes for visual planning. And then I let my imagination have free reign to go where it chooses with the story. 
What comes first, the plot or characters?
It could be either. I might see a person in a shopping centre that strikes a chord. My mind wanders when I’m getting ready to go to work in the mornings. I’ll be standing in front of the mirror brushing my teeth and an idea will strike. Lucky I have an understanding boss, who doesn’t mind me being a little late for work!
Are you working on anything at the present?
Taming the Tiger is my current WIP which I entered into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Competition
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Valerie Parv – without her helpful romance writing guide, I would never have started this journey. I’m also a huge Nora Roberts fan.
What is your favourite food?
What made you want to be a writer?
We grew up with books and storytelling. I come from a creative family of storytellers, artists and musicians. I started out writing poetry and lyrics. I guess it was always about finding an outlet for my restless imagination.
Juanita, thanks so much for stopping by for a chat J
Please check out the snippet of  Fly Away Peta!
Nicole  xx
Fly Away Peta
The time has come to face her worst fear and the clock is ticking…
Peta Johnson will go to extreme lengths to protect her daughter Bella. When the Bella is kidnapped, the search for her takes Peta back to the small Western Australian country town of Williams, a place she’d vowed never to return to. The town where her dreams were shattered and her nightmare began. Back to the place she’d been destined to meet two very powerful, yet very different men. One would break her heart; the other would destroy her soul. Both would change her life forever.


Taking a deep, steadying breath, Jaime turned back towards the girl on the stage. She wore the same little black dress she’d worn when he’d met her ten years before, he noted. It fit a little more snugly now that the slender curves had matured.  Her chestnut mane shone under the lights as she slowed the pace again. He remembered the glittering green eyes which had once seared his soul, the dusting of freckles on the pert nose he used to kiss, and the smooth, almost translucent skin on the cheeks he used to touch. Slowly he moved forward to get a closer look at the woman who had filled his dreams and thoughts constantly for as long as he could remember. He’d put it down to guilty conscience that she’d haunted him for so long because he didn’t dare consider the other option. 
She sang with her soul. The song was meant for someone special. Her ex-husband perhaps, he thought with all too familiar feelings of jealousy. From this close he could see the dampness at the corners of her beautiful green eyes as she sang, pouring her heart into the performance. It was this ability to engage emotion that had kept her steady in the top ten charts.
Dear God, he’d never thought it possible she could be more beautiful than he remembered. Tightness gripped his heart painfully. He swallowed around the lump in his throat. 
As he stood at the base of the stage staring up at her, she looked down at him and their eyes met and held. He heard her voice falter slightly as shock registered on her face.  She tore her eyes from his and moved away across the stage. Jaime felt his heart plummet from his chest down into his stomach. He didn’t want to feel this way! He should’ve stopped feeling this way about her after all this time. His lips tightened as he took one last look at her and strode from the hall.
Twitter: !/juanitakees
Eternal Press



  1. Hi Juanita-Another great interview and a beautiful site! Dina Rae

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by. Nicole :)

    2. Hi Dina! Lovely to see you here :) Thanks for popping in.

  2. Hi Juanita and Nicole. Juanita, I'm very interested to get that romance writing craft book you've mentioned, Juanita. It seems really good. I wish you all the best with your book and look forward to reading it when I can get my hands on a copy - it sounds great!

  3. Hi Maria! Valerie's book is definitely one craft book you want on your shelf. It's wonderful. Did you know that the cartoons in the book were drawn by her husband?

    Thanks for popping in to say hi.

  4. Thanks for replying Juanita, and like I said, best of luck with your book!

    1. Hi Maria, thanks so much for dropping by. Nicole :)

    2. Hi Nicole, lovely to be here, you have the most beautiful blog. I've just been checking out that craft book Juanita's been talking about. I just love books about writing and on this blog post, I've found two books I definitely want on my shelf!

      Thanks to both of you, Nicole and Juanita.

    3. Thanks Maria, I'm so glad you like my blog :) Don't forget if you leave your email, you can go into the draw for a copy of Juanita's Fly Away Peta.
      Nicole x

    4. Ooh, thanks Nicola. My email is ishmarindatgmaildotcom. Would love to win this book....

  5. Hi Nicole, hi Juanita.

    Oooh! What a nice hook-y sample from Fly Away Peta you gave us, Juanita. Great stuff.

    Veeeery interested in how you develop characters around a star sign. It's not a technique I've considered before but I can see how useful it'd be. Clever!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello, Cathryn. :)

    2. Hi Cathryn,

      Glad you enjoyed the sample :)

      The Chinese horoscope is particularly useful as it goes into great detail on personality traits. I have great fun with those.

      Thanks for popping in to say hi!