I’m delighted to welcome Janet Gover today.
Janet lives in Surrey with her English husband but grew up in the Australian outback surrounded by books. She solved mysteries with Sherlock Holmes, explored jungles with Edgar Rice Burroughs and shot to the stars with Ray Bradbury. After studying journalism at Queensland University she became a television journalist, first in Australia, then in Asia and Europe. During her career Janet saw and did a lot of unusual things. She met one Pope, at least three Prime Ministers, a few movie stars and a dolphin. Janet now works in television production and travels extensively with her job.
Janet’s first short story, The Last Dragon, was published in 2002. Since then she has published numerous short stories, one of which won the Elizabeth Goudge Award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Flight to Coorah Creek is her debut with Choc Lit and Bring Me Sunshine her first Choc Lit Lite ebook novella.
Please summarise Flight to Coorah Creek in 20 words or less.
A story about guilt and redemption and most of all – love. About facing the past and embracing the future.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
The story is set in a small outback Australian town – Coorah Creek. It’s a fictional town, but is inspired by the town where I grew up. In a small town, there is a wonderful feeling of community. People help each other out. But it’s hard to keep a secret in a small town. People tend to know everyone else’s business. Small towns also tend to attract interesting and unusual characters.
I plan to write a series of books in the town. Each book will bring back old friends – but I’ll also toss some new characters into the mix, just to see what happens.
How do your characters come into existence? Do they have a bio?
My characters talk to me. If I wasn’t a writer, talking to imaginary people would probably not be considered a good thing.
They all have a story to tell – the one I write down, but also a backstory. I know where they grew up, what school was like for them. What past love affairs they have had – and how they ended. I know about their jobs and their friends. I have to know all this if I am going to give my characters depth… make them seem as real to my readers as they are to me.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
Definitely a pantser. I always have the opening scene of the book in my head – and the final scene. It’s the big bit in the middle that worries me. Some of my writer friends are plotters, and know in advance everything that is going to happen in each chapter. I don’t. I just listen to the characters in my head as they tell me their story.
You mentioned you’re planning on writing a series, so what’s next?
I am just finishing writing the second Coorah Creek novel. Two of the minor characters from Flight To Coorah Creek take centre stage in this one. Adam and Jessica and Ellen and Jack – the people we meet in the first book come back too.
I want my readers to get to know the town and all its people. I want them to feel that coming back to The Creek is like coming home, and catching up with old friends.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
The whole idea about writing a series came from a series of books by Robyn Carr. She’s a wonderful US author – who I got to meet briefly while I was living in New York. She wrote a series of books set in a small town called Virgin River. I confess, I didn’t like the name of the town, but I loved the books. I just devoured them.
And then one day I thought – could I do something like that? Create a world in a small Australian town? That’s how Coorah Creek was born.
Does Flight to Corah Creek tackle a social barrier?
I write love stories – but it seems to me that love is always struggling against other things. When we fall in love – real, lifelong love – we do it despite so many obstacles.
In Flight to Coorah Creek – my characters do have real problems to overcome. One of my characters is a battered wife. Another character has had to face trial by media.
When a person faces these sorts of things – they have to deal with them in their own way. But it helps to have someone standing by your side, supporting and loving you despite all the obstacles.
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
The best part is always hearing from readers. Writing is hard work. There are a lot of hours spent alone at a desk, wondering if this book will be any good. Will I be able to do justice to the characters and their story? Will anyone like it?
When a book is published, it’s like letting your child go out into the world. Whenever a reader e-mails to say they liked the book, I just want to cry. Some letters in fact do make me cry. Sometimes a reader will say I helped them at a difficult time. Or made them smile. Those are the very best days.
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
The rejections. Every writer gets them some times. You write something and send it to an editor who says – no thanks, it’s not for us. That hurts. Writing is a very personal thing and it’s hard not to take rejections personally. Those are the bad days. But when the knocks come, you have to pick yourself up and get right back into it. It’s the only way.
What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?
The great Ray Bradbury once said – through one of his characters – write a short story every day for a year, because no-one can write that many bad stories. In a way he’s right. The more you write, the better you will become. Try your hand at different styles – write short stories; write for children; write romance or crime. When you find yourself writing something that touches your own heart – then you are on the right track. I quite often have tears in my eyes as I write. That’s a good thing. If what I am writing touches my heart – it will touch the readers’ hearts too.
Thank you for inspiring answers Janet. Wishing you success!
Only Jessica Pearson knows the truth when the press portray her as the woman who betrayed her lover to escape prosecution. But will her new job flying an outback air ambulance help her sleep at night or atone for a lost life?
Doctor Adam Gilmore touches the lives of his patients, but his own scars mean he can never let a woman touch his heart.
Runaway Ellen Parkes wants to build a safe future for her two children. Without a man – not even one as gentle as Jack North.
In Coorah Creek, a town on the edge of nowhere, you’re judged by what you do, not what people say about you. But when the harshest judge is the one you see in the mirror, there’s nowhere left to hide.