Saturday 6 April 2013

Guest interview with Juanita Kees

I'm delighted to welcome my second guest to The Write Frequency blog; freelance editor and contemporary romance writer, Juanita Kees. Juanita's first title, Fly Away Peta, was released by Eternal Press in August 2012, and her second title, Under The Hood, was released last month with Escape Publishing. Juanita has been patient enough to answer my many and varied questions, and has supplied an excerpt of her latest release. Read on to learn more about this talented author, and find out what she's up to next.

Describe yourself in four words:
Creative writing cleaning fairy

Are characters’ names in your novel important?
Absolutely! For some reason, the name always comes to me first.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
Yes, chocolate belly, numb bum, and a crick in the neck from falling asleep on the keyboard :)

Do you write around anything? i.e. day job, kids…
I wish I could! I’m easily distracted by Facebook, the telly or radio, so I like to have complete silence when I write.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Insanity (you can’t go insane if you’re already there, can you?), a sense of humour, chocolate, wine and a husband who can cook and clean.

Was there a lot of research needed for you novel?
Yes. I spent a lot of time researching the Young Australian League, Police & Citizens' Youth Clubs and of course, the history of Holden. I had to get my facts straight :)

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
Heaps! We grew up on books and story-telling. My dad is a wonderful storyteller and Mum is a big fan of romance novels.

What are books for?
Reading, loving, cherishing and escaping the real world.

Are you fun to go on a holiday with?
You might have to ask my family that one J I get a bit cranky on aeroplanes…

If the story on the front page of the newspaper was about you, what would the headline say?
Crazy Author begs Sexy Policeman to Arrest Her

Do you work better with a word-count goal or time period goal?
Time period – word counts scare me :)

What is the most amount of words you’ve written in a day?

If your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
Scott – Hugh Jackman
TJ – Sandra Bullock

Strangest place you’ve been writing?
In front of the bathroom mirror using my eyeliner pencil – true story :)

The most untimely moment when inspiration struck?
On the back of a motorcycle in sub- zero temperatures and our first stop 100km away.

Does your book have a theme song?
What about Me – Shannon Noll’s version

Do your friends ever recognise themselves in your books?
No, but my husband likes to think he’s the role model for the love scenes :)

If you could swap this world for your "book world," would you?
I could answer that but I might end up in very hot water!

How many books are in your TRB pile?
How long is a piece of string? :)

Craziest thing you ever ate?
In my wild youth, I once ate a snake we cooked over the campfire and washed it down with coffee that looked and tasted like tar…eew.

When all is said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
That’s highly likely J Sometimes the days just aren’t long enough…

To what degree have you controlled the course of your life?
The nth degree.

Would you agree to reduce your life expectancy by ten years if it meant becoming extremely attractive or famous?
Definitely not…I’d rather be an old man’s darling than a young man’s fool :)

Under The Hood Blurb:

When Scott Devin buys a struggling car dealership in semi-rural Western Australia, the last person he expects to see in charge is a stilletto-wearing, mini-skirted foreperson. Exactly the distraction a struggling, male-dominated workshop doesn’t need! But there’s more to TJ Stevens than meets the eye.
TJ Stevens has two major goals in life: to preserve her grandfather’s heritage and protect her teenage rehabilitation program — and she’ll go to any lengths to do it. Scott Devin’s presence is a threat to everything she’s worked hard to achieve, so keeping him at arms-length shouldn’t be a problem…or will it? 

Under The Hood Excerpt:

All the way up her steep driveway, he had a view of her perfectly rounded butt encased in snug fitting denim. All she had to do was wiggle that lovely butt and she’d have him panting at her feet, he thought wryly.  As she veered off the driveway towards a massive shed, he tried to remember the invisible line…and the rules. She dragged the heavy door back on its sliding groove and snapped on the light.  Industrial lighting blinded him momentarily as it revealed a beautifully restored 1953 Holden FJ utility. 

“Meet Bruce, the love of Sheila’s life,” TJ said waving her hand. 

Bruce and Sheila. He shook his head as he watched her snag a polish cloth off the work bench nearby and rub at the chrome badge on the hood. Scott stepped up to run a hand over the smooth cream fender before strolling around to admire the rear.

“New look tail light lens, original name badge, original hubcaps. Are these real white-walls?” He moved around the car. “Modified grille, genuine leather upholstery...” he noted in awe.  “Where did you get all this stuff?”

“...Straight-six grey motor with modified, longer-life pistons and torsional type compression rings,” she finished for him.  “I worked a lot of extra hours to pay for those parts.”

“Do you plan to do the same for Sheila?” He paused with his hand on the polished chrome door handle to look at her as she leaned a hip against the work bench.

“Yes.” She hooked the key off a nail above the work bench and tossed it to him. “Start him up.”

Scott didn’t need a second invitation. He caught the key neatly and opened the door to slide in behind the wheel as TJ popped the hood. He turned the key and the motor purred to life. He got out and stood next to her.

“Purrs like a kitten.” He ducked his head under the hood and turned his left ear closer to catch the sound. “Smooth as silk.”

TJ beamed. “Hours of fine tuning and good grade oil.”

“You know your stuff,” he said. He straightened and their shoulders touched. There it was again. That zing that couldn’t – shouldn’t – be acknowledged. Yes, she’d crawled right in under his defenses, this enigma that was TJ Stevens. A puzzle he could spend hours trying to solve. Her lack of self-awareness, her energy and enthusiasm, and the fierce pride that came to the fore when challenged – all these traits stirred his senses.

TJ felt his gaze on her face and ignored the pleasant shiver it sent tingling up her spine. She saw the hand he raised and felt his knuckles brush her cheek. She stepped out of reach.

“Mind your hands, Scott. I’ll drop the hood.”

What I’m working on now:
You met him in Fly Away Peta. He starts a murder investigation in Under the Hood. When will Detective Mark Johnson have his chance at happiness and what’s next for the bad guys? Find out over at Romance Book Haven.


Thanks for visiting the blog, Juanita!



  1. Thank you for having me, Elise! I had great fun answering your questions.

  2. Fun interview! That motorcycle story sounds an interesting one :)

  3. Wow - what wonderful questions Elise - and perfect answers Juanita Kees. I'm so pleased I 'found' this post! I can relate to so many of your answers Juanita (especially those concerning dear husbands and those concerning the writers' life). Thank you both, thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

    1. Hi Jennie :D Lovely to see you here! Glad you enjoyed the post.