Monday, 4 February 2013

Welcome to My Guest Author: Juanita Kees

Today I welcome Author Juantia Kees to my blog!   So over to Juanita...

Do you Love your Characters?

Building a story is like building a house. I discussed this topic in a post about Writing from the Heart on Rachael John’s blog last year. Heart and a good foundation is what helps you and your characters build a riveting story that will engage the reader from start to finish. Add to the mix the walls to make the story strong, and windows to peek into the heads and the hearts of your hero and heroine. The roof is the finishing touch to protect your investment and the people you care about most…your characters.  But their journey doesn’t end there, it’s only the beginning.

I went on to discuss the welcoming party in Write a Book, Bake a Cake which takes a look at the importance of editing your manuscript for submission. Writing is only a part of the incredible learning journey to publication. The more you write, the more confident you become. Research, critique partners, writing groups, contests and workshops all play a big part in helping you hone your craft.  Think of these as the ingredients for a fluffy chocolate cake batter. Leave any of the ingredients out and the consistency of your batter could let you down.
But what about the most important part of all in the story—the people? Who are they? What are they like? Are they heroes and heroines readers will love? Imagine a good, solid house with strong walls and a new roof, pretty gardens and rolling lawns, but the rooms are empty. Void of life, love and laughter. What brings life to the house? Is it the furniture, the paint on the walls, the shiny appliances in the kitchen? Absolutely not! What brings life to the house is the characters.

Readers read to find magic in a story, an element of happiness, hope and escape from the dramas of the real world. By building good, solid characters you can help them find that escape. I recently read a book where the heroine’s daughter was a whiny little girl whose bottom I wanted to spank for the temper tantrums she threw and the distress she caused her mum. Is that a criticism of the author’s writing? No, I’m giving the author huge credit for creating believable four-year-old behavior that drew me right into the scene and made me want to give the girl’s mum a big hug.
In Fly Away Peta, I created a feisty heroine in Peta; someone I hope readers will relate to in her fierce fight to protect her daughter against the dangers of life and heartbreak, while she battles her own demons. And Jaime—gorgeous, strong, delectable Jaime Caruso—a man who jumps feet-first into the fray to fight for the woman he’s loved forever, no matter what danger she’s in.

And if you enjoyed Jaime and Peta’s spirited characters, you are going to love TJ and Scott in Under the Hood, due for release from Escape Publishing in March 2013. This energetic story stars yet another feisty heroine not afraid to step forward and a delectable hero who can’t resist her charm or her dilemma. Together they fight to save a teenage gang from the grip of crime and drugs, all while resisting the temptation to fall in love.
Thank you to my lovely friend and editing buddy, Serena Tatti for hosting me today and letting me waffle on about building houses, baking cakes and creating characters. For a handy guide to creating character profiles, I can recommend Valerie Parv’s The Art of Romance Writing. It’s a guide that’s stood the test of time and a book that holds pride of place amongst my reference books, as battered, dog-eared and full of post-it notes as it is.

Blurb: Fly Away Peta from Eternal Press
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 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.
The search for Bella brings them together. Secrets and lies keep them apart. Will Jaime and Peta renew their love in the face of danger or will he let her fly away again?


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. She has written articles on business management for Stanford Who’s Who, New York, USA.
Having completed a diploma in Proofreading, Editing and Publishing through the Australian College QED, Bondi, NSW, Juanita is a freelance editor for Damnation Books, Eternal Press and Escape Publishing, and proofreads scientific text books for Elsevier Press, Oxford, UK.

Juanita gained her professional experience in the motor industry as an administrator and Customer Care/Quality Assurance Coordinator conducting audits; writing and proof-reading reports, operating procedures, company policies, capability statements, newsletters and customer correspondence.
Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing romantic fiction. She conducts interviews with fellow authors and writes book reviews, as well as the odd blog about the frustrations and delights of being a writer.

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.
Juanita loves to hear from fans and would love for you to enjoy her writing journey with her at:

On the Web:   
Buy Link:

Links used in this blog:
Write from the Heart






  1. Hi Serena and Juanita. A great post. It all comes back to character, doesn't it? Whenever I'm struggling with my writing I know I'm not allowing the characters to shine through. Thanks for your awesome blog, Serena. And congratulations on your releases, Juanita. You're having quite a year!

    1. Hi Louise, it's a very exciting journey so far and one I'm hoping to continue for many years to come :D You are so right about letting the characters shine through. I love having them come to life.

  2. Hi Serena and Juanita.
    What a terrific post. The comparison of writing a story with that of a house was very enlightening. It certainly gives me something to think about.

    Best wishes


    1. Hi Margaret,

      I love a solid foundation to a story. I'm glad my analogy helped :D

  3. Thanks Juanita for sharing your knowledge in this fantastic post!

    Knowing your characters is necessary if you want to keep them real and make your readers care enough to follow their quest for true love.

    We've all picked up a book where you take an instant dislike to a character and it might only need one small thing to redeem them or understand what made them like that.

    Thanks Serena, I love your blog!


    1. Hi Margaret,

      I've put many a book down because I haven't bonded with the characters. It all comes back to writing from the heart and loving your characters :D

  4. Thank you, Juanita

    I loved reading your blog, and your analogy of building a house and building a good story.

    I think we have to love our characters enough to give them well rounded personalities and pasts. We don't want to fill our rooms with just any furniture - we want the best!

    Thank you again for sharing your insights :)


    1. Hi Michelle,

      Exactly! Why buy Ikea if you can afford Natuzzi :D

      If I don't love a character in my writing, I kick them to the curb - gently of course, because you never know when they might demand their own story after a little rehab ;-)

  5. Absolutely,
    It's vital that you (and your readers) fall in love with your characters. There has to be a point of identification to create the suspension of disbelief necessary for taking your reader on the journey with you.

    I'm writing my second novel with characters so different from the first that I had to spend a long time, discovering what it is that would make me fall in love with them.

    I wonder if other authors have the same dilemma - how much time do you need to 'break up' with your hero and heroine before beginning to romance a new couple.

    1. What a great question! TJ and Scott in Under the Hood are completely different to Peta and Jaime from Fly Away Peta. I had a totally different relationship with the couples. Peta was more like a sister to me, while TJ was the best friend who made me smile, exhausted me with her energy and entertained me long into the night.

      I find that by the time I write the closing scene, I'm ready to romance a new couple. I guess it's a bit like sending your children off to school. It's the end of one story and the beginning of another.

  6. Hi Juanita and Hello Serena!

    Juanita, I loved reading your Fly Away Peta and looking forward to your Under The Hood now.

    Congratulations and all the best!

    Thanks Serena! We learn a lot when we visit your site.

    1. Hi Nas :D

      Lovely to see you here. Glad you enjoyed Fly Away Peta.

  7. Valerie Parv's book was the one that got me back into writing and pointed me in the direction of the RWA! I have a lot to thank her for :)

    Great post, Juanita.

    1. I don't know where I'd be without Valerie's book, Kez! She is a legend.

  8. Hi everyone,
    Sorry I've been absent, but I'm here now. I'm so happy to have you here, Juanita. I loved Fly Away Peta and can't wait to read your Escape release, Under the Hood. Roll on March!!

    I agree with everyone that your writing a book/building the house analogy is excellent. Both require a lot of hair-pulling, teeth gnashing, and gallons of coffee (not to mention a ton or two of chocolate). And both have HEAs!! (Hopefully)

    BTW I also have to thank Valerie Parv for her book, The Art of Romance Writing. I was a newbie writer and apart from learning valuable romance writing skills, it led me to the Romance Writers of Australia and then to the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild.

    Thanks for stopping in Louise, Margaret T, Margaret M, Michelle, Nora, Nas and Kez.

  9. I've had wonderful fun here today. Thanks for hosting me, Serena. to find some of that chocolate and coffee :D

  10. Hi Juanita,
    It's been lovely having you here. I wish you lots of luck with Fly Away Peta, and I can't wait for Under The Hood!