• Dana Arpquest

Q&A with AUthor R.J. Groves

Updated: May 27

Australian author R.J. Groves has been passionate about writing since she could put pen to paper and can usually be found jotting plots and stories down on anything she can get her hands on. Describing herself as a mum, wife, author, and coffee lover, her other passions include music, cooking, books, adventures, and searching for plot bunnies in even the most mundane activities.

Q: Hello R.J. and thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Tell us a little about the woman behind the brand?

Hi Dana, thanks for having me! Well for starters, I love everything books and dream of one day having a huge library room of my own (much like the one on Beauty and the Beast). I love my kids and my husband, baking, cooking, coffee, sewing, gardening… we’ll be here all day if I list everything! I try to take the easiest path where possible, but I also love challenging myself and will work hard to get there.

Q: You are quite a prolific writer. When do you find the time to write with two children and a day job?

More than one of my stories were written mostly one-handed with a sleeping baby in my other arm. It got a lot harder to find time when that baby found his feet, so most of my writing happens at night when they’re in bed. I work from home too, so depending on how busy that is, I can swap things around to make time (sometimes).

Q: Your books are contemporary romance. Where do you get your ideas from?

My ideas pop into my head at the weirdest times. Sometimes I have a dream that I remember and draw from that, or while I’m shopping for groceries, or driving, or showering, or listening to music, anything. I never know when an idea is going to come or what’s going to trigger it, but when it does, I can’t get anything else done until I write it down.

Q: In your latest book- Written in the Sand, poor Wren is dumped before the wedding and then she gets in trouble with some office romance. Can you describe Wren in three words?

Only three? Okay… sassy, unpredictable, and stubborn.


Q: Out of all your books, which one is your favourite and why?

Don’t tell any of my other books, but I have two that I just can’t decide between. The Irish Maiden and Written in the Sand both have memorable characters that I still haven’t been able to fully move on from. I loved writing these books so much, and the stories were the ones that just happened. No blocks, no obstacles, it just all fell into place.

Q: Your characters are jumping off the pages and are so real and well-rounded. Do you base them on people you know?

I do not! I will sometimes use a trait that I love about a person and put that into one of my characters, but I never base them on people I know. While writing my stories, my characters start to feel like real people. They have their own characters, their own looks, their own opinions on how the story should go…

Q: What is your favourite trope in romance? And do you choose the trope before writing or does it come alive as your story develops?

I love a good fake relationship or marriage of convenience the most. And also the whole opposites attract/enemies to lovers thing too. Sometimes a particular trope (i.e. marriage of convenience in The Irish Maiden) will come with the story. Other times, I’ll start writing with something in mind and it’ll end up as something else, so I really try not to plan too much.

Q: Now, if one of your books was a Hollywood blockbuster- Who would you like to play the role of the Hero/ Heroine? (and which book)

I’d love to see Written in the Sand as a movie. I think Chris Hemsworth would make a great Nate with the whole beach vibe going on, and I bet Emma Watson could pull off Wren’s character.

Q: How do you come up with the titles for your books?

Sometimes I get the titles before I’ve started writing. Other times, I work them out after I’ve started writing. Maybe something happens in the story that draws inspiration for a title. And sometimes, I just have to come up with a list of mock titles until I come up with one that works.

Q: Are you planning to write more books in the Jilted Brides series or are you planning a new series?

I have so many books planned for each of my series. As for the Jilted Brides series in particular, I have a few in the pipeline that are of the Jilted Bride nature, but they may or may not be linked to the series, per se. But if you’ve liked the first two Jilted Brides books, you’ll love the ones to follow!

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you write your first novel? Tell us about it.

I have loved writing for as long as I can remember. I always dreamed of being an author, but I always thought it was only ever going to be a pipedream (writing them was one thing, publishing another!). It’s not until my husband asked what I would do if I could do anything and then told me I should go for it when I told him I wanted to be an author.

My first novel attempt was in my early teens and it died at many thousands of words when our family computer crashed and deleted everything (REMINDER: BACK UP YOUR WORK). I remember it being a sort of sci fi, fantasy, kid adventure with elves and a portal to another world. A little different to the romance genre I’ve now ended up in and love writing!

Q: What are your writing habits? Do you listen to music or need total silence? Do you snack while you write?

The only real habit that stands always is music. I need music to write. And it can’t just be any music. It needs to be the music. The right music for the story, the right music for the scene, the right music that’s going to harness the muse for that session. So many factors come into it, and I really just have to listen to all music until I find the right stuff. I’m also a floater. I swap between writing at my desk, at the table, outside, in bed, wherever I can get a roll on. I generally drink tea while I write, and snacking doesn’t usually come into the equation. If I can get in the zone, I don’t think of food or anything else. Just writing.


Q: Can you describe your writing space?

If I’m writing at my desk, I have a comfortable office chair, link my laptop up to my second monitor for a bigger screen, and have my notes spread out everywhere. Seriously, I don’t notice the mess once I’m in the zone!

Q: What is your favourite part of writing/ publishing?

I love when a story just flows. Writing is my happy place, so really, I love any part of it. But there’s something amazing about reading through your completed story for the first time and feeling the feels you hope your readers will feel (and yes, I’ve teared up at some of the emotional scenes!).

Q: And to stay in the same area, what is the most difficult part about writing?

It is almost impossible to write one story when your heart is with another. I always have so many projects on the go at any one time because of this. I can very easily swap from wanting to work on Project A to Project C, then D, then B, then A again (and it can sometimes be in the one day).

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

Continuing on from the previous section, I have a few projects I’m working on at the moment (hehe). I’m working on the first few books of a new series based on firefighters, a Christmas themed story, another jilted brides themed story, and I also have the second book of the Set Ups series started. But the two that have been contending with each other the most are my firefighters and my Christmas story.

Q: What if your favourite book of all time (I know this is hard but just pick one) and why?

Oh boy. I’ve read so many incredible books by so many amazing authors, it would just be easier to tell you all the authors I love (but again, we’d be here all day!). If I had to choose just one, I’d say The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie. That book is an amazing start to an amazing series and kickstarted two very important things for me—my love for reading historical romance (particularly regency era), and it was also while reading that book that I decided to take my writing seriously.

Q: Any advice for someone who is just starting out writing or who is thinking about writing?

At the risk of sounding cliché, keep writing. You will have your doubts and your down times, but you will also feel incredibly rewarded when you write those final two words. On a not so cliché note, writing is not easy and it’s not for everyone. If you’re serious about writing, it’s a long-term game and you need to commit to it. You need to write when you don’t necessarily feel like writing, and you need to keep showing up for yourself. And you need to be the best marketer you can be.

Q: Are you on social media? Where can people interact with you?

I can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub, Goodreads, and Twitter. Or if anyone has any specific questions or comments, I can be contacted by email (all links are on my website).www.rjgrovesauthor.com

Q: Finally, you mentioned that you like reading historical romance and particularly regency. What is your favourite book in that genre and have you any plans to embark on the adventure to write a regency romance one day?

Any Anne Gracie, Lauren Royal, or Christi Caldwell books are my favourite go-to’s for a regency read. And yes, I do! I’d love to write regency romances and I have plans for some in the future once I gather up all my research.

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