Posted in Books by Juanita Kees, Under the Law

Under the Hood of a Book

How often do you read the acknowledgements in an eBook? As more of us head towards reading devices, information in forewords, acknowledgments and dedications are side-lined as the upload heads straight for the first chapter of the book. It’s a little different in paperback. We have to page past them to start the story and are more likely to stop and read them first.

I’m encouraging you today to take a moment to read the acknowledgements in eBooks too. These are the window to the soul of the book and of the author too. We can read bios and blurbs which give us facts about the author and information on what the book is about, but the clue to the author’s ‘voice’ lies in what they write in their dedications. This is the main artery to the heart of a book.

Do you agree or disagree? How often do you read the information that comes before the first chapter? Is there too much or too little information? Leave a comment below to go into the draw to win a Kindle copy of Under the Hood.

I’d like to share with you what I wrote in my dedication and acknowledgements in Under the Hood:


A huge thank you to my critique partners, whose feedback has been magnificent. They’ve helped me identify the flaws and plug the holes, and have kept me sane when I thought about giving up. A special thank you to Kerrie P and Jennie Jones, your input was gold! To the members of RWA for their ongoing support and friendship, I have learnt so much from the best in the business.

I dreamed a dream and here I am. So many people to thank for guiding me on the road to success, including the team at Harlequin Escape, my friends Leah, Lina, Hazel, Tracy, Michelle & Claire—where would I be without my girls? My boys Gavin, Shane and Daniel—you guys are the greatest. I am so proud of you all. Jean (Mom) and Hylary (Dad) for reading to me and giving me the gift of appreciation for writing and creating stories, I love you both so much. For my family, extended family, wonderful friends and, of course, my readers who keep me writing … I love that ‘Oh, wow!’ moment whenever I hear how much you’ve enjoyed one of my stories.

About the Setting

Australian businessman and politician JJ Simons founded the Young Australia League and established a holiday camp deep in the shaded Roleystone valley in 1929. Simons called his camp Araluen, an Eastern States Aboriginal word meaning ‘singing waters,’ ‘running waters’ or ‘place of lilies’. Together, League members and volunteers built cottages, designed by leading Perth architect WG Bennett, using local timber and stone. They created pathways, roads, steps and terraces and filled the dream garden with native and imported plants to create a garden heaven.

The Grove of the Unforgotten still remains today, built in memory of Young Australia League members killed in World War I.

Now known as Araluen Botanical Park, this has to be the most peaceful garden in Western Australia. Many of the cottages have been restored, except for one that burnt down, leaving only the chimney stack standing.

I chose a similar setting for TJ & Scott’s story, because of its history and original purpose. How wonderful would it be if young people could return to this peaceful place while they search for themselves through the trials of growing up?

Unfortunately, my story is fiction and TJ is no relation to JJ Simons, but his dream and my love for his creation provided the perfect background for this story of an extraordinary woman who has her own dream and a commitment that knows no boundaries. I hope you enjoy the story.


for my Aunty Marita

who loved her Mills & Boon collection: we shared so many wonderful stories. I hope you are proud of what I’ve achieved as you sit at God’s right hand

for my Uncle Alan

I’ll always be your little tiger. You’ll never know how much your presence meant as I struggled through my teenage years

and Aunty Rochelle

for helping Uncle Alan find his ‘happy ever after’