I met Fiona Palmer on-line courtesy of Fleur McDonald and then had the pleasure of meeting her at last year’s RWA conference. She’s the quintessential good looking country-girl with a wide smile and her stories reflect that. She’s taken time out of her busy schedule to talk about writing and her latest release “Heart of Gold.‘
Welcome, Fiona.The Australian Romance Readers Conference is on this weekend at Bondi Beach, Sydney. I’m sorry you won’t be there as it’s always lovely catching up with you. If you were there who would you most like to sit next to and why?
I’m sad that I won’t be there, as I’m sure it’s going to be a blast. But if I could go I’d love to sit next to Cathryn and Karly, (just to name two) who both have ‘rural’ books coming out and it’d be nice to chat about it with them.
I’m looking forward to being on a panel with Karly and I’ll make sure she signs a copy of North Star for me! So who are your favourite authors and what are your favourite genres?
I have varying tastes but mostly anything with a romance thread. From suspense, like yours and Bronwyn Parry’s to Rachael Treasures rural books and others in this genre. I loved Water for Elephants and I love Young Adult books, my favourite being Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. I like strong female lead characters. And I think it was reading Harry Potter many years ago that got me back into reading.
Harry Potter is certainly responsible for a lot of people picking up a book again. I devoured them, particularly the first four 🙂
You live in a small town in WA and write about close-knit communities. What is it about those communities and characters that you think resonates with so many readers right around Australia?
I’d like to think it’s about feeling free with all the open land, and its ever changing landscape. Maybe its feeling protected, everyone knows everyone, so there is that safety. And mainly it’s the lifestyle of country living, the harshness that Mother Nature dishes out and having to work with what she throws at you.
Heart of Gold deals with domestic violence and a disintegrating family, issues that we see in TV news reports on a daily basis. It’s heart wrenching stuff. How do you go about putting all that emotion into your characters? Does it take its toll when you’re writing those scenes?
I tend to connect with my characters, try to feel their pain as if it were my own, and then write it out. It’s very draining and emotional as I often tear up writing some scenes. But if I wasn’t getting upset, then I couldn’t expect my readers to get emotionally involved either. Outside I wear a tough skin but on the inside I’m quite an emotional person, so I try to harness it and fill the pages up with as much as I can. Without good emotion, I can’t expect readers to feel what my characters are going through? So I’m often a teary mess…which makes my hubby wonder if I’m okay…but then I just tell him that a character died and he just rolls his eyes.
Lol, how our partners suffer for our craft, Fiona… Mine says he knows when I’m writing scenes with a lot of dialogue as I pull faces appropriate to the characters while I’m writing….
Your stories are wonderful romances in set in Outback Australia. The romance between CJ and Lindsay is there right from the start with Heart of Gold. What’s your own romance story? Where did you meet your hubbie?
I was nearly 18 and was working on CBH (they handle the farmers grain at harvest and put it onto trains and ships throughout the year) and that’s where I met Darryl. He was this hard working, good looking fellow with long hair (Which didn’t last long once I got to him lol) and we’ve been together ever since. He was the guy from the next town and I often wonder if I’d never left school after year 11 if we would have met? One simple choice could change your whole future.
How true! It’s the six degrees of separation or ‘sliding doors’ isn’t it.
What’s next for Fiona Palmer? YA? Romance?
Well I’ve put my YA book on hold for the moment while I concentrate on my rural romances. I’m busy re-working book 3, (Sarah’s Journey, is its working name) and I have an outline for book 4. And amongst that is kids birthdays, housework, my day job….and on the list goes.
Thanks for dropping by, Fiona. Look forward to catching up in August. I loved reading Heart of Gold and had to wait to finish it once I got off the flight I was on as I really didn’t need to be crying in public… It’s a lovely romance with memorable characters who linger long after the last page.
Thanks, Helene, for having me here !
CJ Wishart is a hardworking country girl with a heart of gold but a life that can be tough. Her job as a wool classer is back-breaking, her family life is a disaster and, after a string of dating debacles, she’s put men in the too-hard basket.
When strong, handsome Lindsay arrives on the scene as their new shearer, CJ can’t help but take notice. They have an undeniable spark, but can she handle the complications and potential heartbreak of falling in love?
With help from her friend and an endearing old farmer, CJ learns that when you stay true to yourself and open your heart, anything is possible.
Set in the colourful world of the shearing sheds, this is a lively and uniquely Australian story of love overcoming adversity.
Visit her website at www.fionapalmer.com