0 My Bookshelves
I was raised in Pingaring. My Dad and Mum are contractors in town who cart grain, spread fertiliser and spray for the farmers.
The majority of my childhood weekends were spent on my Uncle and Aunty’s farm ‘Gumlea’ with my two cousins Tammy and Sandy, and my younger brother Chad.
We attended the Pingaring Primary School which closed its doors a few years later because of small numbers. I went off to Narrogin High School where I boarded at the Narrogin Residential College. I left school after year eleven, itching to start work and begin my life.
I was a third generation speedway driver, racing cars from the age of 16 right up until I was pregnant with my first child.
After doing odd jobs, rouseabouting, tractor driving and working on the CBH bins, where I met my husband-to-be, I went to Alexander College for a secretarial course. (Luckily they taught me how to type really fast, which comes in handy when typing up long stories)
I got a job at the Shire of Lake Grace as a secretary for three years and then changed to a Teachers Assistant before getting married to my husband Darryl and having my daughter Mackenzie and my son, Blake.
It was while running the local shop in Pingaring in 2006, in a partnership with my Mum, that I began writing down a story that was roaming around in my head. Lo and behold, this was the start of my writing career. The Family Farm is my first book followed by Heart of Gold, 2011 and The Road Home 2012.
Facebook:www.facebook.com/FionaPalmerRuralAuthor Twitter:@fiona_palmer Website:www.fionapalmer.com
Books by this Author
Penguin Q & A with Fiona Palmer, author of The Sunburnt Country
What is your new book about?
The Sunburnt Country is about the effect of a drought on a small rural community, not just the farmer but the township. It touches on issues of depression and suicide but also has a love story at its heart. The small community is full of lively characters and the landscapes are drought stricken, but still beautiful in their own way.
What or who inspired it?
Our district, where I live, went through a bad drought a few years back and living through that, seeing how it affected my friends and family really spurred on this story.
What was the biggest challenge, writing it?
For me it was wanting the depression storyline right. It is a huge issue in rural Australia, as help is very hard to find when you spend a lot of your time alone on a farm – especially when most are tough men who don’t talk about their feelings. I hope it will also help some people seek help.
What do you hope for your book?
I hope that it will help people who are suffering depression to understand that they are not alone and seeking help is not a weakness; and for others to have a better understanding of our rural way of life.
Are there any parts of it that have special personal significance to you?
Yes, my leading lady Jonelle is a lot like me. In the book she races Speedway and I have included my old racing club and a few of the men I raced with in the scenes. It is close to my heart with a bit of my history between the pages.
Do you have a favourite character or one you really enjoyed writing?
Jonelle Baxter is my favourite character so far, especially because she is a mechanic and that is something I would have loved to have been. She is passionate about her country town and cares for the people within it, to the point where she doesn’t want it to ever change.
Do you have a special ‘spot’ for writing at home? (If so, describe it)
I do all my writing on my laptop in our computer room. It is off from the kids’ playroom so sometimes it’s not the best place to write when they are home. My desk is quite small and covered with lots of paper with bits of writing on them from character descriptions, research and calendar details. I need more room - which I’m sure I would fill up quickly also!
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