Today on Flying Pony we have a visit from Rural Fiction Writer Fiona Palmer.
Fiona’s latest release, The Sunburnt Country hit the shelves his week.
Here’s a lttle taste of what you can look forward to reading:
Jonelle Baxter is a young woman in a man’s world – a tough, hardworking motor mechanic from an idyllic country family. But lately things in her perfect life have been changing, and her workshop isn’t the only local business that’s struggling. Daniel Tyler is new in town, posted from the city to manage the community bank. As he tries to rein in the spiralling debts of Bundara, he uncovers all sorts of personal dramas and challenges. The last thing Jonny and Dan need is an unwanted attraction to each other. It’s going to take more than a good drop of rain to break the drought and to keep this small but very colourful community thriving. From the bestselling author of The Road Home comes a moving and heartwarming story about love, change and courage – and the beauty that’s found in the bush, even in the harshest of times.
Watch the book trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkWOJZbxXFU
Thanks for joining us Fiona and sharing your creative process.
- What activities (other than writing) get your creative juices flowing?
Okay, don’t laugh but housework! It’s usually those daily grind jobs where my mind wanders and before I’ve finished the vacuum cleaning I have the next chapter plotted out. Also I get up at five to go walking with my mum. Sometimes just being out in the crisp morning, watching the sun come up and the kangaroo’s in the paddock can be inspiring. Being out and about in my rural community and appreciating the life I have is sometimes all I need to get my thoughts going.
- What sort of writing routine do you have – disciplined or undisciplined, regular or erratic, focused or easily distracted?
I’d like to be disciplined but I fly by the seat of my pants most times. Between kids and housework, I try to write when I can. I’m more in a routine when the kids go back to school and it’s much easier without having to stop writing because they are hungry or the buggy has run out of fuel.
- Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if so what do you do about it?
Sort of. I like to plan out the story in my head while doing those ‘daily grind’ jobs I was talking about. So when I do sit down to write I usually know where I am heading. I hate sitting at the computer with no idea where to go, so I’m thinking of my story as much as I can while I’m away from it. If I am really stuck I find talking to my mum and bouncing ideas off her really helps. Sometimes just having someone to talk through the story with works wonders. Half the time my mum doesn’t even get a word in but she has helped just by being there and listening. (sometimes I don’t even think she is listening but just nodding in all the right places!)
- Which aspects of the writing life do you most love?
The part where I am living it, where I feel like I’m involved in the town or with the characters. I want to see them get their happy ending, I feel their heartaches and I love creating all of that.
- Which aspects do least love (or detest!)?
The part where I have to sit at my computer. I love being outside so sitting inside glued to a computer all day is not how I pictured my life. I was adamant growing up that I’d have an outside job. Thank god for early morning walks!
- What books and writers have most influenced your own writing?
I think originally it started from movies. Like Paperback hero with Hugh Jackman. I was rewriting endings to movies I didn’t like and then one day decided to write my own. I wasn’t a big reader back then, besides reading some of my mums collection of Danielle Steel’s books. Rachael Treasure’s Jillaroo was a turning point for me. It gave me the courage to send off my work to Penguin and I haven’t looked back since.
- Can you describe for us your writing process, from getting the original idea to completed manuscript?
I will plan it all in my head first. I’ll start with an idea and let it fester and grow. I keep trying to sort it into a rough synopsis and when I feel I have enough details I will type out a 3 to 4 page outline. Then I start from chapter one and work my way to the end. Sometimes I do feel like my head will explode while trying to keep all my thoughts together!
- Please describe your path to publication.
In 2005 I started writing The Family Farm. I was working full time running the local shop with a newborn and toddler. When I had the first draft complete I entered and won an Australian Society of Authors mentorship, which helped heaps as I had no idea on how a manuscript was supposed to be set out. Once I reached the desired word length I sent the first three chapters off to Penguin and it went from the slush pile into the hands of Ali, who was Rachael Treasure’s publisher at the time. I was offered a contract not long after that, which was 2008.
- What advice would you give to writers who are working towards publication?
To write what you are passionate about. You want your readers to feel how much you care about your characters and what you are writing. So you will need to put your heart in your work. Also write what you know and to keep writing. You can’t edit a blank page.
Connect with Fiona on her blog: http://www.fionapalmer.com/
Read a review of The Sunburnt Country here: http://1girl2manybooks.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-sunburnt-country-fiona-palmer/