Today I had the pleasure of having a chat with Rachel Armstrong, author of Home Among the Palm Trees.
Get to know Rachel in this interview:
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Townsville with my border collie Jacob, where I help manage a general medical practice
and work as an exercise physiologist. But of course, all I want to do is take my daily walks, go to
Zumba and yoga, and write books.
I wrote my first book at fourteen, filling my school books with
snippets of my stories, and have enjoyed reading all my life. I also love travelling and have had
some amazing holidays. I hope to see more of the world in the future.
What inspires you?
Far too many things. I get inspiration everywhere, from watching TV to simply dancing to a song
at Zumba. But the ideas that stick are those that fill my heart. Inspiration for Home Among the
Palm Trees struck while taking my dog to the park of an afternoon.
I’ve also written books based on my holiday in Bali and thinking ‘but what if this happened instead?’ while watching Friends and Grey’s Anatomy.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
Usually, I give myself a little cheer, post something on Facebook, and I might buy myself a little
memento. I don’t really do anything special, but then each book is different and may deserve a
reward, like a research trip before the final draft!
Sometimes, I jump straight into the second draft because I feel blue without a project to work on, else I give myself a break with a good reading binge if something has caught my interest.
What is your favourite part of the publishing process?
Covers! That is always exciting because it’s like you finally get to ‘see’ your book. Seeing the
concepts for Home Among the Palm Trees finally made it feel real and it was a lot of fun
tweaking colours and fonts.
I was so excited to finally share the cover having it under wraps for so long. I also rather enjoy the edits to receive feedback and find ways to improve the story.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given about writing?
‘What you know may not be what you’ve experienced.’ I’m against the ‘write what you know’
theory because of this statement, spoken at the first book event I ever attended. It was a book
talk by Matthew Reilly when I was fourteen and it stuck with me because it is so true.
If we only wrote what we knew, we probably wouldn’t have a great repertoire to work with. We need to
draw on our own emotions and experiences to relate to situations we want to write about. I may
not know what it’s like to be a victim of domestic violence like Ana is in Home Among the Palm
Trees, but I understand fear, and I can work with that to write my story. Besides, imagination is
a wonderful thing and we wouldn’t be writers without it.
What advice would you give to someone writing their first book?
Finish the first draft. It won’t be perfect because it’s a first draft, but you won’t have anything to
work with if the words aren’t on the page.
Rewriting, tweaking, and editing is the fun part. So write the story you’re passionate about, put the words on paper in black and white, then add the colours and sparkle.
Who is your favourite author?
Nora Roberts. Discovering her books 12 years ago changed my life as a reader and a writer. I
love her stories and how she doesn’t shy away from some very dark truths in her romantic
Barbara Hannay, Michelle Douglas, and Cathryn Hein are also instabuys for me, and there are more authors adding to that list.
What are you currently reading?
I’m up to book 4 of the Outback Babies series, Kelly Hunter’s Lola and the Single Dad, but
haven’t started it. I’m also in the middle of Maya Linnell’s Paperbark Hill and Phillipa Nefri
Clark’s new story in a cozy mystery anthology Daph on the Beach.
Where can our readers follow you?
Facebook and Instagram are my favourite platforms. You can also subscribe to my newsletter.
What is next for Rachel Armstrong?
I’m working on Shadow Creek book 3 while waiting for the edit on book two The Man from
Shadow Creek. There is also a spinoff novella, which is technically a prequel, which I hope to
release after book two. I also have some book events planned for Fremantle, Mackay, and
Brisbane, which I’m very excited about.
I am a mother of four beautiful children. I can’t leave a book unfinished which equals a lot of late nights! When I’m not reading you can find me in the garden, or helping out at Beauty and Lace.