Interview: Fiona Palmer

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This month “Matters of the Heart” by Fiona Palmer is one of our featured book club reads. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with Fiona, and we hope you enjoy the following interview:

You live in Pingaring, WA, how would you describe it?

Home. Family. Unique. A four house town with one street surrounded by paddocks and a large granite rock out that back that is home to a rare Pingaring Spider Orchid. It isn’t much to look at but what you can’t see is the big heart of a community that loves this place and many who still call it home.

Where do the locals like to hang out on a Friday night?

Friday nights are usually under the Tree, which is actually two gumtrees and on a hot afternoon they are the coolest place to be and in winter the fire drum gets lit.

Have you ever been tempted to move to the city?

I lived in the city when I was at college and feel like I’m in Perth every month for appointments, events, visiting family etc so I’m not missing out on anything. I’m very happy where I am. I don’t plan on moving to the city ever, not when I can have the best of both worlds.

Tell us about your latest book, Matters of the Heart…

This story has been simmering in my mind for far too long and finally, I got the courage to suggest it to my publisher, who said, write it. So I did and had an absolute ball revisiting Lizzy Bennet as I wove Jane Austen’s famous Pride and Prejudice into the modern Aussie rural world.

Who are your target readers?

Young and old, fans of Jane Austen and those who have never read or seen Pride and Prejudice.

How did you get started as an author?

One day I started creating a story in my mind, maybe it was a dream like scenario of a girl running a farm that morphed into a story and eventually I had to start typing it out as my head felt like it would explode as I tried to retain it all. Snippets typed out in between feeding kids and work over a three year period and I suddenly had a ‘manuscript.’ I then sent the first three chapters to Penguin and the rest is history!

What are three things that we would always find on your desk?

Lots of paper with scribbled names, character traits, and plot ideas. My phone! (need to hide that when writing), and too many pens.

Which of your characters do you most relate to?

Lizzy. I love her strength and determination. She is willing to have a go and learn. Although I’m not as outspoken and strong as Lizzy, I detest confrontation.

How do you juggle motherhood and a successful writing career?

It is a lot easier now that my kids are older and they started boarding school from the ages of 12, so I have a lot of time when the house is quiet.

What are you currently reading?

I struggle with time to read but I’m listening to The Lost Pearl by Emily Madden on Audio book and loving it.

What is next for Fiona Palmer?

I’m currently writing my 16th book, about teenagers and technology set in a rural beach setting.

What does being an author mean to you?

It means being able to share stories with the world. Which is pretty special, especially if I can help share aspects of life and bring joy to readers.

Matters of the Heart is in store now and published by Hachette Australia. ISBN: 9780733641596.

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