Ask An Author: Fiona Palmer (September 11-15)

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Fiona Palmer is an author I have followed for years, and the first author event I attended. I have loved what I have read and one day would love to catch up on all the titles I have missed.

Fiona is best known for her rural romance novels but she has also written a YA series and is now expanding into women’s fiction with her latest release, Secrets Between Friends, which releases tomorrow and twenty of our members are reading for book club so I look forward to hearing our reader questions. 

About Fiona Palmer, in her own words

I am a mother of two from a small rural town in Western Australia. (Think super tiny, like four houses and a shop.) I’m also an author of eight rural books, one women’s fiction and four young adult books in a series.

I love the outdoors so I balance writing with working on a farm for my friends. Harvest is my favourite time of the year where I spend all day on the header watching the header reel munch into the golden crops. Being out at the farm means I also get to see amazing sunrises and sunsets from their spot on top of the hill. It’s so inspirational, keeps my glass half full and makes life more colourful. In truth, my rural lifestyle is what inspired my very first book, The Family Farm.

I have a passion for telling stories, not the word aspect of writing. (Spelling and grammar I’m no good at – English in general was my worst subject at school!) But now writing is a huge part of my life, creating characters and making up worlds from my desk in the corner of our office. Which is at the back of the house so it is hot in summer and freezing in winter. I have two Kelpie dogs, Millie and Pippa, who also keep me company and end up all over my social media pages.

When I have time to myself I love to read or watch movies/TV. And I have a chocolate addiction, but I’m working on that.

Photo: Craig Peihopa

Secrets Between Friends Synopsis

Best friends Abbie, Jess and Ricki are setting sail on a cruise ship, rekindling the excitement of a school excursion they took ten years earlier to the historic port town of Albany, the oldest city on the stunning turquoise coastline of Western Australia. But are they truly prepared for what this voyage will reveal?

Ricki, a dedicated nurse, harbours a dream she hasn’t chased. Is she actually happy or stuck in a rut?

Jess, a school teacher and single mother to little Ollie, had a tough upbringing but found her way through with the help of her closest male friend, Peter. But Peter has bought an engagement ring and is ready to propose to Ricki . . .

Abbie had it all: a career, a loving boyfriend and a future, but a visit to the doctor bears scary news. Her world is tumbling down and she feels adrift at sea.


For the next week we have Fiona Palmer on call to answer your questions, so if there’s anything you want to know about her career or any of her books please write your question in the comments section below and she will get back to you. Please do remember our authors are busy people too so you won’t necessarily get an immediate answer but all questions asked before Friday the 15th September will be answered.

For more great authors check back in the coming weeks, we will have authors in to coincide with book club reads. If you haven’t heard about our book club you should check out the Beauty and Lace Club.

Secrets Between Friends is published by Hachette Australia and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.



17 thoughts on “Ask An Author: Fiona Palmer (September 11-15)

  1. Fiona, I loved your new book Secrets Between Friends… how do you go about working on the story line of new books, is it based on personal experiences? also when do you know when you have reached the end of the story? I did like how this book ended.

    1. Hi Teresa, So glad you enjoyed it. Yes, most of my books are from personal experiences. For this book I actually went on a boat cruise with Rachael Johns and begun planning a story around that trip. I like to plan the story out before I begin writing. So I will know the beginning middle and end before I start. There might be a few changes along the way but the original concept usually remains. Thanks. x

  2. Fiona, I absolutely loved Secrets between Friends. My question is, do you think Rural Romance has reached its peak and is on the downhill run? Not that it will disappear altogether, but so many of you rural authors are now turning towards Womens Fiction, as an alternative, which is my favourite genre!! I hope you continue with it!!

    1. Hi Janine,
      I don’t think rural is on a downhill run…I do know it has slowed in sales but so have all the genres. There are more sales in womens fiction as its a broader genre that seems to appeal to many more people. So when you are trying to make writing your career you need to try and go where you can get an income. I won’t give up rurals because its my life and I love the country. I’d love to write both in the future. I have already started another rural….just need to find the time to write it. 🙂

  3. For all your rural romance books I have read, I’ve loved them all. I also love the covers on the books too.

    I am a chocolate addict also and I always think, I will give it up but I can’t. 😛 so my husband bought me a magnet that hangs in the kitchen and it says “I’d give up CHOCOLATE but I’m NO QUITTER”. Works for me 🙂

    When you are writing with your storylines that have sad parts, do you find yourself with tears as you type or write away?

    1. Hi Mandy,
      Yes I totally cry!!! My characters are my friends, I feel like they are real so when something happens to them I feel it and have tears while trying to write.

      p.s. Don’t think I could give up chocolate!!!

  4. Hi Fiona
    I loved hearing about your background on the farm and how life insires you. Do you find writing to be therapeutic/cathartic or does it sometimes reveal too much??

  5. Hi Fiona

    I enjoyed reading your new book “Secrets Between Friends”.

    Such a beautiful story on women’s friendship. I was recently looking at purchasing fictional books on friendships as a gift for my friends and I could not find many to choose from. Now I’ve read yours, I know what I’ll be buying for them next time!

    Where did you find the inspiration to write such a beautiful story? Were the sad parts based on personal experiences?

    Congratulations and I hope you continue with your writing.

    1. Hi Christine,
      Thank you so much. My cruise with Rachael Johns was the inspiration and beautiful Albany. The friends and their personal stories are all created but maybe little bits are from what I’ve seen, experiences and heard from others.
      Thanks so much for your support.

  6. Firstly, Thank You for your wonderful words.
    Do you immerse yourself as one of your characters while you are writing?
    How hard is it to come back to reality after you finish writing a book?
    I have always wondered this, cheers Anne Maree.

  7. Hi Anne Maree,
    It is hard to come back to reality when I’m so involved in the story. It is painful to have to leave them while I go feed my family. I guess its like pausing a great movie when its getting good and leaving it for a while.
    Sometimes there are parts of me in my characters.
    cheers x

  8. Hi there Fiona,
    Can you please tell me when you know you had to write a book? Did you know as a child or did it not come until later in live?
    I feel like I have so many stories I wish to tell but finding that clam time in my life where I can just write everything down is not happening for me. I would love to write books and share my stories.

    1. Hi Meedee,
      I had the story in my mind first. I never set out to write a book but just begun to type out the story I was making up in my mind at the time. It grew from my passion about my lifestyle in the country and my own dreams of farming etc It took 3 years to get my first book written as I was working full time in a business with two small kids. But I worked on writing down what I could when I could, even if it was only a sentence or two a day. It all adds up.
      If you want to write then make it happen. I’m now published because I made the most of those free moments even if it was only a half hour here and there.
      Good luck!! Keep at it.

  9. Hi Fiona,

    The Family Secret is such an incredible novel.

    You have taken such an traumatic event and woven it into such a warm story.
    The tragic bit (not giving away any spoilers here) is so hard hitting yet you wrote is with such compassion and understanding that never do you feel angry at the person.

    It’s a story that touches you.

    My question is.
    Each person in that story has their own ‘story’ that you bring together, how do you decide what characters to bring into the story? Do you start with one persons story and bring in the others or do you already have the connection worked out first and then build the back story?

  10. Hi Ann-Marie,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed The Family Secret. It’s a favourite of mine. Usually each character you write about needs a backstory, motivation and even something to overcome to keep readers interested. I usually have a love interest so that is two characters and then I add in any others needed to move the story forward. I knew from the start how I wanted that book to work and tie the characters together, it was just a case of then planning and trying to figure out a way to make it work.
    Hope that makes sense lol. Thanks for your question.

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