Saturday, March 24, 2012

Author Spotlight Shines On: Fiona Palmer

I'm excited to shine the spotlight on Fiona Palmer who is not only sharing her life with us today but also generously giving away a copy of The Road Home to a lucky reader who leaves a comment.

Good Luck and enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’m a country girl at heart, very passionate about where I live and grew up. I could have left after school but then thought, why should I? Why move when I was happy here, I had plenty of work I could find, and my family was close by. I guess I became a writer due to this passion. I also loved creating things, whether it was in the garden or building things and my mind is always on the go. I can remember watching movies that had started great then died badly and I’d rewrite the ‘better’ ending in my head. I’d also make up my own perfect romance movie. Then I guess this kind of progressed to writing my own stories that I wanted to read, which was about the country. Oh and I loved Paperback Hero the movie with Hugh Jackman. So Australian with such a great romance story. It was a kick starter.

And honestly Fi, who on this planet doesn't want a peek at Hugh. lol

I know you write different genres like myself but do you have a certain theme or trademark to your stories?

I reckon it would be the strong female lead. I love tough girls who don’t give up without a fight. In my YA book the female character is NO Bella Swan. Think more Rose from Vampire Academy. Which isn’t to say they don’t need a nice strong man to help out occasionally. J

OMG! I love that series and I use Rose for my WIP, gotta love a kick ass heroine.

Do you have an agent and how important do you think they are in the publication world

I didn’t have an agent for my first book as I was picked up through Penguins slush pile. But I got one due to the recommendations of authors at the Sydney RWA Conference for my second book. At first, it seems they aren’t much use, but they are in your corner when it comes to that next contract, your publicity or getting your rights to try and sell overseas with their own connections. My agent is doing the nitty gritty with my publishers so that my relationship with them stays peaceful. Oh, and I can ask her all the silly little questions I’m unsure about in the publishing world without offending anyone. Because you can upset people. :/

I'm all about asking the silly questions.

How do your stories come to life, from fiction or fantasy?

Hmm, a little of both? When you are a busy mum, kids taking up your life our little fantasy world is our only escape sometimes. Maybe that’s why I find it so easy to create these other worlds. I can think of someone else’s problems for a change lol.

Are you a ‘go with the flow’ writer or do you have structure?

No, I like a bit of structure. I need to have my next story planned out roughly in my head like a mini synopsis. Then when I think I have most of the main points I’ll type it out into a two to three page write up. I start from chapter one and work my way through, although sometimes I can go off track from my initial story as other things pop up. But I can’t just write without knowing where the characters are going to end up.

Have you always wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?

Would have loved to be a V8 supercar driver (totally in my dreams that one) as well as being a pilot. I had the best form teacher at school who was also my aeronautics teacher. (The only subject I was good at besides woodwork and metalwork lol English was on the yuckie list with maths.) I loved it but with my bad eyesight, I never would have got into the forces to fly. I thought of joining the forces, love uniforms etc but never got there. My brother joined the Army though. I also thought briefly on being an air hostess, until I realised I might have to deal with sick bags. Being an overseas nanny also made the list of a high school kids future possibilities.

V8 supercars, so with you there and as for the sick bags...I can't even go there without a heave.

What groups are you affiliated with and how have they helped you through your journey of publication?

Joining the ASA and getting one of the mentorships was a HUGE turning point for me. Seriously, I had no clue on how to set out a manuscript. It was in one huge block with no paragraphs and no idea on where to put dialogue. I got so much information from that. Then joining the RWA was the next best thing I ever did, which came about from my ASA mentor Janet Woods. (her recommendation) They are the best bunch of girls I have met, so wonderful and welcoming. The available information from this group is amazing and I would recommend them to any writer. I love the Conference events!! Bring on the Gold Coast!

Ooooh, the mere word 'conference' has me excited. Make sure we have a catch up, Karly and I have a room together we can have chocolate, strawberries and bubbly waiting, just say the word.

How much marketing do you involve yourself in and with the mass consumption of social media, does this play a part in your marketing choice?

Oh, marketing is such a huge part of it now. I guess you still have a choice of how involved you want to be, but we all want to do the best we can to get our books out there so being marketing savvy is important. Being in the country, the only way I can get to things is through the Internet, even research for my books so it goes to show how important online presence is. I try to do as much as I can from twitter to facebook, to doing signings etc, but in the end you must remember that you are a writer first and marketing must come second. (although its always nice to be on facebook and call it ‘work’ related)

Here’s a random one for you. If you could be one animal, which would it be and why?

A dog. I love my dogs. In the country they are always by your side, working hard and so faithful. My two dogs Gidget (black and tan kelpie) and Sally (lab x with god knows what) are so wonderful and are our family.

What would you say is your inspiration to write in general or writing a particular scene?

Emotion. I love to feel a scene and if it can bring on my emotions then hopefully it will be the same for the readers. And my passion for the bush. What can I say, I love where I live.

We are so lucky aren't we. I say this to my hubby every Sunday when I go for our weekly walk.

With your titles and covers, did you get much of a say in this matter and how important is it to you to have input?

Well we like to think we do, and I think our publishers like to pretend we do but realistically they have their own ideas and we are just along for the ride. I don’t get much of a say but my publisher knows pretty well what I’d like anyway. And as for my titles, well I haven’t picked a good one yet. At first it was upsetting but then I realised they (as in the marketing team) knew what was really going to sell and that was what they were good at. Who was I to argue? In the end what does it really matter when my books are being published. J

Do you have any tips for other aspiring writers or authors out there?

Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t. Keep at it. Write, write, write. And join up to ASA and RWA!!

So, I think we’ve gotten to know you a little now. How’s about we step it up a notch. Are you panicking? Lol. Do you have any dirty little secrets or confessions you’d like to share with us- what’s on the blog stays on the blog, right guys. (wink)

(Don’t read this bit kids) Hmm, I’ve wagged school and I didn’t finish school either. :/

Love it! message there is it comes from passion and not study.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

I always write in my office, but on the rare occasion I take my laptop to the coast and while the kids play in the safety of the park I can write up a storm with the waves crashing on the beach in the background. J Bring on the Easter break.

Most definitely. I love school hols.

Tell us of your releases- where and when can we buy them?

The Road Home is released on the 21st March. It will be in the BigW and Target catalogue for that week and available at all bookstores.

I'll vouch for that, I have sold a few.

In one word, how would you best describe yourself?

Heck, that’s hard. One word couldn’t even begin to describe me lol.

For a second there I thought 'heck' was it. lol

Now that we’re all friends, tell us your most embarrassing moment?

Oh I have many. More when I was younger. I’d like to think I’ve grown up now :/ but when I was in my teens I managed to singe my chin with the iron. When I went to put it down on the ground it swung in my hand and got my face. Yes, people ask how is that even possible but I assure you, it can be done. So if you think my clothes are a little creased that is because my Iron NEVER comes out anymore. I don’t buy clothes that need ironing (except for wedding clothes etc on special occasions I will make the effort lol)

We should all pitch in and get you a steamer.

Do you have any upcoming signings or author appearances you would like to share?

I have a few events in Perth.

A book talk at Dymocks Hay Street at the City Library at 12.30pm on the 10th April.

Book talk event at Ballajura Library on the 11th April. Bookings essential 92491488 and another for the City of Wanneroo looking like Thursday 12th April.

Keep an eye on my facebook or website for more details.

Thank you Fiona for joining us today and by Wednesday 8:30 edst I will announce the winner of your book.

It was, as per usual, a delight to catch up!



Fiona McArthur said...

Lovely interview, Kez.
So nice to me you, Fiona.
Loved your life story, (and your fictional ones:) and that you're writing with little ones, have so been there. But seriously fun years. Congrats on your success and all the hard work that made it happen.
Look forward to meeting you at the Gold Coast RWA conference.
xx Fi

Fiona Palmer said...

Thanks Fiona! Yes, must say Hi at the GC RWA. I can't wait. :)

Karin said...

Loved the interview.
Fiona, I always wanted to drive a V8 too. Maybe in a different life we would be racing against each other LOL
I must admit, I went to K-Mart the other day to buy a few things, knew I couldn't afford your book this fortnight, so went and sat them all up in a row so everyone could see them. My mother laughed at me like I was a nut, but hey, I didn't know the other authors I covered. So no harm was done LOL

Kerri Williams said...

I probably have gotten more writing done at the park then at home over those years.
Karin, I'm guilty of putting my favs on the eye level shelf lol
Thanks for popping over and good luck

Rachael Johns said...

Awesome interview! And is your agent shipping your YA? I loved what I read of it. x

Jindivick Wildlife Care said...

Nice to learn a bit more about you Fiona!

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle said...

Always love hearing more about your and your writing Fee.. and as Kerri said, can't wait to see you at conference for a catch up!

Jenn J McLeod said...

One word to describe you - genuine :)

As I was saying the other day, there is nothing better than knowing that when you pick up a book you are not going to be disappointed. That has been my experince with every Fiona Palmer novel (and I am on #3 right now - my rewrad for having sent my first edits off to my publisher. Woo hoo.) Great post Kez.

Fiona Palmer said...

Thanks for the comments ladies. You're all so wonderful. I wish we all didn't live so far apart. A good chitty chat is needed more than once a year! Hmm we need more 'events' to go to lol. thanks for dropping by :)

Kerri Williams said...

Honestly this draw was NOT rigged, my daughter Olivia picked the winner out. Drum roll........
Karlene Blakemore Mowle.
I will be in touch with you shortly, congrats!
Thank you Fiona for your precious time and generosity and today I told a woman to go over to Big W to buy your book today because we sold out and I didn't want her to miss out. Lol

Kerri Williams said...

I just found out Karly already has a copy and Olivia has redrawn a winner lol...congratulations to Karin!