Guest post by Fiona Palmer.
We are not defined by one thing. I am not ‘just an author’, I’m also a mother, a farm hand, board member and a wife. I go by many titles and my written work is no different. I’ve written eight rural romances, four young adult ebooks, and have now moved onto commercial women’s fiction with my latest book Secrets Between Friends.
I’m often asked about my jump from rural romance to commercial women’s fiction and how I found the change. To be honest, I didn’t feel any different or find it any harder. All I did was change the landscape from rural to city. I’ve lived in the city myself and have family there so it’s not a big stretch to have to imagine it because I’ve experienced it. Certainly, there is less animals and slang used and no one wears flannel, but the meat of the stories are generally quite similar. Things that affect rural communities are no different to any other community. I’ve written about drugs, domestic violence and depression in my rural books and it also came up in my commercial fiction. Why? Because these sensitive issues affect us all no matter where we live. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. We are all touched by it in some degree, either personally, through friends, communities or even on the news.
One of the biggest reasons I wrote this story was thanks to my friend and fellow author Rachael Johns. We have done many things together and have been huge supporters of each other over the span of our careers. It was Rach who wanted to go on a cruise and asked if I’d come along. She’d never been before and thought it could be a great research opportunity. I jumped at the chance, as I’d never been either, and straight away we started talking ‘cruise’ books. Sometimes stories come from just a few words. Ideas began to grow and before I even went on the cruise I had three chapters and a synopsis which went out to publishers. Hachette jumped at the chance to publish it.
On our cruise Rach and I talked titles and book ideas and everything in between (I’m still waiting for Rach to write her cruise book!). That is why Secrets Between Friends is dedicated to Rach. Without her this book wouldn’t have happened. I love our friendship; having someone like-minded when it comes to writing is so invaluable. If we get stuck we can discuss plot lines, or throw out ideas to each other. Sometimes you just need a few words to get the mind ticking over, and once we grasp that small thread, within minutes it’s growing into a book with characters, a back story and plot lines.
I am now half way through my next commercial women’s fiction about a piano tuner in the 1970s. It’s set in Perth and has two timelines. This story came about from a news article I saw which stayed with me and then morphed into this story of William and his children. I’ve been asked if I will go back to writing rural fiction, and the answer is yes. In fact, I have started writing one, only two chapters in, but I’m struggling with finding the time to write it. I seem to only have time to get one book written a year, two is seeming impossible. But I will persist, when time permits and hopefully one day it will be finished. Along with my YA books that I will be publishing into print, when/if I find time. If anyone is able to make a time making machine, please let me know!!
Secrets Between Friends
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 . . .