We are so excited to publish our latest Take 10 interview, this time with the lovely Fiona Palmer, a best selling rural author from Pingaring. Here Fiona talks about living in the Wheatbelt, her latest book and plans for the future…
I am… Fiona Palmer
I spend my days… cleaning, running around after my two kids, helping out the community on various committees, sport, writing, marketing on social media, doing bits for the RRR network, and working at the farm for friends when I’m needed and the occasional mail run..
Home is… Pingaring. The best place to grow up and be amongst family and friends. To have the freedom and security that comes with a small community is something that makes a home more special.
I have lived in the Wheatbelt… my whole life. At one point my grandparents owned the shop and mechanics business in town (which was all the businesses in town). And my other grandparents had a farm where I spent nearly every spare moment. But I love the tiny community and the people in it are more like family. I was born into the Wheatbelt, so seeing wide open paddocks, towering gumtrees filled with pink and greys, kangaroos silhouettes in the amazing sunsets and massive skies that change daily are just more reminders that I’m home.
My favourite thing about the Wheatbelt is… how supportive our communities are. I read the State’s blueprints, for my role on the RRR, and the Wheatbelt came out tops in participation, volunteers, how much they loved where they lived etc. It was amazing and I agreed with it all. A community needs its volunteers to help keep it ticking over. I know so many people who put an amazing amount of hours into their communities, whether its for sports, events, schools, ambulance etc. but they do it because they are passionate about where they live. Being involved is what makes a community. It’s how we all stay connected and support each other.
A big issue facing the Wheatbelt is… the aging population. When I get older I want to be able to see out my days in the wheatbelt and not be shipped off to a home somewhere strange, without family and friends close by. Studies show it’s the older generation who are moving to our communities to retire and to sustain that we need better health support and villages for the elderly. I have seen steps towards this just recently with money put towards dementia wards, which is a great start. This will also create more local jobs.
One thing I find really hard about living in the Wheatbelt is… the travel. We all do it. And we think nothing of day trips to Perth or driving for hours to play sport. I try to use this time in the car to work on my stories
The Saddler Boys is… a story about a small community who face losing their primary school. It’s an issue many small towns have dealt with or are dealing with. This story encompasses everything I love about rural living. I’m a passionate wheatbelt girl and if I wasn’t brought up in the wheatbelt I doubt I’d be a writer today. I write with passion, and inspiration drawn from my lifestyle, local landscapes, hardships and my community.
My plans for the future, in terms of writing, are… another book set in the Lake Grace area, which follows on from The Saddler Boys and includes an inspiring farm girl who is on every local committee, is a member of the RRR and is a finalist in the RIRDIC Award. But she can’t find love. I hope to start on this book before I have to go sit on a header for harvest.
My favourite book (by a different author) is… Dinner at Rose’s by Danielle Hawkins. A lovely story with laughs, tears and a happy ending.
Thanks to Fiona for taking the time to answer a few questions for Wheatbelt Local! You can get yourself a copy of The Saddler Boys from Fiona’s website, by clicking here.
Fiona is also touring Australia at the moment to celebrate the release of the book. In WA, she is running events in Cunderdin, Williams, Bunbury, Busselton, Northam and Ellenbrook between the 19th and 22nd of September. Find out more here, and don’t miss out on the chance to meet Fiona in person!