Fiona Palmer’s latest release, Secrets Between Friends, is a poignant novel of romance, family dynamics and friendship. Her highly relatable characters combined with a seamless foray into women’s fiction ensures Fiona’s places as one of Australia’s most beloved storytellers. Fiona joins us this month to talk about the Ten Books That Changed Her.
Summers End Danielle Steel
My mum had a collection of Danielle’s books and Summers End was the first one I read at the ripe age of eleven. I’m not sure why I ended up reading it, maybe that’s all there was at home but I do recall taking it to school to read when I was finished early. Not sure it was school appropriate, looking back! It took a long time to read but I think my love of romance was ignited with this book. I find I enjoy reading any genre if it includes a romantic thread.
Reading Magic Mem Fox
I first read this book while I was working as a teacher’s aid and pregnant with my first child. It rang true just how important books are and more importantly reading aloud to your children. The moment my children were born I made sure to have books around and to read to them. Inspired by Mem and my work as an aid at school working with the littlest ones I went on to write my own children’s book, which was my first attempt at writing. It was an alphabet book that helped a parent to simply read it but also help teach their child sounds and the letters without needing any teaching skills. One day I might self publish it!
Harry Potter JK Rowling
I hadn’t read much at all since leaving school and it wasn’t until I was working in the class room with the pre-primary to year three kids that I found the reading bug again. I worked alongside a teacher in this small country classroom, maybe 15 kids all up over the four years, and she started to reading the first Harry Potter book. Sometimes I would be reading it to the kids and I’m not sure who was more engrossed! It got that way that I ended up buying the book so I could finish it as one chapter a day just didn’t suffice. I powered through the rest and then waited for the remainder of the series. It opened a world of magic and escape from life that I’d forgot was possible with a book. So from this moment I began to make time for reading.
Jillaroo Rachael Treasure
I had written my first manuscript, The Family Farm, and was in the editing process when a relative sent a copy of Jillaroo to me. ‘It’s just like your book’, she’s said. I read it and fell in love with its rural story. It was just like mine, and this gave me the strength, confidence to find a publisher as I realised there was a market for ‘rural’ books. I sent my manuscript straight off to Penguin, who had published Rachael Treasure, and it made its way from the slush pile to a publisher’s desk. It was contracted months later and published the following year.
Immediate Fiction Jerry Cleaver
My publisher recommended this craft book to me and I found it so helpful. It was written in a way I could follow and I had many ‘light bulb’ moments. I read this book many times over with each new story I write. The book is full of sticky tags and highlighted pages. A brilliant book, not just for beginners but authors wanting to hone their craft. I am someone who often needs reminders so to be able to pull the book out and go over certain sections again with each new book I write is great.
Vampire Academy Richelle Mead
I had put off reading this book, thinking it sounded too in-depth but I’m so glad I did because it ignited my passion for the YA genre. I love the fast, action packed pace and young feisty characters that come with this series and genre. I write about strong determined women in my rural books and I think that’s why I connected with this series so much. I love a strong capable girl, one who is not perfect but willing to give things a go. I began writing my own YA series thanks to my love of reading YA. They are available on ebook and very soon I will be self-publishing the four books into print! The Recruit. The Mission. The Deception. The Crescendo.
Throne of Glass Sarah J Mass
I love this series. From YA to Fantasy, I love them all. I think if you can find a writer that can evoke emotions in the reader, take them on a journey that keeps them turning the pages then it doesn’t matter what genre you read. I am finding this with each new genre I try. I’m not a fan of literary work, I’m more after an escapism from life. A book that will transport me into its pages and make me forget the pile of housework that needs doing. This is one of those series that does just that. Such big books I keep turning the pages engrossed in each one. Usually big books scare me as I can’t afford to be lost in the pages for two or three days solid….kids, husband, work don’t like it.
Empress of a Thousand Skies Rhoda Belleza
I downloaded this as an audio book while I was seeding out the farm this year. Being a Star Wars fan I was sucked in by this story. Again, another genre but one with a strong female lead. I love finding little gems like this that surprise me. It makes me reassess what books I go searching for to read.
The Dry Jane Harper
I’m in a bookclub and we tend to read the popular literary fiction, which is probably a genre that I don’t chose to read. Yet I’ve had some great reads. The Dry was one that is similar to the rural genre but with more meat on its bones. I love the mystery and trying to guess what has happened. The same with The Girl on The Train. Both great bookclub reads. I love being pushed out of my comfort zone and then being pleasantly surprised by the read. Mind you there have been some that I just couldn’t get into and never got read. When time is rare, I get picky and won’t waste my time on something that hasn’t engaged my attention.
Jack West Jr books Matthew Reilly
I like the Indiana Jones movies and Mathew’s books do just that with all the excitement and action. His creativity is amazing and I love the diagrams throughout the books. One time I tweeted a post saying I was having breakfast with Jack West Jr. My husband saw this and got upset, until I explained that Jack was the main character in the book I was reading at breakfast! He then thought it was a rather clever post! Ha. Again here is a book that is fast paced, engaging and it has combined with the others to spur my creativity into gear and writing my own action series. I think you can’t go wrong when you write what you love to read. The stories I write are almost for myself. They are inadvertently, all my interests and passions rolled up into a fictional story.
Secrets Between Friends
Life was about living, experiencing and emotions. The good and the bad. You had to laugh to cry. You had to love to hurt. You had to jump to fall or fly.
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.