FLEUR’S TOP WRITING TIP: Keep trying and doing what you love. You may never get picked up, but you might too. The most important thing is that you’re doing something you really enjoy. Oh, and a unique voice and original storyline will help too.
Fleur McDonald lives on a large farm east of Esperance in Western Australia, where she and her husband Anthony produce prime lambs and cattle, run an Angus Cattle and White Suffolk stud and produce a small amount of crops. They have two children, Rochelle and Heyden. Fleur snatches time for her writing in between helping on the farm.
Visit her website at www.fleurmcdonald.com
Why do you write? Because I have to. I know that might sound strange but there is something inside of me that makes me put fingers to keyboard and tell stories. If I couldn’t write them down, I’d get a bit cranky I think! My fingers literally get itchy if I have something to say and can’t get to the computer!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Well, I’m a farmer and a mum first, then a writer, so I do plenty of other things when I’m not writing.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Actually it probably came after I was picked up. The first edit I ever did with my publishers, Allen and Unwin, was very confronting. The editors are really very good – they never use red pen to make you feel like you’ve done anything wrong (!) but when you see every page of the manuscript covered in writing suggesting changes, it can give your self confidence a serious bashing.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The fact I get to tell stories, kill people if they annoy me and make it rain when it won’t in real life!
—the worst? Trying to pull all the threads of every subplot I have going together into something that is plausible.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? To be really honest, I wouldn’t change anything. I was so naïve back then, I wasn’t daunted, so I could get in and have a go without knowing what I was doing wasn’t ‘the norm’.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Writing is actually bloody hard work!
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Never plot or plan. If you don’t know where the story is going then your readers will find it hard to work out too.
Allen & Unwin
Laura Murphy will need to call on all her grit and determination to retain her beloved farm… But will her fierce self reliance close her off to the possibility of love?
Since inheriting Nambina, the property that’s been in her family for generations, Laura Murphy has worked wonders. Rather than just focus on farming she has set up a successful school teaching women the basics of managing a property – from fencing and mustering to handling the financial side of the business.
But the notoriously self-reliant Laura is lonely and still scarred by a tragedy from her past. She’s also grappling with the hostility of her nearest neighbour and former best friend, Meghan Hunter. The fact that Laura’s ex-boyfriend Josh is Meghan’s brother only makes things worse.
When a solicitor contacts Laura saying his clients may have a claim over Nambina, her entire world is turned upside down, and she has to call on all her determination to hold on to the property she’s worked so hard to build. In the process she realises she must reach out to friends and loved ones or risk losing everything.
By the bestselling author of Red Dust, this inspirational novel celebrates strength in the face of adversity as well as the enriching power of love.
Crimson Dawn is available from the publisher at http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781743315316