Fleur lives with her husband and two children on a station near Esperance in Western Australia, where she is very involved in the daily management of their 8000 acres. She is the author of the bestselling novels†Red Dust,†Blue Skies†and†Purple Roads. Her latest novel, Silver Clouds, has just been released by Allen & Unwin. You can read our review here.
Your book opens in London, a far cry from the Nullarbor. Have you previously spent time in London?
Ah, youíve caught me there! No I havenít, but I have a very good friend who was involved in marketing in London and throughout Europe, so I spent a lot of time and phone calls picking her brains. I asked her to recall the smallest details, because to me, thatís what makes books realistic.
The contrast between London and Danjar Plains is stark. Was this deliberate?
I guess it was deliberate in the way that Tessa needed to be living a life so different to what she would have if she was still out on Danjar Plains. She needed to get back to her roots and re-discover who she was and should be.
Despite the struggles of Tessa and her family to build a life on the land, the reader wants Tessa to stay rather than return to the big city. Why do you think this is?
Itís nice to know the reader wants her to stay. I wanted her to stay too, because I believe (from both talking and experiencing it myself) you canít be true to yourself if the life you live is self destructive, which obviously Tessaís is. Being ďhomeĒ (or at least somewhere Tessa could be comfortable and loved) helped ground her Ė even if she resisted at first.
Do you think itís important for Australian stories to reflect the land rather than the cosmopolitan cities?
I think both need to be reflected. After all both areas are what make up our great land. However, the trouble I see is that country people spend time in both places, whereas often people in the city donít get out to the country. Thatís why itís important to me to be able to bring my life, my paddocks and scenery into the readers lounge room. To show them a place they wouldnít otherwise get to know.
How do you find time to write while managing an 8,000 acre station in Western Australia?
In snatches! Five minutes here and five minutes there. The computer is always on and the file always open. If I get a few minutes, Iíll run in and try and get a few paragraphs down. Sometimes, on my shopping day, (if I donít have too many jobs) Iíll take my computer to town and hole up in a cafť somewhere and write for an hour or two. Very occasionally The Boss (aka husband) goes away for a day or spends a night down at the beach, fishing and Iíll write then. I believe if you love something youíll find the time, albeit in small pieces!
What is next for you?
Iím writing my sixth novel. Thatís due for release in early next year, then it will be onto my seventh. And after thatÖ Well I might see if I can find time to read again!
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