Welcome to this week’s Awesome Aussie Author feature and our guest today is the extremely talented rural fiction author, Fiona McCallum. Her first novel, Paycheque, is a brilliant read and I’m a few chapters into her second novel, Nowhere Else, and I must say I’m hooked! I love a good rural read and Fiona McCallum hits the mark with her zesty style of writing and her loveable Australian characters.
Welcome, Fiona, and thanks for joining us today.
Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing you did when you were a child?
I was born in small town of Cleve (around 950 people) on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula and raised on a cereal and wool farm. I went to the local area school except for my final two years being spent at a private boarding school in Adelaide. I can’t remember getting up to anything mischievous as a child - must have been too busy reading!
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract?
I spent nine years trying to get published. I had all but given up, and I think when it did finally happen I experienced a sense of shock, disbelief, and then huge relief.
What time of the day/night do you prefer to write and where do you like to write?
I’m very much a morning person - I think it comes from being raised on a farm - so I prefer to write in the mornings, propped up in bed. I’m very much a routine-oriented person. A perfect writing day for me is to write (I actually hand write) in the morning, have lunch, and then retreat to my office in the afternoons to type everything up.
My new book is called Nowhere Else, released on Dec 1 (2011). It’s the story of hotshot television journalist, Nicola Harvey, whose life seems pretty perfect on the surface. She’s at the top of her career thanks to a story she’s just done on a plane crash that killed her adoptive parents, has a rich fiancé, huge diamond ring, Mercedes in the garage. When she agrees to go out bush to the tiny town of Nowhere Else to do a story on the effects of drought, she thinks she’s going to be indulging in day spas and wandering quaint designer boutiques. Boy is she in for a rude awakening! Slowly she discovers the truth about her own past and that there is more to true happiness than money and material possessions.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Mainly from my own life experiences. I’ve been really lucky to have had some interesting things happen and lived some great contrasts, such as life on the land in rural South Australia and corporate life in inner-city Melbourne and Sydney.
What is your favourite meal?
Grilled lamb chops, mashed potatoes, steamed peas and carrots - made even better when cooked by someone else!
Senator Nick Xenophon - famous for being the ‘no pokies MP’. Yummy and with great political ideals.
What is your favourite Aussie saying?
“Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.” (I think it’s ‘burnt stick’ elsewhere else, but that’s South Australia for you!)
Where would be your ideal place to holiday?
In front of the fire in a cottage overlooking a deserted Australian beach in the middle of winter with huge waves crashing and black skies overhead. Although, having said that, I’m very much a homebody, so I’d probably rather just be at home!
Thank you, Fiona, for giving us a sneak peak into your writer’s life. It has been such a pleasure having you as our guest today. Keep the great stories coming. We love them!
You can visit Fiona McCallum at her website.
Thought for this week
“A year from now you may wish you had started today. So, grab your life with both hands and make what you will of it.”
Our guest next week is a fellow North Queensland writer, Helene Young. She has the gift of writing enthralling novels, is extremely supportive of each and every author she comes in contact with and is an all round lovely lady. I’m looking forward to chatting with her.
Until next week, keep dreaming and smiling