Q&A with Australian author, Pamela Cook

I posted my review for Blackwattle Lake a few weeks ago here. I really enjoyed this story!


Pamela, thank you for taking the time to stop by The Australian Bookshelf to talk about your debut novel with Hachette, Blackwattle Lake.


Please describe Blackwattle Lake in five words.

Finding a place to belong.

What inspired you to write Blackwattle Lake?

I decided to follow the advice to “write what you know”. As I spend a lot of time with horses (mine and my daughters’) it was going to involve them in some way. Then I had an image of a woman standing at the gate of a property but the gate was locked and she couldn’t get in. The property looked very similar to the one where we agist our horses and the woman turned out to be Eve, my protagonist.
What do you love about life in a small town?

Although I live in Sydney I also have a property in the country, two and a half hours south. Apart from the peace and quiet and the sense of space I love the way people are more relaxed. There’s not as much rushing, much less road rage and the whole pace is just slower. People are also more down to earth and friendly. What you see is what you get.

What do you enjoy especially about writing Australian rural fiction?

I love the sense of escape I have when I’m writing about the bush. I’d love to be living there full time but as I can’t right now, writing about it is the next best thing. When I write I go to that place in my head and hopefully recreate it for the reader on the page. I also like the characters you can come up with and the situations that living in rural areas can create.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on another rural fiction novel which also has elements of historical fiction. It’s set closer to the ocean than Blackwattle Lake and does have horses and a shipwreck. I can’t say too much about it at the moment as I’m writing it in fragments and the plot is still quite vague. A lot of readers have been requesting a sequel to Blackwattle Lake. I’m working on an outline and we’ll see what happens.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I teach creative writing and run online courses through my business Justwrite (www.justwrite.net.au). And I have three daughters who take up a lot of my time. I love to read – particularly Australian Fiction. I love riding my horse – I started riding quite late in life and I’m still not very confident but I’m working at it. This year I really want to do some walking and get back into yoga, both of which are excellent for the creative juices as well as being good for my body.

And just for fun, when writing do you prefer…

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? I drink a lot of tea but there’s nothing like a good hot chocolate.

Plotting, pantsing or both? I’ve always been a pantser but at some point in my first draft or before I write the second I sit down and do an outline and look at what plot elements I need to develop more.

Quiet solitude or background noise? For writing I prefer quiet solitude

A warm, sunny day or a rainy day? I love, love, love summer – the hotter the better – although it’s not great for writing as I want to be outside enjoying the sunshine. Rainy days are great for writing.
Typing or pen and notepad? Both. Blackwattle Lake was written almost exclusively on my laptop but I love doing morning pages by hand and tend to write a lot of fragments in my notebook and revise them when I type them up.

Thank you so much for stopping by Pamela.

Find out more about the author @ Twitter, her blog and Goodreads.

Blackwattle Lake can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers.


A story of courage and forgiveness for those who long to uncover who they used to be, and who they might still become.

For smart talking, newly claimed city girl Eve Nicholls, walking up the driveway of her childhood home a property she recently inherited from her mother is an eerie feeling. The horses that she loved still freckle the paddocks but the house is empty, and she’s glad to have her best friend Banjo the Kelpie with her . . . and a bottle of bourbon. Her plan is simple: sell the farm, grab the cash and get the hell out.

Despite her desire to keep a low profile, within days of her return Eve runs into all the people she hoped to avoid; the uncle who can’t forgive, the ex who moved on, and the best friend who he moved on with. At the house she is surrounded by memories and worse. She finds an envelope addressed to her in her mother’s handwriting, and sees a shadowy figure in the doorway. Is it her own guilt causing these delusions or has her past finally come back to haunt her?

But with horses to feed, an injured mare to care for, and a lifetime of clutter to sort out, there’s plenty to take her mind off it all. Slowly, she begins to discover the girl she used to be: Angie Flanagan, adventurous, animal-loving, vulnerable. When tragedy strikes, Eve realises that changing her name all those years ago in an attempt to hide from her past has not changed the truth of who she really is.


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