Q&A with Australian Author Fleur McDonald

fleurI’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Australian rural novelist, Fleur McDonald who has dropped by to chat about her latest release with Allen & Unwin, Silver Clouds.

Welcome Fleur! How would you describe Silver Clouds in five words?

Five words? Eek, that’s a bit of an ask! How about: ‘Overcoming previous mistakes to make good?’ That’s six! Do you mind?!

That’s okay 🙂 What inspired you to write Silver Clouds?

I heard a radio segment about two rings which had been found near a water hole in WA’s mid-north. I was curious as to how they would have got there, how they were uncovered. (We’d just had some friends staying with us who were into coin detecting) and I wondered how someone would feel if they found something so special and meaningful. I also wondered if there could be any suspicious circumstances involved. So suddenly I had all these questions, which I needed to answer – that was the premise for the novel.

Silver Clouds is your fourth rural fiction novel, what do you love about writing in this genre?

I love being able to share my land with people who can’t experience nature’s glory like I do – seeing ewes lambing, cows calving like farmers do – and perhaps take for granted. It’s about reacquainting myself with the simple things that make my life special and sharing them with others.

But also, because my main job is to help feed people across the world, I want consumers to understand how we do that job and how passionate farmers are about their land and animals. I’m in a very privileged position to be able to do that and hope I can make a difference through my writing.

What do you enjoy especially about writing stories with Australian characters and settings?

To me, it’s about showing the love farmers have for the land, it’s history and how previous generations can affect modern day lives by their decisions.

As for characters, well, I love making people the way I’d like them to be and pretending I could be as strong and driven as my girls are!

What  are you currently working on?

A rural family saga called Crimson Dawn…. when I find five minutes!

You live and work on a large farm with your family, how do you find the time to write?  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Time to write: well, that’s a bit of a standing joke at the moment! It’s pretty difficult at this time of year. The ewes are lambing and the heifers have just started calving and need checking twice a day. But if I find a spare few minutes, you’ll find me tapping at the key board, in a frantic hurry to get everything, which has been floating around in my head, down before I forget it.

I often write long hand if I’m out shifting sheep or am doing something that involves driving very slowly behind stock, then I either get my daughter to transpose it across in note form or do it when I have time.

And what I do when I’m not writing? Well I’m a little partial to sitting outside with a good book and a glass of wine, or talking to my best friend on the phone!

And just for fun, when writing do you prefer…

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and hot chocolate after 8pm!

Plotting, pantsing or both? Probably both.

Quiet solitude or background noise? Nothing but the sounds of nature.

A warm, sunny day or a rainy day? Rainy – as a farmer, I was always going to answer that way!

Typing or pen and notepad? Both

Thank you for the chat Fleur!

You can find out more about Fleur at her website and read my review for Silver Clouds here.

Silver Clouds can be purchased from Allen & Unwin, Fishpond and other leading book retailers.


When marketing executive Tessa Mathison leaves London to attend her great-aunt’s funeral in Australia, her life is in turmoil.
An indiscretion during a boozy night out has resulted in Tessa’s name being mud in London’s cliquey marketing scene, and soon after she arrives in her homeland she discovers she’s been sacked.
Tessa’s childhood home, Danjar Plains, is an isolated station which holds some bad memories for her. She plans to escape it as soon as the funeral is over, but then an unusual request in her Aunt Violet’s will makes it impossible for her to leave.
When charismatic and charming Brendan McKenzie introduces himself to Tessa, staying at Danjar Plains no longer seems such a hardship. As various secrets begin to unravel, Tessa realises letting go of her heart may hold the key to unlocking both her past and her future.
From the author of the bestselling outback sagas, Red Dust, Blue Skies and Purple Roads, this moving novel is about making peace with the past, overcoming fear and insecurity, and the healing power of love.

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