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5 minutes with Fleur McDonald
Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in the small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she went jillarooing, eventually co-owning an 8000-acre property in regional Western Australia.
Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia. She is the best-selling author of Red Dust, Blue Skies, Purple Roads, Silver Clouds and Crimson Dawn. She has two children and a Jack Russell terrier.
What was the last good book you read?
Do you have a favourite Library?
The only library I get to these days is the one in Esperance, so really that has to be my favourite. I have a couple of friends who work in there, so it really goes without saying! Although I need to make a special mention of my old library in Orroroo. It's set in a beautiful stone building, which is always cool, even in 40 plus degree hear and I love going in there. The librarian is one of my old teachers, so it's a fabulous place to visit. I can still even remember by old library card number from when I went to primary school there - 15OV!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever read about yourself or your work?
Now that is a tricky one - I try not to read anything about myself! I know the Australian Woman's Weekly wrote something about I could have lived the love life of one heroines, which I found really funny, because I'm not at all a romantic!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Keep trying and don't read reviews.
What drew you to the subject matter of your latest book?
The Ag Industry was very hard for women to get into in the early 1990s when I first starting working on farms. I always felt a little silly asking questions at Field days in front of the blokes. in case I got ridiculed.
So in Crimson Dawn, Laura, my character, understands this and starts a school, just for women, to provide an non-intimidating environment for them to learn in. But as in all of my work, there is an event which happens in the past, which impacts on Laura in the present day, so she'll face some pretty tough times through out the book!
Want to know more about Crimson Dawn?
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 published by Allen & Unwin and available now