Australian fiction matters. It just does. We (Australians) have a unique lifestyle and landscape that isn’t like any other country so it is imperative that our stories reflect that and be held in high regard. We need our own voice. We need our own stories. These will be the building blocks of our history and what will shape our children and our children’s children. Not only that but it is showcasing our Australian-ness to the rest of the world. I don’t want to put an American in my story just so they will sell in the USA and I don’t want to buy an American book to read about an Aussie. I’m after a cultural experience… wouldn’t it be the same in reverse?
We should be supporting Australian fiction. It may be fiction but behind every fiction story I have written is a huge sense of truth. It is written about real life events, real places and characters that are people we know and love. It is the perfect snapshot of what life is in that moment. A writer creates from what they know and experience, this is true for my own work. We take that and weave it around our fictional characters and plot that we need to create a story. There are hidden messages in our work and some not so hidden. You can learn life’s lessons from reading Australian fiction, you can find ways out of situations you might never have thought about or maybe get the strength to step outside your comfort zone because you felt inspired.
Books have the power to change our moods and toy with our emotions. Emotions are life. How better to begin to understand these emotions than through a book. It’s like taking your first swim with floaties … you are protected. It’s no different to reading about the death of a loved character, feeling the sadness, crying through a box full of tissues yet at the end of the day it wasn’t a real person. In a way this is preparing us for real life. A reason why I believe reading to your children from a young age is so important. They can feel these emotions without it being life-altering. Books become the stepping stones to adulthood. To understanding emotions we may yet to experience and providing a buffer of sorts, or maybe an introduction so it’s not as frightening.
I’m all for supporting Australian fiction and to do this we need to support our book industry. Support your local bookshop as they provide more than just books, they provide a personalised service and will find you backlist books, they will set up author events so you can meet your favourite authors and get signed books. I feel we are losing the community connection in this day and age and it’s worrisome. There is less personal contact.
I wish I had a book shop nearby – Paperback Merchants in Albany, WA, is a three-hour drive from where I live but they are the best. So involved in the community, they alone organised my amazing book launch for Secrets Between Friends and the effort, support and friendship they have given me over my career will never be forgotten. When you buy a book from a bookstore you get more than just a book.
Support Australian fiction. Support your local book store. Get connected.
About the author
After writing eight bestselling novels set in rugged rural Australia, Fiona Palmer set herself the challenge of writing a story that takes place on Western Australia’s gorgeous coastline, which she regularly visits. Secrets Between Friends contains the same engaging storylines, emotions and hearty characters as the books Fiona’s passionate readers know and love, only it is set on this wider landscape. Before becoming an author, Fiona was a speedway driver for seven years and now spends her days writing both women’s and young adult fiction, working as a farmhand and caring for her two children in the tiny rural community of Pingaring, 350km from Perth.