Tuesday 14 November 2023

Author Interview: Fleur McDonald


Today I would like to welcome author Fleur McDonald to The Burgeoning Bookshelf.

Hello Fleur, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 Hi, I’m Fleur and I live on the south coast of WA in a beautiful little coastal town called Esperance. I’m a farmer and a writer, with a couple of adult kids and a Kelpie as sidekicks.


What does your typical day look like?

 I’m an early riser and like getting up between 4 and 4:30am. I have a coffee on the back verandah and then go on a five to seven kilometre walk. What happens after that depends on where I am in the writing cycle. I can sit at the computer for the whole day, or I can spend a couple of hours there. Social media takes up a fair bit of time and I’m the secretary/event coordinator for our two day agricultural show. The show takes up half a day every week from February to November.

If I’m on a deadline, that’s when I’ll spend the whole day at the computer.

Being an earlier riser, I head to bed early too. 8pm is a late night for me.


Your books are primarily about farming, women in farming, small communities and the challenges they face - what inspired you to write about these topics?

 I’ve been working in the agricultural industry since I left school which was 32 years ago! I grew up in a small country town and I have a really good working knowledge of these towns, farming and women in agriculture. It’s really important to me that what I write about is authentic and these are topics I can write about with a deep knowledge which I hope keeps people turning the pages.


Your latest book Voices in the Dark was released on 31st October - how did you come up with themes explored in Voices in the Dark?

 Hmm, interesting question, because I’m not really sure. I guess some of my friends and I are at the time of our lives when our parents are getting older and we want them cared for safely. Rural areas miss out on lots of services that the city people have and we are severely lacking in services for the elderly who need care.

Small towns simply don’t have services that are able to care for people in their homes and if the town does have a nursing home, it might only cater to the fit and healthy, not people who have got extra medical problems, like dementia or needing special equipment to help move them around.

I also volunteer delivering meals-on-wheels and I see the extremes that families go to, to keep their loved ones in their own homes. 


What would you like your readers to get out of Voices in the Dark?

 A lot of entertainment and escapism. The world is so full of horrible actions at the moment and I’d love to be able to help someone have a nice few hours


What were the key challenges you faced when writing Voices in the Dark?

 I don’t think there were any.


I can’t let a chance go by without asking a question about everyone’s hero, Dave Burrows.

Young Dave Burrows is a tough, relentless, undercover detective, all about the job however the older Dave Burrows has mellowed, he’s a lot more forgiving and shows a lot more emotion. Was this a conscious change or simply an organic evolution?

 I think people change and grow as they get more life experience under their belt. What could have been black and white when people were younger, isn’t always as you get older and can see lots of different points of view. Dave has had many life experiences which help with that, but also his wife, Kim has had a large impact on Dave. Kim always finds the good in people and life and she’s slowly educated Dave to that way of thinking too.

Mentoring younger police officers has had an impact as well. Dave has realised he has to watch his own behaviour in order to be a good role model.


Just for fun…..either or?

Tea or Coffee: Coffee

Summer or Winter: Winter 

Dog or Cat: Dog

City or Country: Country 

Morning person or Night owl: Morning person

Paperback or eBook: Paperback

Ninjas or Pirates: pirates!

Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with us on The Burgeoning Bookshelf.


  Voices in the Dark is out now and should be in bookstores all over the country. 

About the book:

Sassi Stapleton is called home after news her grandmother is unwell. Less than an hour away from her hometown, Barker, she swerves to miss a roo and her car rolls down an embankment and she's left hanging. By the time she is found, her grandmother has already passed away.

Sassi's mother, Amber, returns from South Africa, and as soon as she arrives family tensions between her and her brother, Abe, are back in the forefront of everyone's minds.

When it quickly becomes clear that Sassi's grandfather Mr Stapleton is unable to live alone, the hunt is on to find a carer. Rasha enters the family home, firmly entrenching herself as someone they can't do without, and before long Mr Stapleton is happier than he has been in years.

Then bruises start appearing on Mr Stapleton and he becomes withdrawn, refusing to talk even to Sassi.

None of the family are convinced that Rasha could hurt anyone. Amber is his daughter; Sassi, his granddaughter. None of these three could hurt Mr Stapleton.

My review: https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/2023/11/book-review-voices-in-dark-by-fleur.html


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