I’m appearing at a panel called ‘The Spirit of Romance’ at the Sydney Writers Festival this Thursday, along with Rachael Treasure, Suzy Duffy and Amanda Hooton.
Rachael Treasure lives in southern rural Tasmania with her two young children and an extended family of kelpies, chooks, horses, sheep and dogs. She is passionate about encouraging non-readers to read, as well as inspiring both farmers to consider regenerative agricultural practices and animal handlers to better understand their dogs and livestock.
For more information about our event, go here
What is your latest novel all about?
The Farmer's Wife is the sequel to my trailblazing novel 'Jillaroo' of
2002 that brought to life my grassroots country girl, Rebecca
Saunders. Penguin had never experienced a character like her and she
was snapped up off the slush pile. The Farmer's Wife visits Bec ten
years on, now a mother in a failing marriage with a farm that is
slowly dying as a business and as an ecosystem. The book brings to
light my own journey as a farmer in adopting regenerative agricultural
How did you get the first idea for it?
I began my journey for this book years ago as a rural based
communications student wanting to shatter the stereotyping, cliche
and over simplification of agricultural issues and its people. Food
underpins the health of our species yet Australia's urban based media
and political systems often overlook the importance of all things
rural. Jillaroo and The Farmer's Wife was a device to reach a wide
readership on rural issues - ie FOOD production... relevant to us all.
Seis, who has developed farming methods that have the potential to
restore the health of our nation. Adopting his practices on my own
farm sparked a desire to bring Bec back to life to show a positive way
forward into the agricultural future.
What do you love most about writing?
I love playing with characters within the very Aussie, very humorous
world of the working class rural people and the upper class grazier
set and using that cast of characters, along with beautiful rural
settings, to showcase deeper rural issues that affect us all.
The Woman who Changed her Brain by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young
The Power is Within You, Louise L Hay
Dream More by Dolly Parton (I want to be her when I grow up!)
Lost Voices by Christopher Koch
Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin
What lies ahead of you in the next year?
Publication into the United States, England and Germany with The
Farmer's Wife, re-fencing and re-watering my property in Tasmania, a
new horse for me and my kids, more song writing with country rock
band, The Wolfe Brothers, a new novel to write, a kids book on the
boil and re- publication of my working dog training book. And giving
myself permission to sit and have a cuppa from time to time.