The Billy's Boiling with Fiona Palmer

What better excuse for a smoko break than a visit from one of your mates. And what is better during smoko than sharing a few of our favourite things (and I'm not just talking about the cakes here!).

Imagine, if you will, we're on our farm at Tinamba in Gippsland, Victoria. It's pretty comfortable and welcoming here in my kitchen (even if I say so myself smiley). There's an old and battered Baltic pine table (previously the floor of an old woolshed in NSW), hardwood ladderback chairs, and some gorgeous, old fashioned china mugs sitting ready for our cuppa.

And, of course, ‘the billy’s boiling’…

[swf file="billyboiling.mp4"]

At the table with me is Fiona Palmer, whose latest book is THE ROAD HOME, so why not grab yourselves a cuppa and let's get the chat underway.


THE ROAD HOME by Fiona Palmer

When your life is at a crossroads, how do you find the road home?

Lara Turner has a boyfriend, a nice house in the city and a chance at a big promotion.  So when her brother calls asking her to come home, she hesitates.  Can she face the memoires that inhabit the beloved place of her childhood?  And how does she feel with the news it's to be sold?  Could she be the answer to saving the family farm?

Jack Morgan has memoires of his own to contend with.  A falling out with his family and a bitter end to a past relationship have left a big chip on his shoulder.  When his best mate's beautiful sister arrives on the scene, he finds himself deeply conflicted.

Lara and Jack have a powerful attraction but are constantly at odds.  Will their love of the same land keep them apart, or grow into a love of a different kind?

Tell us a Little about the Book

My latest book came about because living in the country there are no high schools around, so we had to go to boarding school from year 8. It was a hard time, leaving your home and family but for me I enjoyed the boarding lifestyle, having my friends around me was like a massive continuous sleepover. My thought was ‘what if you had a girl who loved the country, had an attachment to it but ended up becoming a city girl through boarding school and Uni?’ So I put Lara on that journey of self-discovery, for her to find out where she truly felt at home.

I lived in Perth while I was at College, and it’s easy to merge with city life and it wasn’t until I actually went back home that I realised how much I had missed the country and its space. It was as if a brick had been lifted off my chest. I wanted Lara to have that same feeling, of coming home and finding a release.

What's your favourite cake/slice/bickies/dip for morning smoko?

Who can go past Tim Tams?? (And on a cold day, you have to suck your hot cuppa through them so they go all gooey).

For me it’s easy out of the packet. But the local ladies here make awesome smoko. Their jam and cream scones are to die for!!



Latte or Billy Tea?


I’m happy with either. Love a good tea but also love the smell of coffee.


Country or City?


Country through and through, but love visiting the City. Big emphasis on VISIT!



Sea or Trees? 

I love both. We go to the coast often and I love the beach but trees are magical also.



Morning or Evenings?


I’m an early riser but love evening sunsets.


Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn?


Spring. New growth, new flowers, new lambs, a new sunny start to life.



Swags or Room Service?

Swags are good, but who doesn’t like a bit of room service from time to time!!


Horse or Motor Bike?

Motor bike. I would spend hours riding around the farm. Also did a donut on one when I was young and burnt my leg badly on the exhaust. Mum attacked me with Tea Tree oil, stung like a bitch but now you can’t see the scar.


Books or Shoes?

Books. Books all the way. I have boots, thongs and runners…and not much else.




Jim Craig, Hugh Jackman or Simon Baker (?All of them)?

Hugh Jackman. I’ve loved him since the Paperback Hero movie. His character was yum.

(Me too, Fee. Bring back the ‘Paperback Hero’ Hugh please. He was to die for!)


Rodeo or Dinner Party?


Rodeo. Dinner Parties scare me…I have to try and remember etiquette!!



Dairy / Cropping / Beef / Sheep?


Cropping. I love driving tractors and smelling the fresh turned earth. And harvest with all those golden crops simmering in the heat. Magnificent.




Which Tractor - Green, Blue or Red?

My uncle had a big green Stiger, so I’ll stick with that.


Holden or Ford?

Holden. Both our cars are Holden. My brother is Ford so we have family disputes often lol.

(A girl after my own heart.)




Cats or Dogs?


Dogs. Love that dogs would do anything for you. Plus I’m allergic to cats.




Why Writing?

Because I have stories to tell.

(And what stories that are too!)


Writer's Cave or Kitchen Table?

Blah! I hate cooking so not fond of kitchens, although we tend to always be in it.



Book(s) That Changed Your Life?

Rachael Treasure’s Jillaroo. It gave me the courage to send my first book to Penguin.


Event That Changed Your Life?

Penguin signing me up for my first book. All of a sudden I became an author. Not even I saw that coming.


Now that THE ROAD HOME is out, are you working on anything now? (What's next?)

I have finished my fourth book, based on a little town of Bundara. We are still working on a title for it. It follows a group of people and how a drought and tough times have affected them all. We will be starting the edits soon, meanwhile I’m working on book 5 and my YA story I wrote.

(EDITS?! ARGH!!! You poor thing. Such a busy girl … )


Words to Live By?


Always look on the bright side of life. – It’s been my motto since I was young.

Never let life get you down.





So head on over to Fiona’s website and checkout her books. She has also just become a movie star with Penguin Presents TV. Go to to view this wonderful film clip that give you a look of Fiona’s life at Pingaring, in outback W.A.

Thanks for having smoko with me, Fiona. Until we meet again, I wish you all the very best of luck with your endeavors. See you next time as she waves goodbye.

PS. I just can’t wait until I REALLY have my gorgeous friend and fellow ‘Rural Writers Rock’ partner, Fiona, at my kitchen table!

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.