Author Interview with Fleur McDonald

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This week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing a woman I admire not only for her beautiful writing, but also for her generous spirit and the fact that above all else she is a devoted wife and mother. To me Fleur McDonald proves that old adage that women really can do anything. She inspires me with her stunning words, her blog is a place of reflection and calm and she does the hardest job in the world and takes it all in her stride and with a smile on her face. Fleur really is one of my heroes and I know many who read her interview, her books, or her blog will agree with me.

1. Firstly can u give us a little background information about yourself?

Well, I grew up in a small country town in SA, called Orroroo. I spent heaps of time as a child, running free, going to my grandparent’s station, north of there, playing sport and camping. At twelve I was hoisted off down to Adelaide, to boarding school – which I really didn’t like! I spent five years there and hot-footed it back to the country, as soon as I had finished year twelve.

I spent a year Jillaroo-ing down the SE of SA, at a place called Meningie, and then came to WA where I met my now-husband. We own around 8,000 acres, on which we run a prime lamb production, some cattle, a bit of cropping and whatever else fits in around that!

2. You write beautiful novels set in the Australian Outback do you draw on a lot of personal experiences for your books ?

Oh, thank you! Well, I guess the most experience I draw on is the setting – living where I do, makes it easy for me. Thankfully we’ve never been hit up by thieves, nor have I had an unexpected relative come out of the closet!

3.  You write a blog about your experiences on the farm how do you find the writing you do for your blog differs to writing novels?

I find it a bit of a warm up. When I first started my blog, I didn’t think I would have anything to write about, but as time has gone by and I’ve had feedback from people, I’ve found that things we, as farmers, find mundane, people who aren’t involved, actually find interesting. I blog about most things, now.

In a way, it helps me to write the descriptive scenes in my novels. I have to look at everything so closely, find the small things in the environment – that’s what I believe makes writing believable, it’s the small details.

4. Do you read reviews of your writing and if so do you let it affect you ?

I have read reviews, but I really try not to now.

I remember I had one exceptionally bad review and the lady that wrote the it actually contacted me and told me that I obviously hadn’t lived in the areas I was writing about (I think from memory, they were Melbourne and Canberra) and I was talking about things I knew nothing about. She really gave me a hard time and I felt sick for days. Then I got to thinking, ‘hey I didn’t even write about those places, so what was she going on about?!’

I think every author reads reviews to begin with and then gets that really bad one that makes you feel terrible, sad and plays on your mind for ages. That’s when you stop reading them (unless they’re good!)
5. Every writer finds their characters in different ways, how do find inspiration for yours?

I just pretend they’re my friends, or people who I know. I obviously never actually use people who I know, but I have coffee with the characters, talk to them (I’m sure when I’m first planning a book I could be put into a mental asylum!) I’ve also been known to dress up as my characters when I go to town and see how they would react in different situations. The blokes where we buy our farm merchandise from often ask me who I am, the day I go in!

6. You live on a farm with your family how is life in the Outback for a mother of two ?

It’s busy, especially with my husband’s mum being ill and my family in SA. I don’t have baby sitters at the drop of hat or people to help out. Sometimes it’s tiring and sometimes it’s just so much fun!

The kids love helping on the farm and they’re expected to. In saying that, I’m not sure either of them want to be farmers.

I think the most exciting bit about my life, is that I never know what’s going to happen next. We very rarely do the same thing twice over a week. I could be sitting writing and I’ll get a phone call, asking for help to get in cattle.  It’s different and stimulating.

7. Your son was recently diagnosed with Autism how has that changed your life ?

It hasn’t really. We’ve always know that Hayden was a bit different. The most frustrating thing was trying to find out what was wrong, so we could put the right strategies for him, in place. For so long, we’ve just been treating the ‘symptoms’, like his speech problem. Now the school should be able to get access to funding for him, for help at school. He is high-functioning, so once he starts to get all the help he needs, he should be able to live a pretty normal life.

8. Will you write a character that has been through that experience do you think ?

You know, I thought about that, a long time ago, when things were really bad. I thought it might be a sort of therapy thing for me. I’m not so sure now. I’m still thinking about it!
9. Is there something that you would like people to know about your family’s experience with Autism ?

Hmm. That’s a really difficult question. When Hayden was little, I really felt like my world was crumbling – he would scream all the time and neither of the kids slept until they went to school, so I was beyond tired – I don’t think I had a coherent conversation with anyone until Hayden went to Kindy. Everyone kept saying that was what it was like to be a mum and basically to get used to it.

During this time, I suffered very badly from Post-natal depression.

When we finally realized something else wasn’t quite right and we went to our GP, he sent us straight to the WA leading Autism doctor, John Wray. He knew there was something wrong, but they couldn’t put their finger on what it was – ‘Hayden’s a very interesting case study,’ was what he used to say. Great!

If he had been diagnosed earlier, we would have access to a lot of early intervention programs that we didn’t have which may have made some difference, but as it was, I employed private therapists to help, until we could access other places
10. And finally is there anything you can let us in on that we don’t already know about you ?

I wanted to be a lawyer, when I was in high school, but I realized that I wasn’t clever enough!

I want to take the time to personally thank Fleur for her honesty and unflinching responses to my questions. I asked some pretty personal questions and I am so thankful for her frankness. Autism is a topic close to me heart as well and I hope that anyone who reads this takes some strength from Fleur’s answers.

I enjoyed this interview so much. And I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it as much as me.

Cheers

BlondiieC

xox

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The Kindness of Strangers…

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I unlike Blanche have never relied on the kindness of strangers, I have always kept to myself and my thoughts were rarely shared, until recently that is 😉 . Recently I discovered this mad, fun, supportive, crazy world that is blogging. Im sure for anyone who reads my blog regularly (the whole two im sure ) well you will know that I have had some previous drama, some of it serious and hurtful some of it trivial, but all of it annoying and hurtful.

Well today I lost it, I went postal, I blew my stack and all those other good euphemisms. I had enough and I did what so many people seem to do on a daily basis. I spoke my mind, I ranted and I raved and it felt good. It felt good to say what I was feeling, to say a big fuck you to all the assholes who will try to bring you down.

I did all that with no intention than to speak my mind, to free the demons. But it would seem I caused quite a stir. I never expected to have people rally in support of what I said, Or reach out but they did. And not friends but strangers, or virtual strangers if you will pardon the very bad pun.

People I know only by a gravatar or a small twitpic, a facebook profile or a blog spot. Many of these people I have spoken to only briefly, some of them are people I look up to, and some of them are people I have come to consider “virtual” friends. No matter what their relationship to me they extended their friendship to say “thanks for saying what you did” or “hey I hope your ok”.

This is not the first time I have experienced this either, on the first of April I blogged about Autism Awareness Day and got another huge response people I didn’t know who took the time to say thank you and share their stories. And it knocked my socks off.

I never believed that people out there would do that, but they do ! So to all the amazing people, strangers, friends, virtual friends and the people I admire…..THANK YOU for being so kind, you made a shy, self doubting, fearful girl feel very special today ! 😉

I guess from now on the message is a little less of the Stanley Kowalski’s of this world with their brash nastiness and a little more of the sweetly naïve Blanche and her relying on the kindness of strangers.

Cheers

BlondiieC

xoxoxox


If You Cant Say Anything Nice……Then shut the hell up

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I just have to say that due to some recent comments and other nasty things being done I want to clarify a point here. I am a person I do have feelings, I get upset and I cry and I feel sad when people are mean to me.

I know when u read a blog or someones tweets they are a picture and words they are not flesh and blood and so its easier to disassociate yourself from what you’re saying or doing. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt the person behind the picture. And im not just speaking about myself here either. So many times I see judgements flying and people running off at the mouth with the first thing that comes to mind without a single thought for how the person on the receiving end may feel.

I know we live in a free country where we are allowed to say whatever we want and that’s great, I don’t think that is a licence to hurt or judge or bring down someone else just because your having a bad day.

I’m so tired of nastiness and ridicule and people not stopping to consider how they affect others. I’m tired of trying to raise a daughter amid a climate of judgement. I’m tired of hearing about bullying on the news and the decline of humanity because seemingly people can’t think before they speak.

Every day now we see stories of children bullied until they snap and mothers living a life that is riddled with stress because they fear judgement from other mothers over their choices in parenting. ITS GONE TOO FAR ! Sure Australia is a nation of piss takers but when is taking the piss too much ? That’s what we should all be asking ourselves!

I was raised by a mother who told me “if you can’t say anything nice then say nothing at all” and “always be good and always be kind” I was raised with the value not to hurt someones feeling and to hold my tongue and be the bigger person and for 90% of my life I have done just that. But im fed up, ive had enough.

So to anyone who wants to have a go please engage your mind before you engage your fucking mouth. I don’t blog to have insults thrown at me. I blog because I want to share things I find funny or books I enjoy. So if im not messing with you then don’t mess with me. Everything I post here is just for fun or to share it’s not to set the world on fire or change the world.

So please be nice, not just to me though. Be nice in general consider that the people you are having a go at are people with feelings and they get hurt. Consider what you gain from being nasty and from taking from someone else.

If you want to make a difference to people then use your mind not your mouth !

BlondiieC

Interview with the FAKE Campbell Newman

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This week I took the time to interview someone who I have wanted to know more about for quite some time now. I am a fairly political person and I find a great amusement from anyone who is willing to stand up to traditional politics with their middle finger firmly extended. And this is what the Fake Campbell Newman is doing but not just to the Real Campbell Newman but to politics as a whole.

He gets more genuine feedback from punters around Brisbane than real politicians and a lot of it is truly helpful and insightful suggestions. Perhaps if the real pollies spent as much time engaging with voters as the fake ones do we would have a more efficiently run government, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking?

I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed putting it all together for you. I think the Fake Campbell Newman is someone for people to keep their eye on, because whether you agree with what he is doing you have to admit he is damn funny !

Well first I know everyone wants to know, you could impersonate anyone why Campbell Newman ?

There were some big issues that I didn’t agree with, but it was a couple of little               ones that tipped me over the edge. Also my wife went away for a few days and I was bored…..

You seem to have a lot of insider information from the LordMayors office and now from inside the campaign for state parliament, how much can you tell us about how you come into possession of this information?

Over the last few months, I have discovered quite a few people within the organisations that feel they need a voice, but their positions mean that they  that they can’t come out publicly. I can say what ever I want and that gives a lot of freedom. Kinda like a mini wiki leaks, but without being run by a creepy dude who looks like an escapee from “Children of the Corn”

Recently there has been a lot of interest surrounding you identity, will you ever reveal who you really are ?
Whats the point of finding out who I am? I am really nobody. And who I am is not important, it’s the message that is.
You get a lot of attention from your Twitter followers, Have you had any bizarre feedback or requests ?
I’ve had a few folk who seem to think I am a “Stooge for The Young ALP” They are wrong on all counts. I aint a stooge, I aint young, and I have never been a member of the ALP or any other political party….
There was recently some very negative feedback from the LNP what is your response to that ?
They can kiss my hairy arse. Some grumpy old grey-headed Luddites, who seem to think they run the show. How fucking wrong they are.

 Your twitter followers send a lot of genuine feedback about services in Brisbane especially about projects like the Clem 7 tunnel and City Cycle, does any of that find its way back to the “real” Campbell Newman ?
Only if he reads my twitter feed. Which I highly doubt. These guys don’t listen. They tell. And therein lies the biggest issue. 

There is a growing number of “fake” politicians online now why do you think they are so popular?
Australia has a great history of larrikins. And taking the piss out off self-important wankers.

 Is there any truth to the rumour that you are a member of the very successful band Tism ?
I wish I was. I have long admired those guys. One of Australia’s greatest comedic talent

People have drawn a comparison between you and such comic heroes as Batman/Bruce Wayne, is it you intention to be a crusader of sorts ?
Crusader is a funny term, but I prefer mischief-maker. And I really like the interaction with the great people who follow me.

And finally can you give us a hint to your real identity ?
Well I certainly ain’t Lady GaGa, and I am really not Justin Bieber. Oh and for the record, I am NOT John Birmingham either. He is way smarter than me at this writing caper.

A BIG thank-you to the Fake Campbell Newman for agreeing to be interviewed and for the great feedback ! This was a funnier and stranger interview than what I’m used too but I have to say I enjoyed the process a lot! 
I love anyone who will stand up and have a say about what they are passionate about and I think this is the way of the future, if people wont start to listen to what people want, well we will have to find a way to make them listen ! 
BlondiieC
xox