Community gardens, yachting and books with Fiona Lowe
In her latest release, A Home Like Ours, Geelong author Fiona Lowe draws a handful of unlikely characters together with a community garden. We meet Helen, whose grit and wariness was honed during a stint of homelessness; plucky single-mother Jade, alienated from the other mothers in town by her age and socio-economic status; marathon-fanatic and hardware store owner Tara who seems to have it all; and quietly-spoken Sudanese immigrant Fiza, who is determined to give her children a better life, despite ongoing prejudices.
Fiona is a natural at creating familiar characters, settings and situations, with an engaging and witty writing style. This story holds a mirror up to the undercurrents of racism, poverty and stigma within our culture and shows that strength lies in embracing commonalities, not differences. I always enjoy Fiona's sharp observations and humour, and as a keen green-thumb, this story had me flying through the 500+ pages.
A Home Like Ours was released by Harper Collins in paperback, eBook and audiobook on March 3. Read on for the author interview, links to purchase a copy and your chance to WIN a copy.
Five fast minutes with Fiona Lowe
Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?
Not at all. I do however have a lot of paper, sticky notes, lip balm, Tiger Balm and frequently a cat.
Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?
Nope again. I endure exercise because I must do it. I bounce between swimming, running, workouts. I do enjoy a weekly hit of tennis, though, but sadly it’s not enough to counteract all the sitting.
What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?
Tasmania Salmon with pesto.
Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?
Sailing a yacht around the world, but only in calm seas.
Favourite book from your childhood?
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery
Worst writing/book related injury?
I fell down the spiral staircase leaving the office where I had been writing. That caused a few bruises.
Which jelly bean do you eat first, and which do you leave until last?
I only eat black jelly beans.
Have you done anything special with any of your advances?
Does buying food count?
Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of writing inspiration?
shower. Walking down the street. I honestly believe when you are stuck in the process, you need to leave the desk and then the solution strikes. I usually wait far too long to move. I should shower more often …
Which book and ‘essential’ item would you pack if you won a week in the Whitsunday Islands?
Sunscreen and my Kindle filled with a cornucopia of books.
Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
Love Objects by Emily Maguire
Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?
“Fiona Lowe, the undisputed queen of Australian small-town fiction.”
A Home Like Ours
A picturesque small town, a cosy community garden, a facade of tolerance and acceptance - but when three women with wildly different loyalties come together, what secrets and lies will be revealed? A timely novel exploring prejudice and privilege, from bestselling Australian author Fiona Lowe.
Tara Hooper is at breaking point. With two young children, a business in a town struggling under an unexpected crime wave, and her husband more interested in his cricket team than their marriage, life is a juggling act. Then, when new neighbours arrive and they are exactly the sort of people the town doesn't want or need, things get worse.
Life has taught Helen Demetriou two things: being homeless is terrifying and survival means keeping your cards close to your chest. Having clawed back some stability through her involvement in the community garden, she dares to relax. But as she uncovers some shady goings-on in the council, that stability turns to quicksand.
For teenage mother Jade Innes, life can be lonely among the judgement of the town and the frequent absences of her boyfriend. A chance encounter draws her into the endangered community garden where she makes friends for the first time. Glimpsing a different way of life is enticing but its demands are terrifying. Does she even deserve to try?
Can such disparate women unite to save the garden and ultimately stop the town from tearing itself apart?
Fiona Lowe has been a midwife, a sexual health counsellor and a family support worker; an ideal career for an author who writes novels about family and relationships. She spent her early years in Papua New Guinea where, without television, reading was the entertainment and it set up a lifelong love of books. Although she often re-wrote the endings of books in her head, it was the birth of her first child that prompted her to write her first novel. A recipient of the prestigious USA RITA® award and the Australian RuBY award, Fiona writes books that are set in small country towns. They feature real people facing difficult choices and explore how family ties and relationships impact on their decisions.
When she's not writing stories, she's a distracted wife, mother of two 'ginger' sons, a volunteer in her community, guardian of 80 rose bushes, slave to a cat and is often found collapsed on the couch with wine. A Home Like Ours is her 34th novel.
Find Fiona Online
For your chance to win a copy of this fabulous book, simply read the interview and answer the questions on the WIN page. Entries open March 6. Winner will be drawn Sunday March 14 at 5pm. Newsletter subscribers and Aussie addresses only please. Thanks to Harper Collins for the review and giveaway copies.