Coffee & Cake with Fiona McCallum

Coffee & Cake with Fiona McCallum

Author Fiona McCallum, whose latest book Australian Secrets is avialble now on our website, shares her love of chocolate mud cake and purple irises with us.

Star sign?


What coffee would you like?

A latte, please.

And which cake can we get you?

Cheesecake, please. Oh, or chocolate mud cake with a large dollop of fresh cream. I can’t choose! I love cake. Could we get a slice of each and share? Please, pretty, pretty please?

What’s your earliest childhood memory?

Not a very cheery first memory, but here it is: Age 3, being in hospital suffering from bronchitis, which required being stuck in an oxygen tent and all sorts of other horrible palaver. I was terrified and distinctly remember, as if it were yesterday, watching from the window and being inconsolable as my parents walked down the path to the car. I really thought I would never see them again.

What was your favourite lesson at school?

Woodwork. I fleetingly dreamed of becoming a cabinetmaker. My arrival at an all-girls private boarding school and being told, ‘Oh, young ladies don’t do woodwork, my dear,’ quickly put an end to that!

If you could invite three people, dead or alive, to a dinner party…

My dad, my auntie Anne, and my maternal grandmother. They’re all deceased, so that’ll mean a séance – what fun!

What’s your favourite quote?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Do you prefer sunrise or sunset?

I can’t choose – they’re both equally beautiful.

Love is…

…owning a pet.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Having my first novel published and becoming an Australian ‘instant bestseller’ after writing four manuscripts and being rejected by numerous publishers and agents for nearly ten years.

Describe what you can see right now?

A large, well-ordered modern-style desk (containing laptop, printer, second screen, split Kinesis keyboard, stack of document trays, pad of lined paper with to do list and Waterman mechanical pencil on top, mug of coffee, and a grey cat lying on his own small Persian rug), several colourful abstract paintings, and two glass-fronted bookcases full of books.

Who’s your favourite writer?

Just one – seriously?! That’s a really tricky question for someone who usually reads a book a week. But since you insist… Maeve Binchy.

If you could go back and do it all again, what would you change?

Absolutely nothing. I think everything that happens – good, bad and ugly – is necessary to the journey. I am who, what, and where I am today thanks to every little thing that’s happened along the way. Thankfully I’m in a great place right now, and happy with my lot. I’ve been through plenty of ups and downs, but every experience makes me a better writer, gives me something to write about, and adds to my faith that I can deal with whatever else life throws at me.

What’s your favourite flower?

Ooh, it’s a toss-up between roses (which have to have a scent) and the rich blue/purple iris.

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Asher Keddie.

And finally, the perfect man/woman must have a…

…love of animals.


You can get Fiona’s latest book, Australian Secrets here.

Say hi to Fiona on Facebook here.