Conference Spotlight ~ Diamonds in Dust: Rural Romance panel

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.

At Diamonds Are Forever,  Rachael Treasure is moderating a panel aimed at ALL writers called  PENGUIN PANEL: DIAMONDS IN THE DUST: RURAL ROMANCE. 


A lively discussion on the popularity of rural romance with a panel of Penguin’s finest.

Rural Romance  panelists

photo by Helen Quinn

Rachael Treasure (Australia’s leading rural writer) lives on a heavenly hill in rural Tasmania with her two children, Rosie and Charlie and an extended family of Kelpies, chooks, horses, sheep and a time-share Jack Russell. When not at her desk she is trialling the latest sustainable farming methods using no-till cropping, holistic grazing management and native pasture rejuvenation.

She has worked as a jillaroo, rural journalist for ABC radio, wool classer, part-time vet nurse, drover and stock-camp cook.

Rachael Treasure is the author of the bestselling novels, The Cattleman’s Daughter, Jillaroo, The Stockmen, and The Rouseabout and The Girl and the Ghost-Grey Mare a collection of short stories. Her first novel Jillaroo, published in 2002, has grown to become one of Australia’s iconic works of fiction. They have all been bestsellers in Australia selling more than 100,000 combined copies. Two of her novels, The Stockmen and The Rouseabout, have been translated and published in German.

Belinda Byrne – Commissioning Editor at Penguin Australia

Belinda Byrne is a commissioning editor at Penguin Australia specialising in women’s commercial fiction. She can’t imagine another job as creative and rewarding as working with talented authors as they build their writing careers. Belinda has had the privilege and pleasure of working closely with bestselling authors such as Rachael Treasure, Katherine Scholes, Kerry McGinnis, Andrea Mayes, Lee Tulloch, and Kate Veitch, Mandy Magro and Cathryn Hein.

And now announcing more panelists….

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

Now living in Melbourne, Cathryn writes full-time. She is the author of Promises and Heart of the Valley.


Fiona Palmer lives in the tiny rural town of Pingaring in south-east Western Australia.

She discovered Danielle Steele at the age of eleven, and now writes her own brand of bestselling rural romance. She received an Australian Society of Authors mentorship for her first novel, The Family Farm. Fiona is the author of Heart of Gold and The Road Home. She has extensive farming experience, does the local mail run, and was a speedway-racing driver for seven years.

She currently works at the local shop in between writing her next book and looking after her two small children.

Thank you, Rachael, Belinda, Cathryn, and Fiona.


Our next Conference Spotlight is with Nikki Logan on 19th March.

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