It seems fitting to have Helene Young as my guest blogger today, seeing as its Aussie Author Month. I’m a big fan of Helene’s, after picking up Border Watch…now called Wings of Fear, and devouring it. I love her mix of suspence, the Aussie QLD coastline and the good dose of romance. So i’m excited to have her here!!
Thanks for having me visit today, Fiona! Loved reading Heart of Gold and it was fascinating seeing inside a shearing shed. You made it all very real.
Awe thanks Helene. I could say the same for you, making the inside of a plane come alive for those of us who have never been in a cockpit. I’m guessing you’ve been working on your third book now that Shattered Sky is out on the shelves. Is this one also a follow on with a character we are familiar with from Shattered Sky? If possible, can you tell us a bit about it?
I am indeed working on my third book and yes, there are two characters from Shattered Sky who you’ll meet again. One of them is Kaitlyn, the mission commander, but I won’t reveal my hero just yet 🙂
Oh a bit of mystery…I can’t wait to see who it is!!
This story looks at arsonists and what drives someone to light fires as well as the people who put their lives at risk fighting them. On a deeper level I’m also delving into what makes someone’s identity their own and how do we keep a grip on that when life throws curved balls at us. I’ve got about another thirty thousand words to do, but I’ve really enjoyed writing the story so far!
That sounds brilliant, Helene. Don’t worry i’m sure those 30k will pour out quickly.
You write great suspense books. Have you always been a suspense reader and who are your favourite authors.
I have always been a suspense reader starting with Enid Blyton and The Five Find-outers and Dog! From there I progressed to Trixie Belden Mysteries, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, then John Le Carre and Wilbur Smith! In between I raided my sisters cupboard for Mills and Boons, particularly an author called Violet Winspear, and Pride and Prejudice!
What’s it like writing about the OMG (outlaw motorcycle gang) and did you worry if you were overstepping boundaries about what you were writing. Did it need a lot of research?
I did worry a little about the OMG angle. My husband worried even more! Consequently, I invented the names of the various gangs in Shattered Sky so I didn’t inadvertently end up with a drive-by shooting of my house! The research was fascinating and included sitting on a bus to Melbourne Airport early one morning chatting to a man who’d just come from an all night party with the Hell’s Angels. It was riveting. It also made me reassess the stereotypical bikie as he was intelligent and articulate. The story then did evolved with the research as the more I dug the more I realised international criminals were now playing a much more active role in the gangs. I had no idea how many shootings and murders could be attributed back to turf wars over drugs and prostitution!
I love the way meeting someone can help a story along, or even create different directions in our books. I think my husband could sympathise with yours. LOL
You paint such a vivid picture of QLD for one who’s never been. Have you always lived there? What was life like for you growing up?
I’m a Queenslander, almost by birth (apart from the first six months I spent in Canada before my parents come home to Brisbane.) Growing up was chaotic. I was the youngest of three and therefore bore the brunt of my brother and sister’s warped sense of humour.
We had a shack of a weekender at Currumbin Beach on the southern end of the Gold Coast and most weekends were spent down there mowing the grass (it as a one acre block…) and getting into adventures. Some of my early memories include commando crawling around in the scrub, swinging between trees, and building hide-outs… Seeing any parallels with my characters here??
(hmm that sounds like stuff I got up to as well Helene. Maybe thats why I love your characters so much!)
I loved surfing, but in that era girls were literally hounded off the waves so I did more body surfing than board-riding and I do miss the waves. If Cairns had surf it would indeed be complete paradise!
What did you want to be?…always a pilot?
I went through a variety of career choices. Vet, PE teacher, Marine scientist. Alas, I never quite applied myself enough at school – usually had my head stuck in a book. Some subjects like English and History came easily so I did well in those. Maths and Science I did less well. Flying was a quiet obsession, more a dream, and when the school guidance counsellor told me to be a nurse I figured one day I’d fly for fun. Having never displayed any real compassion as a typical hormonal teenager I chose to ignore her advice and tried my hand a quite a few different careers.
Seven years after that gem of wisdom I took my first flying lesson and am very grateful that I did! I love flying and every day appreciate that I have the best view in the world. It’s been a lot of hard work with some major sacrifices along the way (my husband always said we should have written the cook book ‘A hundred meals with mince meat and rice’…) but it’s worth it.
Now I think about it, it’s a lot like writing 🙂
Thanks for lending us your time Helene, much appreciated. Best of luck finishing those 30,000 words and I’m looking forward to reading them.