1. Helene, I love that you live with Captain G on your boat, Roo-Bin-Esque. What is the best thing about living on the water?
I love waking up to the sound of water against the hull with the lighting filtering through the portholes. If the wind is strong the boat almost feels like a living breathing thing, whispering and moaning, the rigging thrumming as she tugs on the anchor.I love the freedom the boat gives us. It’s magical to mooroff an island in water so clear I can watch the anchor flash silver as it sinks to the bottom, knowing that we will lay the first footprints for the day on the sandy beach. I love watching the sunset over land – and I may just take a photo or two of that particular moment!
2. Does your choice of home assist or hinder your writing? Do you have a writing corner?
I have two places I write on the boat – either in the main cabin or on the back deck. The one and only draw back I’ve found is that the sunlight can make seeing the computer screen difficult some days and I have to draw the curtains on the glorious view.
3. Will you travel the world in your boat...or is it more a home base? Think of the inspiration!
We plan to see more of the Australian coastline to start with - and there are so many wonderful waterways – but we will be heading off-shore. New Caledonia is definitely on the agenda. And yes, the inspiration is endless!
4. What is your absolute favourite place in Australia? Land or sea or both!
It’s too hard to pick one place. I love the dusty centre of Australia and have enjoyed every moment of flying the length and breadth of our wonderful country. I’ve been very blessed to have such a great view every working day. But I also love the ocean. Currumbin Beach will always have a place in my heart with so many memories from growing up there. North Queensland with its soaring hills, clear water and coral reefs feels like home, but I know I’ll find many more amazing places in our travels.
I think many of them start with the germ of an idea from a news story. Many of the characters turn up fully formed and then I need to work out how they fit into the story. The saying that fact is stranger than fiction is definitely true!
6. What was the moment of inspiration for Northern Heat
There were several moments that coalesced into Northern Heat. I delivered a writing course in Cooktown and had a remarkable weekend with the talented writers who attended. I got a sense of the closeness of the community and feel of living in a small town, which I hadn’t on previous visits as a tourist. I knew my next story was going to feature Cooktown.
The other thread of domestic violence grew from conversations with several friends who’d had difficult relationships. I wanted to explore some of the issues that they’d faced. None of my characters are ever real but both Kristy and Freya have drawn their courage, their honesty and their heartache from real women.
7. Many of your characters in your books have a dark or tortured past. Is this a devise you use for adding to the suspense?
I don’t think it’s a device for adding suspenseso much as recognition that a difficult past is an integral part of why some characters put up strong resistance to admitting to their emotions. Maybe as readers we love to read about other people’s tragedies as a way of reassuring ourselves that our lives are in pretty good shape. Flawed characters, in my opinion, tend to be more interesting than ones who’ve suffered no hardship.
8. And a final question...what drew you into writing romantic suspense?
I love an optimistic ending and an emotional rollercoaster in a story, but I also love fast paced action, suspense, crime and a little bit of mayhem. What I write definitely reflects the diet of romance, spy and suspense stories that I’ve been reading all my life – starting with Pookie the White Rabbit! I love being able to write strong heroines working in careers not normally associated with women. They are everyday women capable of anything. What’s not to love about a woman in jeopardy still capable of saving the world and rescuing the hero J
Thanks for having me over for a visit, Annie!
Northern Heat – Release date 27thMay, 2015
In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown's youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and the opportunity to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets and struggling to raise her feisty teenage daughter alone.
When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they'll both lose someone they love.
When Helene’s not writing novels she enjoys a busy career as the Queensland Regional Flying Manager with Australia’s largest regional airline. She’s worked in aviation for over 25 years and has 260 pilots reporting into her. She recently appeared in ‘Judith Lucy is All Woman’ in an episode showcasing women in aviation.
She has twice won the highly coveted RWA’s Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and was shortlisted for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Crime and Suspense. She has also been nominated in the Ned Kelly and Sisters inCrime Awards. Helene’s last novel, Safe Harbour, was voted Australia’s 2014 Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel. This is the fourth time Helene’s stories have won the award.
A motivational speaker and writing mentor, Helene lives aboard a catamaran on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and she plans one day to sail around the world in it.
Find her at www.heleneyoung.com
Follow on FB at: HeleneYoungAustralianAuthor
On Twitter: @heleneyoung
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Northern Heat Trailer You Tube: