Hope you have all had a wonderful week.
Today I have the fabulous Helene Young, a fellow North Queensland author, here to answer a few questions about herself and her new book, Shattered Sky.
Feel free to leave a comment at the end of this blog. Helene has kindly offered to give away a signed copy of Shattered Sky to one lucky blogger!
Welcome Helene and thanks for being my guest today. I’m so thrilled to have you here! Also, congratulations on winning the Favourite Romantic Suspense Award at the ARRA convention on the weekend. It must feel amazing to be recognised for your brilliant work as an author.
Where were you born, raised, schooled?
I was born in Vancouver - my parents had an extended ‘honeymoon’ in Canada and so my brother, sister and I were all born overseas. I grew up in Brisbane under the shadow of the Gabba Cricket Ground and went to school further up the road at Somerville House – a very proper school for young ladies! (Though I’m not entirely sure they succeeded in turning me from a tom-boy into a young lady…)
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract?
I’d been writing with intent for ten years before my book came out in print. Wings of Fear is my fifth completed manuscript so I have four gathering dust in a filing cabinet! I was ecstatic when Hachette Australia offered me a two-book contract. Of course, I then discovered my learning curving had taken a vertical turn that rivalled Mt Everest…
I can still clearly remember the evening Bernadette Foley phoned to offer me the contract. I think, like my first solo flight, that feeling will stay with me for the rest of my life!
What time of the day/night do you prefer to write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, but with a changeable roster I can’t afford to be choosy. I’ve always been an ‘up with the sun’ kind of girl. And I’m the one at the party who’s nodding off in the corner after 10 pm…
Can you tell us a little bit about Shattered Sky?
Shattered Sky is a story about people who are trapped by circumstances beyond their control. Some will rise to the occasion and overcome great adversity; others will pay the ultimate price.
The story explores organized crime, including people trafficking and smuggling, and their connections with Outlawed Motorcycle Gangs. I think the makeup of the gangs reflect the changing cultural make-up of Australia. Their move into global crime is part of that change.
Lauren uncovers a people trafficking operation that’s bringing in women for the sex-slave trade. Her search for answers takes her deep into the wilderness of northern Australia and she’ll need the reluctant help of Naval Patrol Boat Captain, Callam Granger. Will their history force them together or apart or will it risk more lives?
What type of plane do you fly and how does it feel to be a pilot?
I fly a Dash 8 400, which is a 74 seat turbo-prop aircraft. The airline I fly for is the largest regional operator in Australia and, while I fly predominantly in regional Queensland, I can be sent anywhere on the east coast if required.
I love flying. The rush when you push the power-levers up and the aircraft hurtles down the runway is still special after 13,000 hours. I love having the best view in the world out my office window. I love watching the seasons change in the shape of the clouds, the hue of the sky and the colour of the land below. I love the challenges of operating a high performance aircraft in sometimes difficult conditions. I love airports and the feeling that I’m bringing people home to their loved ones. It can also break my heart when we carry unaccompanied children with tears streaming down their faces as they travel between their parents in different cities. Maybe that’s why I write romance so my characters always have optimistic endings…
I love rural airports and the wonderful people who work in them and the laid back way they go about their business. It’s quintessentially Australian.
I love being part of a small team. There are two pilots and two cabin crew on board and, with a good ratio of women pilots in the Cairns base, some days I go to work with an all female crew!
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
My inspiration comes from many different sources. Wings of Fear started with finding a body on the beach near where we live. Shattered Sky started with discovering the sweet middle-aged lady I chatted to at the dog walking field was in fact a matriarch in an Outlawed Motorcycle Gang. Burning lies had its early beginnings in being with a friend as their district was consumed by bushfires.
Central through them all is the wonderful Australian landscape, feisty women and equally determined men.
What is your favourite meal?
Roast Lamb! And my husband cooks the best roast potatoes to go with it!
Who is your favourite Australian?
Nancy Bird Walton. She was such a gracious lady and did so much for women and aviation in this country.
What is your favourite Aussie saying?
As useful as an ashtray on a motorbike!
Where would be your ideal place to holiday?
Hmm, that’s tough… I still haven’t visited South Australia and Adelaide so that’s high on my hit list. But then I love camping so somewhere in the outback with a swimming hole, shady trees and no mozzies will do! Suggestions of places to put on my list are always welcome :-)
Thanks for joining us today Helene. I’ve loved hearing about your life and the intriguing events that inspire you to write.
If any of you have suggestions for Helene on where she should holiday please leave a comment below. And remember, there is a signed copy of Shattered Sky to win if you do!
Thought for the week
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time!
Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming