Whether she is soaring among the clouds as a pilot or cruising the east coast of Australia with her husband on their catamaran, love and adventure are driving themes in the life of Queensland author Helene Young.
Helene is an award-winning author of ‘romantic suspense’ novels, writing fast paced tales where tension and drama sit alongside romance to create page turners that keep you up well past your bedtime.
Diet of adventure
Helene’s love of adventure was influenced from her earliest reading choices.
“I grew up on a diet of adventure stories and then progressed to Alistair MacLean, John Grisham and Lee Child’s books,” Helene says.
“I love to read lots of action and suspense, but still like to see development of the characters and an emotional ending.”
The experience of working as a captain for Australia’s largest regional airline led Helene to come up with the idea for her first novel, Wings of Fear, which was later joined by Shattered Sky and Burning Lies to become the Border Watch Trilogy.
“It’s been nice to be able to share some pretty interesting places with readers,” she says. “I like to think that I transport people out of their ordinary lives, because that’s what part of this silly, crazy life is for.”
Three more novels and a slew of awards have bought Helene a legion of devoted fans, but she still knows how she likes her books to develop.
“I like to keep the plot line moving along at a ripping place – whatever happens, things need to be solved pretty quickly,” she says.
“In Burning Lies there was a fire so you had to think on your feet, but I used a cyclone in two of the books and having lived in North Qld I know the suspense they can give.”
Living and loving
While action and adventure are strong themes in her books, it’s the romance that has seen her win Favourite Romantic Suspense and Romantic Book of the Year awards.
“I’m a romantic at heart and after 28 years of marriage I like to think that things can work out in the end,” Helene says.
“The romantic suspense genre really gives you two books for the price of one – the threat and the suspense should be driving the characters to find their way forward, and you have an emotionally satisfying ending that these two characters have opened themselves up to the emotion called love.”
Life on the ocean
After a period of life changes, Helene and her husband realised a long-planned dream last year and became “citizens of the ocean”, cruising along the eastern coast of Australia.
The time aboard ship has been reflective for Helene, who finds that her best time to write is when she is on watch in the early morning, typing away as the sun rises over the sea. The experiences have also influenced the topic for her next book.
“This time I’m working on something different – a story about four women from the same family,” she says. “It’s about the ties that bind and how we as a family deal with our oldies when they get to the end.”
The topic has come from some personal experiences and while it’s a departure from some of her themes you won’t see many shrinking violets in any of Helene’s characters.
“None of the characters are real but they draw from the strengths of women that I know – friends and colleagues and people I meet.”