Hi Helene, Welcome to Café Cala.
It’s great to have you back to Café Cala. I love your writing. I’ve just finished Northern Heat and it certainly lived up to my expectations! I’m looking forward to your visit to chat with us at Noosaville Library in July. This morning I’ve been making some cranberry and coconut bread. I remember you preferred coffee last time. Is that still the case?
Hi Maggie, coffee with a slice of cranberry and coconut bread sounds divine! Thanks so much for inviting me around for another chat. Can’t wait to catch up in person in July.
1 Where did you get the idea for Northern Heat?
The backstory in Northern Heat is domestic violence and the insidious nature of abuse. A very good friend of mine, who seemed to have it all, finally left her husband and it was a wake up call that family violence can happen to anyone. She was a university educated professional as was her husband. I hope I’ve done justice to her and all the women who shared their experiences with me.
Northern Heat is set in Cooktown and that aspect grew from a weekend when I conducted a writing course in the town and fell in love with the characters and the landscape. I have played with the topography a little so I hope the locals forgive me!
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.
2 With all these books you’ve written, what have you found most rewarding about your writing?
I’m still very touched to receive letters and emails from readers who tell me that my story has made a difference. I first started writing stories to entertain so it’s enormously rewarding to know I may have touched someone’s life.
3 How did you start writing?
I loved English at school and probably should have taken my teacher’s advice and studied journalism, instead I was desperate to fly. I’d always believed I’d write a book one day, but it took until 1998 when I started work with QantasLink in Cairns that I found the time to sit down and do just that. It was another 10 years before I submitted my work to a publisher and another 2 years before my first book was released.
4 Are there any particular challenges to writing on Roo Bin Esque?
The only real challenge is the distraction of the world outside the boat. Writing in the dawn is my favourite time of day, but then there are magnificent sunrises to be photographed. By mid-morning Capt G is likely to be heading off in his kayak or the dinghy and that’s always going to make me want to close my computer and join him. Since I’m now giving it my best shot at being a full time writer we will have some adjusting to do to get used to us both being home all day, every day. I’m sure we’ll come to a compromise, but I also know there will be days when the lure of the ocean is too great to be ignored!
5 What would you say has helped you most?
I think being part of organisations such as Romance Writers of Australia and the Queensland Writers Centre has been enormously beneficial. Not only do they provide technical support, but also camaraderie. Writing is so solitary and the friendships I’ve made through those organisations help to fill that space.
6 What are you working on at the moment?
I have two projects on the go at the moment and a third I really want to write. One’s set in North Queensland and is another romantic suspense. One’s set in the world of aviation and is more a straight crime story and the other one is Freya’s story. She’s a secondary character in Northern Heat and her story needs to be told. Crunch time will happen in about two months…
7 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Sit down and start writing. You can’t edit a blank page!!
8 Which authors are you reading right now?
I’ve recently finished new releases by Kylie Kaden, Shannon Curtis, Anne Gracie, Jenn J McLeod and Fiona McIntosh.
Find Helene at www.heleneyoung.com
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Northern Heat Trailer You Tube: