Today I’d like to welcome award-winning author Helene Young to the RWA Author Spotlight! Helene is kindly giving away a copy of her new release, Burning Lies. Read on to find out how to win (open worldwide, to members of RWA)…
1. Welcome Helene, what can readers expect from your third book, BURNING LIES?
They can expect an explosive story full of peril and passion set in Australia’s tropical far north. Burning Lies is the final book in the Border Watch series. It’s a story that digs deep into the mind of an arsonist to try and understand how someone could justify committing such a terrible crime. It’s also about identity and how victims of a crime like arson must struggle to rebuild their lives. Here’s the back cover blurb:
Lies, all lies. It didn’t matter how attractive he might be. She didn’t really know this man . . . He was living a lie and she didn’t know why.
Kaitlyn Scott is searching for the truth about her husband’s death, even if that means revisiting the most painful day of her life. But what she uncovers is a criminal willing to stop at nothing to keep his secret.
Ryan O’Donnell, an enigmatic undercover cop, is investigating arson attacks when he is drawn into Kaitlyn’s world. He tries to fight his attraction for her, hoping the case might put his own demons to rest, but it only threatens to push him over the edge.
With Kaitlyn and Ryan on a collision course, the arsonist seizes the chance to settle some old scores. As the Atherton Tableland burns, the three of them are caught in a fiery dance of danger and desire, and not everyone will come out alive.
With a lot of help from RWA!! I took advantage of the contests RWA runs and entered anything and everything. The feedback and encouragement was invaluable. After my manuscript was a finalist in the American RWA Golden Heart contest I pitched to Bernadette Foley, from Hachette, at the Australian RWA conference. She was kind enough to offer suggestions that I took on board for another round of edits. When I resubmitted several months later she signed me for a two-book deal. I’m very grateful to both RWA and Bernadette for giving me such a great grounding in writing. As to becoming an award-winning author? I can only say a heartfelt thanks to the readers who connected with my characters and voted for my stories. There’s nothing more I could ask for as a writer!
3. What do you love most about writing romantic suspense?
Romantic Suspense allows me to explore the darker side of human nature. I’ve always been a lover of crime stories and thrillers while being a romantic at heart. With Romantic Suspense I can put my characters in high stakes situation where their true natures will shine. It’s also very satisfying to help them find love in the most unlikely of places, and under intense pressure! Ali Watts, my publisher at Penguin, pushed me into more emotional territory with Burning Lies and I’ve really enjoyed exploring more of that journey with my characters. On a basic level Romantic Suspense lets me write two stories in one!
I’m a believer in NaNoWriMo and RWA’s 50k in 30 days. All three of my published books started life as NaNo projects. The rest of the draft takes about three months to finish off. Then the hard work of editing begins!! As to research? I don’t think I ever stop researching. So many people generously share their wisdom and I do love a good chat The internet is invaluable too, but you can’t overestimate personal experience from someone who’s been a fireman or a policeman or military. Getting access to those people can be as simple as an email to the particular branch of law enforcement or emergency services. A request for information on social networking sites can also be very productive!
5. Describe yourself in three words: Loyal, tenacious, have-a-chat (is that one word?)
6. Complete this sentence: When I’m not writing, I fly passengers all over the east coast of Australia and enjoy working in a tiny office with a spectacular view!
7. What advice would you give to aspiring authors out there?
Bottom on seat, fingers on keys and write. That story isn’t going to write itself! One of my mantras is – ‘Rules are for fools and the guidance of wise men. Be wise, be guided.’ Apart from the rules of grammar and spelling everything else is an opinion so listen, learn and experiment. Read widely because that will help to crystallize where your own writing voice fits. Lastly, enter contests and be open to the feedback from judges. It will all help to polish your writing until it shines!
8. What’s next for you, are you working on another book right now?
I am working on my fourth novel – it should be finished early July! It’s a stand-alone story centred on international triads, a grieving photojournalist and a retired army engineer. The research has been fascinating and of course there’s still a thread of aviation through it!
Thanks for participating in the Author Spotlight, Helene!
To WIN* a copy of BURNING LIES, simply comment below and answer the following question (open to RWA members only, worldwide):
“What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done for research, or the most interesting topic you’ve had to research for a story?”
(*Competition will be drawn on Mon 9th July, and the winner has one week to respond to the notification email or another winner will be chosen. Good luck!)