Conference Spotlight ~ Romantic Suspense panel

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.

At Diamonds Are Forever,  Helene Young is moderating a panel aimed at ALL writers (especially those targeting the romantic suspense market) called



Find out how far these writers have gone in pursuit of their stories, their tips on finding unusual sources and methods of research, and what publishing avenues exist in Australia for Romantic Suspense stories. Learn what makes Romantic Suspense different to Crime novels with love stories, and how to balance romance with suspense. Uncover which careers work best for the heroes and heroines and if there’s room for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Love In The Face of Danger panelists

Helene Young started reading mysteries and adventure stories as a child.  Her favourites were Enid Blyton novels. She has moved on from the Five Find-Outers and Dog, but hasn’t lost her love of suspense and intrigue. Twenty two years later she’s a Captain with Australia’s largest regional airline and writes action-packed Australian romantic suspense stories.

Her first book, Wings of Fear, won the prestigious 2011 R*BY award, and Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel, 2010. Shattered Sky, the second book in her Border Watch Series, won Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel, 2011.

Her third book, Burning Lies, will be released in July, 2012.

 Bronwyn Parry writes gritty romantic suspense inspired by the dramatic landscapes and resilient people of rural and outback Australia. Bronwyn grew up surrounded by books, with a fascination for places, people and their stories, and she’s now an occasional academic, passionate about the richness, diversity, and value of popular fiction. Despite writing about murder and crime and putting her characters through daunting experiences, she lives peacefully on 100 acres of beautiful bushland with her husband and two energetic border collies and loves to travel in Australia’s wild places.

Sandy Curtis lives on Queensland’s Central Coast, close to the beach where she loves walking and thinking about the complex plots, hunky heroes and gutsy heroines in her novels. Her novels have been nominees in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards and two were finalists in the mainstream section of the Romantic Book of the Year Award. Her latest book, Fatal Flaw, is published by Clan Destine Press, and all her novels are available as ebooks from Amazon Kindle and Clan Destine Press. Sandy also organises WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival. You can find out more about Sandy’s books at

Karlene Blakemore-Mowle writes romantic suspense for American publishers, Whiskey Creek Press, and Eternal Press, with three titles released this year.

Having lived in Mt Isa, Townsville and central NSW, Karlene now calls a small town on the mid-north coast, home. In between cleaning up after her husband and children, wishing she had a housekeeper, and stupidly volunteering for tuckshop duties, she’s happiest when left to think up exciting stories with a distinctive Australian flavour but set in locations around the world.

Karlene has an ongoing rivalry with alter ego Karly Lane who writes rural fiction for Allen & Unwin.

Shannon Curtis has worked in diverse roles such as office admin manager, customer service rep, logistics supervisor, distribution coordinator, dangerous goods handler, event planner, switch bitch and betting agent, and decided to try writing a story like those she loves to read when she found herself at home after the birth of her first child. Now she spends entirely too much time daydreaming about hunky heroes and malicious murders – for her books, of course! She loves reading, loves writing, and loves hearing from her readers, so visit her at and say hi!

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

We’re writers who love pushing our characters off the edge!

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations?

We’ve all been panelists before and four of the five of us regularly run workshops for writers. Sandy even runs her own festival in Bundaberg called WriteFest! Bronwyn and Helene are both presenting workshops at “Diamonds Are Forever.”  There’s something very special about being part of an RWA conference and sharing experiences with new and established writers alike.

What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Diamonds are Forever”?

Helene is certain Romantic Suspense is finally gathering momentum in Australia. Hachette Australia, Clandestine Press, and now Penguin Australia have all recognized the appeal of local settings. It’s important to spread the word and grow the genre even further by making new writers aware of the opportunities. Rural romances with suspense elements are topping bestseller lists so attending the session will be a great way to learn more about the genre and sub-genres.


Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

We definitely want an interactive panel. Feel free to ask us anything about the genre and our writing journeys. While we’ll have some topics we want to talk about there will be plenty of question time. And Bronwyn Parry always has wonderful pearls of wisdom.

Which members will benefit most from this session?

The panel is for anyone who wants to know more about romantic suspense, but we’ll also be talking about our writing styles and habits and they are relevant to writers of all levels.  And we may be biased, but have you seen Shannon Curtis on a panel before?? Don’t miss it, the lady should be doing stand up comedy. *grin*

Any advice for conference first-timers?

Karlene’s advice for first timer is chat to everyone and anyone. We all have one thing in common – the love of stories  – so that makes it easy to start a conversation. And we’d also recommend taking advantage of all the wonderful opportunities RWA provides for new members. It gives you an instant team!

What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

More details on Bronwyn Parry’s DEAD HEAT, can be found at

Find Sandy Curtis and FATAL FLAW at

Shannon Curtis will knock your socks off at where you’ll find links to VIPER’S KISS.

Find more about Karlene Blakemore-Mowle and OPERATION WILLO QUEST at or

Helene Young’s latest release is BURNING LIES and details can be found at

Thank you, ladies.


Our next Conference Spotlight is with Rochelle Manners on 14th April.

Leave a comment


  1. Looking forward to August and a wonderful conference!!

  2. This will definitely be one fun and informative panel – look at those names!

  3. This is a very impressive panel line-up. congratulations to the organisers and thanks from all the attendees who like their romance suspenseful!

  1. Want to know about romantic suspense? |

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