Conference Spotlight ~ Helene Young

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

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.

At Diamonds Are Forever, Helene is presenting a workshop aimed at ALL writers called RELENTLESS CONFLICT: YOU OWE IT TO YOUR CHARACTERS.

WORKSHOP BLURB:Why do some books and movies keep you perched on the edge of your seat, glued to the action? The answer is relentless conflict. Using practical examples you’ll learn the art of layering conflict and ramping up the stakes to keep your readers holding their breath as they turn the pages desperate to see what happens next. Bring your pens and be ready to write!

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less. I’m a writer who loves to explore the ‘what ifs’.

What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Diamonds are Forever”? Conflict is crucial to any story and yet it’s something that I think we all grapple with at one time or another. It’s easy to mistake conflict for tension and while they are related they aren’t the same thing. Ramping up conflict is crucial to any story and the principles are the same regardless of the genre you write.  Movies like Avatar are wonderful examples of complex conflict.

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation? It’s very much a hands-on workshop. We’ll look at some examples, see why they work and then apply them to our own works in progress. There’ll also be time for questions through out the session. Bring your pens/laptops and be ready to write!!

Do you use examples (from your own books, other books, movies etc)? I do use movies, like Avatar, as well as examples from books. I’m a believer in pulling stories and movies apart to see how they work (which drives my husband insane on movie nights…) because it makes it crystal clear as to why some succeed better than others

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you? Networking is a one of my favourite past-times at conference. It’s where I discover I’m not the only writer with doubts and fears and stumbling blocks. I can talk POV, emotional punch and murder and no one thinks I’m strange. I can immerse myself in other people’s ideas on writing craft, learn new techniques, and I always come away feeling full of enthusiasm. I have to admit I’m a conference junkie *grin*.

Any advice for conference first-timers?

Being a first timer can be daunting, but RWA is an incredibly embracing organization. We all love to read romance so it’s easy to find something in common with those around you. There are orientation sessions for new members at the start of Friday and Saturday so join in because you instantly have familiar faces. Don’t hesitate to strike up conversation with someone in the lunch queue or the lift. You never know who you’re standing next to – it might just be one of your favourite authors! And most importantly? Enjoy yourself!

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

Burning Lies, will be released in July 2012.

Find me at


Thank you, Helene.

Our next Conference Spotlight is with  Erin Grace on 17th April.

Leave a comment


  1. Nothing like writing up the conflict – in books of course. Love the workshop premise, Helene. Good advice for first-timers to conference. See you there!

  2. Thanks, Eleni, looking forward to the conference!

  3. Wow! That book cover. Love it. Here eyes say it all I reckon.

  4. I am soooo looking forward to this workshop, Helene! My CP and I will be there with bells on, so expect to be quizzed to within an inch of your life! 🙂

  5. Thanks, Jen. Glad you approve – I’m always nervous releasing a new cover to the world but I think Penguin have done a wonderful job!

  6. Yikes, Sandy, now you’re making me nervous! I’ll be polishing this workshop to within an inch of it’s life and dreaming up ways to up the conflict for you all!


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