Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Home - Helene Young

The word hums in my mind like a familiar hug. Once I’m on the highway heading out of Cairns, I feel the tension drain from my shoulders. Twenty minutes and I’ll be home. Bliss!

Maybe because of this strong homebody gene the settings for my stories are very important. I need to know the environment where my hero and heroine live. I need to see clearly where the action takes place and, once I do that, the landscape muscles in to become a character in its own right.

Wings of Fear (Border Watch in its first edition) and Shattered Sky are both set in North Queensland, Australia where I live. It’s a beautiful, exotic part of the world where things are a little different. We call one hundred millimeters (or four inches) of rain in an hour a summer shower and wave our umbrellas in flippant disdain. Humidity sits above ninety percent for a large portion of summer. We almost take for granted the stunning beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient life of the Daintree Rainforest. The wonderful rich reds of towering gingers, the bright orange of heliconias, and the dark green of the native trees provide dramatic color.

Every day when I fly, I look down on the gorgeous deep blue of the Coral Sea and marvel at the Great Dividing Range as it stretches its ridgelines down to the pristine sands of the coast.

We have some interesting wildlife - prehistoric crocodiles and agile kangaroos, curlews and stingrays, snakes and frogs. It’s all good material for a vibrant backdrop for Romantic Suspense.

Right now, sitting at my table typing this, I’m being bombarded with a dozen different birdsongs after this morning’s heavy rain. Sunbirds are washing themselves outside my window and there’s a slightly confused frog giving out its mating call (that should only happen after dark… perhaps he didn’t get lucky last night…)

Later, as the sun edges the hills behind in brilliant gold, the crickets will sing in a rolling wave of sound before the silence of the night settles down around us. I’ll curl up on my couch with my laptop and set about creating the perfect home for my new heroine, Kaitlyn, weaving some of what’s around me into her private sanctuary.

What do you love most about where you live? Is it your wonderful neighbors or perhaps it’s the frantic pace of a busy city apartment? I’d love to hear what you look forward to most when you come home at the end of the day.
As a young child Helene thought everyone read books and invented stories. Starting school and discovering this was not the case for most children was a bit of a shock. However, she did soon discovered that English was her favorite subject and Enid Blyton her favorite author.

While she’s moved on from the Five Find-Outers and Dog, but she hasn’t lost her love of suspense and intrigue. It was partly that passion for all things adventurous that saw her take to the air as a pilot in 1989. Twenty-two years later she’s now a senior Check and Training Captain with Australia’s largest regional airline.

Her second novel Shattered Sky was released in Australia on the 1st February 2011.


Christina Phillips said...

Blogger ate my comment! Trying again...

I love how you weave the gorgeous landscape into your books, Helene, and I am so looking forward to reading Lauren's story!

ev said...

Sitting here freezing my arse off, so it was nice to warm it up a bit even vicariously through the picture you painted. I so will get there someday.

Flying. I love to fly. I always wanted to learn but never had the money to do it. And then someone gave me the chance to fly in a helicopter. Wish I was coordinated enough to be able to learn to fly one of them.

I moved to where I am 13 years ago when I got married. And discovered that this place is really home and not where I grew up. When I come up over the top of the hill after a long trip away, or even just a few hours, the entire city is laid out before me and I can feel the calmness it brings me. Our little dead end street is an old fashioned neighborhood- we all look out for each other and help when it's needed without asking.

pageturner said...

Coo, you're a pilot! How cool is that?

Helene Young said...

Thanks Christine, I hope you enjoy it too! I'm still waiting for my copy of Captive to be delivered... Cyclone Yasi has much to answer for!

Helene Young said...

Ev, I love that sense of community that you're describing. It's one of the lovely things about our little neighbourhood. Cyclone Yasi roared through a week ago and everyone has been helping out for their neighbours.

Helene Young said...

Hi Pageturner, I'm constantly amazed that I get paid to look at the view - and it's a gorgeous view!

It's 5 am and I'm heading off to work now to fly from Cairns to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. Rain's bucketing down outside so there might not be much view today....

TashNz said...

Happy to hear you're ok after Yasi paid a visit and good luck with your new book :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Helene,
I remember when we lived in Cairns I didn't even bother with an umbrella - especially if I was trying to get in or out of the car. Struggling with a brolly and trying to open and close doors without getting wet - not co-ordinated enough I'm afraid. I'd get less wet if I just made a dash for it :). Taking the dogs out for a walk in the rain was never a hardship as it was always warm. Imagine my shock at discovering rain in Canberra was COLD.

What I love most to come home to is my husband. Oh dear, I am such a girl.

Good luck with 'Shattered Sky' and look forward to the book launch in Brisbane.

Pat Cochran said...

Lovely pictures you've left with us!

I don't drive, so it is usually
Honey and I coming home together.
That is what is so important to
me: we started this life together
almost 50 years ago and it still
continues, the togetherness which
is us.

Pat Cochran

Helene Young said...

Thanks Tash, it's still raining up here so I do feel for those trying to get their lives back in order. Thanks for your good wishes for Shattered Sky.

Helene Young said...

Lol, Sandy, I just got soaked talking to my neighbour discussing the storm water drains. A car drove past with a couple looking at us like we were mad women (which perhaps we are...) as we stood there in the down pour :)

You have a good man to come home to! Home, as they say, is where the heart is!

Helene Young said...

Pat, that's wonderful. Fifty years together is a beautiful achievement and I bet you still hold hands!!

I hope I have as long with my man. It's been 26 good years so far!

Kylie Griffin said...

I love the volcanic shaped landscape of where I live, Helene.

We have a mix of wide, open plains that were once an inland sea, and a series of hills that are the remnants of gigantic lava flows and volcanic plugs.

It makes for a fantastic scenery when driving for about 100kms in any direction.

Nas Dean said...

We have sea around where I live and it makes fabulous and calm scenery, when we drive along.

But we also have tropical cyclones and right now we are smack in the middle of our cyclone season!

Good luck with 'Shattered Sky' and look forward to reading it!

Helene Young said...

Kylie, your landscape sounds perfect for world building in fantasy fiction!

Helene Young said...

Nas, you must be somewhere in the southern hemisphere too! Cyclone Yasi whipped through last week leaving us relatively unscathed but further south devastated.. The ocean is usually such a calming place to live.