I recently met helene Young for coffee in Cairns. Helene is the author of two novels (Wings of Fear and Shattered Sky), with her third, Burning Lies, on the way.
One thing which sets Helene’s novels apart from many other Australian novels is her north Queensland settings but another is that she is also a professional pilot and has used this expertise in her first two novels.
We discussed the local situation for fiction writers in Cairns and north Queensland. My trip to Cairns was a stopover on the way to the Mackay book launch for the AusLit Basics of Life anthology (well, a detour of 1000km or so the other side of Mackay).
Cairns is remote from Australia’s south east cluster of major cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and the area between). This makes it comparatively difficult for authors and publishing professionals to visit Cairns.
Cairns and the north Queensland region have a handful of established authors but also active local writing groups, and it seems the local established authors are often happy to mingle with these writing groups.
Helene put me in touch with Diane Finlay from Tropical Writers, and we also caught up for a chat. Diane filled me in on what Tropical Writers do, including their anthologies and their writers festival held every two years (with the next at the end of Sep 2012).
We discussed the craft of fiction and the usefulness of books on the craft of storytelling beyond just written prose for fiction writers. For example, Helene likes screenwriting book Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder and finds the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet useful for plotting novels.
Helene discussed how her upcoming novel is progressing. Helene is about to submit a completed draft of Burning Lies to her publisher Hachette.
We discussed how The Australian Literature Review started, as well as what is going on currently and for the rest of 2011. For anyone interested in this, a recent guest blog post on Fleur McDonald’s site provides a good overview.
I discussed what it’s like travelling Australia meeting up with authors of all types and all levels of experience and acclaim, attending various literary events, and creating writing opportunities and projects to cater for established and emerging fiction writers.
Helene discussed how she stays connected to her readers and a range of Australian authors online through Facebook, Twitter and blogging, as well as staying connected through the activities of networks like the Australian Romance Readers Association and the Romance Writers of Australia .
You can read an interview with Helene Young on The Australian Literature Review at https://auslit.net/2011/03/12/helene-young-author-interview, and you can find more on Helene and her fiction at www.heleneyoung.com.
The Australian Literature Review