Young, Helene_I’d like to thank Helene Young for this sharing this guest post about her sailing life as part of her Northern Heat blog tour. When Helene’s not writing novels she enjoys a busy career as the Queensland Regional Flying Manager with Australia’s largest regional airline. She’s worked in aviation for over 25 years and has 260 pilots reporting into her. She recently appeared in ‘Judith Lucy is All Woman’ in an episode showcasing women in aviation. She has twice won the highly coveted RWA’s Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and was shortlisted for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Crime and Suspense. She has also been nominated in the Ned Kelly and Sisters in Crime Awards. Helene’s last novel, Safe Harbour, was voted Australia’s 2014 Favourite Romantic Suspense Novel. This is the fourth time Helene’s stories have won the award. A motivational speaker and writing mentor, Helene lives aboard a catamaran on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and she plans one day to sail around the world in it. You can follow Helene on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her website for more information.

If you’ve read my earlier books you’ll know that flying and aviation played some part in the first four stories and boats played a large part in my last book, Safe Harbour.

It’s no coincidence! I’ve had a 26-year career in aviation as a flying instructor, charter pilot, airline captain and simulator instructor before becoming the QLD Regional Flying Manager for QantasLink, which is a desk job. There’s a scene in Wings of Fear (Border Watch) that I actually had a crew fly in the simulator to make sure I was describing it accurately in the story. It’s good to be able to bring that sort of detail to a story.

I miss actually flying aircraft enormously, but as I’ve had episodes of vertigo I’m ground indefinitely… The management role has allowed me to use the expertise I’ve gained over my career, but it will never give me the rush that safely taking an aircraft from departure to destination can do. Pilots really do have the smallest office in the world with the best view!

Not long after I was ground we moved aboard our yacht, Roobinesque. For those of you who like the technical details she’s a forty foot Lagoon catamaran which we call ‘the three bedroom, two bathroom, double lock-up.’ Built for comfort not for speed, she’s a cruising cat that will hopefully take us around the world one day.

Roobi on a blue ocean

I wrote Safe Harbour and Northern Heat while we were living aboard and the nautical theme seeped into both books. When I’m surrounded by so much natural beauty I want to share it, bring it to life for my readers. For anyone who follows me on FB, Twitter or Instagram you’ll know my favourite time of day is sunrise and sunset.  No two are ever the same and I love photographing them.

Zeus the Salty Seadog is an early riser and always needs a trip to shore to start the day. That suits me just fine because I can see the sun come up and have plenty of writing time.

Me writing inside

When we’re cruising, which we’ll soon be doing full time J, the rhythm of the day is set by the sun and tide. We seldom wear watches and get very used to judging the time accurately without feeling the pressure of it.

I try and get in a couple of hours writing before breakfast and that means I’m often awake before Capt G and Zeus. I sneak upstairs, close the door into the hull where our cabin is and, at this time of year, drag on tracksuit, jumper and ugg boots. It can get a little chilly on the water!

Once the lads surface, and we’ve had a walk and breakfast, I wander through social media, check emails and do any chores that are required. Then it’s back to writing until lunchtime.

I don’t write to a word count, but I do tend to write to the end of a scene or chapter. If that’s finished by lunch then the afternoon is ours for adventure – take Zeus ashore in the kayaks or the dinghy, go for a walk or a swim or laze around and read a book.

After dinner, depending on where I’m at with the book, I may need to keep writing for a few more hours.

I’m still finding my way writing aboard the boat as for the last 6 years I’ve written a book a year while juggling a full time job. I can’t wait for writing to be my main focus.

I’m sure there will still be room for aviation and sailing in many more stories and I do have a couple of non-fiction ideas I’d like to explore. We’re heading north this winter and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the remote coastline of this wonderful country. Cooktown, where Northern Heat is set, is high on my list to visit again.

And if you’re wondering what Capt G is doing while I’m writing? Who knew how much maintenance went into keeping a boat in excellent condition! He’s always tinkering with something… he says it’s relaxing?

What’s your favourite way to relax? With a good book, gardening, riding a bike, chilling out with friends? I’d love to hear how you unwind.


To celebrate the upcoming release of my sixth book on May 27, 2015 I have six prize packs to give away. Four of them are duos of SAFE HARBOUR and NORTHERN HEAT and one major prize is a complete set of my six books. For international readers there is a duo of e-books to be won. Watch the trailer and then read on for comp details:

To enter leave a comment here or share the post and/or the trailer on a social media site and I’ll double your chances!


Hope to see you through May at the following blogs:

5th May:     

7th May:     

10th May:  

12th  May: 

14th May:  

17th May: 

19th May: 

21st May:  

24th May:   

26th May: 

28th May: 

31st May:   

2nd June:              Wrap up and announce the winner on my blog-

Here’s the blurb:

In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown’s youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and the opportunity to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark. The local GP is hiding her own secrets and struggling to raise her feisty teenage daughter alone. When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they’ll both lose someone they love.

You can buy Northern Heat at Booktopia, Amazon and Bookworld, or in good bookstores.



Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

0 Responses

  1. What I love most is living in the area and relating to all the stories but for someone who doesn’t live up here the excitement and suspense and romance just have to be imagined. All so different and so sad when the stories finish.

  2. Hi Helene,

    Northern Heat sounds like an amazing book. I love books by Aussie authors. I’m certainly going to have to get a copy of this one. I’m not one to judge a book by it’s cover but if I was, I would be drawn to this one.

    Well done and I can’t wait to give it a read and review.

    Much love,

    1. Thanks, Bec, the cover fairies smiled on me – I loved it from the very first concept cover and the tweaking just made it even better. Hope you enjoy Northern Heat 🙂

  3. I thought my little outdoor office was something, but that view of you on the boat is spectacular. I loved reading about life aboard and how you schedule your writing time. Sorry to hear about your vertigo. I had it for a long time and understand how strange it is. I hope it goes away like mine did. May the words flow like smooth flowing tide. Happy seas!

    1. Thanks for your well wishes, Fuonlyknew. I hope the vertigo vanishes as well one day! And meanwhile there are adventures to be had. Thanks for being part of the blog tour!

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