Get Lost with Author Helene Young Australia's Most Popular Author of the Year

Get Lost in a Story readers, a little history to today’s guest (June 14th, 2013), I judged Helene Young’s novel, Burning Lies in RWA’s prestigious RITA®   I was so disappointed when the book didn’t final (after all, she’s been voted by Romance Writers of Australia as the most popular author of the year, and I for one can see why.)

But Helene didn’t give up with her mission to become recognized, not only in Australia but in the United States.  So imagine my delight when I saw that she was a 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense finalist.  I knew she’d found a home because Romantic Suspense is what she writes.

About:  Burning Lies - July 2012 – Penguin Australia

Kaitlyn Scott is searching for the truth about her husband’s death, even if that means revisiting the most painful day of her life. But what she uncovers is a criminal willing to stop at nothing to keep his secret.

Ryan O’Donnell, an enigmatic undercover cop, is investigating arson attacks when he is drawn into Kaitlyn’s world. He tries to fight his attraction for her, hoping the case might put his own demons to rest, but it only threatens to push him over the edge.

With Kaitlyn and Ryan on a collision course, the arsonist seizes the chance to settle some old scores. As the Atherton Tableland burns, the three of them are caught in a fiery dance of danger and desire, and not everyone will come out alive.

Set in Australia’s tropical far north, this is an explosive story of peril and passion by the author voted by the Romance Writers of Australia as the most popular novelist of the year

And now, let's get to know Author Helene Young:

DONNELL:  Helene, welcome.  In Burning Lies, your protagonist Kaitlyn Scott is a fearless young woman.  She has to be.  She holds a special occupation.  Will you talk about that, please.

HELENE: Donnell, thanks for inviting me to visit your blog. It’s lovely to be here!

Kaitlyn Scott is a Mission Commander on board a Border Watch aircraft patrolling Australia’s vast coastline. Her job is to co-ordinate the search missions for illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, terrorists and anything else that threatens Australia’s security. In Burning Lies she and her crew have the task of tracking an arsonist, which means flying the aircraft in horrendous conditions as fires engulf North Queensland.

DONNELL:  How alike would you say you and Kaitlyn are, and then in what ways are you different?

HELENE: I’m nowhere as near courageous as Kaitlyn. She’s endured heartbreaking tragedy, but has rebuilt her life with her son and mother and does everything in her power to protect them from the past. I think we probably share the same reserve and sense of duty, but as an author I often think my characters have the traits I wish I could claim for my own!

DONNELL:  How long have you been writing and describe what’s the best thing that’s happened to you since you’ve been published.  Then also what’s the most difficult?

HELENE:  I’ve been writing with intent for fourteen years now. The best thing that happened to me was being a finalist the Golden Heart RWA competition in 2008. I made some wonderful friends in America and the prestige of the competition helped to secure me a publishing contract in Australia.

The most difficult time was definitely changing publishers after my second book was released. I’m very happy in my new home with Penguin, but making the move was hard…

DONNELL:  When you’re not writing, what would you say is your favorite pastime?

HELENE: Sailing! And I love my day job flying aircraft for Qantaslink!

DONNELL:  Here’s something new we may learn.  We generally ask authors:  What’s in your refrigerator right now?

HELENE: Since we live aboard a catamaran our fridge is very small. The most note-worthy item is probably the bottle of Veuve Cliqout champagne which is being chilled for my birthday in 6 days time! Otherwise there’s some very yummy home made salsa and a packet of Tim Tam biscuits – an Australian tradition for dunking in coffee – do you ‘dunk’ biscuits in America?

DONNELL:  What would you recommend us Americas coming to visit Australia should see?

HELENE: A definite first stop would be the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches the length of the Queensland Coast – it’s amazing! Then you’d need to fly for three hours to the red centre and visit Uluru (Ayres Rock). It’s a truly spiritual rock with a special presence. I’d suggest a visit to Sydney and the Opera House, followed by a quick flight south to Melbourne for lunch in Flinders Lane and then finish off in the Margaret River, over on the west coast, touring our wonderful wineries. (I’m exhausted just thinking about that itinerary as Australia is quite a large country!)

DONNELL:     Are you more comfortable in high heels, sneakers or ….?

HELENE:  Boots! I wear boots for flying, boots for hiking and boots for fun! (But I don’t mind a  gorgeous pair of high heels on occasion.)

DONNELL:  What is a favorite tradition your family holds?

HELENE: Our family celebrates birthdays at home and that means you get to choose the menu for your special day. I always request roast lamb followed by pavlova and strawberries – a good Aussie tradition  ;)

DONNELL:  If you could meet anyone, past or present who would it be?

HELENE:  I’d love to meet Freda Thompson, the first Australian woman to fly solo from England to Australia. She doesn’t have any of the recognition she deserves for such an amazing aviation feat. And if she’s too busy then Amelia Earhart will be fine!

HELENE, NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.  TIME TO ASK THE READERS A QUESTION.  Donnell, it’s been lovely to chat with you today.

I’d love to know where your readers would go for a holiday if they could choose anywhere in the world – money no object as we’ve all just won the lottery :) - a girl’s allowed to dream, right? One lucky commentor will win a copy of Burning Lies as an e-book.

Thanks for joining us, Helene!  It's been a pleasure! 

Links and contact information



Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.


  1. Oh, easy answer! I'd be aboard that catamaran of yours in a flash. I could dog sit! What a fabulous site I've discovered here. excellent! (No need to enter me. I have Burning Lies already. It's fabulous.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Jenn. It's a fabulous site, isn't it!!

    You and your crew would be very welcome aboard Roo Bin Esque :) Zeus is the consummate host! (And Capt G and I can be quite hospitable too!)

  3. Good morning, Helene, I'm with Jenn, I loved BURNING LIES. Unfortunately it's a little too close to home for me today as I live in Colorado and I have fires all around me. You certainly know your stuff, and that was why I was compelled as well as with the characters. Wow, where would I go. I think I'd like to travel to Australia of all places. I'd love to see a kangaroo. I've heard the males are aggressive, I'd like to see from a distance a crocodile. I especially love that the residents speak English. :) and sort of like Americans? True/False? Thank you for being our guest today!

    1. Donnell, I hope your wonderful fire fighters have them under control and you and your family stay safe. Wild fires are so unpredictable...

      When you do come to Australia (thinking positive here) and stay on the boat with us we could walk up the road and check out a mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. They are very cute and won't let you get too close so no need to worry about the males and their aggression. We have crocs in Trinity Beach too, though they mostly stay out of sight :-)

      Otherwise you'd be very comfortable visiting Australia as Aussies and Americans share a lot of similar traits. Our TV channels are full of American programmes and we have a good range of fast food stores you'd recognise as well!

      It's been lovely visiting so thanks for inviting me, and thanks for your very generous praise of Burning Lies!!

    2. My absolute pleasure, Helene. Oh, and I love your positive thinking! Just sounds so exotic! Thanks again!

  4. Hawaii! Love the beach...

    1. Oh May, I'd love to visit Hawaii. A good friend just spent a week on Kauai and having seen gorgeous George Clooney in 'The Descendants' I'm dying to visit that island too!

      Fingers crossed one of us wins the lottery and gets to go on their dream holiday! Thanks for visiting today.


    Love the boots! I'm right there with you. And my orthopedic surgeon really frowns on me wearing high heels...but the bling is soooo prreeettyy. As for a vacation? Honey, I'd sell the house and just go...if people wanted to visit, I'd fly them to where THEY wanted to vacation. LOL


    1. Thanks, Angi, it's lovely to be here and thanks for commenting!

      Glad to find another boots devotee. I figure wearing high heels for a special night out won't do any lasting harm so bling is just fine occasionally :) I'm sure your orthopaedic surgeon would understand :)

      Love the idea of heading off and not looking back. It would be fabulous to fly your friends to you for a visit. Your friends would love you even more!

  6. Helene, great interview. We dunk donuts in our coffee. :) Love the sound of the book!

    I'd head to your neck of the woods and The Great Barrier Reef. For the past seven years I've taken my daughter and granddaughter snorkeling to a different country. Our goal is to make it to Hawaii and Australia. Granddaughter is fourteen now, so we need to go soon!

    1. Hi Jerrie, dunking donuts sounds yummy too! Thanks for that - I haven't had a donut in a very long time. I may have to track one down today.

      What a wonderful thing to do for your daughter and granddaughter. You definitely need to head to the Great Barrier Reef - and before your granddaughter gets to college age and discovers boys are more fun than family holidays... I know it's a long way to come, but there are some beautiful spots on the Great Barrier Reef. Sadly the reefs around Cairns have been loved so much they aren't as pristine as they used to be. If you do ever come all this way make sure you check with a local for the best spots :)

      Thanks for dropping by for a chat!

  7. Nice cover. Tahiti

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. Thanks bn :) The cover fairies delivered a beautiful one for Burning Lies.

      Tahiti sounds very relaxing, all that polynesia hospitality, white beaches and warm water would be perfect to just chill out and unwind. Hope you get there one day!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  8. Hey, Helene. This book sounds very exciting. And I wondered how you'd do with the subject, Donnell, given the fires so near you. Hope those wonderful firefighters are getting a handle on the flames and all are safe.
    As intriguing as your country is, Helene, I'm not flying over that much water for that long. LOL Just drop me on the coast of Maine somewhere--almost anywhere will do--or up around Moosehead Lake. Really gorgeous scenery. I'm not big on bathing suits or hot weather! :) marsha at marsharwest do com

    1. Hi Marsha, thanks for joining in the conversation.

      Totally understand not wanting to fly all this way over a whole lot of water :) Moosehead Lake sounds intriguing as well as gorgeous. I'm visiting my mum at the moment in Brisbane and it's a chilly (for me) 49 degrees F, but I'm enjoying the crisp mornings and the clear night skies. Don't mind a bit of cold for a change although I'm off to Ballarat next week and the forecast says to expect low 30s. That's going to be a little testing...

  9. Hi, Helene and Donnell, :)

    For a vacation, my first choice would be more of an adventure, I'd opt for a space flight. Seeing Earth from orbit would be completely awesome. Second would be Alaska for the stunning scenery and to see the aurora borealis. Maine sounds lovely. Hmm, I can see an itinerary building here.

    Donnell, when you've made it to Australia and have visited Helene, check out Lord Howe Island.

    And don't put me in the draw as I already have Burning Lies. :)

    1. Hi Sandy, I'm not surprised you'd be heading for space!! Sounds like a fabulous idea and with the force of a lottery win behind you aim for a week or two in orbit!

      I've been hankering after a cruise through the Alaskan fjords for a long time so I'm with there as well!

      And Lord Howe is on the sailing itinerary :-)

      Thanks for stopping by for a chat!

    2. Sandy, will do! In my dreams. Australia at this point feels a bit like a trip to Saturn. Would so love to go one day!

  10. Replies
    1. Chey, Hawaii does sound magical. Perhaps I'll manage to sail there one day! Thanks for dropping by the blog :-)

  11. Hi Helene,
    What a wonderful column - and I'm going to start your book immediately--it sounds edge-of-your-seat good. I was very lucky to visit Australia in 2002 when my daughter did a semester at the University of Melbourne. My sister-in-law and I stayed about three weeks and did most of our time traveling out of the Melbourne area--seeing the southeast coast (Twelve Apostles, Little Penguins etc.) We did spent three days in Sydney and climbed the Harbour Bridge! We also flew to Hobart in Tasmania -- stunning.

    And for anyone who's asked let me just say--it's TOTALLY worth the time over water, even white-knuckling it. Australia is probably the most magical place I've ever been and the people some of the very nicest. We couldn't turn around without someone offering a very sincere helping hand! And, I cried when I saw my first kangaroo, it was so cool. So--if there's more room on your boat, I'd love to meet you and bring my husband to your beautiful country because he didn't get to go back when I did!

    Best of luck with your book and huge congratulations on the Daphne! Thanks for being here today.

    1. Okay, Helene, I think Liz and I would both love to come on your boat I agree. She should be on the tourist board!

  12. Hi Lizbeth, when can you start work with the Australian Tourism Bureau?? I love hearing stories of happy visitors to our country. I think it's a pretty amazing place (I'm biased) and you did see some very special parts in the south east Australia - those fairy penguins are magic!

    My hubbie and I joke that we have a guest hull on our catamaran so there's always room for a couple of visitors :) You definitely need to bring your husband next time and make sure you come north to some of the warmer parts.

    Thanks for your congrats on the Daphne. It's very exciting to know my stories resonate with American readers as well. And I'm very excited that fellow Aussie Rom Sus writer, Bronwyn Parry, is shortlisted as well!

    Thanks for being part of the conversation on Donnelle's blog!

  13. There are a lot of places I would love to go and Australia is definitely one of them. I would also love to visit Alaska and do a tour of Europe.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  14. Sounds like a great plan, Maureen :) I hope you do make it to Australia. I certainly have Alaska in my sights!! Thanks for dropping by the blog for a chat.

  15. Thanks again for hosting me, Donnell. It's been lovely chatting to you all.

    I'm delighted to announce the winner of Burning Lies is Jerrie!! Zeus assisted with the random drawing of a name from the hat so Jerrie please contact me at heleneyoung01@gmail.com to organise your copy of the book.

    Happy reading to you all :-)