Cairns Post Article – Romantic Book of the Year Winner

CAIRNS author and pilot Helene Young revisited a windswept Trinity Beach yesterday to recall the inspiration for her novel, Wings of Fear, which won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year award.

“When I found a dead body on Trinity Beach in 2003, it started me thinking,” Ms Young said about her book, which centres on coastal surveillance and has a strong Far North Queensland influence.

Her publisher, Hachette Australia, bills Young’s award-winning debut novel as “action, terror and falling in love in Australia’s far north”.

Set across the Far North from the northern beaches to Weipa, the romantic suspense begins when the female protagonist, a pilot like Ms Young, discovers a body – but that’s where autobiographical elements end.

Ms Young said she was stunned by her win.

“It was very unexpected. I was literally speechless,” she said.

“Romance writing is a funny thing. People expect a certain type of writing but hopefully this might bring it to a wider audience.

“It is more complex; in mine I explore issues in north Queensland.”

Ms Young said her husband encouraged her to write when he found her first manuscript stashed away in a cupboard.

“That manuscript will never see the light of day – it’s like being a carpenter and making a wobbly table the first time,” she said, laughing.

The “Ruby” is Romance Writers of Australia’s top award, often described as their Oscars, and there were more than 150 competitors this year.

Wings of Fear, the first in a trilogy by Young, also won the 2011 Australian Romance Readers Association award for Favourite Romantic Suspense.

Her second book, Shattered Sky, is out now, and the third will be released in February.

Despite her writing success, the Trinity Beach author said she will continue her work as a regional airline check and training captain.

“I’ll just keep juggling,” she said.

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