She won the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012. She was also voted most popular romantic suspense author by the Romance Readers of Australia (ARRA) in 2010 and 2011, and shortlisted for the same award in 2012.
Helene is the custodian of several thousand bees and in what spare time she has left, loves to read and travel.
Over to Helene now...
Get reading, Australia!
If you think that sounds like a good slogan aimed at improving literacy then you’d be correct. The Australia Council has teamed up with the publishing industry to create the Get Reading programme. It works to bring authors to regional areas to connect with readers. Local libraries and vibrant booksellers play their part in hosting the events and help to spread the word about Australian stories.
Along with producing the ‘50 Books You Can’t Put Down’ publication in September, Get Reading also choose a Book of the Month. I was fortunate to have Half Moon Bay chosen as the June book so I’ve just returned home from spending several weeks on the road visiting four states.
I started off in Caloundra and finished in Ballarat by way of Warwick, Brisbane, Perth, Bunbury, Adelaide, The Barossa Valley and Melbourne – in total 17 author events and almost the same number of radio interviews.
It was an amazing experience and a wonderful reminder of why I write books. It’s easy when you’re writing a story, sat in a quiet space, to forget about who is going to read the finished book and how they may react to it. At every event I was approached by a reader who wanted to share a personal story. They were prompted either by something I’d said in my talk or because one of my stories had resonated with them. It’s very humbling to be able to make that connection and those conversations are the highlights of the trip for me.
Question time at the end of the talk always threw up interesting discussions. I think the gustiest question came from the dapper older gentleman in the front row who asked what the heat level was in my love scenes as he’d just finished Fifty Shades of Grey and hadn’t really enjoyed it. As there were only two men in the audience he got my gold star for asking the question in the first place and for having read Fifty Shades!
It was wonderful to see so many Booksellers out supporting writers. I was intrigued that fewer than 30 percent of the audience admitted to reading books on e-readers. So while the e-book is definitely taking off there are still plenty of people who like a physical book in their hands – and I’m one of them!
The other wonderful component to the tour was seeing how libraries are all grown up and
Of course no author talk is complete without afternoon tea or supper and I’ve tasted some delicious egg and lettuce sandwiches in my travels. The Friends of the Barossa Library even put on a high tea for me at Seppeltsfield Winery which was truly worthy of The Ritz!
So I’m very grateful to Get Reading, and Penguin Australia, for taking me and Half Moon Bay on tour. A round of applause goes to all the libraries and booksellers who hosted the events. And a heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who came along and joined in the conversation. I hope we can do it all again next year!
So what do you like about author talks? What would you like to see an author include in their talk? Can you suggest a local library that you’d like to see hosting author talks? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and go into the running to win a copy of Half Moon Bay. Contest will close on 30th of June at midnight and Nas will announce the winner.www.getreading.com.au
Half Moon Bay
Ellie Wilding has been running from her past, but when the residents of Half Moon Bay call for help she knows it's finally time to return home. As an international photojournalist, she's used to violence in war zones, but she's shocked when it erupts in the sleepy hamlet on the north coast of New South Wales, threatening all she holds dear.
Battle-weary Nicholas Lawson walked away from his military career leaving unfinished business. In a coastal backwater, that decision returns to haunt him. He remembers all too vividly his last lethal assignment in Afghanistan when Ellie's sister, Nina, was shot and killed. Ellie's been in his dreams ever since, even if she doesn't remember him…
As a storm rages and floodwaters rise, Ellie struggles to save her community. But who can she trust? Nick Lawson, the dangerously attractive stranger with secrets, or an old friend who's never let her down?
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