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Blog Tour: Author Guest Post ~ Helene Young on Songs Into Words

on May 17, 2015

Helene Young Author Photo (QF) Today I am very excited to welcome one of my favourite Australian authors, Helene Young to my blog. I am participating in a blog tour to support the release of Helene’s latest novel, Northern Heat. My review for Northern Heat will be up on the blog later today so make sure you check back for that! You can find out more details about the tour at the end of this post but for now, Helene is sharing a piece she has written on the songs behind the words of Northern Heat. Thank you Helene!

Songs Into Words…

Are you a music lover? Do you have music playing when you’re working, driving or relaxing?

I love music, particularly when I’m driving. I’m one of those nutcases belting out the words sat in a traffic jam… But when I write I usually prefer silence – though of course my characters’ voices in my head can be pretty rowdy!

Up to now Shattered Sky was the only book I’d written that had a song attached to it.  I never did work out why, but I got into the habit of playing Bonnie Tyler’s rousing ‘I Need a Hero’ just before I sat down to write.  I remember running on a treadmill in the Stamford Hotel’s gym after finishing a late session training pilots in the simulator in Sydney. I had headphones on and was singing along at the top of my voice, thinking about the story and certain no one else would be up at that time of the early morning. I was more than a little embarrassed to see the cleaner with a wide smile waving at me as he left just as the song finished…

But then along came Northern Heat. It was different from the start. Several pieces of music attached themselves straight away.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu singing his beautiful song, ‘Wiyathul’, heads the list. For me the song is so very evocative of the land around Cooktown and Black Mountain. His voice has a spiritual sound that transports me with the opening bars.

Next came that plaintive ballad from A Great Big World and Christine Aguilera – ‘Say Something’. To me is speaks so strongly of physical loss as well as emotional loss and this was Conor’s song as he struggled to come to terms with losing his wife and daughter. He didn’t have the chance to say goodbye, to say any of the things that were in his heart and he was still grieving, sure that he didn’t deserve to find love again. I believed he deserved redeeming but he wasn’t sure about that himself.

Pink’s ‘Just Give Me A Reason’ was Kristy’s song. Kristy’s previous marriage had left scars that were always going to be hard to heal. Was the domestic violence real or perceived? Was he controlling or caring? Was he simply older than her and teaching her or was he changing her, ruling her.  The way that marriage ended left her with unanswered questions, left her unsure whether she did have the strength to be her own woman, despite her successful career. She questioned whether she could be a good mother to Abby or whether even there she was failing.  Was her ex-husband right and she was bad mother? Or was she imagining it?

And finally there was ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ by Labrinth. Freya is a secondary character in Northern Heat, but through her actions, and those of her family, she has a huge impact on the story. I know I’ll write her story one day. She’s a beautiful young woman who’s troubled past has taught her that she’s only as good as her looks.  She’s trapped in a marriage that’s spiraling deeper and deeper into violence, but with two children to support she’s terrified of leaving and petrified of staying. The song gave me the optimism to write her story as it was, warts and all, knowing that she would have to face her demons one day.

I hope you enjoy the four songs that provided the backdrop for Northern Heat. Capt G and Zeus are both very glad I’ve finished writing it and there’s different music onboard Roobinesque again!

I suspect the need for music was because Northern Heat, like Burning Lies, is an intimate story.  It’s about a struggling single mum juggling a busy career as a doctor, a man in need of redemption and a teenager hell bent on finding love for her mother again.  At the heart of it is domestic violence, the ripple effect that it can have on the individual, the family and the wider community. Maybe because it is a dark theme I needed music to feed my soul.

If you’re a reader  – do you listen to music when you read? If you’re a writer – do you need music playing when you write?

I’d love to hear what works for you


To celebrate the release of my sixth book 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. To enter leave a comment here or share the post and/or the trailer on 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-


Northern Heat – Release date 27th May, 2015 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.

Author Bio 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.

Pre-order Buy Links

Northern Heat Trailer You Tube: HTML version : Flat Cover Northern Heat Med Res

9 responses to “Blog Tour: Author Guest Post ~ Helene Young on Songs Into Words

  1. Great insight into your characters, Helene, you are very real, as usual. I am a huge fan. A VERY entertaining blog post.

    • Helene Young says:

      Thanks, Jenn, I’m hoping this music thing becomes a constant because I felt as though I knew the characters in an even deeper way. And thanks for dropping by!

  2. rowena715 says:

    Sounds like there are some very deep themes running through Northern Heat, Helene. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one! All the best with your virtual and physical tours.

    • Helene Young says:

      Thanks, Rowena, the themes are important to me and I really hope they’ll simmer in the back of readers’ minds and make then reflect long after they close the cover. And thank you for dropping by for a chat!

  3. I absolutely cannot listen to music when I read – I prefer silence although I can tune out background noise such as my husband/kids watching tv in the adjoining room etc. However when I write, be it reviews, NaNoWriMo or whatever than I really like having music playing. For me it helps pass the time. Instead of sitting looking at my screen thinking ugh I have to get these 4 reviews/this 3000 words/etc written, I sit down, put some music on and think ok, I’ll listen to X amount of songs and see how I go. I tend to be much more productive when there’s some music happening!

    • Helene Young says:

      Bree, I have to agree that I prefer to read in silence but I did get quite used to zoning the TV out when Capt G was watching something I had no interest in at all… I could read for hours curled up next to him – too bad if he tried talking to me!!

  4. Thanks for introducing me to those fabulous songs Helene. Can’t wait to get my hands on Norther Heat. There’s nothing like good Aussie suspense!

  5. Helene Young says:

    Thanks to Bree for hosting the NORTHERN HEAT Blog Tour! And thanks to everyone who participated. The winners have been announced and the details are up on my blog at :

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