I should probably reconsider renaming this segment because a lot of the things the authors are sharing are not secret. One such thing is Helene Young’s love of flying! I’m stoked to have my friend and Penguin author Helene talking about what she does when she’s not writing.
Welcome Helene! I had tingles reading about you pursuing your flying dream 🙂
‘I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…’
Rachael, thanks for having me on your blog to talk about my day job! When I’m not writing Romantic Suspense stories I’m busy flying Dash 8 aircraft for Australia’s largest regional airline. I’ve been flying for almost a quarter of a century now (yikes, but that makes me sound old and I’m sure I’m only twenty-one…). After all that time I still love every minute I spend in my office with its outstanding view.
Cairns from the air (or rather the view from my office)
As a child of the 60’s I was born at the start of the jet age of aviation in Australia. Those shiny new jets landed at Coolangatta airport, roaring over the top of our beach shack at Currumbin Beach. From the first moment I saw them I was hooked on flying. My older brother and sister and I used to pile out the door to watch those amazing machines whistle over the roof as the house shook and rattled. I can’t watch the movie, The Castle, without having complete empathy with them!
By the time I finished high school I’d decided that flying might have to wait a while. I’d had too much fun at school to bother studying. In subjects like English I managed good marks. Maths and Physics were dismal…
It took me another six years, including three years in the UK, to grow up enough to work out that a dream is worth fighting for. Once I had that illuminating moment the rest became a matter of hard work and perseverance.
A Dash 8 aircraft quite similar to one I fly – this one’s at Brisbane airport.
The inside of a Dash 8 Flight Deck
I signed up for a full time flying course and then worked at night and weekends as a waitress to pay the bills. Most Saturdays were spent running wedding receptions in a gorgeous restaurant that did a wonderful job of making the day special. I’m not sure whether my romantic streak grew from that or whether it was the other way round!
Luckily for me when I finished training the flying school hired me as a brand new instructor and I then spent almost eight years teaching other people to fly. It was a great job that gave me opportunities to do charter work, dugong spotting, aerial survey, search and rescue work as well as flying training. No two days were ever the same and I worked with an amazing group of people. Many are still great friends today.
Eventually I made the decision to move to airline flying. My first posting was to Cairns and I flew a Twin Otter – an 18 seat aircraft – to places like Lizard Island, Dunk Island, Brampton Island and Great Keppel Island. Who knew I’d be paid to visit resorts every day!
I’ve been in the airline for fifteen years now and I’m a Check and Training Captain on a seventy-four seat aircraft, which means I train new First Officers as they join the company. I also conduct checks on our crews to ensure they’re up to standard. The life of a pilot involves a minimum of five checks a year and that can be pretty stressful. I hope I make those checks as painless as possible while making sure safety is paramount.
As a woman I’m still in a minority at work – industry wide about four to five percent of working pilots are women. Our company does better than that and the Cairns base where I predominantly fly has fifteen percent so some days I go to work and it’s an all female crew including the Flight Attendants! I still smile at the look of wide-eyed amazement on some of our passenger’s faces 🙂
I enjoy being able to combine my flying and my writing and so far all my books have some element of aviation in them. That will change with future stories, but for now I’m writing what I know and loving doing that as much as flying!
The memory of my first flight is still very vivid. Do you still remember yours? Was it a long haul flight to Europe? A joy flight? A trip from a regional town to the big smoke? How did you feel? Did you get dressed up for your big experience? Did you get airsick?
Rachael, if you don’t mind choosing the best answer, I’d love to send the funniest contributor a signed copy of Burning Lies, the last book in my Border Watch series.
Find me and more details of my books at : http://www.heleneyoung.com
Follow me on Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/HeleneYoungAustralianAuthor
Find me on twitter: @HeleneYoung
Thanks so much for that fascinating post Helene! I loved your first two books and can’t wait to get stuck into Burning Lies, of which here is the lovely cover and blurb.
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.
You can read an extract here.
In answer to your question Helene, the first flight I can remember (first was when I was 18months) was flying from Sydney to Perth as an unaccompanied minor. My Mum had moved to Perth two days earlier and I’d stayed with my grandparents while she got a few things sorted. It was VERY exciting and a little nerve-wracking. I sat next to a quite well known television personality and spilt my lemonade all over him. If I recall correctly, if wasn’t very impressed.
Don’t forget to share your own flight story to go in the running to win Helene’s awesome book 🙂 The contest closes midnight EST and the winner will be announced on Saturday!