Helen Burke | Make Time To Write


I guess, writing was always in my blood, maybe there’s a writer, hidden in my family tree, that will explain my writing passion. At school, I actually, looked forward to doing essays for homework. Mr Lyons, my English teacher, would wax lyrical, about my essays, and pin them to the classroom notice board. It was he, who encouraged me to be more descriptive with my writing.


Over the years, I dabbled with the odd competition too. An excuse to write, rather than a longing, to win a prize. However, when I mentioned writing was a hobby, it always caused raised eyebrows. As if, somehow, I was a little bit odd. I didn’t have time to take it seriously, anyway. As a working, mother of three, writing wasn’t even on the agenda. How could it be, with washing, ironing, shopping, and hoovering to do. Not to mention, the school run, and the meals to cook. Writing, I’m afraid, was a secret indulgence, squeezed in, when there was no one around.





Much later, when the children had grown up I began to write more seriously. And sitting at my second-hand computer, tapping away, I’d let the words spill out. I’ve learned, there are two types of writers. The landscapers, who plan and design a story, from beginning to end. And the gardeners, who let the words grow around them. It was no surprise, having always been on the impulsive side, to discover I’m definitely the latter.


In 2013, deciding on a grand adventure, to mark my husband’s early retirement. We shocked the family by announcing our plans, to travel around Europe, in a motorhome. Probably, because we’d never owned a motorhome, and had never been camping in our lives. And six months later, having purchased a second-hand motorhome, which we duly christened, the Burkemobile, we headed off. Once, on French soil, we intended to go wherever, the fancy took us. Both looking forward to the freedom of life without constraints or demands.




It was brilliant, sitting at my laptop, writing, guilt-free, for the first time ever. The only distractions being a swim, or a cycle to the nearest store, to get some provisions. I wrote about the places we’d visited, the people we’d met and the many trials and tribulations, of life on the road. And clicking on files I’d downloaded, I came across a story, which, sat languishing, on my computer for five years.


In the first year, my first, three chapters, sent to various publishers, were rejected. Although with some pleasant comments. And encouraged, rather than disheartened, I polished up the story, and sent it off again. This time, I was thrilled to receive an offer from Olympia Publishers.


‘Billy’s Search for the Healing Well, my debut book, is an adventure story, for children, aged 8 to 12 years. Published, by Olympia, my dream, which, I’d had, even as a pupil, of Mr Lyons, became a reality, in February, 2017.


‘Billy’s Search for the Healing Well, was also chosen as runner up in the Carousel, Awareness Prize, Dublin, for best junior book, 2017. Although forgotten, due to life, which, has a habit of getting in the way. Writing, is now, a big part of my life. The only way to become a better writer, is to keep writing, right!!





Get a copy of Helen’s book now, here! 


16 May 2019