In a memoir of saints, sages, and swollen ankles, Helen walks across the Catholic heartland of Northern Spain. Her chosen route is the picturesque Camino Way, a Christian pilgrimage revered since medieval times. Ancient towns and villages, each with a distinct culture and cuisine, mark the way.
Memories and miles intertwine, spanning not only the countryside but also her Christian upbringing and later life as a Buddhist. What is it that compels her into the cathedrals and rustic churches she finds during her month-long journey?
‘Just as I walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela – a different woman now to the one who began – I also travelled from one religion to another. Perhaps I put on pilgrim boots to better understand the message of each – the verbs of their prayers – what it means to engage with life, the joys of aloneness and the delights of company.’
Through recollections of meditation retreats, monasteries in Burma and encounters with the gilded Saints and Madonnas of Spanish cathedrals, Helen contemplates the heart of two religions, in her quest for deeper meanings that can unite us all.
Targeted Age Group: 28 – 98
Book Price: $0.99 from 24 Sept – 1 Oct 2013
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
Requires a level of honesty and open mindedness and willingness to understand beliefs that are not necessarily my own.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
First Draft: Write Wild – keep that inner critic at bay.
Second Draft: Ask yourself, who am I writing this for?
Third Draft: Make the writing beautiful.
Fourth draft: Chop off 10%
Fifth Draft: Polish the punctuation. One final spellcheck.
Helen Burns is an Australian writer, poet, part-time book reviewer and serial traveler currently based in Byron Bay. Her adventures have been published in national and local papers and journals. She has had poems and haiku featured in several anthologies. An encounter in Iran inspired her prize winning poem at the 2007 Byron Bay Writers’ Festival. In the following year she was a guest poet at Southern Cross University’s International Human Rights and Peace Conference.
Helen’s first travel memoir, River of Stones and Stars, was awarded a Varuna LongLines residency in 2007 then shortlisted for the Varuna Harper Collins award in 2009. Her second work in progress is a cross genre travel narrative set in Southern India.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A month long walk across the length of Northern Spain.