I’m thrilled today to feature one of Romancelandia’s greatest advocates and supporters – reader extraordinaire, Helen Sibbritt. Helen is a romance fan from way back, a voracious reader and dedicated reviewer, who is also a super active member of the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA). I caught up with Helen at ARRA’s biennial convention, held this year in Melbourne in February, and she kindly agreed to answer a few questions for Love is the Best Medicine.
AVRIL: Tell us a little bit about the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) and why you’re a member.
HELEN: Well, this fabulous organization started in 2008 to enable readers and authors to get together with a convention. They have since organized five conventions and many, many other reader events that I’ve been a part of. I’m a member because I love the interaction between readers and authors, the friends I’ve made, and the awesome book recommendations!
AVRIL: What were the highlights for you of this year’s Convention?
HELEN: So many! the wonderful morning and afternoon teas that I had with authors, the Awards dinner on Saturday night, and panels discussing so many subjects involving the books I love to read.
AVRIL: What are some of the other activities ARRA undertakes to bring writers and readers together?
HELEN: There have been High Teas, Book launches for authors, and readers’ getaways for the weekend where lots of chocolates are consumed during fun trivia nights.
AVRIL: Can you give us an idea of how many books you read in a year?
HELEN: Well last year I read 208 books – that is the most I’ve read after challenging myself on Goodreads to read 200. So yay for me! I loved it.
AVRIL: What kinds of books do you gravitate towards?
HELEN: That is a hard question for me as I read across all of the romance genres although not as many paranormals and sci-fi as contemporary, erotic, historical and the Harlequin M&B lines. I do love the Medicals and the Presents, Blaze and Desire.
AVRIL: Do you have any pet hates in romance novels?
HELEN: A whingy heroine – although I don’t come across many of them. But that would be about all. I’m pretty easygoing and most stories will keep me turning the pages.
AVRIL: If you were in charge of bringing medical romances to new readers, how would you describe them?
HELEN: Explain the emotion, the empathy, and just how moving they are. There’s always lots going on in this category. Gorgeous heroes that come to the rescue of heroines, and there are often children and pets in them that add so much to the stories. And they deal with real life situations and health issues that people deal with every day they make me smile and cry – so yes, the emotion in them. And most of them are also very sensual with such sexy heroes.
AVRIL: What was the last medical romance you read, and what will be the next one?
HELEN: Dante’s Shock Proposal – #4 in the Hot Latin Docs series by Amalie Berlin – and wow, what a story what a series! Next one is Her Hot Highland Doc by Annie O’Neil, although I do have all of March’s releases on my kindle.
AVRIL: Do you have any message you’d like to send to medical authors in general?
HELEN: Thank you so much for the awesome hours of pleasure you have given me. I have been able to lose myself in these stories – cry, laugh, drool over heroes and just simply enjoy.