I’m not sure when I read my first Helen Bianchin book. I do know that this Kiwi born writer, who has been residing in Australia since 1981, published her first novel in 1975, and I have all of her books on my keeper shelves. One of the things I love most about Helen’s writing has been her ability to create heroines relevant to the time. When I pick up a book by her, I know I’ll get intense emotion, white hot passion and go through a roller coaster of feelings as I read…she’s been giving readers just that amazing combination for decades. But what I won’t get? The same book she wrote back then. No matter how much I love them, I love more the fact that she writes characters that have changed with our times.
Her books could easily be used to study the change of women’s roles and the vocal move toward female empowerment from the 1970s to now.
But Helen is for me, more than simply an author I admire. She’s someone I really like and appreciate.
In 2002, I sold my first book to Mills & Boon / Harlequin Presents. As a newly published author for a line that up to a couple of years previous (when they bought Jane Porter), had been pretty insular, I felt out of my depth and more than a little intimidated. Helen was always gracious, warm and very welcoming.
And when I got to meet her a few years later (when I was speaking at the Romance Writer’s conference in Australia), she dealt with my fan girl moment with absolute kindness. She was so lovely and encouraging, but more than that, she gave some very sage advice.
Back then, a lot of people (reviewers and readers) were comparing me to Linda Howard, Diana Palmer and Jayne Ann Krentz. While these authors are some of my all time favorites, and I found the comparisons incredibly affirming, they were also daunting. In no way did I think I could live up to the talent and creativity of my heroes.
Unaware of my inner torment, Helen took me aside at that long ago conference and told me not to worry about being like anyone else. To be myself, write my books, and everything would work out. She was so right!
I’ve since learned to not worry if my stories, creativity or voice are enough. I write to connect to readers’ hearts and I can only do that with my stories.
And I’m still a huge fan of Helen’s. In fact, I screamed like a little girl when I saw her new book on the shelves at my local Fred Meyer and snapped it right up. Do you need me to tell you that it’s filled with her signature emotion, incredible story telling and a first rate romance? Well, it is!
Until next time!
#romance #lovestories #HarlequinPresents #Australia #author #myfavorites