Deanna thanks for being a guest on the Brit Babes Blog it’s great to have you here! I know you’re an avid reader of erotic romance and we’re all keen to know more about what hits the spot for you and what books you recommend to friends.
Tell us a little about where you live and how that suits your reading habits.
I live in wine country in Australia. This has been a recent move! Only 3 months! My husband retired from corporate life and is now focusing on what he calls his retirement career, which is writing. He has a book coming out very soon called "Wine Sense: The Art of Appreciating Wine". As for me, I'm getting into doing more editing and proofreading for companies and authors alike. I used to do it infrequently when asked, but am now being more proactive about pursuing it as a career. I also judge a number of writing contests for Romance Writers Australia for unpublished and published authors alike, ranging from short stories to novellas and full length manuscripts as well. Finally, I regularly beta read for a number of authors. This keeps me busy on the "work" reading front, and doesn't leave that much time for pleasure reading. I love reading, and I try to fit in as much as I can, usually early in the morning, when I'm lying in bed, before I get up to start the day, and occasionally at the end of the day in the late afternoon, after a day of errands and work. I would probably average between 8 and 15 books of varying lengths between 100 to 400 pages a month, but these days, the books tend to be more of the 100+ pages in length, just because time is precious.
Do you have many real life friends who you chat to about the books you’re reading or is it mainly online?
I belong to the Australian Romance Readers Association and once a month we get together for a lunch and at that time, we eat and gab about romance of all kinds. As you can tell by now, I predominantly read romance. The ladies in the group are very avid readers, more so than I am, with many of them retired or working part time. One lady even reads about 60 to 70 books a month. I don't know how she keeps them straight! Aside from that, I have some online friends I chat with about the books I read but only vaguely in a "it was good, you should read that" or "it didn't grab me, the heroine was annoying" sense. The in-depth character, plot, etc., discussions are usually with authors I connect with, and also when I'm beta reading. I LOVE beta reading.
Book boyfriends – you can have more than one!
Book boyfriends, huh? I don't know that I obsess over book boyfriends as much as some of my other girlfriends but to name a few: Lewis Tate from Scored by Lily Harlem, Dragos Cuelebre from Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison, Adrian from A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day, and Matthew Clairmont from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I also have a serious crush on David Gandy, the British Dolce and Gabbana model and for some reason, all my heroes end up looking like him in my mind!
Do you have any “go to” books that you reread or grab if you’re feeling down.
I would like to say yes to actual books, but no, not really. I have books that I've reread many times, but these days I have the problem of "so many books, so little time". That said, a few that I've reread recently include Scored by Lily Harlem (I've read it about 5 times now!), Dragon Bound and Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison. Childhood / teenage favorites that I've read over and over again and still like to revisit at times include The Belgariad series by David Eddings and The Pern Harper Hall series by Anne McCaffrey. In reality though, I have "feel good" authors and most of them write for the Harlequin Romance imprint. I find their stories extremely romantic and heartwarming. Favorite authors include Liz Fielding, Susan Meier, Barbara Wallace, Melissa McClone, Rebecca Winters and Jessica Hart.
What is your favourite subgenre? Paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi?
I think my favorite subgenre would be paranormal just because I love all the wonderful worlds that the authors create and I'm completely obsessed with dragons and gargoyles. Anytime a book has a dragon or a gargoyle, it's an auto-buy for me. But I also love anything sci-fi, fantasy, historical (especially Regency) and lately, I've been reading more contemporary as well. I also love erotic romance, but I can't read them all the time. Erotic romance for me is like eating a really rich dessert, right time, right place, and only a little at a time. :-)
Ever recommended a sexy book to a family member?
No. My mother mostly reads thriller and suspense and my sister doesn't read, though if she did, I would definitely recommend a sexy book to her. My husband has read some romance and even quite a few erotic romances but not at my recommendation.
If you could pick one book you’ve read and loved to be made into a film which one would it be and who would star in it?
You know, I've never really thought about it. The books that I enjoy are so emotionally driven that I think it would be hard for them to be made into a film and be done well. That said, I think I would love to see Dragon Bound in a film, and also A Discovery of Witches. Those are the only ones I can think of that won't end up being R or X rated! :-)
Is there anything that really turns you off in a plot.
A whiney heroine. A lot of friends of mine who read romance would say things like: Oh, I really identified with the heroine. I have never identified with a heroine before (perhaps the closest would have been Nicki in Scored) and at the best of times, I would like or tolerate the heroine. I don't think I'm unique though. I tend to identify with the heroes a lot more. Aside from the whiney heroine, other things that would turn me off a plot is generally bad writing, lots of telling instead of showing and poorly edited manuscripts. I find it very hard to enjoy reading a poorly edited book because the errors jump out and gets the editor in me really riled up.
Can you recall one scene that you’ve read that’s been both shocking and seriously hot? What was it and why?
I think the most recent one that comes to mind is a scene in The Billionaire Bad Boys Club by Emma Holly. This is early on in the book and the two male protagonists return home after a nice meal and are going to have sex. It's shocking for me because until recently I've never read any M/M sex scenes, and seriously hot because c'mon it's Emma Holly writing a sexy scene and she does sexy extremely well.
What qualities do you look for in a heroine? Does it annoy you if they are really different to you and make decisions and choices you wouldn’t or do you accept that we are all different, including characters.
This is a hard question for me to answer because generally I'm not drawn to the heroines. I usually feel like they are just around to prop up the hero. I know that's not what it's meant to be and not how the authors intend it and many of them make it a point to create strong, capable and likable heroines. For me, if the heroines are not annoying, whiney and if I end up liking them at the end of the book, that's good enough for me. Most heroines are okay, and some I've even liked. That's about it. Sorry, probably not the answer you are looking for, but there you go!
What are you reading right now?
Right now I'm between books. I started reading a series of novellas a few days ago by Audra North in her Stanton Family series. These are quick, fun reads. I'm about to start the fourth and last one in the series, A Lesson in Temptation. These are books from Entangled Publishing out of their Edge imprint. I've recently discovered the Entangled Publishing books and have enjoyed pretty much all of their imprints with the exception of their Embrace imprint as it is New Adult and I'm not such a fan of new adult / coming of age stories. The next few large ones that I want to tackle include the latest Deborah Harkness "The Book of Life", the last in the Night Huntress series by Jeanine Frost "Up from the Grave" and also a number of Brit Babes books which I need to read and review. Of the Brit Babes books, I've got Tabatha Rayne's Clockwork Butterfly Trilogy to read and review soon - that's next in the line up for sexy books to read. I have a list of the books I want to request from the Brit Babes to read and review but I'm pacing myself. I don't want to bite off more than I can chew, and I know that between my work schedule and life in general, I really don't have the bandwidth to review more than one or two books a month.
Thanks for having me visit the Brit Babes blog. I'm enjoying being part of the community and the Street Team.
Thanks for being here, Deanna, it's great to get an insight into your busy reading life and great answers - by the way, most of the Brit Babes are a massive David Gandy fans too x