Thursday, June 24, 2010

Industry Insider - A Reader's Perspective with Christa Runge

A wonderful PHS welcome to this month's Industry Insider, Christa Runge.  Christa is a "veteran" of the Eharlequin boards and reading challenge.  And after all, what better guest than someone who represents WHY we write category romance - the READERS!  Welcome, Christa - thanks for being with us today!

How did you find the e-harlequin in the first place? What are your best tips for navigating the eHQ boards?

10 years ago I had to spend a month in the hospital. Someone left a copy of a Readers Digest book with four stories in it (I think I read The Stepford Wives 5-6 times) The next time my stepmother came to visit I asked her for some books. She brought me a whole bunch Harlequins from Value Village because they were cheap there. Then when I got out of the hospital I decided to take a look at the behind the scenes workings of the company and later found the community once I really started in on my harlequin reading.

I use "favourites" for finding a blog I wanna get back to easily. Also I can see when there is a new comment on the post. I sign up for a lot of the challenges hosty Katherine issues that require a blog post, I have those in my blogroll so challenge such as A-Z challange, Year long challenges, debut author challenges, the monthly puzzle/ challenge, I dare you to read challenge, because I update these often, It makes them easy to find. Also because I am on a team for the Reading challenge I also have our team URL in blogroll as well as my 2 team mates.I think last year I had a few author sites and a few multi author sites.

What is it about the e-harlequin community that keeps you coming back?

I enjoy getting a glimpse into an authors life. Since reading a few author blog posts they seem more human and I can put a face behind the name. There is also the fact that community members seem to have the love of books in common. Friends and family "just don't get it" On the boards I don't have to explain why I have thousand of books in the TBR pile.

What are you reading RIGHT NOW?

Right now on The Secretary's Bossman Bargain by Red Garnier (July Desire). I have a subscription to the Desire line at ehalequin and get the 6 each month. And I quickly finish whatever book I'm reading and dive into those. Finishing kind of late this month but it is the last of the July Desires.

Do you ebook? Which reader?

I like getting ebooks sometimes. I can try a whole bunch authors that may not have a print book out. They are great for finding out of print books. I've also heard of people getting an ebook because the book they picked up is in a series or related to another book but not the first so they get the first in ebook. For me also shipping is outragious for print books sometimes.

I have Mobipocket and Adobe Digital Editions downloaded on my PC and I have to read on my PC. Therefore lately I haven't been reading too many ebooks because I can't take them with me or I can't take them to bed with me.

Has participating in the eharlequin reading challenge increased the number of books you read?

I don't know if it has increased my reading level but by particapating in the challenge I keep track of how many books I have read. Now each year I'm in a competition with myself. Not to read more books than the year before, I'll be happy reading the same amount each year.

What is your favourite part of the challenge? Do you do the monthly challenges? If so, which has been your fave?

I think getting to hear everyone else's opinions of certain books is my favourite part of the challenge. I usually participate in all the challenges Katherine throws our way. The monthly puzzles are fun. It's fun to try and find the best possible matches to fit the puzzle. Right now she has one going called Saddling Up ...... Rope, Ride, and Read 'em ~ Harlequin Style! where she asks for a list of 2-3 things associated with cowboys or ranches that's awesome but then my favourite H's are cowboys. She also had one last year called One Harlequin leads to another, where a word in the title, author, H or h name, line, location had to match and lead to the next Harlequin.

What is it that keeps you reading series romance?

I like the idea of escaping, meeting glamorous characters in exotic locales. There also the feeling of me walking the same paths as the author. If he/she is describing a locale that I've been to, I can understand more readily the things he/she is descibing and I get that feeling that maybe he/she has been to the same place as me.

Are there books you read and DON'T log on the eHQ challenge?

Not really. I think last year I even posted my Elections Canada instruction manual for when I worked the polls.

What is the best book you've found courtesy of the reading challenge?

I don't know if it's an indivual book, but I am now totally looking forward to anything relating to Vivi Anna's The Valorian Chronicles. I'm not much for paranormals so was skeptical about trying this series. I started with a Nocturne Bite which led me to want to read more. I have now read 4 full length Nocturnes in this series and just this morning recieved The Vampire's Kiss.

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?

Anything by Diana Palmer. Since my favourite line is Desire, I am looking forward to the August line-up. Dynasties:The Jarrods sound like it's going to be a great series running from July till December with some fabulous authors. I'm also looking forward to some of the Carina Press stories.

Christa also asked a few friends about their reading tastes!  Read on...

I read romantic suspense mostly...I love the thrill, the pursuit of andthe capture of the psycho killer...and of course the happy ending!

Glenice Powell
Idaho, USA

My mother introduced me to Harlequin when I was 14 and I spent endless hours sighing over the heroines (men had no POV) falling in love through the pens of Betty Neels, Mary Wibberly, Lilian Peake and others. As I got older, so did my access to Harlequin - the sexual level in Presents vs. Harlequin Romance for instance - but I felt something was missing. And then Silhouette Desire came out with the Man of the Month line and for the first time I could see into the heroes head and I was truely addicted. Now I could find out why the virginal heroine would fall in love with a sheik that kidnapped her because he had mistaken her for her evil and more experienced sister, even when he called her bitch, treated her like a whore and verbally/emotionally abused her throughout the entire book. Oh, wait, that's Presents. Well you see, they too soon followed with the hero POV.

I can measure just about each birthday which every category line I was introduced to ... and oh how I couldn't wait to get to those red ones. The wonderful thing about category is the differing levels of sexuality in each line - you know what you are getting when you pick one up and there are no "surprises" for their readers. From Love Inspired to Blaze, there's something for everyone. After 35 years I still read category, have dreams of writing one some day (my poor muses won't cooperate) and will always be a strong proponent of their stories and writers.

Eve Mardis aka Bailey Stewart

I have been reading romance novels since I started sneaking my mom’s Harlequin Romances to read while I was still a preteen. My mom was an avid reader and I loved her choice of book. I escape from the worries of my life into a book with a hero, I can dream about, a heroine, I can admire, and a happy-ever-after. I become depressed if I read too many books that don’t give me these three elements. I guess you could say I’m addicted to romance but it’s a very healthy addiction.

Linda E

Thanks for the great interview, Christa!  And from all the authors here at the PHS - thanks for being such a wonderful cheerleader for Series Romance!

1 comment:

  1. I found eHarlequin in 2003 when I worked at Princess Cruises. I'm a series reader so I would purchase them monthly and then once I emailed Customer Service to see if I could purchase all at one time and the let me.....I was elated. I see with the Balafors they are doing it again, please suggest this happens all of the time, especially for those of us who can't wait!

    At the Princess office those of us who read romance e set up a library in the lunchroom. After an hour when the word got out, there wasn't a book left on the shelves and from then on I knew I wanted to spread the word worldwide.

    Because I worked for the "Alaska" market out of Seattle, I also sent them to Juneau, AK to be put onboard our ships for the cruise staff and I still send the staff on the ships books. After stressful days with cruiseship passengers they can get away and relax by reading.

    As for the 2010 Reading Challenge, I love it, because it gives those authors I love or review for exposure plus I like the fact if I wonder whether I should purchase a book or not, I might find a review of the book in the "Challenge".

    The boards, I usually check out the Presents and Desire boards but lately I've been checking out others because I'm trying to find new authors.

    Christa, loved your post, I'm such a Harlequin fan and I've made so many wonderful author and reader friends through EHarlequin.