35-Day Author Blog Challenge 2015 · Author Interview · Book Love · Robin Helm · The Inside Story

Day 19: Meet Robin Helm, bibliophile

That’s what today’s prompt asks for: a “true bibliophile.” I didn’t have to go far to find one because my blogging pal fits the bill nicely. In Robin Helm’s own words, here is how an avid reader comes to be.

Photo: Arwen Abenstern (Creative Commons Flickr)
Fascination with books starts early, doesn’t it?  Photo: Arwen Abenstern (Creative Commons Flickr)

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Reading has fascinated me since I was old enough to understand words. I am the youngest of six children, and watching my mother and older siblings (particularly Gayle Mills) read added fuel to the fire. I yearned to understand the symbols and lose myself in the stories. Neither Gayle nor I have ever thought there was anything we couldn’t do (except play sports with any degree of competence), so she taught me to read when I was four years old, and my curiosity took flight.

Photo: Newbury College
“In my mind I’m going to Carolina.” This isn’t Robin’s driveway, but it’s my concept of deep woods. (Photo: Newbury College website)

We lived in the coun’ry (yes, you read that right), so far back in the sticks that they had to pump in sunshine, between a small town and a village. We rarely went anywhere outside of the Carolinas. It was so boring that in the summer I would meet our mail carrier, Mr. Lee, every day by the mailbox, just to see a new face. But in books I traveled to fantastic places, met beautiful heroines, and enjoyed dastardly villains.

I read everything I could get my hands on, so Mother put the books I was allowed to read on lower shelves. The upper part of the bookcase held books that she would give me as I became old enough for the subject matter. She loved Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Dorothy Eden, so I learned to love Gothic romances.

Robin Helm
Meet Robin Helm

When my elder siblings brought home books they were assigned to read, I read them, too. (Gayle was the only one who actually read the books assigned to her, so I had to wait until she finished hers.) I had an early introduction to A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, Far from the Madding Crowd, Silas Marner, Great Expectations, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, Pride and Prejudice, Adam Bede, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Grapes of Wrath, the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, and many other books. When I reached high school, I sought out other books by those authors, particularly Austen, Dickens, and Hardy.

There was always work to do in a family of six children, so finding time to read was a challenge. If Mother saw me reading, she would give me a job to do, so I learned to hide in an upstairs closet. My mother was highly intelligent, so I’m surprised she never found my secret reading place. I would spend an entire afternoon happily going to England, Ireland, France, Spain, and Scotland, in addition to exotic places. I was that kid who got books for Christmas and was happy about it. The Five Little Peppers, Elsie Dinsmore, and The Little House on the Prairie characters were my buddies.

Jaws ensured that I never swam in the ocean again.

My father enjoyed “Star Trek,” “Lost in Space,” “The Outer Limits,” and “The Twilight Zone.” Though I confess that as a very young child, just the music of the latter two sent me scurrying under the bed, as I grew a little older, I found that I truly enjoyed them. By the time I was in college, Star Wars was a huge deal, and I still love every minute of those movies.

The first of Robin's Yours By Design series
The first volume in Robin’s Yours By Design trilogy

In the 80’s, Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness introduced me to Christian fantasy. I also read most of the works of Ted Dekker, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. The movies Blade Runner and The Fifth Element added to my love of sci-fi and fantasy. I own all the Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent movies, too, though I thought the books were better. Ender’s Game is the only book I ever read that truly surprised me at the end.

I also love everything Marvel, from The Transformers to The Avengers. After all, I was named for a comic book character – Batman’s sidekick, Robin.

Robin's Guardian trilogy
Robin’s Guardian trilogy (Kindle edition) is on sale

My books always contain a supernatural or paranormal element. The Guardian Trilogy (Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy) explores the juxtaposition of the physical and spiritual world, featuring angels and demons among humans. The Yours by Design series (Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours) employs a time switch between Regency Fitzwilliam Darcy and twenty-first century Will Darcy.

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Robin blogs with me at Jane Started It! (Robin has Tuesdays, Susan Kaye has Wednesdays, and I take Saturdays.) At the moment Robin is working on a lighthearted Regency–I suspect she must chortle as she writes! You can find her books on her Amazon page.

6 thoughts on “Day 19: Meet Robin Helm, bibliophile

    1. You told me yourself that you were good enough to make the team but not to play. I couldn’t even make the team, and it was the worst girls’ basketball team I have ever seen. At least I was a cheerleader. That was before stunting became a big deal.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Laura, I enjoyed this piece by Robin. I could relate to how she felt about learning to read. When she wrote about trying to make sense of the symbols, it made me think of my experience learning through ipa (the international phonetics alphabet) which was big then. I loved my reading circle and I have a vague memory of crying when I missed it once. That would have been kindergarten or first grade. It made me smile when she said she hit in the closet to continue reading. Summers usually found me on my bed reading. My mother would always get after me to clean my room (or some other chore). Thanks for sharing!
    Amy

    Like

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