Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm Not Above Begging

It's that time of year again. Time for my library to start planning our next literary event. This will be year four, and even though the budget news has been hovering around dire, they've given us the go-ahead. So we hit the ground running yesterday, tossing around author names, panel ideas and all that jazz. The good news is that we have a Huge Honkin' New York Times Bestselling Author mostly confirmed for one of our keynote speakers. And no, I can't say who. Administration wants us to hold off on shouting it from the rooftops until we have a hard and fast official confirmation. Preferably signed in blood.

I was given the go-ahead to to dig up some romance authors. One thing I really adore about RWA is that they have chapters and those chapters tend to be very pro-active. California is chock-full of romance authors (I'm convinced we're second only to Texas), and I have a fantastic RWA chapter right in my back yard. So I guess this is a warning to any local romance authors who read my blog. Gird your loins. I might coming knocking on your front door, in the form of an e-mail, and start begging mercilessly.

This year I feel like we're sort of "established" - which is nice. I know the first year I had one romance author kind of worry about the "literary" label because she didn't want to be treated like a second-class citizen at the event. Then she found out I was moderating the panel (we "know" each other) and that seemed to put her mind at ease. That's the thing about romance authors. Just like romance readers, they tend to get irked when they have to constantly justify their right to exist.

Right now I'm working with a short list of 6 possible authors, although only three will end up on the panel. I also try get authors from different sub genres (historical, paranormal and contemporary). I like variety on the panel, mostly because it's more interesting for me as the moderator, but also because I really strive to showcase the diversity of the romance genre. Whenever I've given my reader's advisory talks about romance, that's the part that tends to shock the non-romance readers the most. Wow, they just had no idea that romance was so "big" in scope. Who knew there were so many ways to tell a love story?

I've also been charged with scaring up some mystery/suspense authors. That's going to take some work actually, but I do have a game plan. My mystery contacts there aren't anywhere near the level of my romance contacts - although last year I was able to work the romance community to get one of the mystery panels together. Seriously. One of the mystery panels completely sprang up from a local RWA chapter, my Harlequin Historical addiction, and bestselling author Stella Cameron. Bless her heart. I can't wait to meet her at RWA in D.C.

Now, back to work.


~ames~ said...

Hey Wendy - can't wait to see who you rein in for this event. Good luck planning!

Valerie said...

Romance writers are the poor cousins of the writing world - we always feel like we have to justify our right to exist. Doesn't matter that we provide the grease that keeps a billion dollar industry churning - we still have to justify our right to exist when placed next to the literary crowd.

Lil Sis said...

Let me know if you want Oz to contact the one author he knows...heck if I remember her name (her real name or her pen).

Jen Lyon said...

Wendy, can I throw out a mystery author suggestion? Kate Carlisle--she wrote HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER and it hit the NYT Extended. Just a suggestion if you're low on candidates :-)

Jen Apodaca
w/a Jen Lyon

Wendy said...

Ames: I've got one author confirmed for the romance panel. Now only two more to go!

Valerie: That's the thing. You don't want to agree to attend an event, only to get treated like a second class citizen. How much would that suck?

Lil' Sis: Muchos gracias chica! Although I don't think I'll need to call on Oz's connection. I've pretty much got the romance panel worked out in my head.....

Jen: Ooooooh, thanks for the suggestion! Will definitely consider her. I need all the local mystery author suggestions I can get.

JamiSings said...

Well, if you're going mystery at all, Dylan Schaffer.

He had to go back to lawyering, but he's still writing. He also wrote a non-fiction book, an autobiography even though he calls it a biography of his father, called "Life, Death, & Bialys: A Father/Son Baking Story" - it's about how his dad while dying of cancer tried to reconnect with him by them taking a baking class together in New York.

Course he lives further up north in California so I don't know if you can get him.