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.