When I was a tyke – probably no more than nine years old – my class went to a book fair. My dad came along as one of the drivers. (He always drove on my school field trips and was the only dad in the class to do so. All the kids wanted to be in my car because Dad was well-known for ignoring the teacher’s admonitions not to stop for candy and soda along the way.)
Anyway, we got to the book fair, and one of my favorite authors was there. I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember who it was, but at the time I was obsessed with her books. She was autographing books for all of the local schoolkids, and I had mine ready to go. But I was too scared to approach her.
Dad tried to encourage me to get in line. I just clung to his side. When the line died down and the author was sitting there on her own, Dad still couldn’t get me to budge. For me, meeting that author face-to-face was as scary and awe-inspiring as it would’ve been for other kids to meet Michael Jackson or Madonna.
These days, I think social media has broken down a lot of the barriers between fans and the professionals we most admire (whether they’re professional authors, athletes, actors, musicians…). As a reader, I love that I can connect with my favorite authors online. As an author, I love that I can connect with readers online.
But as someone who lives in Europe, I HATE that it’s so hard for me to meet other romance authors and readers face-to-face!
This year, I’m going to the Romance Writers of America conference in San Antonio in July. It’ll be my third time, and I’m really excited because my novella Mine Under The Mistletoe is nominated for a RITA award. This will also be the first time I’m attending as a published author, which means I’ll get to take part in the massive book signing on the first night.
But the RWA conference is a very professional event with no, ahem, ogling cover models.
I know that a lot of you are gearing up to go to the RT convention in New Orleans in a couple of weeks, and I can’t tell you how freaking JEALOUS I am of you. I’ve never been to an RT convention – or any kind of reader convention – and it sounds like so much fun.
So I’ve been thinking about next year and whether I can make it over to the U.S. for a reader convention. But which one?
I found this awesome list of romance conferences and conventions at Romance Refined. It’s almost overwhelming with possibilities.
So I’d love your advice. Have you been to any romance reader-writer conventions? What did you enjoy the most?
Hopefully I’ll be able to meet some of you in person soon! (Unless you’re Jill Shalvis, in which case I’ll be hanging back, too awed and nervous to say anything, and wishing my daddy were with me so I could cling to him.)