I went to a Romance Reader’s Luncheon this weekend hosted by HOD’s sister chapter Southern Magic. I had a great time. It was a new experience for me, as normally I’m the one running around trying to run everything, and this time I got to attend as just an ordinary person.
Granted, I knew a lot of the people there—authors who belong to the chapter, guests who attend our luncheon in May, and guest authors who I’ve met at our luncheon or other functions, and it was great to catch up and mingle.
But it was also inspirational for me. There’s the dream of hosting my own table after I sell, of course, but just talking to everyone energized me and my dream. The published authors asked how the submission process was going and gave me lots of rah-rahs (which are sorely needed as we’ve now passed the 1-year mark on a submitted manuscript). Many of the attendees also wanted to talk to me about what I was writing and how it was going, and they really seemed genuinely hopeful about my selling. A couple who will be at the luncheon in May said outright how they want to hear me announce at the luncheon that I’ve made my first sale. (Their mouths to the ed’s ears, right?)
Much needed ego stroking aside, I was also reminded how much I love this genre and the folks who read it and write it. I’ve said this before, but romance readers really are a community. An excited, committed, passionate, caring community. Romance readers are smart, classy folks who know their genre and can talk about it in-depth with an intensity and an insight that makes any literature teacher’s heart glad.
They champion the newly published, encourage the aspiring, challenge the multi-published to take the genre in new, exciting directions, and share the joy of well-told stories with anyone within hearing distance.
And when I say they are caring, I mean it. I was touched by the readers who, on hearing about the recent death of an author’s husband, asked if I would forward letters to that author on their behalf. This writer had touched them with her books, and they wanted to express their condolences at her loss. That’s amazing.
Of course, hanging out with those who do what I want to do is really cool. Writers are neat people. Writers are also readers, which means even if you don’t want to talk writing, you can always talk books—books by somebody else, if necessary. (And no, they’re not offended or mad if you haven’t read their latest.)
So why do you like to hang out with writers (in our case, the aspiring and hopeful, yet unpublished writer)? Do you feel like romance is a community as well as a genre? What do you like best about it?PC
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