Aside from the books and the books (did I mention the books?), the Romance Writers of America (RWA) annual conference is also about food. Along with the receptions, cocktail parties, buffet breakfasts, and RITA dinner, there were two lunches. The keynote luncheon speech by multiaward winner Nora Roberts harkened back to her first RWA 30 years ago and the friendships she has maintained with some of those authors to this day. She also mentioned speaking at a nursing home and disappointing one elderly resident who was expecting to hear Oral Roberts. At the awards lunch, Jayne Ann Krentz (a librarian as well as a best-selling author) talked about her career missteps, which led her to write under three separate names.
More than chicken or speeches, RWA lunches are about the women (mostly) at your table who are at varying stages of the writer’s life. Many are still working on the manuscript they hope will be their big break. Others have achieved a modicum of success but aren’t yet on the top rungs and wonder if they will go further or even if they still want to. Two young published authors remained after lunch to continue chatting and sharing their thoughts about their careers and their goals. We shut the place down, basically. And we ran into one another during the rest of the weekend. Though I am quite a bit older, perhaps these women would be friends to encounter throughout years of RWA conferences. Though I hope never to disappoint a nursing home resident hoping to hear Redd Foxx.