The 31st annual Romance Writers of America (RWA¬Æ) conference kicked off its New York run at the Marriott Marquis hotel with Librarians Day on June 28, an amalgam of panels designed for over 100 local librarians and featuring award-winning romance authors. The day began with a Focus on Communities in Romance, with Jayne Ann Krentz (The Arcane Society novels under three different pen names), Robyn Carr (Virgin River series), and Lara Adrian (The Midnight Breed series) discussing their distinct fictional communities. As libraries are coming to be recognized more for their own place as a community center, it was a particularly apt topic.
Next up was RWA Librarian of the Year Wendy Crutcher (collection materials evaluator, Orange County Public Libraries, CA) and Mary-Theresa Hussey, executive editor at Harlequin Enterprises, on the vast array of Harlequin lines.
A subject that never loses its import for librarians is the blurring of lines among genres, making both cataloging and readers’ advisory a challenge. Sourcebooks senior editor Leah Hultenschmidt, historical mystery author Deanna Raybourn, contemporary humorous mystery writer Judi McCoy, and former RWA Librarian of the Year and reviewer John Charles from Scottsdale Public Library, AZ, had the chops to get to the heart of You’ve Got Romance in My Mystery! No, You’ve Got Mystery in My Romance!
Rounding out the sessions was a panel of four editors (Lucia Macro, Avon Books; Alicia Condon, Kensington Publishing; Shauna Summers, Ballantine Bantam Dell; and Amy Pierpont, Forever: Grand Central Publishing) on what they see next coming down the Romance lane.
More food for thought was served up by luncheon speaker Julia Quinn, New York Times best-selling author of Regency romances, including her latest, Just Like Heaven, and the youngest member of the RWA Hall of Fame. Her goal of having an organized life led to her Top Ten list when setting up a home office, beginning with make sure you can’t reach the refrigerator from your desk chair and including the aphorism that librarians are saints. The librarians in attendance enjoyed every minute of the day.