Final Thoughts on the Perfect Genre | RWA 2017

With a reimagined Romance Writers of America 2017 schedule, I attended fewer workshops than I might have previously, but each was fresh and worthwhile, as was fully acknowledged by the large and receptive crowds.

“The Art of the Novella” (size does matter) featured authors Katharine Ashe, Robin Covington, and Caroline Linden and William Morrow/Avon Books executive editor Lucia Macro on the challenges of writing “short” and the benefits (increasing one’s catalog; honing skills; setting up future books). “Plotter vs. Pantser: A Big Series Face-off” saw “Troubleshooters” creator Suzanne Brockmann draw a line in the sand with “Nighthawks” engineer M.L. Buchman. These two know their romantic suspense, but they approach their books from different perspectives. With all the research Buchman does, audience members were questioning his position as a pantser (writing by the seat of one’s pants), thinking he might be a closet plotter (“a person who plots out or knows in advance the characters, their actions, the plot, the setting, and the ending”). He contested that characterization.

“Creating Authentic Characters with Disabilities” included authors Tessa Dare, Barbara Devlin, Sue Ward Drake, Laurie Alice Eakes, Andrew Grey (later recognized for releasing his 100th book), and moderator Karen Rose. Emotions ran high when Devlin revealed the details of an accident she suffered as a police officer when a drunk driver pinned her against a guardrail and the years of physical therapy she endured. The attendees validated her bravery and candor with a standing ovation (and many tears).

(L.–r.): Sisters Audrey and Brianna Lee

Young artists were on hand to participate in the continued coloring craze, working their magic on mounted Avon covers. Brianna Lee (r.) and her sister Audrey Lee (daughters of author Katy Lee) were totally into it and a pleasure to watch.

Ultimately, the days flew by, with another RWA in the books. The steamy Orlando weather made everyone look forward longingly to the 2018 conference in Denver. See you there, folks.


Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox ( is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"

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