Yesterday thousands of romance fans descended on Atlanta, Georgia for the 33rd Annual Romance Writers of America Conference. The festivities kicked off Wednesday night at the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing where 400 authors met fans, signed books and prepared for a week long celebration of all things romance. RT Book Reviews was at the event, scoping out popular authors and talking with devoted fans, so we can bring you all of the buzz surrounding your favorite writers.
The "Readers for Life" Autographing raises money for literacy charities
It was no surprise to see the line of readers wrapping around the ballroom leading up to Nora Roberts (aka J.D. Robb). Complex romantic suspense, sweet contemporaries, unique paranormals — it seems like there is nothing that this prolific author can't do. While waiting her chance to talk to her idol, aspiring author Sarah S., told us that she had come all the way from Canada in order to meet "The Nora." Why? Sarah said that she had to give a hug to the woman who created the MacGregors because these characters are like family to her. The person standing behind us in line claimed that the Irish Concannons from the author's Born In series is Nora's "best" family. But they were interrupted by another eager reader saying that since Eve and Roarke from the In Death books are married, they constitute a family and therefore win the impromptu contest. Soon another and another fan joined the conversation to point out their favorite characters and books by Nora. And while a consensus wasn't reached, the discussion was lively and ended with everyone excited to go back for some marathon re-reading of their favorite author.
Author Nora Roberts (aka J.D. Robb) signing Delusion In Death
Signing next to Nora was another romance legend, Jude Deveraux. Let's face it, when discussing Jude's books, there is no way that the Taggart/Montgomery debate will ever really be won, so we'll just have to acknowledge the general yumminess of all of her heroes.
Jude Deveraux answers a reader's question
RWA president and bestselling author Sylvia Day looked amazing in black as she signed books from her Crossfire series. Staying late to make sure that each of her fans got to ask their question about the sexy, can't-be-tamed hero Gideon Cross, Day delighted readers with her wit and charm (not to mention her innate ability to create characters that we want to know). In fact, Gideon has proven so popular that just a mention of him and the waiting crowd almost broke out in a chant of "Gid-e-on! Gid-e-on!"
A radiant Sylvia Day
While we would never call Courtney Milan's writing traditional, this lawyer-turned-writer sure has a lock on the next big thing in the oldest of all romance genres — the historical. Be it one of her fast paced novellas, or a longer, drama-filled HQN title, Milan's books are unforgettable and her writing superb, which made it easy for us to find a fan that couldn't stop gushing over the stories. Reader Danikka W. from Tennessee told us that, "Courtney Milan's books will wring out every emotion you have. There is no such thing as casually reading one of her books because every time you pick one up it is an experience. Her stories touch you soul deep."
Award winning (and dimpled) author Courtney Milan
All genres were represented at the bookfair, but it was the paranormal/Urban Fantasy authors that offered up some of the freshest talent in the room. At RT we are constantly blown away by the unique creatures and situations dreamt up today's top paranormal authors including Delilah S. Dawson and Darynda Jones. Scoping out these ladies' lines of fans, we heard the same thing over and over again: "I've never read anything like this before!"
RT Seal of Excellence winner Delilah S. Dawson
Urban Fantasy author Darynda Jones
Another genre that proved to be tremendously popular at this year's event was Young Adult. With YA (and New Adult) growing by leaps and bounds, it was wonderful to get to meet popular writers Jay Crownover, Cora Carmack, Katie McGarry and more. It was these authors that brought teens to the party including 17-year-old Beth who drove a full day be at the book signing. Walking away with an armful of autographed books from her favorite authors, Beth had only one thing to say: "Thank God it's summer so I could come!"
With a warm smile Cora Carmack was not Faking It when she told us she was excited to meet her fans
Double RITA finalist Katie McGarry
As always, RWA's autographing was a special event that brought together enthusiastic readers and talented authors. And while we can only give you a glimpse of the energy and excitement of this conference, we will be sure to continue to bring you an insiders look at the happenings in Atlanta at the RWA conference. And in the meantime, we offer up one more picture, of author Sandy James, to make you wish you were here:
Did you attend the RWA literacy signing? Tell us which authors you met in the comments! And check back this week and next for more coverage from RWA Nationals. As always, you can get your romance fix over on our Everything Romance Page.