Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Question of the Month: The RWA National Edition

This week (as in right now), romance writers from across the globe are converging on San Antonio, Texas for the annual Romance Writers of America National Conference. With that in mind, we posed this question to the Super authors:  
If you are going to National, what are you most excited about? If you're not going, can you share with us a quick story about something fun that's happened to you at a conference?

Jennifer Lohmann: I am going. I love getting to see friends that I only interact with online. I also love dancing, so the Harlequin Party is a highlight.

Joanne Rock: I'm going to RWA and am most excited about the Literacy Autographing as you never know who will show up at your table! I like the excitement of seeing readers and writer friends, some of whom I've only met once before or have only chatted with online. I dole out a lot of hug that night, and I consider it a great success if I've knocked over my book display at least a few times during the hugging! I won't be able to sign a Superromance yet, but I'm excited to show off my new cover, which I've already printed for a table stand.

Pamela Hearon: I always look forward to the time spent with other writers at the conference--it gives me another year of validation that I'm not nearly as odd as the people in my small town think I am :-)  But this year, I'm MOST excited that my second Harlequin Superrromance THE SUMMER PLACE is a finalist in the National Readers' Choice Awards, which will be announced Friday afternoon!

Cathryn Parry: I'll be at the RWA conference this year, and I'm most excited that my roommate, Blaze author Karen Foley, is up for a Rita award!  We've been friends since Mrs. Fitzgerald's class in second grade at the Red Oak School, and sometimes I still can't believe that we've been so blessed to have our longtime "author" dreams come true.  I'll be cheering for her--for everyone, actually--and especially for our Superromance author finalists, as well. I'm also excited about seeing the Alamo!  Am I the only one who loved Davy Crockett as a kid?  

Tara Taylor Quinn:  I’ll be at conference and what I enjoy most is the chance to be wholly focused on writing in a place consumed by other writers.  I love the sense of being with people who are like me, who get the strangeness of how our minds work, how we can sit alone and be consumed by the feelings of others, how voices speak to us even when the room is silent.  I love the energy!  And I love seeing, in person, the people I work with all year long.  When I am at conference I always feel that buzz of hope that anything is possible.

Claire McEwen: I am going to National and I am most excited about immersing myself in writing. Like so many of us, I write in the spare bits of time around raising my son and caring for my family, and it never feels like I have any real time to think.  I can't wait to take workshops, practice my craft, talk with other writers and just luxuriate in writing!  And I'm looking forward to spending time with friends, Superromance writers and editors as well!

Mary Sullivan: Unfortunately, I won't be attending National and will miss meeting everyone! :-(

The story that stands out for me from a past conference was my first RWA National. I was a Golden Heart finalist and had booked an appointment with an agent I admired. My book was about a rancher who brought inner-city children who were in remission from cancer to his ranch for a rare opportunity to have fun while they recovered. The heroine was there to close it down because it was losing money. I made a homemade business card with this equation: 

   1 rancher 
+ 1 city girl 
+ 10 children
=a dozen reasons to fall in love

As I looked at the attendees around me with their beautiful professional business cards, I thought I had made a serious error in judgement. I should have gone professional rather than cute and fun. Extremely nervous, I sat down in front of the agent and handed her my poor little homemade card. She glanced at it, did a double-take, smiled broadly and said, "Oh! I really like that!"

After I described my story, she asked to see a partial, e-mailed within a week quoting parts of my first chapter and asking to see the full. In the meantime, a second agent I had also been courting offered representation so I turned down the agent from the conference, but she was extremely gracious and offered me many good wishes for my future.

Sometimes it's not such a bad thing to step outside of the box and be a little funny!
Now readers, you tell us: have you had any fun conference experiences? Or have you ever encountered a romance writer in the wild? 


Mary Preston said...

I have only been to work conferences & they were as dull as!!

If I did meet a romance writer in the wild, goodness only knows what I would do.

kris said...

Mary, bummer on the dull conferences. WA is always immense fun.

Rumor has it most romance writers respond well to chocolate and praise. You could start there :-)

Anonymous said...

I have not - but Authors After Dark is in Charlotte next month, so I may try to meet some authors. Carly Phillips will be there.

kris said...

Oh Tammy, yes! You must go and you MUST have a blast!

Christy Olesen said...

I learned about RWA a month after the conference was in Reno, 50 miles from home. Dang. I've been to one romance writers' meeting, the last meeting before they officially disbanded. I really enjoyed being with like-minded people. Since then I've found out a past workmate also writes romance. Actually she found out that I do, and contacted me. It's great to have a writing friend close by. I hope RWA comes back to Reno soon. Hint, hint.

kris said...

Christy, I wish we would return to Reno, too - that was one of my favorite venues ever, and I have been to a looooot of National conferences. I'll add my finger-crossings to yours!

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