I left last Tuesday and drove west to attend RT Con, for those of you who may be unfamiliar, it is the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. This year’s event brought writers and readers to Kansas City, a place where I lived for twelve years before moving to Atlanta. Next year it will be in New Orleans. Yes, I can’t wait!
I paid my registration fee earlier this year with a dose of trepidation. Would I disappear in a sea of noted authors? I figured that at least my friends would come to see me at the book signing. Sure enough, they did.
What’s unique about RT? It’s a reader’s fan conference with educational sessions for writers. Writers are fans, too. I met several of my favorites, like Jude Deveraux and Sharon Sala. Saw many more!
Readers are engaging, so happy to meet authors, including debut authors like me. At one point, I was trotting along in heels trying to make it to an appointment on time. Two women were at the door ahead of me. They held the door open. “You’re the author,” one said. “You’re important. Please go ahead.”
I thanked the lady profusely. I’m sure she thought it was for her door holding. It was, but also because for a moment, I felt recognized and validated.
Here are five things I learned at RT.
1) A smile is free and when you give it away, it comes back to you ten-fold.
2) Romance, no matter the genre, unites readers in a magical way.
3) *Squeeeeee* as often as you like. (I did some forms of this every time I saw someone I know, and upon meeting up with friends I’ve only known on social media.) The sound produces a “feel-good” vibe and it’s contagious for those around you.
4) The business of writing is like a complex dish on a Food Network cooking show where the aspects of flavor profiles meld together. The business of writing is also complex. No one can know everything about writing by reading a single book or attending only one workshop or conference.
5) I am not alone. (Nor are you.) There are readers excited to read books and meet new authors, as well, as visit with their long-time favorites.
What are you reading right now? What author would you love to meet? Me? I’m still stalking Pat Conroy.