Last night, I was thrilled to moderate a panel of romance experts in honor of the opening of the fabulous WORD Brooklyn bookstore's brand-spankin'-new romance section...and y'all...it was AWESOME.
A little history: A few months back, Stephanie Anderson, the lovely and talented manager of WORD (which is, quite possibly, the most charming indie I've ever had the pleasure to visit) made the big mistake of suggesting on Twitter that I come out and talk to her about romances...as she was considering adding a romance section to the store. And, of course, as a romance fanatic, I went. And, much to Stephanie's dismay, I think, I stayed. And so the bookstore launched a romance section, I think in the hopes that I would go away. But now it's a cozy, fab indie in the equally cozy, equally fab Greenpoint, Brooklyn, WITH a romance section! So...yeah. I'm not going anywhere.
As part of the launch of the section yesterday, WORD hosted an amazing panel of romance experts, including: Sarah Wendell, co-founder of SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com and author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms; Hope Tarr, author and co-founder of NYC's monthly romance reading series, Lady Jane's Salon; Lauren Willig, the author of the Pink Carnation Series; Tessa Woodward, the brilliantly talented, brilliantly funny Associate Editor at Avon Books; and Stephanie Klose, Senior Editor at RT Magazine (who just might have the best job, ever). I got to moderate the panel discussion for a roomful of NYC romance stars (Leanna Renee Hieber & Ron Hogan from Lady Jane's, Stacy Boyd from Harlequin, and Rachel Kramer Bussel of In the Flesh fame, among others), romance readers (who came from far a-field to celebrate their favorite genre!), and curious Greenpointers.
The conversation covered a lot of ground--from the popularity of the romance genre to the "reputation" of romance and of romance readers (you know what I'm talking about), from the clinch cover to happily ever afters, from feminism in romance to "the mighty wang." Panelists offered up their thoughts on the most surprising thing about romance novels for those in the audience who were new to the genre, and readers in the audience chimed in about their love for love stories...and it was a terrific time!
Maybe the best part of the night came after the discussion, though, when a woman approached me to say that she'd been reading romance for years and had never had anyone to talk to about it...she'd come out to Greenpoint from the Upper East Side (which, for those of you not from NYC, is no small feat) because she read about the event in the NYTimes, and now that she's found the NYC romance community, I'm hoping to see her at Lady Jane's and In the Flesh and RWA 2011 excitements!
If you missed the discussion, don't fret! We recorded it just for you!