The RT Booklovers Convention is like Christmas morning for romance fans, whether you’re an author or a reader. Regardless of differences in age, hometowns or personal experiences, each member of romancelandia is united by a love of HEAs during the RT Convention. Take a look at what this year’s attendees had to say about romance and the event itself:
Jill Dunlop: Reader, Winter Haven, Florida
Your first Convention was in Orlando. What drew you into the event? I’ve read since I was a child, but as an adult, I got really into romance particularly, and I would read like 200 books a year. The chance to come and meet other readers, and the authors of my favorite books, I was like, “Woo!” And plus, all the parties sounded like so much fun.
Tell us about the relationships you’ve formed at RT. The first one I attended, it was just me; I didn’t know anybody. In my “real life,” not a lot of people read, so I’m not really able to talk about books. I went to the very first workshop, it was with Karen Rose. I was sitting by myself, and two sisters said, “Hey, are you here by yourself? Come on over.” And honestly, from there I was glued to their side. They had a couple of people and we just formed a group. I’ve been going ever since.
Who’s the one author you fangirl over every year? Oh my God, one? That’s super hard. I can’t just say one! Some of my favorites: Kresley Cole, Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, Christina Lauren — that’s whom I’ve discovered here and now are an auto-buy for me.
Jill Shalvis: Author, Tahoe, California
What does romance mean to you? Romance means everything to me. I love the happily-ever-after, I love the central love story, I love the bromances. It’s just a happy, feel-good moment for me. Always.
What do you love most about the RT Convention? Meeting the readers, for sure. We work alone all year long, and it’s a lonely job. There’s nothing like coming to a place where people have read what you’ve been doing all year and you get affirmation if you’re doing a good job. It’s great! Where else can you go to see hundreds of readers?
Can you tell us about your experience being interviewed in the documentary, Love Between the Covers? That was fun! That was my first interview on camera, actually. And so it was a little intimidating, but I thought the project was great.
Emilia Agrafojo: Reader, Boston Area
What brings you to Las Vegas? Pretty much the idea of meeting some of my favorite authors; being able to tell them how much I love their work is really awesome. I just had a chance to meet three of my favorites [Amy Lane, Amy Jo Cousins and Heidi Cullinan] in a panel and it’s the highlight of my year.
What do you love about the romance community and genre? Romance is a place where — actually it was just discussed in the panel I was listening to — that people can really get hope. The primary function is to let us build a future where we can paint a picture of what we want things to be like, instead of what they are right now. We can pretty much build it the way we want and we can add happiness to everybody’s life on an individual basis. That is pretty awesome to me!
What do you love about the RT Convention? My favorite part is just being here. I know that sounds boring. I didn’t have a book in time to sell here — I just wanted to come. I’m helping out, I’m volunteering, assisting where I can. I just like being around all the different authors and readers. The energy is wonderful and inspiring, too, because I go home and start writing even faster.
What is your favorite genre and who is your favorite author? I’m sci-fi/fantasy … supernatural. My favorite author is Anne Rice, even though she doesn’t write sci-fi. I love her writing style and I read all of her books.
What is the best part about having this event in Vegas? Vegas is fun — a lot of energy, a party atmosphere. And I liked driving through the desert to get here.
Collette Cameron: Author, Portland Area
What is it about historical romance that you really love and want people to take away from the genre? Take them to another era. Immerse yourself in a time period that you didn’t live in but can experience through the pages of a book. Aside from happily-ever-afters, it’s the anticipation and hope of going through a relationship. It’s the hope, the conflict and knowing at the end there’s that happily-ever-after [and] that the couple is going to achieve that goal.
Pretend you’re attending RT as a reader, not an author. Who would send you into fangirl mode?
What do you have planned next? I’m finishing up my Highland Heather Romancing a Scot series; I’ll have those three books done this year. I’m also finishing up my Conundrum of the Misses Culpepper series. And then I’m going to be adding two more novellas to my Waltz With a Rogue novellas and I have three box sets I’m going to be in this year. It’s a very, very busy year for me, but I retired from teaching, so I write full time now.
Leslie Gee: Reader, San Diego, California
What brings you to RT16? I’m trying to see some of my favorite authors and get my book signed. I have some from Kresley Cole and Christina Lauren.
Two big names for our first-ever pop-up signings! Did you get to see Christina Lauren and Kresley Cole at the pop-ups? That was a little nerve-wracking at first because I didn’t know where it was going to be, but I’ve been able to get to see everyone that I wanted to so far.
What do you love about the genre and the event? I like a happily-ever-after where the girl gets the guy. I love it. I’ve been to different conventions before, not a romance one, but a young adult and other entertainment conventions. It’s pretty similar to that, so I’ve been having a lot of fun.