During February, because of Valentine’s Day on the 14th, libraries run a month-long promotion called Library Lovers. Over those 28 days, you’re extremely likely to run into a stray romance writer putting on a show at your local library.
I took part in three library talks, one solo and two with Romance Writers of Australia president Amy Andrews – and yes, they were just talks, not actual shows, for which I’m sure the audience was grateful. My tapdancing really isn’t up to much.
On Wednesday, 9th March, I fronted up at Noosa Library for A Night of Romance with Anna Campbell (you know, I’m always surprised someone doesn’t mistake one of these library talks for a speed dating session!). About 30 people turned out – a nice mixture of aspiring writers, romance readers and the merely curious. I’m always interested as to what particular slant questions will take – in this case, people were interested in the research, especially my visits to English country houses that inspire the settings for my stories.
Anna Campbell and audience at A Night of Romance, Noosa Library, 9th February.
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On Friday, 25th February, Moreton Bay Regional Libraries hosted Amy Andrews and me for Love a Good Romance at Arana Hills Library in north-western Brisbane. About 25 people enjoyed some spectacular catering from the friends of the library – wonderful cheese and fruit platters and glasses of wine that were big enough to make a horse tiddly. As you can imagine, it was a very relaxed, fun chat. We all sat around on comfy chairs to shoot the breeze. Rather than an author talk followed by questions as at Noosa, this was a more informal discussion under the kindly eye of ringmaster Tina Cavanough, Community and Reader Services Librarian for Moreton Bay Region. The focus of the questions seemed to be changes in romance over the years – we had quite a number of dedicated romance readers in the audience – and how we maintained our careers as full-time writers. Amy had brought her 2010 Romantic Book of the Year Award to dazzle the punters – she’s lucky I didn’t steal it!
Tina, Amy and I did another Love a Good Romance talk the next morning at Albany Creek Library. About 12 brave souls struggled out of bed on a Saturday morning to hear our words of wisdom and admire Amy’s R*BY Award which inexplicably was still in her possession in spite of my nefarious plot to snaffle it. We had a noticeable majority of aspiring writers at this talk so the discussion focused very much on the creative process. Amy and I make a good team partly because we are such different writers – we don’t seem to approach anything the same way and I think that makes for an interesting discussion with readers.
It’s always wonderful to meet the library staff and readers at these events and Library Lovers Month is a great opportunity for romance writers to spread the word about the glories of romance. Thank you to Tina Cavanough, my co-presenter Amy Andrews and to the wonderful staff and volunteers at Noosa, Arana Hills and Albany Creek libraries. I hope your romance borrowing statistics go through the roof!