Sunday, May 3, 2009

Romanstravaganza

On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a fantastic event, a "Romance Extravaganza" held at the King County Library. It was extravagance in six parts - workshop, talk, signing, panel, panel, tea - but it was all about romance.

There's way too much to talk about after such a fabulicious event, so I'm not even going to try to cover it all. The part I really want to talk about is the talk given by Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick, aka Jayne Castle). And why am I gonna talk about that? Cuz it's a theme! I feel like she spoke about precisely what I've been babbling about here for the last week or so. Only, of course, she said it with a degree of eloquence and gravitas that I clearly lack.

The marvelous Ms. Krentz talked about why we like genre fiction and the inherent fallacy involved in judging popular fiction by the standards of literary fiction. She discussed the classic heroic values embedded in stories in which courage, determination, honor, integrity and love triumph. Where the murderer is caught, the world saved, and the guy always gets the girl.

What I loved most about her talk was the fact that she never once apologized for writing genre fiction. She was utterly unashamed of her work and genre fiction as a whole, and I wanted to cheer. We do not need validation from literary critics because popular fiction does not bow to literary fiction's rule book. We have our own rule book. Separate, distinct, but no less valid.

We write stories of optimism, justice and hope. There is no reason for us to be huddling in the shadows of literary fiction, apologizing for our popularity over the dour and demoralizing Book Club Books.

It's a sign! Romance is stepping out of the shadows and into it's own. Woop!

And this isn't the only sign. Just a couple weeks ago there was a symposium at Princeton discussing the merit of the romance genre. (There's been quite a bit of online chatter about it, but here's an article to give you a frame of reference, if you have no idea what I'm on about.) I love that people seem to be realizing we don't fit neatly into the preassigned box of Fabio-esq bodice-rippers. We are wondrous variety. Ain't it grand?

It was an extravaganza and a half. Cherry Adair, Stella Cameron, Alexis Morgan, Yasmine Galenorn, Gerri Russell, & Deb Schneider paneling it up. Jayne Castle (I'm gonna call her that cuz those are my favorites of her books) being brilliant. A workshop by Ann Charles & Jackie Rogers which left me ruminating on the fine distinctions between networking & promo & "name building". Chatting about romance and books all day long. And cake. They gave me sugary icing. So yeah. Awesome day.

2 comments:

none said...

It was too cool. You should never have that much talent in one place at one time. What if an astroid hit the library?

And Cherry Adair is the coolest person I ever met (next to you, of course). I'm going to be just like her when I grow up. I'm halfway there.

Kelly

Vivi Andrews said...

Dude. I am nowhere near as cool as Cherry Adair. I wish. That'll be our new goal. Be as cool as Cherry Adair. Everything else is secondary.