The lovely paranormal romance author Nalini Singh was a little starstruck after snapping this pic with romance royalty, but granted the (decidedly less royal) BookPage editors a picture. Singh is a master of the paranormal romance genre, writing long before vampires and zombies sunk their teeth into the masses a few years back. Her latest book, Shield of Winter, was recently reviewed by BookPage.
You can check out all of our coverage of the 2014 RWA conference here.
The RITA award is the most prized of all publishing awards for romance authors. Presented at the RWA conference each year to the authors of the romance novel deemed the best in its category, the statuette is a coveted item in the romance world. The categories span the genres, from contemporary to romantic suspense, and the list of finalists features some of the most talented authors in romance. To wit, our very own romance reviewer Christie Ridgway was a RITA finalist this year for Beach House No. 9!
Of course, the winner's list always has some real gems, and we've reviewed a number of the authors in this year's RITA winners' circle. Harvard alum Sarah MacLean won in the Historical Romance category for No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, a pre-Victorian exploration of underground boxing rings and complex desires, and Susanna Kearsley won in the Paranormal Romance category for The Firebird, a tale filled with psychic powers and a love reborn.
Previous RITA winners include Laura Griffin's action-packed Scorched, which was a romance top pick in 2012. Sarah Morgan (author of our top pick in romance for July, Suddenly Last Summer) has also been honored with a RITA, along with historical romance writer Eloisa James and Jill Shalvis for her popular contemporary romance series, Lucky Harbor.
The RWA Hall of Fame is reserved for authors whose books have been nominated in the same category three or more times and includes reader favorites such as Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jo Beverly.
The RITA winners' pool certainly harbors quite the community of successful women! We'll be posting about RWA into next week, so be sure to continue checking in on the blog.
This weekend, Trisha and I had the pleasure of attending the annual RWA Conference. RWA (Romance Writers of America) is an organization that supports and advances the careers of romance authors, and the RWA conference is a four-day gathering of publishers, writers and supporters with over 2,100 attendees. It is held in a different city each year, and this year it was held in San Antonio, Texas, home of the Alamo and puffy tacos.
The conference is a fast-paced affair. Days are packed with panels about pitching novels to publishers and developing realistic characters, as well as book signings by favorites like Nora Roberts and Jill Shalvis. It all culminates in an award ceremony for the best books of the year in which the winners recieve a RITA or a Golden Heart award. And at night, there are parties! Fabulous parties with great food, plenty of drinks and incredibly friendly guests.
That's the thing about RWA: It's a gathering of the friendliest, most helpful bunch of people you'll ever meet. The romance writing community is famously supportive, and the RWA conference is a chance for writers who have been sending emails back and forth for months to finally meet in person. Many authors we met said they couldn't have finished their book if it wasn't for the support of romance writing chatrooms and friends along the way.
Stay tuned for more posts about RWA, including romance trends to look out for, a roundup of the party circuit and more!
Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Prize-winning author, has passed away at age 90. Brilliant, prolific and unafraid of controversy, Gordimer was a champion of civil rights during the South African era of apartheid. With a deep and empathetic understanding of South African culture and politics, Gordimer fought tirelessly for the persecuted and oppressed.
In an interview with BookPage’s Alden Mudge in 2007, Gordimer spoke of the deep influence reading had on her life. "I began to write very, very young in the small gold-mining town in South Africa where I was born…. By the time I was 12, the librarian at this local library, who was also a friend of my mother's, allowed me the freedom of the library. I wasn't confined to the children's section. I read everything from D.H. Lawrence to Thucydides. Nobody was guiding me. I was like a pig in clover and I found what I wanted and what was nourishing to me. The local library was unbelievably important to me. It was my real education."
A literary giant and champion of equality, Gordimer will be keenly missed. You can read our full interview with Gordimer here.
Maybe it's me, but there's just something about hot summer days that makes me want to read about murder—and lots of it. So of course I'm ecstatic to kick off Private Eye July, our month-long celebration of mysteries and thrillers!
And the crime fiction features aren't limited to our July print issue, either. Keep an eye out of the Private Eye July magnifying glass, and stay tuned into The Book Case all month long through Facebook and Twitter for plenty of extra goodies.
Just a few things to look forward to:
Happy reading, mystery lovers!
In the market for a piece of literary and cinematic history? Looking for a memento for the 75th anniversary of the film adaptation of Gone with the Wind? You're in luck. The RR Auction is offering a collection of correspondence between Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell and a fan for bidding. At the moment, the next bid for the set of letters is holding steady at $5900, so crack open the piggy bank!
The letters offer some fascinating insight into Mitchell's process of character and plot development, as well as her thoughts on the film adaptation of her book. Sadly, if you've ever wondered about the fate of the South's most volatile couple, Mitchell offers no guidance. After Rhett declares that he just does not give a damn what Scarlett does with her life, Mitchell quite literally closed the book on them. She writes, "About the ending of the book and whether or not Rhett came back to his wife—well, you have me out on a limb. You see, I do not know myself. I honestly never thought about what happened to the characters after the book ended." Sigh.
Mitchell's pen pal was obviously hoping that the saga of Tara would continue, but despite Gone with the Wind being one of the most successful American novels ever published and winning the Pulitzer Prize, Mitchell had no desire to write a sequel. She tells her admirer, "I do not plan to write a sequel, nor have I any plans for future writing, as I do not like to write.” For someone who didn't like to write, she certainly wrote one long novel (1,037 pages!). But true to her word, she never published another book during her life.
However, Mitchell's estate authorized a sequel written by Donald McCaig in 2007 (Rhett Butler's People), and he has been commissioned to write a prequel as well, this time from the perspective of Scarlett's house slave, Mammy. Despite being undeniably powerful and important, Gone with the Wind has been criticized for its depiction of slavery and black people, which is at best lacking in nuance and at worst, offensive. McCaig's novel attempts to flesh out the character of Mammy, giving her a backstory and a name—Ruth. Entitled Ruth's Journey, the book will focus on Mammy's story before Gone with the Wind: Ruth's youth spent in the Carribean, her marriage and her relationship with Scarlett's mother. Peter Borland, the editorial director of the book's publisher, Atria, says, “What’s really remarkable about what Donald has done is that it’s a book that respects and honors its source material, but it also provides a necessary correction to what is one of the more troubling aspects of the book, which is how the black characters are portrayed.” However, many have questioned whether a 73-year-old white man would be able—or should even attempt—to give voice to a black, enslaved woman. Ruth's Journey will be released in October.
What do you think, readers? Will you be picking up Ruth's Journey? Or is this Gone with the Wind reboot a bridge too far?