This year I went to RWA Nationals in Atlanta, which was an incredible experience. As a First Timer I was a little star struck. I couldn't get enough of the book signings where you can be face-to-face with your favorite authors AND walk away with free autographed copies of their latest books.
Fortunately, I had been warned ahead of time, so I had brought an extra suitcase just to hold all of this literary swag.
Unfortunately, the airline lost my luggage, and 35 of the 56 books I had scored were wandering the country. "You can't miss this bag," I told the Southwest airlines rep. "It's bright pink and filled to the brim with romance novels." Sure enough...it showed up on my doorstep 5 days later.
The rest of those 56 books I carried on the plane with me in a big Avon books bag. I think the man next to me actually thought I might read through a bunch right there in front of him. But I didn't. I got halfway through one though - The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James.
In person, Eloisa James makes me think of Catherine Hepburn. Perhaps even Catherine Hepburn as portrayed by Cate Blanchette in The Aviator. She's tall, thin, and exudes witty sophistication. She won a RITA at RWA this year after being nominated many times before. In her speech she showed us a crumbling chocolate RITA statue which she has had sitting in her freezer for years waiting for her to trade it in for the real thing. The whole bit made me wish they still gave out chocolate RITAs.
The Ugly Duchess is another fair tale (Ugly Duckling) retold in romantic regency fashion. I enjoy that kind of stuff and thought about doing the same with the Lais of Marie de France. I think as a writer was a before-and-after layout of the book. I like how the climax of the first part creates a separation so incredibly final, that it was pretty remarkable to watch James bring the characters back together.
Of course, I may have to work some of these romance novels into my school schedule. I'm studying the mystery genre this semester and couldn't be more excited that my professor is Victoria Thompson.