Romance Writer Leads Panel at Aurora Library Event
Byline: Submitted by Aurora Public Library
At first glance, romance author Beverly Jenkins is everything one envisions an author with 30 books under her belt would be: well-dressed, well-spoken, well-groomed and gracious.
Jenkins was the keynote speaker in a panel discussion during the fourth annual "Catch a Bunch of Authors Fair," sponsored by Aurora Public Library Sept. 7 at Prisco Community Center.
Once she began to speak, that well-polished exterior took on a more relaxed quality. The audience of about 100 readers also began to make themselves at home as they settled in for an amusing and intelligent discussion on what it takes to be a romance writer and why one would choose to be one.
Jenkins began speaking to the audience by pondering out loud "what it's like to be a romance writer on deadline."
A romance writer on deadline has been wearing the same clothes (or pajamas) for several days, has not had a shower or eaten. She is "mainlining coffee and cigarettes," she said.
"I write, catch a few hours of sleep and get back to work," she explained. "Being a writer on deadline also means having an office you can't get into or out of. It means my neighbors feed me like the stray cat. They know I'm working, so they knock on my door and feed me breakfast and dinner.
"Even everyone on my Facebook says, 'Have you eaten, Ms. B?' Some of you in this room have said that."
Being a romance writer also means having to put up with the dreaded words "bodice ripper" in interviews, she said.
"But," she added, "it also means getting to speak at Princeton and being interviewed by Publishers Weekly and being nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
"And it means being there for unpublished authors who are trying to get published. No, I will not read your manuscript," she said firmly, not once, but twice. "But I will answer your questions on Facebook."
Jenkins said one of the best things about being a romance writer is "being in places like this."
Although she wasn't actually in a library building, she was well aware that Aurora Public Library was sponsoring the event, and that there were dozens of authors in the room next door who were busy talking up their latest novels, poems, mysteries, thrillers and works with various and sundry themes. …