Love, Exciting And New, Flows At Oak Lawn Library 2024 RomCon
Love, Exciting And New, Flows At Oak Lawn Library 2024 RomCon

Love, Exciting And New, Flows At Oak Lawn Library 2024 RomCon

OAK LAWN, IL — Love, exciting and new, returns to Oak Lawn Public Library, for RomCon 2024, celebrating the romance genre. Back by popular demand, RomCon runs from 1 to 4:15 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17.

The library is partnering with Tinley Park’s independent romance bookstore, Love’s Sweet Arrow, the second bookstore in the United States devoted exclusively to romance.

Oak Lawn fiction librarian Emily Bettcher is in her second year of planning and hosting RomCon. She’s especially looking forward to spending time with one author in particular.

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“RomCon was so much fun last year, and this year will be just as amazing,” Bettcher said. “Kelly Farmer’s new romance ‘It’s a Fabulous Life’ was modeled on my favorite movie, the classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Her book was such a success and was mentioned on so many ‘best Christmas book’ lists. I’m thrilled she’s visiting our library.”

In addition to Kelly Farmer, Love’s Sweet Arrow owner Rosanne Backlin has recruited a diverse group of authors, including: Danielle Jackson, Tamara Jeree, Rien Gray, Sara Fujimara, Hanna Earnest and Tinia Montford. Swedish author, Olivia Dade, a rising star in the romance genre, will be doing a virtual visit to the event.

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“I’ve been reading romance since I was a teen. My mother was a romance reader, so I read what she read – Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood and Joanna Lindsay,” Backlin said, who co-owns the Love’s Sweet Arrow with her daughter, Marissa, who’s still looking for her “hea” (happily ever after). “Mystery is the only genre bigger than romance. You know that no matter which way the author takes you in the book there is always a happily ever after.”

The romance genre is divided by varied subgenres, including contemporary, traditional, historical, paranormal, erotic, suspense and young adult.

“The diversity of the genre has been picking up in the past ten years, which is fabulous,” Backlin said.

RomCon is unique because it combines the expertise of librarians and book sellers. Events that feature so many authors aren’t usually free. Love’s Sweet Arrow is committed to RomCon because it helps them reach new readers.

“I’m looking forward to interacting with all of the readers who love romance like I do,” Backlin said.

Romance is one of the Oak Lawn Library’s highest-circulating adult fiction genres. The library has more than 7,500 romance novels in its collection, in addition to the jaw-dropping 100,000 romance e-books and e-audiobooks offered digitally through Libby and Hoopla.

One highlight of this year’s RomCon will be the virtual visit from author Olivia Dade, who lives in Sweden. Dade is the author of Avon bestsellers “Ship Wrecked” (2022) and “Spoiler Alert” (2020) and she has a new novel coming out, “At First Spite” in 2024. Most of her main characters are big, beautiful women.

“I can’t wait for Oak Lawn romance fans to meet Olivia Dade,” Bettcher said. “It’s a really big deal for us to have her participate in RomCon.”

Sara Fujimura, author of the teen romance “Faking Reality” (2021), attended last year’s RomCon as a participant and is back this year as a featured author. She thinks library events like RomCon are a great deal for the community.

“Romance writers and readers are some of the nicest people you’ll meet,” Fujimara said. “These events do a great job of connecting people with like-minded interests in a budget-friendly and low-stress way.”

Backlin says she likes bringing the store to pop-up events, such as RomCon.

“I’m a romantic, even a commercial where there’s a pairing that makes my heart feel good,” Backlin said. “I cry at weddings. It makes me feel good about myself and others.”

RomCon is on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 1 to 4:15 p.m. at the Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 S. Raymond Ave. Interested attendees are encouraged to register in advance for updates and a special treat on the day. Register by phone 708-422-4990 or on the Oak Lawn Public Library’s online calendar.

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