My snootiness was in full flower as I drove to the Esther Bone Memorial Library in Rio Rancho. I was on my way to a panel discussion featuring three New Mexico-based romance writers: Celeste Bradley, Doranna Durgin and Alice Duncan. It didn’t help that I was stressing out about being late to something I’d already decided wouldn’t teach me anything. They’re not for serious people, I thought. They aren’t real books. I pulled into the parking lot and hurried into the building. Although full of preconceptions, I secretly harbored a small flame of hope that someone would redeem the genre for me.
In trying to unravel the mystery of the romance genre’s appeal, the Alibi spoke with Tracie Antonuk, the adult services librarian at the Esther Bone Memorial Library in Rio Rancho. In June, Antonuk organized and moderated a panel discussion among three local romance novelists (see “Romancing the Novel”). Antonuk hosts free panels like this often, encouraging people to visit the library, meet authors or maybe even “slip somebody their card.”