Summer Of Love: Meet Our Expert Panelists!
While our intern is diligently tallying up the 18,000 nominations that came in for the Summer of Love reader poll (sorry, Intern Laura!), we thought we'd take the time to introduce you to the expert panel that will help us wrestle this massive list down to 100 finalists.
A bit of background: We opened nominations on June 11 and you, our fellow romance-enthusiasts, responded. Enthusiastically. Now we're turning your suggestions over to a panel of authors and genre experts, who will go through the list in a truly epic conference call. They'll start with the top 250 vote-getters, and whittle it down, adding a few of their own picks in the process.
So without further ado, here's our panel:
Bobbi Dumas is our own romance reviewer and the founder of Read-A-Romance Month — a romance fan since childhood, she recalls her school librarian sneering as she checked out stacks of romances from the bookmobile. Dumas says she loves romance novels "because they are (mostly) for women, by women and about women, and offer more hope, female agency and positive change than any other literary genre. And they're fun."
Michelle Monkou's latest book is One to Love. Born in London, she lived in Guyana before coming to America as a young teenager, an avid reader, and soon a writer. In 2003, Monkou was nominated for an Emma award — honoring outstanding black romance writers — for her first novel, Open Your Heart. Since then, she's written several series and is now publishing digitally under her own imprint. "A romance book — never leave home without one," she says.
Sarah Wendell is one of the founders of , and the author of Everything I Know About Love, I Learned From Romance Novels. Wendell tells us she spends her days reviewing romance novels, asking why all the models have their shirts open but still tucked in, and celebrating the genre and the women who read and write it. "The best thing about talking to romance readers is getting recommendations of their favorite books," she says, "so this is going to be an incredibly fun and long process to pick only 100."
Sherry Thomas' books include My Beautiful Enemy and The Luckiest Lady in London. She's a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award, who likes to mix romance with wuxia-inspired action. English is Thomas' second language — one of her earliest experiences with romance was struggling through Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love with the aid of a Chinese-English dictionary. Thomas says: "I am beyond thrilled to be on the panel. Beyond thrilled that NPR, home of all my favorite radio shows, is keen to take the pulse of the romance-reading community."
Many thanks to our panelists for taking part. Keep an eye out for the final list, coming up in July. In the meantime, watch this space for more summer love!
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