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Readers are invited to fall in love with romance at Marlborough book conference

Fall in Love New England will bring 57 romance authors to mingle, celebrate, and trick-or-treat with fans

Fall in Love New England hosts a Halloween costume contest for readers and authors every year.Suzanne Eglington

Romance readers eager for sweet historical love affairs, action-packed spy romances, and paranormal love can find their niche at Fall in Love New England.

The romance author conference will host 57 authors at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlborough on Oct. 20 and 21 for panels, book signings, a live podcast recording, and more. From 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 20, discussions include the likes of “Writing a Holiday Series” and “Dark and Deadly: Writing the Criminal Mind as a Love Interest,” before guests change into costumes for the Halloween Trick or Treat Party Mingle, when readers can visit an author’s table for swag. The weekend continues with additional panels and signings before concluding with a Yankee Book Swap.

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Founder Ashlyn Chase started Fall in Love New England after attending a romance conference in Texas. Chase asked the festival producer, who hosted events around the United States, when she planned to bring a conference to New England. She replied, “Never,” so Chase decided to create her own.

Chase kicked off the conference in Manchester, N.H., in 2016, and Suzanne Eglington took over in 2020, bringing the conference to Massachusetts the following year.

“I knew nothing about it, but I went [to the conference and] I fell in love with it,” said Eglington. “It’s a fantastic way of readers meeting authors on a more personal level.”

She expects between 150 to 250 readers to attend the conference this year.

Janet Raye Stevens, a romance adventure author from West Boylston, will return to the conference for her second year. As part of Saturday’s “The Powers That Be” panel, she will discuss the wide range of stories that fit within the paranormal romance genre, including her novel “A Moment After Dark.” The book is set in December 1941 and features a heroine who can see the future. “She sees Pearl Harbor,” explained Stevens, who sets all her novels in New England. “She’s terrified of the power she has, so she has to learn to overcome her fears and try to warn people.”

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Jean M. Grant, a scientist and author from Rutland, will be returning to the conference for her third year.

“The first year I got to meet a bunch of authors that I only knew online. I made connections with a bunch of readers. Last year, it was even better because I saw familiar faces,” said Grant. “And this year, I’m doing even more because I’m on three different panels. I’m really excited to see the readers coming back.”

She will run an annual craft panel where readers turn used and recycled books into art. (This year, readers will decoupage terracotta pots.) Grant is on the Rutland Free Public Library’s board of trustees and supplies books for crafting material.

“It feels kind of wrong to be ripping out pages, but they are old books, or people can pick their favorite book that they have another copy of,” said Grant.

Grant and Stevens will also be a part of “Two Truths and a Lie” where authors will tell two truths and a lie about the research they have done for their novels, and readers will have to guess which is a lie.

“Romance writers are just the sweetest people you would ever want to meet,” said Chase. “They’re supportive of each other. It’s a lovely atmosphere, especially when we get together with our readers.”

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FALL IN LOVE NEW ENGLAND

Oct. 20, 11 a.m.–9 p.m., and Oct. 21, 9 a.m.– 8:30 p.m., $35–$69. Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough. fallinlovenewengland.com


Maddie Browning can be reached at maddie.browning@globe.com.