Trumbull novelist hopes third time a charm for RomantiConn

Author and RomantiConn organizer Rachel Cappello, aka Kitty Berry, poses with a couple of her romance novels in her home in Trumbull, Conn. July 1, 2022.

Author and RomantiConn organizer Rachel Cappello, aka Kitty Berry, poses with a couple of her romance novels in her home in Trumbull, Conn. July 1, 2022.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

Kitty Berry is working to get her momentum back.

The Trumbull resident and romance novelist is also the person behind the romance writers’ convention RomantiConn, which took place for the first time in 2019 at the Trumbull Marriott. That first event drew 60 romance authors who appeared and signed their works.

It was so successful that she had no trouble booking authors for the 2020 RomantiConn, which Berry thought was sure to be as big, if not bigger than the first.

“Then COVID-19 hit,” she said.

The pandemic led the 2020 RomantiConn to first be delayed, then canceled. But Berry remained steadfast that the 2021 RomantiConn would be a success. Though she was still able to book many of the authors, the 2021 convention took place during a COVID surge, which Berry said led to a lackluster turnout.

“Unfortunately only about half of the ticket holders showed up,” she said.

Now she is on the cusp of the third-ever RomantiConn, which takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at the Trumbull Marriott, 180 Hawley Lane. Berry has booked more than 80 authors to appear and sign their works at the event, including Connecticut-based bestselling author Katy Regnery, who is attending her first Connecticut signing in more than a decade.

Most of the authors are from Connecticut or New England and represent a variety of subgenres within romantic fiction, include suspense, fantasy, romantic comedy, contemporary romance and LGBTQ+ romance. Berry herself is an author of multiple romance novels, and her 27th book is publishing in time for the convention.

She said she would like to have at least 250 people attend this year’s RomantiConn, and get back some of the heat she got after the first convention.

“I think the momentum would have been better had COVID not hit,” Berry said. “But things have to change and things have to evolve.”

She said she’s happy that, despite some of the roadblocks she’s hit, she has been able to continue organizing the convention. Berry said romance is a special genre, as readers often feel a personal connection to their favorite authors.

“The readers are really really invested in knowing the authors and having a connection,” she said. “It gives them a feel of community when we are able to do these events.”

She’s already planning for next year’s RomantiConn, and is looking to include audiobook narrators among those offering signings.

“Audiobooks are really popular with a lot of readers,” Berry said. “And the readers really like the narrators that read the audiobooks.”

Tickets for RomantiConn are $25 each. For more information on RomantiConn, or to buy tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/romanticonn-2022-tickets-234015144597. The list of scheduled authors is subject to change.