Rom-Com Panel Night: A Celebration of Literary Works and Joyous Romance

Friday July 26: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Buy a $15 gift card at the door to attend. The event will take place in the Strand's 3rd floor Rare Book Room, accessable through an elevator at 826 Broadway. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.


Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.

Rom-coms are undeniably having a huge moment right now; they give us hope when the world can feel overwhelming. This panel is about creating heroines that readers root for and relate to, how to balance comedy with more emotional moments, and celebrating all the reasons why reading romance is the self-care we all need right now.

Join us as a panel of rom-com authors celebrate their work! Featuring Summer Heacock, Abby Jimenez, Helena Hunting, and Kristina Forest, and moderated by Elena Nicolaou, entertainment writer at Refinery 29.

Summer Heacock is an author of contemporary women's fiction who prances through life like a Disney cartoon that says the "F" word a lot. She lives in a Seattle adjacent where she's a stay-at-home-mom to two scampy tots, wife to an amazingly understanding husband, herder of a rescue critter menagerie, and collector of life-size celebrity cardboard cutouts. When not writing or hoarding jellybeans, she's a member of the Midwest Writers planning committee, and a cohost of PubTalkTV. She can be found at, and on Twitter as @Fizzygrrl. Crashing the A-List is her second novel, following The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky (July 2017).

Abby Jimenez is a Food Network champion, motivational speaker, and contemporary romance novelist living in Minnesota. Abby founded Nadia Cakes out of her home kitchen in 2007. The bakery has since gone on to open multiple locations in two states, won numerous Food Network competitions and amassed an international following. Abby loves a good book, coffee, and doglets (especially her dog, Stuntman Mike). The Friend Zone is her first book.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. She writes all things romance – contemporary, romantic comedy, sports and angsty new adult. Helena loves to bake cupcakes, has been known to listen to a song on repeat 1512 times while writing a book, and if she has to be away from her family, prefers to be in warm weather with her friends. Meet Cute (Forever) and Making Up (St. Martin’s Press) are her latest romantic comedies. Handle With Care (SMP) will publish in August 2019.

Kristina Forest was born and raised in Lawnside, New Jersey, a teeny tiny town that was also the first self-governing African American community north of the Mason-Dixon line. She started dancing when she was seven and her dream job was to be a backup dancer for Michael Jackson. By the time she was seventeen, she’d realized she loved writing more than dancing, so she enrolled at Rowan University and majored in Writing Arts, and then earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the New School. Kristina works in children’s book publishing, and lives in Brooklyn, New York with two huge bookshelves. I Wanna Be Where You Are is her first novel.

Moderator: Elena Nicolaou is an entertainment writer at Refinery29, where she covers books, movies, TV, viral Netflix sensations, and her latest obsessions. She’s interviewed celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Jane Fonda, and Kate Winslet, all of whom really are that good looking in person. Her superpower is matching people up with the right book.

Please Note: The authors' books will be available for purchase at the event.