ORLANDO, Fla. – Stories can whisk us away and take us to places we've never imagined. For many, stories serve as an escape from the trials of everyday life. For others, they are a gateway to worlds unknown. For people such as Melissa Anelli, they are life changers.
Anelli is the author of the New York Times best-seller, "Harry, A History." Her love for the story of Harry Potter led her to write and connect with fans around the globe.
"Growing up, family would say that they could never find me in photos because I was off in the corner reading a book," Anelli said.
She's now the CEO of Mischief Management, a company that produces fan events based on some of the most popular titles in pop culture.
"Stories are just such a big part of my life,” Anelli said.
Since 2009, Mischief Management has served tens of thousands of fans by providing custom events in different cities. It produces BroadwayCon, which is an expo where fans can meet and interact with their favorite Broadway stars. LeakyCon is a "Harry Potter" fan convention and Con of Thrones is a convention based on "Game of Thrones" and "A Song of Ice and Fire." The company also hosts a yearly Podcast convention known as PodX.
Anelli said the business started with books. She began reading "Harry Potter" while the fifth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," was still being written and as she was frantically searching for the next chapter online, what she discovered was the fan community.
"The fan community has really shown me and so many other people how it's so possible to use the things that you love to be creative in your own way," Anelli said.
Fast forward to more than a decade later, she's now creating spaces for fans like her to meet and converse in person. This year, LeakyCon will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in Boston.