As well as writing children's books, I am quite partial to writing a nice romance every now and then. In fact when I first started writing 30 odd years ago, it was romances that I particularly wanted to write. At the time I joined The Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) as a probationer, and went along to a couple of their events.
There was a weekend in Bournmouth where I heard author Mary Wibberley, talk and recall being absolutely awe inspired by her. I bought her guide on writing romance, To Writers with Love which she signed for me.
I was saddened to learn that she passed away in December last year. She'd written almost 50 books for Mills & Boon, the first being Black Niall in 1973.
When my writing went in the direction of children's books and non fiction, romance got put on the back burner for some 20 years. Then a couple of years ago, I caught the romance-writing bug again and finally got two romances published as floppies with My Weekly and People's Friend – and then in large print and ebooks.
This all rekindled my interest in writing romance, and I re-joined the RNA, this time as a full member. Good friend and fellow author Karen King – who writes romance under the name of Kay Harborne joined at the same time, and in July this year we went along to their annual conference, which was superb.
It was held at the Harper Adams University, Telford and for the three days we were treated to a packed programme of talks and workshops by top romance authors, publishers, editors, agents and other professionals. At each period there was always a choice of three different session to attend, so you were just spoilt for choice as to who you were going to be inspired by next!
|Gala Dinner starter!|
Food and drink was wonderful – it was good to see they recognised the fact that writers like to eat and drink! There was a free drinks party before dinner on the first night - courtesy of Independent Publishing at Amazon. And they again provided lots of free wine the following night before the gala dinner.
|Author Pamela Hartshorne gave a fascinating talk.|
There was also an opportunity to have a one-to-one with editors and agents, which you pre-booked and submitted some work beforehand that you wanted feedback or comments from.
All these slots were quickly nabbed, and I think everyone there really appreciated the opportunity of talking about their latest masterpiece with a possible publisher, or agent.
|A little pre-dinner drink with Karen King.|
Everybody was networking, exchanging emails, phone numbers and business cards. And a few new friendships sprang up too, no doubt.
It was just such a great three days – and if the RNA is an organisation that you think would interest you, then I'd recommend you take a look and see what they have to offer. As well as conferences and get togethers, they have annual awards and lots of other activities going on.