RNA Conference 13; Here are a few of my favourite things …
AKA shooting out of the car after a clammy journey (detouring through Mansfield and Chesterfield to avoid the nightmare that was the M1, ably chauffeured by author Sue Moorcroft) in search of a cold shower and a colder drink.
|Jan Jones and Christina Courtenay|
2. Sheffield Uni Rocks!
… Apart from the broken air con during one of the most scorching weekends of the year. But it was also modern and spacious, with helpful staff and lovely student digs to sleep/shower/sing in!
3. Romantic Novelists Rally (no, not a new F1 team)
So it was hot, and everyone was melting … but the first day kicked off to a great start anyway with an opening speech by new Chairman Pia Fenton aka Christina Courtenay and news of contracts and other reasons to celebrate. This was followed by wine - mostly consumed outside - and writing pals having a good old gossip. (For the record I really did intend to be sensible and have one drink, go to bed early and pace myself. Is it my fault The Romaniacs plied me with wine and let me sing?)
4. The Usual Suspects
As I was expecting, the weekend was choc full of:-
A) Great shoes (I’m almost certain pictures will be on the blog already)
B) Bottles of wine (red, white, rose, whatever)
C) Lovely outfits (check out the dresses at the Gala dinner, darling)
D) Fantastic chat (yes, we write but we can also really talk)
E) Loads of laughter (goes without saying)
F) Sharing of tips/markets/opportunities (we were there for work after all, and publishing is going through some seismic changes at the moment so there was lots to confab over)
G) Informative talks/panels/workshops (where to start? Julie Cohen’s workshop on theme? Janet Gover’s interactive media session? Carole Blake’s talk about her 50 years in publishing? I learnt so much).
H) Awards and contracts (the Elizabeth Goudge went to Choc Lit author Kate Johnson, two new authors announced as signed to Choc Lit publishing, a new series of short stories acquired by Harper Impulse … the list goes on)
I) Helpful 1:1 editor appointments (I wasn’t a conference virgin as I was at Penrith last year but I still felt pretty nervous at the prospect of these, but felt suitably rewarded with some lovely, positive feedback)
J) Support from all sides (sincere, shared happiness in each other’s recent writing achievements; urging the unpublished writers to just keep going; profuse thanks and applause for everyone who did panels and talks)
- Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration
Though sad to say goodbye to everyone and leave (personally I could’ve stayed a week) I was also excited to get back home and return to the WIP and some submissions. I always feel re-energised and refocused by the conference … and as I sit here, slightly hung over, hoarse from talking and very tired from the late nights, I’m already looking forward to RNAconf14.
|Laura James and Nikki Goodman|
By Nikki Goodman, NWS (4th year)