What a delight to welcome the newly formed Irish Chapter to the series. Ruth Long was kind enough to answer our questions.
How long has your chapter been running?
Our first ever meeting was on 9th April 2016. We met in the Mint Bar, downstairs in the Westin Hotel on Westmoreland Street, Dublin.
How often do you plan to meet?
We hope to meet quarterly. This is going to be fairly flexible however as we have members from all over the island and would like to accommodate as many as possible.
Where is your regular meeting place?
For the same reason, we hope to meet in different locations. Rather than make the same people travel the longest distances all the time, we’d like to mix things up a bit. Also there is the fun of visiting different places to see friends.
How many members attend your meetings?
There were 9 of us at the first meeting, but we now have 23 members on our Facebook group. It’s growing all the time as RNA members and friends join. We’re all writers, all at different stages and it’s a great way to offer support to each other. Hopefully there will be more of us at the next meeting.
Do your meetings include a meal?
Yes. We love food. It could be finger food, afternoon tea or a sit down lunch, whatever the individual organisers feel like organising. Variety is the spice of life.
Is your chapter open to non-members of the RNA?
It is. We welcome everyone writing romance or strong romantic elements. Basically lots and lots of writers. I think the idea is to have a support network and people to rely on. We have new writers and old hands sitting down together and exchanging ideas.
How long are your meetings?
We are very laid back so maybe a couple of hours of chat and food. Perhaps the odd drink. The main idea is to provide a space for writers to interact and share, to support each other and have a good time. It can be such a solitary life, so having a group is invaluable.
Can you give an outline of speakers/guests you’ve had in the past year?
None as yet, but once we hit our stride I’m sure we’ll start to arrange more.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2016?
We’re just about to start planning our June meeting. It would have been July but the date clashes with the RNA Conference so we moved it back a month. Then hopefully we’ll have another in September. We also have members having book launches (Hazel Gaynor in June, and myself in September, so naturally all members are invited to those as well).
What would you say makes your chapter of the RNA so special?
Very friendly and open, still finding our way so we’re hoping for lots of involvement from members with an aim to getting the type of group we want to be part of. There is of course the Irish gift for get-togethers to take into account as well. We are known for our welcomes, all one hundred thousand of them. We’re really looking forward to moving about the island a bit for different meetings and seeing different places as well. We could even work in some research trips along the way. I think ever writer has an adventurer inside them.
Does your chapter have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account?
We have a Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/169428223430539/
Who is the contact for new members?
Ruth Frances Long, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Facebook group.
Thank you, Ruth. Your enthusiasm is inspiring. We wish this new group in our family of chapters every success for the future.
This post was compiled by Natalie Kleinman
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