Today we are joined by Lin Treadgold who answered our questions on behalf of the Exeter/South Devon Chapter. Here’s what she had to say:
How long has your chapter been running?
Sadly, we lost our group leader in 2016. Author, Jo Beverley was a good organiser. She became ill and within a month of our meeting we learned she had passed away; it was a huge shock. She had completed her last novel, ready for publishing, and was excited about her future. Victoria Cornwall was now leading two groups and needed support. I had recently joined the chapter and she asked me to help. As a result, I took over. Prior to these changes, I believe the group had been running for five years.
How often do you meet?
We meet on the second Wednesday of each month. We plan to organise other events in the autumn and members will be informed via Facebook and e-mail.
|Members of the chapter enjoying a good lunch|
Do you have a regular meeting place?
Our meetings are held at Weatherspoons, St George’s Meeting House, Exeter, at noon. Housed in an 18th-century former chapel building, the pub serves real ales and all-day pub grub. You can order food and drink at the bar and we usually meet at the back of the building near the main stairs. When there is a larger group we can be found on the balcony above the bar. Exeter St Thomas Rail station is about a fifteen-minute walk from the venue, but the Quay Car Park is close by, situated in Lower Combe Street, Exeter. Car Parking is £2. Public transport is generally good.
How many members attend your meetings?
We have 35 members, but not all attend at once. Sometimes it’s very cosy with just a few of us. Summer meetings are especially good because we can sit outside in the beer garden.
Do your meetings include a meal?
As stated above, Weatherspoons provide a substantial and varied menu at a reasonable price and no matter what your taste or preference, there is always something to please. How about a glass of wine with your meal? Take a look at the web site for further information. JD Weatherspoons
Is your chapter open to non-members of the RNA?
We are open to non-members but preferably those introduced by an existing RNA member. However, we are flexible and look forward to meeting new people, especially those in the RNA New Writers Scheme. Please contact me for further information. The RNA chapters are a good way of cementing friendships, outside of social media. The support we provide is invaluable and we are a very friendly and welcoming group. Most of us are published, but there are a few on the New Writers’ Scheme and we are always glad to welcome new members no matter what their status.
How long are your meetings?
Usually about two hours, but our chapter is more about sharing experiences and meeting like-minded friends, rather than official business. We meet at noon and usually finish before 14.30 hours.
Can you give an outline of speakers/guests you’ve had in the past year?
None so far but I am open to ideas and ways to improve the group and organise events. All help and ideas gratefully received. We recently gave out a questionnaire to everyone to see if they would like to make any changes. Most were satisfied with our existing arrangement, but thought that we should organise an event and we hope to do this soon.
What do you have planned for 2017?
Afternoon tea with a guest speaker sounds like a good idea. We hope to hold this in September. There is always a Christmas party too. This is great fun and always well attended. If anyone out there is keen to help please get in touch.
What would you say makes your chapter of the RNA so special?
Most members have a book published and it’s a good time to discuss our plans with other authors. It is the support and knowledge shared in the group that means a lot to everyone. Some of our authors are able to mentor new writers and this is an invaluable service for those on the RNA New Writers’ Scheme. Help is always at hand for new writers. If you are published, then please bring your business cards. We enjoy networking.
Does your chapter have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account?
We have a page on Facebook, ‘Exeter Chapter.’ This is a closed Facebook page, but new members may apply to join. You can place news about a forthcoming publication or ask a question.
Who is the contact for new members? I’m happy to welcome anyone who has a book in progress, is published, or wants to share information. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 01837 82592
Thank you so much for joining us and for sharing, particularly your memories of Jo Beverley who is missed by all who knew her. We wish you and your members a successful 2017 and beyond.
Natalie Kleinman writes contemporary and historical romantic novels and has thrown a bit of a mystery into the mix in her recently completed Regency. She is now working on a new contemporary. Her next novel, with Harper Collins HQ Digital, is due for publication at the end of June. You can follow her blog at http://bit.ly/2mDF99I
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