After a gap of more than three years the RNS blog is revisiting the London and South-East Chapter. Juliet Archer tells us how the chapter has evolved.
We last had the pleasure of talking to Jean Fullerton about the London and South-East Chapter way back in January 2014. Since then it has undergone many changes, including venue. Could you give us a pocket history?
|Down in the Cellar|
with Jenny Haddon
How many members attend your meetings and is your chapter open to non-members of the RNA?
We welcome all writers, published and non-published, RNA/NWS members and non-members, on a ‘pay as you go’ basis (£4 each meeting, to cover expenses). We cover a wide age range, represent several writing genres, offer lots of friendly support, and even see occasional males at our meetings! We attract attendees from all over South and East England because of London’s great transport links. Typically we get around 20 people at our meetings and nearer 40 at our annual Christmas lunch and bi-annual workshops. Our mailing list has over 200 contacts, and we’ve recently set up a Facebook group for sharing news in between meetings.
You’ve had many outstanding speakers and presenters but not all of your meetings follow this format. At your more informal get togethers how do you promote discussions and exchanges among those attending?
|Anita Chapman & Juliet Archer|
While we’re on the subject, can you give an outline of speakers/guests you've had in the past year?
Organising speakers is a time-consuming task and our Chapter has a great track record here – thanks to the dedication of people like Jean Fullerton, Linda Chamberlain and currently Lucinda Lee. Our speakers are often drawn from the RNA’s ranks, continuing its tradition of generosity and support. So far this year we’ve had Jenny Haddon on getting our manuscripts to sparkle, Anita Chapman on social media for writers, and a double act from Liam Livings and Sue Merritt on characterisation and conflict. In the last 4 years, we’ve also run a couple of workshops mixing industry views with interactive sessions, and both very well received.
Our July meeting was an informal chat to share our best writing tips, September will feature R.J. Gould on ‘The man in roMANce’, in October Liz Harris will talk about plotting, and the year will end with our Christmas lunch on 9th December. We may even have a little baby in our midst – if Lucinda, who is due to give birth in November, can make it!
What would you say makes your chapter of the RNA so special?
Sheer variety – of attendees, speakers, and topics for discussion. Whatever your question or problem, there’s bound to be someone in our Chapter who can help. And we are always keen to welcome new faces at our meetings!
Does your chapter have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account?
We have a Facebook group called ‘RNA London and South-East Chapter’, and send out regular emails to our mailing list.
Who is the contact for new members?
Please email email@example.com, or phone 07814 173779.
It’s always a pleasure to hear about our Chapters, be they long-standing or recently set up. Thank you for joining us today, Juliet
Natalie Kleinman writes contemporary and historical romantic novels. Her latest Escape to the Cotswolds, is set in the beautiful English countryside and was published by HarperCollins HQ Digital in July 2017.
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