Meet your new RNA Committee!
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of The Romantic Novelists' Association and who it is that keeps the cogs ticking over of our fabulous organisation? We take the opportunty to meet committee members and our valued helpers.
Nicola Cornick – Chairman
Historical novelist Nicola is also a historian, guide and speaker for the National Trust, and a consultant specialising in history for TV and radio. She and her husband train Guide Dog puppies too, much to the annoyance of their wonderfully patient, elderly Labrador.
”I’ve been a member of the RNA for almost 20 years and am very proud to be taking on the role of Chair. I’m aiming to increase the RNA’s visibility within the publishing industry and the wider world!”
Alison May – Vice Chairman
Alison lives in Worcester with her husband. No kids, no pets, one still un-dead cactus! She writes romantic comedy and commercial women’s fiction, and has been shortlisted in the RoNAs and Love Stories Awards. Aside from writing, Alison is a teacher and freelance trainer.
“As Vice-Chair of the RNA I want to meet as many members as possible and find out what they want from the association, and also develop links with publishers, booksellers and other writing organisations.”
Sally Calder – Hon Treasurer
Relatively new to the RNA, Sally writes gritty historical romances when she is not being an accountant in real life.
“As treasurer I’ll be overseeing how/where your money is spent. We aim to break even each year and I’d like that to continue! However, we have a healthy bank balance, giving the organisation the opportunity to consider one-off events or activities for our members and to continue to promote romantic fiction.”
Anna Scamans – Hon Deputy Treasurer
Anna Scamans writes romantic suspense as Anna Louise Lucia and her first book was published in 2008 by Medallion Press. She joined the RNA in 2002 as an NWS member and joined the Committee in 2011. She has been the Hon. Deputy Treasurer since 2012 and in between balancing writing and life with her two very young sons, she keeps an eye on the pennies at all times!
Julie Vince – Hon Secretary
“I love working with this enthusiastic committee in my role as the RNA’s Hon Secretary. I deal with daily admin, meeting minutes and update documents amongst other duties. Whilst in this role I would like to complete updating the Hon-Sec Handbook!” says Julie.
Jules Wake – RNA Press Officer
Jules writes contemporary romantic fiction and to date has published seven novels. A writer and a School Business Manager, she is also a former PR Consultant and writes dazzling press releases whilst communicating effectively with the media.
“Recently we set up twelve ‘down the line’ BBC radio interviews and I spent the morning in a broom cupboard-sized studio with president Katie Fforde, who gallantly flew the flag telling listeners from Jersey to Stoke, Southampton to Carlisle all about the RNA.
“I co-ordinate the publicity for the RNA Industry Award, the RoNAs and the Joan Hessayon, working with super-organised external PR, Katrina Power. Like other committee members I’m also busy writing and juggling the day job, so life is very hectic. However, the crazy workload is worth it, I’m passionate about the RNA and particularly the NWS. Since I joined I’ve made some amazing friends, learned so much about the industry and had incredible support. It’s this generosity of spirit that makes me want to be part of the committee and ensure I play my part to do the very best for the organisation.
Gill Stewart – Hon Membership Secretary
Gill Stewart, who writes as Gilly Stewart, Gill-Marie Stewart and Gillian Villiers, has been a member of the RNA since 2003. She has had two novels published by Accent Press and a number of novellas published by D C Thomson and Linford Romance Library. She lives on the west coast of Scotland with her husband and assorted cats, dogs and hens. She was Hon Treasurer of the RNA from 2013 to 2017 and has taken up this new role to help continue to support the committee and the overall organisation, which she feels gives so much to its members.
Elaine Everest – RNA Social Media Co-ordinator
Award-winning non-fiction and fiction writer, novelist, journalist and writing tutor and NWS graduate, Elaine runs Social Media for the RNA, including Twitter and Facebook accounts and the popular RNA blog. She also works with Jan Jones organising the highly prized and sought-after 1-2-1 conference appointments for delegates with industry professionals.
“During the next year I hope to increase awareness of the RNA on social media and encourage members, young and old, to make use of our busy and extremely supportive Facebook group. I also enjoy helping members with industry appointments leading up to our annual conference and that includes holding hands with the nervous first-timers and celebrating when they have good news – which happens often!” says Elaine.
Alison Knight – RoNA Scorekeeper
Alison is a professional fundraiser. She went to university aged 45 gaining a first class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA at Oxford Brookes University while working full-time for Christian Aid. She writes contemporary women’s fiction as Alison Rose, and young adult time-slip adventures as Alison Knight. She is scorekeeper for the RoNA Awards.
“My role on the committee is Awards Moderator for the RoNAs – checking the scores given by the readers, making sure they’re all received and recorded properly before we check everything and announce the short lists,” explains Alison.
Immi Howson – New Writers’ Scheme Organiser
The New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) is one of the most valuable services the RNA provides, giving all NWS members the opportunity for a full manuscript critique each year. Here’s organiser Immi’s take on her role.
“My role is to administer the scheme, assigning manuscripts to the most appropriate readers, forwarding reports to members, resolving any problems and giving advice to those members whose manuscripts have been judged ‘submission ready’.
”My overall aim is for the NWS to keep pace with the changing world of the publishing industry, and that every report is as useful and constructive as possible. Future plans include introducing more support for readers to access, such as the option for further training and a ‘buddy scheme’ for ongoing support.
“I also plan to include a self-editing guide in the information given to NWS members, and full instructions on how to ‘anonymize’ a Word document, for those readers who would like to include comments in the manuscript itself. This is something that was commonly done when we ran a paper-based scheme and is less easy, but still achievable, with the new online system.
“I’m open to all feedback, good and bad, so please contact me if you have any comments on the scheme!”
Anne Graham – Party Organiser
Anne Graham writes dialogue-rich historical romance as Anne Stenhouse and is published by MuseItUp, Linford Romance Library and Endeavour Press. She has worked as a civil servant and rehabilitation care worker and hopes that these roles should help create a mix of both organisational and observational skills.
Anne has the superb title of Party Organiser and explains a bit of what that involves.
“Although my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org being the RNA Party Organiser is what I actually do. This role encompasses the Awards, and ticketing some meetings, plus guest lists, name badges and general liaison with venues about facilities, refreshments and all the other little details that go into making our parties so popular.”
Adrienne Vaughan – Hon News Editor, Romance Matters
Editor of RM and RNA Industry Awards co-ordinator, Adrienne is a founder member of the indie publishing group New Romantics Press and since joining the RNA in 2011 has published three novels and a collection of short stories and poems. Her agent Lisa Eveleigh is currently marketing her latest book.
“I feel we are poised to take the RNA to the next level and have made great progress improving our industry-facing profile and communications in general. I love working with this group of talented, enthusiastic individuals who come together, not only as a cohesive team, but a force to be reckoned with!”
Jean Fullerton – Chapter Liaison
Jean joined in 2002, graduating from the NWS four years later. A member of the London & Southeast chapter, she says their support and encouragement was invaluable during that long and sometimes heart-breaking road to publication.
“I believe the local RNA chapters are the backbone of the organisation and took on the role of Chapter Liaison in 2009. Since then I’ve travelled the country meeting up with local chapters and a great number of members.
“Because I’ve gained so much from the RNA I always promised myself that I would stand for the committee when I waved goodbye to the day-job and last year I did. I hope to encourage more local chapter-led events such as study days, writing retreats, regional socials.” Since Jean took over the role new chapters have launched in new areas and even two new countries – Scotland and Ireland – she’s happy to report.
Katherine (Kathy) Garbera – Libraries Liaison
Kathy is a USA Today Bestselling author of more than 90 books, her publishers include Harlequin (Mills&Boon), HarperImpulse, and Tule Publishing. She’s a veteran author with a career spanning more than 20 years.
Being Libraries Liaison is a natural fit for Kathy, who is passionate about reading. She hopes to get localised lists of members matched to libraries in their area creating a synergy between authors, libraries and readers. She also is working – with Elaine Everest and Nicola Cornick – on an initiative to recognise librarians who are romantic fiction friendly and help support our genre, sub-genres and our members, possibly creating a Librarian/Library of the Year Award.
Celia Anderson – RoNA Organiser
Celia is a recently retired and much missed schoolteacher and the award-winning author of four novels plus numerous short stories. She is a founder member of a wonderfully supportive group of writers, The Romaniacs.
“During my time on the committee, I’ll be working towards further developing the existing – and excellent – RoNA awards scheme and promoting the RNA through its flagship awards event each March. Which will all help to raise our profile as we head towards our magnificent sixty year Diamond Anniversary celebrations in 2020,” says Celia.
Jan Jones, Conference Organiser
Kate Johnson, ROMNA Moderator
Janet Gover, Webmistress/Presentations
Janice Preston, NWS Admin
Evelyn Ryle, Sub-Committee (Membership & Constitution advice)
Melanie Hilton, Sub-Committee (Membership & Constitution advice)
Julie Stock, Deputy Editor Romance Matters
A huge thank you to this wonderful team who give so much of their time to help our members to publication and beyond. The work you all do in raising the profile and the RNA and romantic fiction is invaluable.
Thank you guys for everything you do. The RNA is a wonderful organisation and a lot of that is down to your hard work and that of your predecessors. Keep up the good work. Ellie x
Amazing! This is bigger than a pool of talent. It's an ocean! xx Sheila/Annie O"Neil
Many, many thanks for both your generosity in dedicating precious writing time to the work of the RNA and for all you accomplish each year. What an amazingly talented team! x
I'd like to add my thanks as well. It's great to see all the committee members and find ot a little more about them and what they do for us. Without these dedicated members the RNA wouldn't be able to function, and I know everyone appreciates the tremendous amount of hard work and the time sacrificed to make the RNA such a wonderful organisation!
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