2010, I was a trembling newbie; 2016, I was teaching historical research and pontificating on a trade panel. What a transition!
The Romantic Novelists’ Association embraces every type and sub-genre of romance and romantic fiction, from the sweet, inspirational, gritty contemporary through gay romance and historical to high epic adventure. How’s that? You thought it was all pink tulle and Regency flirting? Er, no.
Of course, there are pert misses and stubborn dukes as well as modern fairytale romances, but also urban and paranormal, spy stories, tough women coping with harsh dilemmas whether in the Lancashire mills, as emigrants or just modern life with its multiple juggling acts. But there’s always a boy meets girl/boy, a strong emotional relationship that somehow makes it through all the problems and leads to a happy ending or at least a ‘happy for now’ ending.
Romantic fiction or fiction with romantic elements is life-affirming, optimistic and something that touches us all whether on the surface or somewhere deep in our psyche. We all want to be loved. Sometimes our nearest and dearest express it very differently from how we would wish and this is where fiction can give us a buck-up. Who hasn’t read a Georgette Heyer and felt a little better? Or a JD Robb Eve Dallas in her tangles with the elusive Roarke? Or a Lindsey Davis Roman detective Falco as he tries to work out his relationship with senator’s daughter Helena? Oh, and Carina and Conrad in Roma Nova – there’s one full of ups and downs!
So, back to the conference, this year held at Lancaster University. Despite mixed weather, we had fun and I learnt some useful things and was reminded of others. My personal highlights included Liz Fenwick and Brigid Coady talking about branding, the RNA Open Discussion, Sarah Wendell’s hilarious and trenchant presentation about reviews, and Kate Walker’s imaginative one on packing an emotional punch.
Apart from giving my own talk and speaking alongside publishing colleagues as the independent author on the publishing panel, I had a fab time meeting up with long-standing friends and making new ones. So here are some photos…
Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines…