Snapshots of RNA2016

With Denise Barnes (left) and Jean Fullerton (right)

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…

Doing my historical research talk

Doing my historical research talk (Photo courtesy of Anita Chapman)

General milling

General milling, chatting, exchanging stories and making friends


On the Blackwells's stand

On the Blackwells’s stand

George Barker Farm

George Barker Farm Lancaster University – a blend of the old and new












Liz Fenwick

Liz Fenwick on branding and marketing


Tracy Bloom

Tracy Bloom on marketing for authors


Publishing collaboration panel

Delighted to be part of the publishing collaboration panel with Dominic Wakeford (Piatkus), Carol Blake (Blake Friedmann Lit Agency), Katie Fforde, Nicola Cornick (Vice Chair RNA), Donna Hillyer (publishing consultant)


Eileen speaking

Chairman Eileen Ramsay speaking at the gala dinner


Jan and bouquet

A thank you bouquet for conference organiser Jan Jones


Gala Dinner

An appreciative audience at the gala dinner!


End of conference

Tired but happy – end of conference supper with April Hardy, Denise Barnes and Tessa Shapcott



Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, PERFIDITASSUCCESSIO and AURELIA. The fifth in the series, INSURRECTIO, was published on 12 April 2016.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines…

4 comments to Snapshots of RNA2016

  • It was lovely to meet you properly and have a chance to chat! Loved your session and you were great on the panel too. I’ll be reading Inceptio soon!

    • Alison Morton

      You, too, Kath. I’m really pleased we had some time together.That’s one of the great plusses of conferences. I hope you enjoy INCEPTIO!

  • What a good time! There is nothing quite like meeting up with people who share your interests, especially if that interest is writing! It sounds like your group is also a tremendous support to each other.

    • Alison Morton

      It was wonderful. The Romantic Novelists’ Association gave me and my critique partner the first big push up in our writing careers. E’ve changed from nervous newbies to active members who can now give back. Here’s more about the association:

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