So, lovely people, guess who’s one of the final 15 contenders for the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award with “The Torn Up Marriage” – me! I have a train ticket booked for the award ceremony at the RNA Summer Party night, 21st May, at the gorgeous-looking Royal Overseas League in London. Canapes and fizz, and I believe a new posh frock is the order of the day.
Who knows what the result will be, I can only cross my fingers and wait and see, but the wonderful part will be to meet up with other just-published, those still trying to get published, and some very established authors. In my many years of trying to find an agent and publisher it was the support of the RNA that really helped me to persevere; providing friendship, advice, inspiration, laughter and lots of tea, cake and on occasion fizz.
If anyone is writing away at home, and not sure whether to join an organisation such as the Romantic Novelists' Association, I would absolutely say GO FOR IT! There are local chapters you can link up with, so it’s not all down in London if you live elsewhere in the UK, and I wasn’t aware initially, but if you haven’t yet managed to get into the New Writers’ Scheme (as there is an annual membership application time from 1st January each year and you need to get your skates on for one of the 250 places!), you can still go along to most of the local groups, and join in events even as a non-member. You need to be writing some form of love/relationship story, but it’s not all “Romance” in the narrower sense of the genre, saga writers and women’s fiction, historical, erotica, also young and new adult, are also at home there. Full details are on the RNA website, see link below.
Here’s a picture of my local RNA Chapter. For two years running we’ve had a fantastic Writers’ Retreat Day at Shepherd’s Dene, a wonderful country house in stunning gardens, set in the Northumberland countryside:
In my experience over six years with the RNA, writers are a friendly, supportive and generous bunch. Even longstanding published writers remember what it’s like to be trying to find that break with a publisher, many of us will have a pile of rejection letters or e-mails under our belt – me more than most!!
Writing is a very different occupation – you probably won’t earn a penny for years, it’ll take hours and hours of your time, your house will degenerate to a dusty hovel, your family may think you are a little nuts, your friends will be really interested but then imagine you are making a mint the minute you get a book deal – very rarely the case. So come along find your tribe and get some fantastic support and a few new friends along the way!
Wish me luck for the Joan Hessayon Award on the 21st – and look out for the photos on my next Blog – wonder if there’ll be a Red Carpet?! And, before I dash off to buy my frock, a big THANK YOU to the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and in particular to my support group of friends with the Border Reivers RNA Northumberland Chapter.