A weekend with a bunch of romance writers – imagine that!

July 7, 2008

On Friday, I found myself dragging my suitcase through the streets of Chichester, wondering why on earth I had booked to attend the annual conference of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I wasn’t even sure the novel I’m writing was that romantic. Would I fit in? Would it be full of wannabes and failed writers? I was not sure at all.

How wrong I was! I’ve met (and that means I have talked to, shared a drink with or had my foot trodden on by) Katie Fforde (ouch!), Jill Mansell, Jane Wenham-Jones, Anita Burgh, Kate Harrison – all with books on display in the airport I’d passed through, and some (Katie, Jill) with massive great posters of the Dutch translations of their latest title on the station platform in my own town. The first real writer I met was Giselle Green, who won the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme this year and whose first novel just won the Thornton book prize. In the first workshop I met Mark Thornton of Mostly Books in Abingdon, who told us how to get our books stocked by independent bookshops. By the way he runs a one day workshop I now plan to attend on 17th August. From that moment my conference fee had been worth it. I have laughed at the stories of Jill Mansell and Jane Wenham-Jones, listened to agents and editors and learned how to increase my chances of getting my novel not only polished, but published too.

On the flight home I couldn’t decide between reading my signed copy of Jane’s Wannabe a Writer or my signed copy of Giselle’s Pandora’s Box. So I kept switching between the too. Both are brilliant reads.

Was it worth it? You bet! If you want to be part of next year’s conference it is to be held in Penrith on the second weekend in July. Find out more at http://www.rna-uk.org.

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3 Responses to “A weekend with a bunch of romance writers – imagine that!”


  1. It’s only a matter of time before we speak of you in the same breath as other famous authors Jo. Keep the faith, we have it in you!

  2. Liz Fenwick Says:

    Jo…….as I always know the weekend goes in a flash and I never get the chance for the sit down and catch ups I had hoped for. So pleased you enjoyed it. BTW sil loved her dates cookbook which I gave her for looking after the kids this weekend 🙂

  3. Emma Rouge Says:

    I also read Jane Whenham-Jones’ Wanna Be a Writer, and as someone who too had become despondent about their career as a writer I found it both hilariously uplifting and very helpful!


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