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Monday, 14 July 2014

Back To The Future...RNA Conference 2014

A Small Selection...
I spent Saturday, 12th July at the Annual conference of the Romantic Novelists' Association. It was held at The Harper Adams University (how often did I almost say "Harper Collins"?) in Shropshire. Despite a day that started at 4am and a total of five hours' driving, I haven't had so much fun in a long time.

The biggest problem I had was deciding which talks to attend. In the end I settled for  Carol McGrath's "Bringing Mediaeval Women to Life", Jessica Hart/Pamela Hartshorne's "One Author, Two Genres", Alison Baverstock's "Self Publishing Trends" with Hazel Gaynor, Ian Skillicorn's "Going Solo", and a couple of symposia on the future of publishing industry. It's almost impossible to pick out individual highlights as there were so many, but discovering Jessica/Pamela is another writer who's a devotee of The Sunne In Splendour was definitely right up there with finding out how easy it is (allegedly!) to turn files on a MAC into .mobi files.

As I only had a day ticket, the worst part was coming away and leaving everyone after the last talk of the afternoon. On the other hand, the overflowing goody bag I was given definitely softened the blow. I arrived home with a teetering TBR pile, and a week's supply of chocolate (which I virtuously handed over to DD and Son No. 1) and biscuits (which I dunked and downed before they could set eyes on them).

I'm definitely going to sign up for the whole conference in 2015, when it's going to be held in London. My only worry is that if choosing which talks to attend for a one-day visit was tricky, it's going to be a lot more difficult when I have to select options for a long weekend!

If you've never attended a writers' conference before, try and get to one. Writing is such a solitary business, it's good to get out and socialise. Conference, like life, isn't just about writing.You'll learn a lot about people, too–and it's characters who drive great storytelling.

Come on, all you seasoned conference-goers! Which one do you like best, and why?