Jeanna Louise Skinner

 

Jeanna Louise Skinner from UKRomChat is offering every NWS graduate from January 2021 onwards a guaranteed guest spot on UKRomChat and her new blog. Denise Sutherland, who is on the RNA New Writer’s Scheme is interviewing her about it.

Over to you, Denise.

Hello Jeanna. I am on the RNA’s wonderful New Writers Scheme.  I had a stroke a few months ago and have had some memory loss as well as initially not being able to talk or walk. One thing I did not forget was my love of reading, especially Romance stories and my love of writing.  I am excited to be interviewing you, as I see that you are pro-active on the RNA’s Facebook pages; often giving your advice and encouragement.  Jeanna, please tell us about yourself and your writing.

Thank you so much, Denise.I’ve always created stories and poetry but I only started writing full-time a few years ago after I became disabled after an accident at work. I have a rare condition called CRPS (which is the absolute worst) and I’m also on the ADHD spectrum, so writing is definitely an escape for me. This is reflected in my characters, who are usually disabled or living with physical or mental health conditions, and the stories I create, which ALWAYS have a touch of the supernatural about them. I’m fascinated by the fantastical, especially when it appears in everyday settings. I’m also one of the RNA DISCO Chapter admins and I live in glorious Devon with my husband, two children and a cat who sounds like a goat!

The goat sounds fun! The RNA DISCO Chapter is where we first ‘met’ and I am in awe of your dedication to writing and being a champion for writers who like me and you struggle with our hidden disabilities. What is #UKRomchat?

Thank you. #UKRomChat is a regular live Twitter chat for and about Romance writers and readers. It began life in 2018 as I couldn’t find a Romance writing chat that didn’t take place at 1am UK time so I figured I needed to start one myself. Since then, we’ve chatted with NYT bestselling authors, industry professionals from publishers such as Harlequin Mills & Boon, and it has been shortlisted for the RNA Media Star Award in 2019 & 2020, which is just amazing! From January 2021, each live #UKRomChat will take place on the first Monday of every month at 8-9pm UK time.

Aha. That sounds interesting. Congratulations on your nominations. You have obviously worked very hard on promoting Romance writing on Twitter. You are now collaborating with the RNA for something very special. What is this initiative?

I’m passionate about Romance; there’s nothing I love more than a Happy Ever After and being part of the RNA family is a dream come true. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a beneficiary of the RNA’s brilliant bursary/grant scheme, which has meant I’m able to be an New Writers’ Scheme member and take part in so many of the wonderful opportunities the association offers. Because of this, I wanted to give something back, so I’m very excited to announce my #UKRomChat news in collaboration with the RNA. From January 2021, every member who graduates from the NWS is guaranteed a spot on #UKRomChat to talk about their debut novel and their writing. I’ve also recently started a #UKRomChat blog, so they will be promoted on there too.

I think as New Writers’ Scheme members we spend so much time and effort striving for our first book deal, we sometimes forget how difficult it is to get our work noticed after that initial “HEA” (which isn’t really HEA at all and is, hopefully just the beginning of an author’s story) so it’s really important to me to give debut writers another avenue for promotion.

And as well as debut NWS graduates, I’m also guaranteeing #UKRomChat guest spots to Romance writers currently underrepresented in publishing.

Wow, that is a lovely thing to do and wonderful exposure for all the NWS graduates. Where can we find your blog?

Thanks again. You can find me at www.jeannalouiseskinner.com or on Twitter @jeannalstars & @UKRomChat

2020 has been a difficult year for many people. What do you hope to see more of in 2021?

MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR DISABLED WRITERS PLEASE! Seriously though, publishing needs to look at itself in regards to what it means to be truly inclusive. There seems to be a real drive at the moment to create more spaces and opportunities for many people who’ve been underrepresented in publishing for too long, but unfortunately many of these initiatives don’t include people with disabilities and other health conditions. If you’re going to do “diversity and inclusion” please do it properly because I and millions of writers like me are real people – not just buzzwords.

Jeanna, that response resonates with me and I am sure with you as a champion, agents and publishers will take action. Thank you for giving all of us on the New Writers Scheme this wonderful opportunity.  I am looking forward to reading all about the debut books by NWS graduates and of the course the books. Here’s to t2021 and #UKRomChat!

Denise Sutherland

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