In honour of the RNAs 60th anniversary year, we put together a special series of blog posts on various aspects of writing romance. They featured advice and comments from some of our bestselling author members, who all have a wealth of experience and expertise. We hope you have enjoyed these posts, and that they have been informative and interesting to both new and seasoned writers. We would like to say a huge and very heartfelt THANK YOU TO ALL THE AUTHORS WHO TOOK PART! We couldn’t have done it without you and really appreciate you taking the time to share your views.
We asked the authors one final question – as we approach the end of our 60th year, please could you tell us what it means to you to be a member of an organisation like the RNA and how it has helped you?
Katie Fforde – “Being part of the RNA is vital to my well-being as a writer. They are supportive friends, they are writers I root for, and every success from a member is a joy for me. No one can have that fabulous ‘first time published’ feeling twice, but through the RNA you can share in the celebration and feel proud. And I do!”
Jill Mansell – “I love the RNA, it’s brilliant – supportive, inclusive and incredibly welcoming. We writers do a funny old job and it’s lovely to be part of an incredible group of people who understand the various trials and tribulations that go along with it. I’m so proud to be a member.”
Sophie Kinsella – “I’m delighted to be a member of the RNA, whose members bring so much pleasure to so many readers. Love is universal and timeless, and we should celebrate books that delve into its difficulties and delights.”
Dilly Court – “I joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme when I was starting out writing, it must be nearly 20 years ago. I had to work very hard to study the craft and I wrote at least 12 novels while I was finding my “voice” as an author. I found their critiques invaluable and eventually I hit upon the right genre for me.”
Barbara Erskine – “I know most people adore it. I have to confess I’m not really a clubbable person – but, that being said, it is lovely to meet up from time to time with like minds and I really enjoy the chance to exchange views then.”
Elaine Everest – “I wouldn’t be a Sunday Times Bestselling author if it weren’t for the RNA. Even though I’d earned my living as a freelance writer since 1997 I had never been published as a novelist. I joined the New Writers’ Scheme and graduated in the same year as our current Chairperson. I joined the committee running the RNA blog, social media and set up the RNA Facebook group – and then met my agent. I couldn’t function without the friendship and all-embracing hug that is the RNA.”
Liz Fielding – “I joined the RNA the year my first book was published. The support, the friendship, the shared information through nearly thirty years has been a real joy and my only regret is that I didn’t join the NWS. If I had I might have been published years earlier!”
Milly Johnson – “I didn’t want to join the RNA until I was a published writer and what a clot I was. I missed out on so much support that I could have had before, lots of advice and friendship. But hey-ho – I became a member and found post-publication a wonderful group of mates, inspiration and acceptance – because writers are an odd breed and no one really ‘gets’ us like we do. It’s brought me a lot of fun (and probably rotted my liver) but also very useful connections and a whole host of people willing to support any book deals I have out there – as I support them, and that benefits the whole industry because we all sell more books and keep the industry alive. Writers need to connect because we are often on the other side of the fence to publishers and agents and we need to compare notes because it’s a lonely business, confusing at times, very short on information and so we learn from each other and help where we can. As others have helped me.”
Rosanna Ley – “It’s great to be a member of the RNA which is a vibrant and inclusive organisation extremely dedicated to helping new writers. Romance is a genre that can be rather looked down on and the RNA continues to work hard at changing this attitude and giving romance the status it deserves. We all need a bit of romance in our lives and as romance writers it’s our wonderful job to help provide it …”
Sarah Morgan – “Life as a writer can sometimes feel isolated. A professional organisation like the RNA can be a source of information, support and friendship. I’m also grateful for the advocacy, and the opportunities created to connect with a wide range of industry professionals.”
Sheila O’Flanagan – “It’s important, particularly for women, to be part of an organisation that promotes and recognises the value of the work that they do, and the RNA is hugely supportive of its members.”
Kate Walker – “I’ve forgotten exactly when I joined the RNA but I’ve been a member for years. I have gained so much from being in the Association – learned so much about the world of publishing, met so many wonderful people and discovered so many fabulous books that I might never have read if they hadn’t come through the Romantic Novel of the Year awards. But most of all I have made so many fantastic friends, published or unpublished, all of whom love this form of fiction writing and publishing, who can talk books for hours and whose company has enriched my life. It’s true that a writer’s life can be very lonely and isolated. But RNA meetings and Conferences bring me together with people who understand what this writing life is all about – show me that I’m not on my own – that everyone comes up against rejection or writers block or difficult revisions. As I’ve so often heard people say – and it’s definitely true for me too – when you met up with your own ’tribe’ you feel that you belong and you want to stay right there.”
It only remains for us to wish you a very happy and healthy new year and hope that 2021 will be kinder to us all so that we can meet up in person once again – we can’t wait!
Best wishes from the RNA 60th Blog Team
Pia, Karen and Christina