The Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) were delighted to welcome the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson to their annual conference at Imperial College London on Saturday 12th August. The event was the first official public appearance since the Duchess had surgery for breast cancer just a couple of months ago.
As a bestselling author and member of the RNA, the Duchess came to the conference to take part in a session with fellow Mills and Boon author Marguerite Kaye with whom she has collaborated on two historical novels to date, Her Heart for a Compass and A Most Intriguing Lady. During the session called Collabor-Writing, the Duchess and Marguerite discussed their strong friendship and described how their writing partnership worked, with both playing different but equal parts in the whole process, from plotting to revisions. The Duchess added that they were trailblazers for collaborative writing. Failure to acknowledge a ghost writer, she said, would be similar to using AI. She believes in being totally transparent, and authenticity is something she feels very strongly about.
The Duchess was also a judge in the Elizabeth Goudge trophy along with other bestselling authors Liz Fenwick and Rachel Hore, the winner of which was Sally Jenkins with The Boomerang Effect, with runners up Maria Wilson – Twelve Steps to Love and Laurey Buckland – Out of the Unknown. Elizabeth Goudge was a founding member of the RNA and the award is open to all conference delegates and usually involves writing the first chapter of a story around a given theme.
Sue Merritt, Conference Organiser and RNA Director said, ‘I was thrilled when the Duchess not only agreed to being one of the judges of our annual writing competition- she and Marguerite offered to do a workshop for us too.’
Janice Preston, RNA Finance Officer and Organiser of the Elizabeth Goudge Award added, ‘I was delighted to learn that the Duchess had agreed to judge the competition shortlist along with our other prestigious judges and was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her during her visit to the RNA conference.’