Wednesday 7 August 2019

RNA Conference 2019

This was my fourth conference and it was good to return to Lancaster University where the 2016 one was held and where I met so many writer friends for the first time. What made it very special this year was that I shared a flat with the friends I'd got to know over the four years and it felt a bit like a reunion. It was lovely to look back and consider how much has changed in four years. Individual writing journeys have moved on with a pace - some friends have a number of novels published now, others have acquired an agent, others are writing subsequent novels and others are anticipating the publication of a first novel. It was so good to celebrate the successes. By pooling our provisions of Prosecco, gin and wine, chocolate, biscuits, crisps and snacks, the kitchen became the centre of our social scene once dinner was over each night! Thanks to Jane who drove to the conference for shopping beforehand. 

Sue McDonagh, Lynn Forth and me

Friday morning was spent helping to fill the goody bags. Every year it's well planned with everyone moving around quickly so that the job was again soon done. It allowed time to spend time catching up with, Lynn, a friend we met at the first conference.

Carol Thomas, Sue McDonagh, Evonne Wareham,
Me, Lynda Stacey

Before dinner on Friday, I was very pleased to meet with members of the Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction  team of which I am now proud to be a part. On Saturday, I met Sadie Ryan for the first time, too.

As well as all the socialising, there was a wide range of workshops, talks and interviews to attend. It was difficult to choose as ever but here are some I enjoyed this year:

- Keep That Sexy Momentum Going Sue Merrett and Liam Livings
- The Art of Revisiting the Past Jo Baker, interviewed by Janet Gover 
- The Heroine's Journey  Fiona Harper
- An Introduction to Blog Tours Kim Nash
- Convincing Crime. Getting characters in and out of jeopardy Stuart Gibbon and Stephen Wade

Over the last four years, I have learned so much and value the opportunity to listen to experienced authors share their expertise and experiences. I came home with a notebook packed with information, advice and tips to refer to as I edit my second novel.

Dressing up for the Gala Dinner on the Saturday night is always fun. This is the event when the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy is presented. The 2019 competition was to write an opening to a novel entitled 'The Thrill of the Chase' and the winner was Jan Jones. Congratulations to her! I was especially thrilled that second place went to my lovely writing friend, Catherine Burrows.

And then it was all over for another year.  My thanks go to Jan Jones and everyone who works so hard to make each Conference such a success. You are all stars!

Thank you for reading. If you went to Lancaster, what was the highlight for you? Did you meet writers you 'knew' on social media in person for the first time? I'd love to read your comments. Thank you.

You may also follow me on @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.