At the end of July I joined two thousand other romance authors and readers at the 26th Romance Writers of America Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I had been to one RWA Conference previously so this time I knew what to expect! The experience can be overwhelming for someone accustomed to the hundred and thirty or so participants at the RNA Conferences! Just finding the seminar rooms is a challenge.
The RWA Conference kicks off with a book signing to raise money for charity. This year five hundred authors were signing their books in the huge hotel ballroom and we raised a record sixty thousand dollars plus for literacy charities.
The following day the seminars started, ranging from Jo Beverley’s amusing and informative talk on how to choose appropriate names for your characters and the way these can influence the story, to what editors of the various publishing houses are looking for. The word on historicals was that they were looking for outstanding stories that are dark and sexy.
There was a huge buzz about the conference as so many aspiring and published authors got together to exchange creative ideas. The keynote speaker, New York Times Bestselling author Christina Dodd, encouraged all authors to believe in themselves in their search for publishing success.
The evenings were taken up with parties and social events, culminating on the final evening in the black tie event, the RITA Award Ceremony. One author described this as the romance world’s equivalent of the Academy Awards. It was a fun, glamorous and glitzy occasion. The RITA for best Regency romance was won by Diane Gaston for her book A Reputable Rake and she looked absolutely thrilled as she held the gold RITA statuette and sipped her celebratory champagne.
Between conference sessions I was able to play truant a little and slip out to see something of Atlanta, as I didn’t want to travel all that way and not see anything of the city. We visited the house where Margaret Mitchell had written Gone with the Wind and sat on her veranda absorbing some inspiration! We also went to Atlanta’s glorious botanical gardens. It was an exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable trip. I wanted to upload some pictures of the trip but at the moment the system won't let me. Maybe later!
DECEIVED - HQN Books - July 2006