An Afternoon with the Romantic Novelists' Association
Last Saturday I attended a London meeting of the Romantic Novelists' Association. I've been a member for some years, but being a little shy of large groups of people I must admit I'd avoided going to one before. The very lovely author Victoria Connelly (centre) who is at present writing an Austen inspired Trilogy very kindly offered to 'hold my hand' and introduce me to the members of the London group who always meet in Bloomsbury, in a pub which is very close to a favourite bookshop and cafe of mine. I was also very keen to meet wonderful Amanda Grange who through the New Writers' Scheme gave me so much help and support when I was trying to become a published author. Victoria and I met beforehand in the National Portrait Gallery, so that we could go and pay homage to Jane Austen - the lovely watercolour painting executed by her sister Cassandra. I never tire of seeing this beautifully painted portrait which is not only very tiny, but is painted with such delicate strokes. We visited all the portraits in the Regency rooms as well as a quick visit to the Tudors - another passion of mine and Victoria's. After lunch in the crypt of St. Martin in the fields church, we went onto the meeting. I was made to feel so welcome and it was lovely to meet Amanda at last who gave a talk on her publishing journey, imparting lots of inspirational wisdom for published and unpublished writers alike. I met Fenella Miller and Elizabeth Hawksleyfrom the Historical Romance UK blog, and Juliet Archer, another Austenesque author, as well as many other friendly faces. I had a lovely day out - so thank you Victoria, and Amanda, and everyone else for a wonderful time! Thanks also to Jan Jones and Liz Fenwick for their initial encouragement on Twitter - I don't think I would have made it to a meeting without your help. You do not have to be a published author to join the Romantic Novelists' Association in the UK. If you've ever thought you might wish to write, here is an excellent place to start!