I spent last weekend at the wonderful RNA Conference in the beautiful setting of Harper Adams University.
The conference is always a whirlwind and when I decided to go for a long weekend rather than just the basic conference I made an excellent, if exhausting choice.
I arrived quite late on Thursday evening and after some fun and games finding the halls of residence with the help of the nicest taxi driver, met up with my usual flatmates, aka Kate Johnson, Immi Howson, Rhoda Baxter, Janet Gover and Alison May. Aka The naughty kitchen. More on that later.
Friday morning allowed us some time to explore the campus and Janet kicked things off with a talk on image manipulation, the first of many highlights.
We all gathered in the main lecture theatre, where I ended up spending rather a lot of time. The panel on the current state of the industry was fascinating and entertaining. It also felt like the most positive of these I’ve attended in a number of years. Things are looking up in the world of Romantic Fiction.
On Friday night there were drinkies. But not too many as I gave a talk on School Visits first thing on Saturday morning. It went very well until the computer decided to apply Windows updates in the middle of the talk, rebooting everything, including my slideshow. But apparently it wasn’t just me. The university has a Saturday morning routine, it seems. I may have gone for a bit of a lie down afterwards!
Other talk highlights over the weekend included Alison May and Bella Osbourne’s Plotter vs. Pantser talk (hilarious, with added aliens), Immi as the sparkly gazelle in the RNA Have Your Say discussion, Fiona Harper’s wonderful workshop on character development, a panel on how to be a helpful author featuring Julia Silk (agent), JB Johnson (bookblogger) & Julia Williams (editor and author) and Kate Johnson’s Guide to Worldbuilding.
Saturday evening was the Gala dinner, when we all put on our finery, have a wonderful meal and great conversation. It’s also the night that the Elizabeth Goudge prize is awarded. This annual competition is always held at the conference, and is hotly contested.
This year the theme was “Runaways” and the entry had to be 2000 words from the beginning of novel. I was absolutely delighted to be announced as the runner up with the opening to the as yet unwritten (apart from those 2000 words) sequel to the Space Opera.
Even better news was that Immi was the winner so we got to celebrate together. Here we are with Jill Mansell and RNA President Katie Fforde.
The naughty kitchen may have imbibed a few drinks that night. But I was not the last to bed. 😀
If you have never been to a writing conference I cannot recommend the RNA one enough. You’ll never encounter a more helpful, supportive and creative group of people.