It was only when the postman recently delivered my renewed membership card that I realised it’s just over a year since I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association – something I decided was worthy of a first anniversary post!
Was it a good move for me? Absolutely! Suddenly, my online world of friends on Facebook and Twitter expanded with like-minded people. Members of the RNA really are a very friendly bunch, and unbelievably supportive of each other – geeing other members up when they are in a trough, celebrating their successes with them and commiserating when things don’t go as planned.
Through a fellow RNA member (you know who you are, Helena!) realising that I lived not far from her and kindly reaching out, I soon found myself part of a small group of local writers – not necessarily all in the RNA – who meet a few times a year for lunch on an informal basis. We have no specific agenda, but enjoy a catch-up with each others’ news and share information about what’s going on in the world of romantic fiction and publishing . . . always very helpful, and invariably giving a boost to my determination if it’s waning.
The RNA holds several events over the course of a year, often in London, so not easy for me to attend (and I’m a natural scaredy-cat, so any excuse!) However, in September last year, I had the opportunity to attended my first ‘proper’ RNA do when some northern members organised a tea party at the beautiful Guildhall in York. It was a daunting prospect, but at least I already knew a few faces in ‘real life’ from our lunches, and it was lovely to meet people I had chatted with on Facebook. I had a great afternoon and would definitely go again!
From left to right: Rosemary Gemmell, Helena Fairfax, Marie Laval, Anne Stenhouse.
The RNA also holds an annual conference, which I gather is much enjoyed, as well as being helpful and informative. I was unable to attend last year as it was in London and I had work commitments. This year, however, it will be in Lancaster, so I had every intention of talking the plunge . . . Unfortunately, several other commitments look like they may clash with it at the moment, so until they are firmed up, I daren’t book yet. If I do get there, I’ll let you know how I get on!
If anybody out there has toyed with the idea of joining the RNA but is still unsure about taking the plunge, I would definitely recommend it. You get to make new friends, give and receive support, and you can learn so much in online conversations with fellow members. Go for it!