back from the conference

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On Saturday I whizzed down to Chichester for the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference. Originally I’d planned to only go on the Sunday, because I was giving a workshop on pacing, but my husband had an unexpected night off so I begged the lovely organiser Jan Jones to let me come for Saturday night, too, and stay over. And she let me. (Yes, I plied her with chocolate.)

Romantic novelists en masse are wonderful. For one thing, we are strangely obsessed with shoes. For another, we think nothing of talking about heroes all night and when we are together we drink more than is humanly possible. Well, in any case, I do.

I was thrilled to see my friends and colleagues…there are far too many to name-drop about. Besides, I was far, far too drunk. (I don’t get out that often, you know.)

Brigid Coady won third place in the Elizabeth Gouge award. She rules. Nell Dixon and Anna Louise Lucia sold out of their books at the bookstall. They also rule.

I seem to remember drinking much champagne very late at night and then staggering across a field. And the next day I had a hangover of epic proportions. Fortunately Jane Wenham-Jones spoke in the morning about writers’ bottom and her hilarious body wrap experiences in Egypt and I laughed most of my headache away. I also went to Kate Walker’s talk about author websites, and Kate Hardy’s talk about using local history in your novel. Useful and fascinating, both of them. I also wheedled Kate Harrison out of her handout on “Botox for Writers”, even though I couldn’t stay for her talk.

I gave a talk about pacing which involved photographs of my closet door. And I came home with lots of lovely lovely shiny new books to read! (And a lighter purse.)

Anyway, being amongst romantic novelists is always a life-affirming experience. They are warm, friendly, talented and generous and I feel privileged to be part of the group.

Plus, man, can they drink me under the table.

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  1. Writers? You should go to a conference with TEACHERS! Talk about drinking someone under the table…

    Hope to catch you when you’re in area code 207!


  2. Sounds fab! Can’t wait for the Oz conference soon!


  3. Lol, it was a fab night!


  4. It was a fantastic time there, wasn’t it? I saw you but didn’t get to say hello as you were either being dragged somewhere by Anna or Biddy. I bought both Anna and Nell’s book to read, and yes like you I went home with lots of books too (8+the freebies).


  5. It was brilliant as always to be truthful. Wonderful to see and share a hung over breakfast with you too 🙂

    Thank you for your brilliant talk on pacing. Now to get down to some serious revision!!!


  6. Fantastic to see you there, Julie, and great talk on pacing (I’ve been trying to apply it to the Book That Won’t Behave). And you didn’t seem terribly hungover…yours truly can’t get out of bed before 4pm when she’s had huge amounts to drink.

    And, dammit, I bought Honey Trap and forgot to get you to sign it!


  7. And yes, what IS it about shoes? I think more people photographed my shoes than my face (can’t blame them, better looking, etc).


  8. ohhhh, i do soooo hope to be part of all this one day, i think i have the drinking bit in hand, just need a hand with the novel!


  9. Seems like everyone had a good time. I wish I could have seen you staggering across the field.


  10. Great post Julie. I so can’t wait to go to next years after reading that! Romantic Novelists really are the best and I’m only sorry I missed out this time.


  11. Rach, I have been to teachers’ conferences and I must say that there is less discussion about shoes and hot men there. Lots of drinkin’ though.

    Hopefully see you!

    Rachael, have a great time at the Oz conference.

    It was brilliant to see you too, Liz, Julie, Kate, and Nell.

    Julie, you’ll enjoy Anna’s book and I’m looking forward to reading Nell’s, too.

    Liz, you were surely not hung over?! You looked far too together.

    Kate, I don’t know what it is about shoes but it is really true. Yours were truly fab, BTW. I hope you enjoy HT and I’ll sign it some other time. And good luck with the pacing!

    Fran you would fit right in.

    cyclops8, it was NOT a pretty sight. However I was wearing 3-inch heels. I am proud of that.

    Carol, hopefully we will both get to be there next year! If we can fob off the kids on someone else…


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