I love the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) and I’ve been a member more years than I care to remember. (This is a way of saying I can’t remember which year I joined it’s so long ago.)
I was so hugely honoured to be asked to be the President I didn’t know what to say but as I was being asked by my predecessor, Di Pearson, who was senior editor at Transworld as well as an author in her own right, I didn’t dare say no.
When I told my family my son told me it was a Ming Vase role which apparently means I sit on a shelf and look pretty but don’t do a lot. As I’m not quite as pretty as a Ming Vase I like to do a bit more than that. But it is a supportive role, although having been a member of the RNA for so long I sometimes remember useful thing. But I’m there to back up the chair and all members of the committee. They do such a wonderful job, giving up their limited free time to help members.
My favourite part of the RNA is the New Writers’ Scheme which is where unpublished authors can have their novels assessed by a published novelist. The support follows through and when they achieve publication they become eligible for the Joan Hessayon New Writers Award.
The Katie Fforde Bursary is for members of the RNA who have been trying a while and keep being nearly there, but still haven’t achieved publication. That said, because it’s my award I can give it to anyone I like. The prize is a place at the Conference and a year’s membership. It does seem to have a magic effect – people so often get published very soon after winning!