In my day to day life, I have a few acquaintances who read and enjoy romance novels but it is a rare occasion to be surrounded by romance novel enthusiasts and authors and attending the Australian Romance Readers Convention gives you a chance to talk talk talk about romance novels without the fear that you are getting tiresome.
Here is my twitter influenced take (that is: 140 words or less per session)
Friday Night Cocktails
The cocktail party was an intimate affair overlooking Bondi Beach with readers, bloggers, tweeps and authors mingling and schmoozing. The funny thing is that I didn’t look out at the view even once. The company was so engaging and enjoyable.
It was very exciting to meet up with friends from 2009 and even more so to meet friends whom I have met through Twitter and with whom I have shared many a twitversation. Some were instantly recognisable due to their twitter pictures and names but others who use a pseudonym or pseudophoto would sometimes be talking to you for a while before you realised who they were.
After the cocktails there was an impromptu meet-up in BookThingo’s room where we continued to talk books, romance fiction and bling.
Keynote: Anna Campbell
Anna Campbell loves reading about intense relationships. Her first romance was by Joyce Dingwell, a Mills & Boon which she read at 8. Anna gave us a who’s who of Australian. Helen Bianchin, Margaret Way, Lindsay Armstrong, Valerie Parv, Emma Darcy. Up until this point, authors were published out of London by Mills & Boon. Then Harlequin published Bronwyn Jameson along with Annie West, Rachel Bailey, Amy Andrews, Michelle Douglas, Paula Roe, Sarah Mayberry and Melanie Milburne.
Australian single title authors are Stephanie Laurens, Anne Gracie, Mel Scott, Keri Arthur, Erica Hayes, Denise Rosetti, Helene Young, Bronwyn Parry, Anna Campbell and many more.
Anna ended her talk saying that Australia is a good place to be as a romance author because it is culturally aligned between the US & England therefore appealing to a very broad audience.
Book Launch – Helene Young’s Shattered Sky
Helene Young launched her new romantic suspense book Shattered Sky set in North Queensland.
This One Time – Panel discussion
Jess Dee (erotic), Anna Campbell (Historical), Shannon Curtis (Category), Helene Young (Romantic Suspense)
Moderator: Erica Hayes (Urban Fiction)
This one Time:
Discussion ranged from where authors get ideas. Both from their life experiences and their reading influences.
All the writers seemed to draw from their own experiences. Helene Young had the tragic misfortune of finding a dead body on the beach which years later acted as the foundation for her latest book Shattered Sky. Anna Campbell though has never met a Spanish duke in the 19th century and finds that she pulls a lot more out of her captive years at a Dickensian boarding school. For Shannon Curtis trying to get published was turned on its head when she took her blind father’s advice to sex up her writing though she w=ould prefer that he didn’t listen to audiobooks of her writing. Australian’s take blaspheming lightly but the American’s don’t. She gets a lot of complaints about the JC’s but not the fucks. This is a stand out in cultural differences.
This was a funny session with some lovely anecdotes from all the authors.
Romantic Suspense – panel discussion
Cindy Gerard, Helene young, Karlene Blakemore-Mowle, Shannon Curtis
Moderator: Bronwyn Parry
The authors talked about character development and the research they did so they can ensure their story was an entertaining escape and researched with sensitivity and authenticity. Keeping the romance story present in the romantic suspense can be difficult. There is an intensity that lends itself to adrenaline when lots of characters are dying that warrants hot sex quickly for others.
Cindy Gerard has a lot of military fans and her characters tend to be ex-soldiers. She’s vulnerable to her readers that have become friends and feels a responsibility in writing for them.
Research for all the authors plays a large role. Helene Young, also a pilot, needs to keep the flight information realistic without boring the layman yet not dumbing it down either. Cindy uses travel guidebooks and Bronwyn loves Google Earth to work out just how isolated can she make her settings.
Another interesting session.
I bid on several items at the auction. I missed out on the retro Mills and Boon notebooks and Kathleen O’Reilly books. However I won the following
Yay, for Kandy! Despite being an Australian author (and Sydney based) Kandy had been published in the US but not in Australia. I fell in lover with her book covers and she is a funny, scream of an author who was just as excited as I was when I got the winning bid *cheering*
Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses and An Affair Before Christmas because she’s one of the author’s I suggest for romance novel sceptics.
Sarah Mayberry’s Her Best Friend, Home for the Holidays and A Natural Father because I wanted to trial an author I hadn’t yet discovered.