Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

An interesting afternoon

on May 10, 2010

Yesterday I went to an “Author Event” at Newcastle City Library.  Three authors – Benita Brown, Katie Fforde and Sue Moorcroft, all members of the Romantic Novelist’s Association – talked about their work and took questions from the audience.  Actually, there weren’t very many questions.  Sue Moorcroft had brought some ideas for discussion with her, such as how each of them felt about libraries, how they got into writing, what they do between books etc, and it was so interesting to hear them talk about what they wanted to talk about that I didn’t bother asking the one I’d thought of.

They shared lots of interesting anecdotes (especially Sue – her tale of a fight between her and a schoolmate, aged 10, was probably the most surprising) and talked about how they, and others they know, carry out their research.  One thing that made a real impression on me was that Sue wrote two novels just for herself before she became serious about writing and investigated how to do it (via books, courses etc).  She said that she was happier writing those two novels than she’s ever been writing anything else, because she didn’t know she was doing it wrong.  I’d always assumed that writing was something you just drift into, but I’d have thought that anyone who’s heard her say that would think twice about taking it further if they weren’t sure they wanted to make a career out of it.  She has written a book, Love Writing, about how to make money from writing romantic fiction.  If she repeatedly tells her audiences how much happier she was before she learned how to write properly, I wonder how many potential purchasers of that book she dissuades?!

Each writer also read a section from their most recently published novel.  Having read all of Katie’s books I knew the passage she was reading (from Love Letters) but as it’s one of my favourites it was lovely to listen to.  I haven’t read anything by either of the others – I had gone mainly to see/hear Katie – but I’m certainly interesting in doing so now.  They have different styles from Katie’s, especially Benita, who writes historical novels, but both were very interesting and of course stopped at an intriguing moment!

My big disappointment was that althoughthey had primarily come to discuss Loves Me, Loves Me Not, an anthology of short stories written by members of the RNA to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the copies ordered for the bookstall hadn’t arrived and none of the speakers had brought one (expecting there to be plenty to use when they arrived!).  So they were unable to read from that, or indeed to talk about it, other than to encourage people to buy it when they could.  I will certainly be ordering my copy soon, either from Amazon or The Book Depository, whoever can provide it more cheaply!

Although I didn’t buy any books there (the only one I’d been really interested in was the anthology although as it turned out I didn’t have enough cash for anything anyway!) I had taken my copy of Love Letters with me and Katie signed it for me.  We had a bit of a chat about how great these events are and I considered telling her I was the person she’d been talking to on Twitter but decided it sounded a bit stalker-ish (she told me this morning, again via Twitter, that I should have mentioned it, but there you go).

So, not the way I usually spend my Sunday afternoons, but a very interesting thing to do once in a while.  I couldn’t believe the time went to quickly and I envy those people who were going to the (rather expensive) meal with them at Jesmond Dene House Hotel, who would have got to hear a lot more.  I’ll certainly be looking out for similar events in future.


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