Why, historically, has ‘Romance Writer’ been a label that authors are loath to admit to…

… when most romantic novels these days are about way more than just the falling in love bit, whether the author is female or male (think Nicholas Evans and The Horse Whisperer … jeez that book was outstanding for romance, chemistry, agonising life choices)

The Minster reminds me of a mini Duomo Milano; remember my post from March this year?

I’ve never been to York before. Amazing where this creative writing hobby of mine is taking me these days.

The Shambles is a cobbled street that supposedly Diagon Alley, from Harry Potter, emulates! Anyone who has been to the Harry Potter studios (and I took my kids about five years ago and it is bloody amazing) knows the Alley was filmed in a studio 🤗, probably in Elstree!

The guy in the Top Hat was drumming for business for the Ghost Walks through the town, during which you hear all the myths and legends of York’s history (at this point he was taking a call on his smartphone and attempting to camouflage himself against the railings 🤣 yet also reminded me of my post yesterday which gave me a creepy shudder).

I went on the walk and saw things I would not have noted otherwise, such as black cats placed all around the city a long time ago as good luck charms for sailors.

See the cat in this photo?!

I was here to attend another RNA event – this time in the Mechant Taylor’s Hall, at which Jean Fullerton gave a fabulous speech about romance writers and her belief as to why so many of them (us? Can I count myself in there… please??!) feel embarrassed or lesser writers than those authors who create psychological thrillers, or perhaps literary classics of the future.

The purported experts at the top who dictate what goes on in publishing circles have often been seen to dismiss ‘women’s fiction’ … ‘beach reads’ …. and so on as less important than the Dan Brown type of deeper stuff. Those experts believe romance novels will never become classics. Let’s think of a classic author, of the sort used in an educational syllabus.

Jean made the valid point that Jane Austin is hailed as a classic author, to be studied and her work analysed forever more by both male and female students. So, what did she write about?

Pardon? I didn’t hear you? Mr D’Arcy was that? Relationship complications did you mention? Complex family relationships? Hmmmm

Jean’s point was that we should be proud to sell ourselves as romance writers as it’s one of the most highly sought after genres by the largest readership. More romance fiction is sold worldwide than anything else.

If you recall, my dear loyal followers, I sent my ‘partial’ manuscript in on 30 July to the RNA’s NWS to be read by a professional. The report came back yesterday!

While I have much to work on in regard to timelines, character links, reasons why events happen in my plot, the Reader liked my writing style, thought the premise for my novel was a ‘great’ one 💫

They love my dual POV but wanted more from Antonio (this is not surprising as 22,000 words existed from Martha’s POV before I even decided to bring his in, after that Curtis Brown course I did in Apr/May!).

I am delighted with all the constructive criticism and helpful suggestions. After all, although we don’t know the identity of the Readers we are allocated, we do know they are multi-published authors who know the market and know what readers of romance are looking for.

So my plan continueth 🌸 with lots more emotion and high stakes. How fabulous that my Reader encouraged me to make it darker which is music to my ears.

I thank Jane Austin for men in wet shirts… it works for me 😈