Today I’m delighted to have Anna Campbell here, roving reporter for Beyond Her Book. Aussie Anna Campbell’s latest historical romance is MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION (May 2011, Avon). You can find out more about Anna and her books at her website.
We’re roving all the way to Melbourne, Australia, today for a roundup of the Romance Writers of Australia conference which took place from Thursday, 11th August, to Sunday, 14th August. More than 350 local romance writers and international guests converged on the Hilton on the Park hotel for four days of learning, networking and partying.
To prove romance writing isn’t for sissies, Melbourne was FREEZING! Thank goodness the atmosphere at the conference was warm and welcoming (although I required copious doses of red wine – purely to keep the blood flowing, you understand).
This conference marked RWAustralia’s 20th anniversary. It was wonderful to have so many international visitors and local luminaries present to wish us well as we approach our 21st birthday. Then we officially become adults so we’ll become sensible and mature. Hmm…
As you can imagine, the explosion in e-books and self-publishing was the hot topic. NYT bestselling author Bob Mayer, here to present his Warrior Writer Workshop, said, “All that anyone knows is that nobody knows anything.” A conclusion echoed through many of the sessions. The keynote speakers, including Susan Wiggs and Stephanie Laurens, agreed with this, although it was exhilarating to note how many times during the conference the focus was on opportunities as well as risks. Stephanie Laurens made the point that storytelling is encoded in the human soul and a good story well told would always find an audience, no matter what the mode of delivery to that particular audience.
As well as a host of international visitors, we had a wonderful turnout from the local publishing houses. It was wonderful to hear the local editors say on their panel that the Romance Writers of Australia conference was now their premiere local writers’ event.
One of my favorite panels was “We Love Romance Because…” where a star-studded selection of local authors got dressed up in their day job clothes (in other words, the audience got to check out their pajamas). They talked about the fun bits of being a romance writer, including a letter Anne Gracie received from a male reader telling her THE PERFECT RAKE was the most brilliant book ever written in the history of the world. We all like to receive those emails!
I’m always delighted to see Jane Porter – she’s spoken at our conference several times and she’s a constant inspiration. I remember when I was reaching the end of my own long journey to publication how galvanizing I found her stories of persistence through disappointment. Jane gave the closing address about holding onto the dream, and you could feel the inspiration flowing out to electrify the audience. Mind you, I suspect a bit of that electricity emanated from the firefighters selling tickets for the charity auction!
Next year’s RWAustralia conference takes place from in August 2012 on Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast (MUCH warmer than chilly Melbourne). If you’re passing, do drop in! We promise a boisterous Aussie welcome.
Bottom Line: I really need to get a passport!