Romantic Novelists Association Summer Party 2010
I went to the 2010 Romantic Novelists Association Summer Party in Westminster last night. It was such a lovely setting, in a high-ceilinged, old-fashioned library, not two blocks from Big Ben and the River Thames. Quite magical to walk back to the tube with night falling and look up at that famous, shining clockface high above our heads.
My mother would have loved the event as well as the setting, having been a staunch supporter of the RNA most of her writing life. Indeed, Charlotte Lamb was the founder of AMBA, an organisation specifically intended to represent the interests of Mills and Boon Authors. (No stranger to political activism, my mother!)
I turned up early for the AGM, which was on the fourth floor of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers - though I'm sure those engineers must be far from mechanical, if they can manage all those stairs every day - and made a bit of an entrance by nearly keeling over out of breath in the doorway.
Luckily, tea and a comfy chair were on hand to restore me to my usual ebullient self. I even dared to ask a question in the Any Other Business part of the meeting. Or maybe two questions. I contributed, at any rate.
The party that followed was lovely. Very elegant and tasty canapés were served, along with glasses of wine and champagne. Halfway through our relentless networking and chinwagging, the old Netta Muskett Award, as was - gosh, showing my age now! - which is now the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers, was awarded to Lucy King for her HMB Modern Heat category romance, Bought: Damsel in Distress.
Many congratulations to Lucy King, and well done to Melanie Hilton for all her hard work in running the RNA New Writers scheme and administering the award!
I didn't take a camera, alas, but photos of people's stylish heels seemed to be the order of the day. My heels were a bit too stylish, and my poor feet now throb horribly. Definitely not a good day to visit the gym!
But the highlight of the evening for me personally were all those lovely comments from people who had either known Charlotte Lamb, or been influenced by her books, or been taught by her at a romance seminar. I even managed to touch base with an old friend of hers at last, the novelist Sara Craven; we've lived in the same town for years, ironically enough, and yet never bumped into each other!
Anyway, my mother would have loved to have been there herself, enjoying the gossip and the canapés, and I'm sure she was, in spirit. Though in much more sensible shoes.