I mentioned last week that I’d won a ticket to the Australian Romance Readers’ Convention. Which was ironic as I don’t read romance.
Nevertheless…. I decided it was most certainly a ‘sign’ and – though it wasn’t in my budget – I headed down to Melbourne to join romance readers and writers, hoping we’d have ‘something’ in common, and #spoileralert, we did. Namely… our love of reading and writing!
And as I’m writing this Sunday Post / weekly check-in ‘from’ the convention, I figured I’d offer up something a little different.
What I read
I managed to only read a couple of books: finishing The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth; Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick and starting Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. I also started listening to an audiobook on a lengthy work trip, and suspect I’ll finish it on another long drive this coming week. I’m enjoying James Phelan’s Dark Heart, though it’s weird hearing a very posh voice talk about blood, guts and violence. I’m reminded of hearing Benedict Cumberbatch read erotic prose or similar on the Graham Norton show once.
What I wrote
I talked about my childhood pet, named after a 1973 movie, Digby the Biggest Dog in the World. And I wrote about the Romance Readers Convention (ARRC) and the fact that I wasn’t going to know anyone and had no idea what to wear!
The convention kicked off on Friday afternoon with registration and welcome drinks. Never one to turn down free booze, I bought my ticket to the welcome drinks (thereby making it not-free I realise) and nervously ventured into the
lion’s romance readers den. I thought for sure my romance-disliking ways would be obvious and I’d be tackled to the ground and ejected on entry.
But of course I wasn’t and everyone was very lovely. I met gazillions of people… happily walking up to groups of complete strangers to discuss my dislike of romantic fiction. (No, not really!)
Saturday kicked off with a keynote address by US author Courtney Milan and she was great. She debunked a few myths about romance: the formulaic-like structure; and the oh-too-perfect hero. But mostly she talked about empowerment and the fact we all deserve our ‘happily ever afters’.
I attended a showing of the documentary, Love Between the Covers – which I LOVED, while others speed-dated (readers and authors, that is), and then sessions about using romance to shine a light on social issues; and with an agent and publishers (Escape/Harlequin and Hachette) about what we readers want.
I was a tad nervous about the Awards dinner. I had a once-worn dress I decided would be suitable for the night but when I finally tried it on – the night before I left home – it was horrendous. Several outfit changes later I decided on a something far more comfortable.
The lovely Amy Andrews had ensured I had a seat at her table at dinner (and was very welcoming all weekend). We’ve been virtual friends for years and she’s someone I knew I’d really like and connect with in person.
Today’s been another enjoyable day. We had a keynote address from popular Aussie author Kylie Scott who talked about her writing journey and then a skype session with US paranormal romance writer Thea Harrison. It was interesting then to hear from a panel of authors talk about character development and how they plot / plan (or otherwise) their books. And finally a session on feminism vs romance fiction that involved no bitter arguments or fisticuffs. 😉
Sadly I’m leaving a tad early as flight connection options to my hometown are limited and I need to get home tonight as I have a commitment on Monday. As a result I’m missing a panel session and the final keynote by Kristen Callihan.
I, for one, am glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone to attend. I met some lovely people, confirming my long-held percepion that readers and writers are all AMAZING!
I have some exciting news I’ll share tomorrow so you’ll have to tune in then.
Have you had an enjoyable week? Any interesting plans for the next one?