Exhausted. Just back from the RNA conference in Chichester, lovely small city with theatre and cathedral (photo credit ChichesterCC). The conference was so action-packed with talks and workshops that we didn't have time to go into town, but I've been there before and recommend it.
The Romantic Novelists Association covers a large variety of women's commercial fiction from, say, Joanna Trollope to vampire fantasy - see link on the right for more info on the RNA. The annual conference, held at a difference university campus each year, is always tremendous fun with a great atmosphere. RNs certainly know how to party. This year's speakers included Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde, Kate Harrison, Mark Thornton of Mostly Books and the amazing 87-year-old prolific writer Claire Lorrimer, daughter of Denise Robins, one of the founders of the RNA. Amusing, articulate, full of life and fun, so encouraging. She wears spiky heels too, though nothing like as high as Kate's and Julie Cohen's blockbusters which were worthy of Sex and the City. Am I jealous? - only in a nostalgic kind of way. Claire L said her mother was great friends with Barbara Cartland but felt she was often a little overdressed. 'My readers expect it,' said Dame B. Ever energetic, Claire L has just finished her latest thriller and has also published an autobiography about her rather grand life which sounds a perfect present.
(Jill Mansell said she's been visiting this blog and loves my garden - had to admit I only photograph the best bits, but at least now I can claim that the weedy overgrown areas have been deliberately set aside to encourage wild life - photo credit Rory Vereker) I think I'll go for a rest now - all that concentration and partying was too much for me. Plus I was back just in time to watch the last two sets of that fantastic Wimbledon final - no wonder I'm shattered.