RNA Winter Party

Well, first of all let me introduce you all to Emily, my incredibly supportive daughter. Without her moral support I would never have made it to the RNA winter party.

I think I’ve mentioned before on this blog that all my life I’ve felt a bit disjointed. Different, quirky, odd – that sort of thing. The compulsion to drop everything I’m doing and sit down and write has been overwhelming, but my family has always thought I was a bit strange. My husband has, in the past, likened me to a secret transvestite because I kept my writing a secret. They kept it a secret. It was something not to be talked about. A skeleton in the Ireson family closet.

Emily absolutely loved the RNA party, so much so that loads of people thought she was a writer, too. Then she said something really lovely about all of us – published or not. She said that it was such a relief to her to know that there were other people in the world like her mum. She said she felt the same quirkiness throughout the crowded room that she had been feeling all her life and she felt really at home amongst us all.

We met up with Jane Wenham-Jones at the party. She gave me my usual injection of confidence – several times actually – and introduced me to lots of influential people as one of her ‘Wannabes’. As you can see one glass just wasn’t enough for me on this occasion as I had one red wine and one white wine! I also met Cally Taylor, Leigh Forbes and Kate Johnson and was absolutely gutted to find, when I got home and looked on the website, that Liz Fenwick had been there too! It was so crowded I just hadn’t come across her in the huge, awesome library and I really would have liked to speak to her. Sorry Liz – I just didn’t know you were there!

I met people I had met before in Caerleon and others I had conversed with by e-mail or in blogland. I managed to tell Judy Astley that she had won my little sunbed poll of the most popular books when I was on holiday (a 2-week long tally chart of books being read by people on sunbeds – 1st Judy Astley, 2nd Jill Mansell, 3rd Cecilia Ahern and they all beat Martina Cole into fourth place. Judy was thrilled to bits.)Sue Moorcroft and her husband were there too. How on earth have we never managed to come across each other before, I ask myself? We live so close to each other we could practically chuck paper aeroplanes into each other’s gardens (well – a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m talking 20 minutes walk here.) Our husbands have known each other for years and years. I like Sue. She’s such a good role model. There she was, cool as anything, with ‘Starting Over’ sitting in WH Smith on St Pancras Station at No 4, no less, and her name on the cover and in the pages of ‘Loves Me, Loves me Not’. You can’t get any more successful than that, can you?

Elizabeth Hawksley was, as ever, so supportive of me as a new writer, as was Katie Fforde and Melanie Hilton. I absolutely loved talking to Cally about ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and came away feeling so happy for her that she had made it through the confusion and nail-biting agony that is becoming published. I spoke to Judith M about the trilogy, which I am rewriting on her advice at the moment, but am still confused about ‘The White Cuckoo’. My gut feeling tells me this book is ‘the one’ but Judith is not impressed with it because it isn’t a saga and she feels I should be concentrating on them. The RNA are helping me to hopefully find an agent to represent the ‘Cuckoo’ through the New Writers’ Scheme and I am greatly indebted to my two RNA readers for all the help and guidance they have given me, along with Melanie Hilton, the NWS Organiser.When we left, my feet hurt so badly from standing on heels (all 2 inches of them) all night, I really thought I wasn’t going to make it to St Pancras. Emily’s feet hurt, too, but she didn’t moan about it all the way home like I did!

We ate a bag of giant chocolate buttons and another bag of chocolate clusters coming home on the train, and bumped into a Councillor, who looked mightily bemused at the sight of the ‘other me’. Annie the eccentric writer of fiction as opposed to Anne, who is a boring, staid local government officer with personality extracted by years of having to write about protocol, constitutions and standing orders.

He e-mailed me yesterday, saying he almost didn’t recognise me because I looked so different. ‘You looked really happy,’ he said. ‘Had you been on the razz.’

‘Nuff said. Councillor, if you read this blog, now you know!

All in all I would have to say the evening was AMAZING, but I won’t because that word is beginning to annoy me intensely. Why does everyone on TV have to keep saying it all the time?

(PS: Debs – it would have been perfect if you had been able to come, too)

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9 thoughts on “RNA Winter Party

  1. Thank you for posting this, as with Liz's post it's fantastic to have an insight in to the party and to see photos of you all. Wonderful.

  2. Don't you look mighty glam Ms Annie? Chocolate! Naughty (but nice). Glad to hear you had a fab time 🙂 TFx

  3. I would have loved to have been able to meet up with you and Cally again, and to meet your daughter.It looks like great fun was had by all.

  4. Fia – aww thanks. It was great to chat this morning – make sure you email me your partial, I'm really looking forward to reading it.Chris H – I was gutted to have missed Liz at the party. Helen – it was great, despite me saying that I didn't want to go because I was scared.TF – Me? Glam? Ooo-er. Annie and Glam do not go together. After Thursday night I have discovered that the best cure for hurting feet is chocolate!Debs – I really wish you could have made it too. (By the way your nano word count is impressive)Howie – I couldn't find your email address when I clicked on your name. Mine is anne.ireson@ntlworld.com if you want to email me.

  5. Drat, I didn't see you there, Annie. I was going to 'come out' to you as the reader who recommended The White Cuckoo for a second read. But now I shall remain anon for the time being! (I'm adamant that it has all the right ingredients and do hope you find a helpful agent soon.)

  6. Lane – tee hee! It was quite funny, the four glasses of wine. Your inbox will be full of cuckoo poo very shortly (oh hells bells, why do I hesitate to press that little 'send' button.Anonymous – Thanks for your lovely comments on the Cuckoo. (I am posting a thank you card off to Melanie Hilton to forward on to you – a bit belated I know, but the postal strike got in the way, I kept the card in my handbag for too long and it got so tatty so I had to buy a new one and write it out again). There has been some interest in the Cuckoo, but I'm not counting my chicks just yet 🙂

  7. I'm pleased you both had a great time there. I know it's taking longer than you expected but I'm sure you're going to be published soon.Jane is good with her pep-talks, isn't she? Do you think she does them for life in general as well as for writing related things? Perhaps I could pay her in wine.

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