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New Romantics Press welcomes Julia Wild

Julia Wild

An Interview with talented novelist – Julia Wild 

Firstly, I must thank Lizzie Lamb for inviting me onto this wonderful blog.

Julia, you have always been unfailingly kind and supportive of New Romantics Press so it is our pleasure to have you on our blog. So, pull up a pew and tell us something about yourself.

I’m the current Hon Secretary of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I’m just beginning my third year in the position. The post involves dealing with day to day admin of the RNA taking and producing minutes after meetings. I’m lucky to be working with such a fabulous bunch of hard-working committee members. Until I joined the committee, I had absolutely no inkling of all the effort that goes on behind the scenes of the RNA.

 

 

 

My writing life began in childhood when I would dream up stories to star in. As time went on, I wrote stories for chums, involving them and their choice of pop star/film star – or boy in our class. It was always romance, at its most innocent.

Before I married I had a variety of jobs, bank work (was politely asked to leave due to numeric dyslexia, which I didn’t know I had) Nightclub waitress (mini-skirt, butcher’s apron, white knee boots) loved it – but had all my tips stolen from apron pocket. Needlewoman Shop assistant in Regent Street, legal secretary…

 

 

 

As you do I married, had children, and then one fateful Saturday in 1989, I was given a Saturday job looking after a double glazing showroom. Well, as you can imagine, it wasn’t the busiest shop in the street! Once I’d done a bit of dusting and hoovering, I pulled a romance book from my handbag and began reading… And pretty soon thought: ‘I can do better than this.’ Anyone who writes knows – it’s seriously not that easy and there is so much you can only learn by actually writing. The obsession began. I wrote tomes – a contemporary crime/romance, three whopping historicals – 250 thousand words each – typed and retyped many times!

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In 1993, I won a competition to spend a week on a historical writing course and whilst on this, one of the tutors, the late Pamela Cleaver said I must join the RNA. I joined the New Writers’ Scheme and spent until 1997 submitting a variety of historical, contemporary romances and medical romances until in 1997, my book was accepted for publication. It was called Dark Canvas and went on to win the RNA’s New Writers’ Award (now the Joan Hessayon Award). Since then I had another four books published and Illusions won the RNA’s First Romance Prize (now the Rona Rose) in 2003.

 

 

 

The publishers closed though in 2003 and in 2014, when I was made redundant from my library post of 18 years– I decided to go through the process of publishing my backlist. Once I obtained the rights back, with the help of the Society of Authors, who are amazing. I had help and advice on self-publishing from several RNA members – Lizzie Lamb included (thank you, Lizzie!) Freda Lightfoot and Jenny Haddon. I’m sure there are more who I spoke with – apologies for not mentioning your names.

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One of the highlights of self-publishing was to bring out a new book, Moon Shadow – a book that was accepted by two publishers but never made it to print. In 2016, I brought this one out and it felt wonderful to free it from the office drawer at long last. A lovely university art graduate called Bori worked on the covers for me, and as anyone who has been involved in this process will know – it does take a lot of tweaking.

To read a sample, buy or share this book, click here. 

I write as Julia Wild and have recently freed my 18th Century romances from their corsets in the cupboard. One of them is currently with my editor friend who will tell me honestly whether it is worth working on! I hope so – I did shorten it from 250 thousand words to 96 thousand words, and I think when you do that, you can never be sure it has worked! Time will tell.PhotoFunia-1464513640

Before I leave, I must say thank you again to Lizzie Lamb and the New Romantics’ Press Blog for generously inviting me along here.

The pleasure has been all ours, Julia. See you very soon.

Julie Vince (Writes as Julia Wild) – do go over to her Amazon page for reviews, blurbs, and much, much more about her books. 1-PhotoFunia-1496071553

New Romantics Press @ the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Conference

Two members of New Romantics Press – Lizzie and Adrienne, travelled to Telford to attend the Romantic Novelists’ Association‘s conference. First stop was the LAMB INN – most appropriate, or so we thought – until we discovered it was the-inn-which-had-no-food. They were prepared to make us a tuna sandwich (thanks, but no thanks) so we quickly got back into Adrienne’s car and headed for Harper Adams University.

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The eponymous Lamb Inn – which had run out of food!

Luckily, we managed to hit the snack bar before it closed, then high-tailed it to our rooms where we unpacked and got ready for the highlight of our day: the Indie Authors’ Cocktail Party,  which Adrienne and I hosted in our kitchen. The guest of honour was lovely Freda Lightfoot  (author of over 48 books) who went from saga writer to hybrid author, publishing her own backlist on Amazon in 2010. Freda was joined by another hybrid author, Margaret Kaine who has been a great supporter of NRP since it was first formed. Listening to Freda’s fascinating summing up of her career, we wish we’d put our books on Amazon before the algorithm changed and T&C became less favourable. The old adage time and tide wait for no man certainly

The old adage time and tide wait for no man certainly applies here. Cue clock face …..

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Tempus Fugit – The clock tower at Harper Adams University

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Freda talking to Margaret Kaine, hybrid author and supporter of NRP, about the difference between ‘then’ and ‘now’.

The purpose of the party was to celebrate the many successes achieved by indie authors, such as New Romantics Press and others, and to celebrate them. In recognition of the changing face of publication, the RNA  established the Independent Author category almost two years ago. Lizzie was the second member to make the transition from the New Writers’ Scheme, with Alison Morton pipping her at the post as the first! After three years Independent Authors become full members of the association and have voting rights accorded to them. Here’s a snapshot of some of the Incredible Indies who joined us at our drinks party, along with newly designed Chair of the RNA – Nicola Cornick and Vice-Chair Alison May.

Recent blogs have concentrated on the marvellous panel talks and workshops organised by members of the RNA. But this post is all about how we spent the weekend networking, talking to agents, meeting editors and generally having some downtime after publishing ten books between us in under five years. Twelve books, if we add on June and Mags’s books, too.

One of the best parts of the conferences is touching base with friends we only see on social media and this conference was no exception. Shrieks of delight and recognition greeted us every time we turned a corner and bumped into old friends.

The gala dinner is always the highlight of such events and Harper Adams did us proud, ensuring that the food was top notch and banished all thoughts of the tuna sandwich we’d earlier turned down! Lizzie was glad that her new dress from GRIZAS (Lithuania) had arrived in time and didn’t clash with Adrienne’s zig-zag catsuit. Purrfect.

One notable absentee at the conference was the late Carole Blake, a wonderful agent and great supporter of the RNA. Sadly, Carole died last autumn and this fabulous quilt was auctioned off in her memory. As a result, enough money was raised to pay for two delegates to attend the conference in Leeds next summer. Carole would have heartily approved.

At the end of the gala dinner, two lovely NWS members sought Lizzie out to tell her how much they’d enjoyed TALL DARK AND KILTED. Next day, they bought more of her books

Lizzie and Adrienne went their own way during the conference, attending those workshops which took their fancy, but meeting up back in the kitchen to share their experiences. Lizzie especially enjoyed the TIME SLIP seminar and Adrienne became a SCREENWRITER, albeit temporarily. Perhaps she’ll turn her Irish trilogy into a film? Wonder who’ll play the hero? Aiden Turner, perchance?IMG_4897.jpg

To round up the conference, Lizzie attended the ‘warts and all’ talk given by Mandy Baggot on her path to publication. New Romantics Press respect Mandy’s work ethic and how she’s made the transition from indie to contracted author at prestigious Ebury Press. Lizzie will be writing up Mandy’s talk for a forthcoming edition of Romance Matters, edited by Adrienne.

Well, that about wraps up this personal take on #RNACON17. Hope to see some of you at the Winter Party or an RNA Chapter Meeting very soon. Footnote: neither June nor Mags could make the conference this year and were missed. We hope they join us at the next one in Leeds, or at the Historical Novel Conference in Glasgow August 2018.

And finally, a big thanks to everyone who organised this fabulous conference – and a couple of photos which sum up the spirit of the conference for us and which we hope will leave you smiling –

And our favourite, taken by Anita Chapman . . .

A MOST DEADLY AFFAIR – LONGLISTED FOR COVETED AWARD

Adrienne Vaughan Author at RNA Conference

Picture by John Jackson

Adrienne’s first historical novel, A Most Deadly Affair, set in the 1950’s, was longlisted for the coveted Elizabeth Goudge Trophy at the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) conference held at the Queen Mary University in London, recently.

The annual competition, which is judged on the first chapter of a so far unpublished novel, received a record number of entries this year and Adrienne was bowled over when it was announced A Most Deadly Affair had made it into the top six.

Award-winning author and current RNA Chairman, Eileen Ramsay, commented that the standard this year was extremely high, and A Most Deadly Affair’s premise of a heroine with exactly the same birthday as the Queen was fascinating; especially as she inherits the family business – a funeral parlour – at the same time as the Queen ascends the throne.

Adrienne is adding this achievement to a growing list of accolades. Debut novel, The Hollow Heart and follow-up, A Change of Heart were both shortlisted for awards at the Festival of Romantic Fiction 2013 and 2014 respectively whilst the conclusion of the trilogy, Secrets of the Heart will be submitted later this year.

Currently working on her new novel, Scandal of the Seahorse Hotel, Adrienne is taking a break to attend the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) conference in New York next week.

“I am thrilled to have my work recognised, especially as many of the writers who entered are long-established, best sellers who I have always admired. It goes some way to demonstrate my writing career is moving in the right direction, keeping everything crossed – even my eyes – when I say that, of course.” She commented.                              

The Elizabeth Goudge trophy was donated by the English author and distinguished former Vice President of the Association, Elizabeth Goudge. Since 2000 it has been associated with—and presented at—the RNA‘s Annual Conference. The award is open to all RNA members attending the conference, published or unpublished. The theme of the competition is set by the chairman and varies from year to year; this year’s theme was Family Values.

Adrienne Vaughan was interviewed recently by Rosie Amber, blogger and book reviewer, read what she had to say.