Coming home

I had a great time at the RWA national conference in Brisbane attending interesting and informative tutorials, meeting up with old friends and making new ones, and being inspired by the cameraderie and enthusiasm of the writers there.

Because I had spare time when I arrived on the Thursday, I caught a City Cat ferry to New Farm Park and did a bit of research there for MM&M. New Farm is one of the oldest parts of Brisbane and home to the Powerhouse, which was Brisbane’s original source of electric power. It’s been transformed into an arts and cultural hub, with theatres, conference venues and restaurants. Films, live theatre, music performances – you name, you’ll find it there. The park itself is a wonderful place for families, with rolling lawns, huge trees, and a fantastic children’s playground.

More ideas for the book flooded in as I walked around the park. Place can be very important in a story, and visiting locations allows you to write about them with authenticity and feeling. My books are set in locations as diverse as the modern metropolis of Sydney and Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland, an ancient place that vibrates with the spirits of the people who first trod its rugged wilderness many many centuries ago.

I’d love to know if readers think location is important in the books they read.

RWA Conference coming up!

Tomorrow I fly to Brisbane for the Romance Writers of Australia National Conference. For anyone interested in learning more about writing, the RWA offers a wealth of knowledge in their monthly magazine and in the workshops and tutorials at the conference. Romance writers are a generous, supportive lot, and only too willing to share their experience to help other writers.

“Romance” covers a wide range of writing, from the category romance of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Silhouette to mainstream single title books, as well as a  multitude of sub-genres – suspense, historical, fantasy, paranormal, etc.

Readers often define romance in different ways. Category romance focuses on the evolving love between the two main characters. Mainstream romance can vary from a full-on love story to a suspense story with the focus on the crime and the love between the two main characters interwoven with this. My books sit in the latter group.

On a little aside, have you noticed that booksellers and reviewers never describe romance books written by men as “romance” but call them “love stories” or just “mainstream fiction”? Think about Nicholas Sparks’ books – if they’d been written by a woman, they would have been labelled “romance”, wouldn’t they?

I’m really looking forward to catching up with friends and making new ones at the conference. My readers probably won’t be surprised to learn that the tutorials I will be attending are “Peddling Poisons and Dealing Drugs”, “Crime Control from Counter Terrorism to Search and Rescue” and “Exploring the F-Words – Fight, Flight, Freeze”. I’m hoping to learn some technical info for book eight. This book will be a deviation from my last three, (starting with Dangerous Deception) in that I will no longer be writing about the men involved with The Agency. In book seven, Grievous Harm, the traitor is finally revealed, but that person’s actions have terrible consequences for John Corey and Kate Maclaren.

Number eight in my romantic suspense books (or should that be “suspense books with a love story” <says she with a wry grin>) is stewing in my subconscious at the moment. Every time I read an article I think Ican use or see something in real life or on television that could be slotted into the story, I store it in my brain or that more reliable receptacle, my Work In Progress folder.

In the meantime, I’m continuing with my women’s fiction book. It has an odd title so I won’t share it yet, but just give it WIP title of MM&M. It’s a delight but also a frustration to write as the characters are taking off on their own flight paths and I’m constantly surprised by where they want to go. And there’s a dishy cop …

Mental slap! Get focussed woman! Daydreaming about dishy cops won’t get the book written. And the suitcase packed.