Today my special guest in the Taverna and on Eleni-fest is the fabulous Anna Campbell, author of Regency romance books 'Claiming the Courtesan', 'Untouched', and 'Tempt the Devil'.
Take it away....
Hi Eleni! Thank you for having me as your guest here on the Eleni-Fest. I hope you’re supplying drinks from the taverna, though – make mine a classic margarita!
As many of you know, I was many years unpublished. I count my years in the wilderness from finishing my first complete manuscript when I was 17 up until selling CLAIMING THE COURTESAN to Avon in the U.S. in 2006 27 years later. Yeah, and if you do the maths, you can indeed work out my advanced years!
For most of that time, I was on my own. Robinson Crusoe was my middle name! I didn’t know many people who read romance, let alone, shock, horror, wanted to write it. Inevitably, I spent a lot of time reinventing the wheel. I certainly learnt a lot during my apprenticeship but it took me far too long!
Then one day about 20 years into this long apprenticeship, I screwed up the courage to join Romance Writers of Australia. It then took me another couple of years to front up at the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference. That year it was held at the Hyatt in Kings Cross in Sydney and at the time, I lived five minutes walk away. Not to mention, I’d entered my first contest and somehow finalled. So I couldn’t make excuses about not going any more.
And my life changed!
I know that sounds unnecessarily dramatic but it’s the absolute truth. I honestly felt like I’d come home. As a friend of mine said, going to your first Romance Writers of Australia conference is like finding your own particular wolf pack. I met a stack of wonderful people, some of whom have since become my best friends. I realised that I wasn’t so odd in my dreams to be a published romance writer – other people knew exactly what I was going through in my quest and were taking, had taken or would take the same steps along the road to seeing their books on the shelves. I learnt a stack of stuff about career and market and writing.
I directly credit my publication to seeds that were sown during that conference in 2001. A writer I met there eventually recommended me to her agent in America. I entered a lot more contests, eventually finalling twice in the Golden Heart in 2006 which gave my manuscript a great calling card when my agent submitted it to editors. Through the five years after that conference, people I met gave me advice and critiques and encouragement and support that meant my writing developed in leaps and bounds instead of limps and stops as it had been going up to that point.
Most important of all, at that first conference, I linked up with another writer who turned into my regular critique partner and we’ve worked closely together ever since. Annie West sold to Harlequin Presents/Sexy/Modern in late 2005, about six months before I did. Annie helped me take my writing to the level I needed to reach if I was to be published. I continue to be grateful to her for her wonderful, perceptive advice.
Since 2001, I haven’t missed a single Romance Writers of Australia conference. It’s always fantastic to meet up with old friends, make new ones, get the latest news, share successes, attend the awards dinner and cheer on the contest winners, go to workshops and just generally kick up my heels with my wolf pack. The Aussie conference is still a highlight of my year!
If you’re an Australian and you’re interested in romance writing, there are two things I can’t recommend highly enough. One is join Romance Writers of Australia and the other is beg, steal or borrow the money and the time to attend the conference. They really are a blast!
I’m giving away a signed copy of my most recent release TEMPT THE DEVIL today to one lucky commenter.
If you’d like more information on me and my books, including my 27th October release CAPTIVE OF SIN, please visit my website: www.annacampbell.info
So do you have any experience of writers’ get-togethers as a writer or a reader?
Wow, amazing piece Anna, thank you. Can I say you have some fantastic covers there, especially Mr 'Tempt the Devil' *grin*. Good luck with the release of 'Captive of Sin' - oh and here's your margarita.
Now dear readers, you have until the end of 14th October to make a comment for your chance to win Tempt the Devil. (Click the title link to check out the blurb on Anna's website!)
Good luck! And thank you Anna for your generosity.
Comments are now closed. Congratulations Cathryn Brunet!