I’ve had a busy couple of months, finishing a book (Desperate Deception: Dark Mountain 2 – out on 8 October!), having some fun at the Byron Bay Writers Festival and being with my tribe at the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference.
I’ve also started the third in the Dark Mountain series; Fatal Deception. So far a forensic psychologist (the heroine), a narcissistic psychopath and a rather likable serial killer have turned up on the page. The hero is waiting in the wings, ready to give the heroine some bad news. Her life is going to get a lot more problematic.
I can also hear the siren call of some erotic romance stories. Maybe I can slip one in while I write about murder and mayhem.
Today there was an interesting discussion on Twitter about the lack of a romance genre presence at writers festivals. There’s a common belief among romance writers that the major Australian literary festivals are not interested in genre writing and romance writing in particular. Crime is the usual exception being well represented at most festivals.
I think that’s changing. This year the Melbourne Writers Festival had a good romance presence, the result of a pitch to the festival organisers by Kate Cuthbert and others. Having a good pitch is the key. Lisa Dempster the CEO of the Melbourne Writers Festival gave a useful presentation at the RWA conference about how to get onto writers festival panels. Pitching a good idea that is not necessarily genre specific seems to be what they’re interested in.
I could see this at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. One of the sessions I went to was about Duplicitous Lives – a session about writers who’d written books about adulterous men. Another was about Grief and Creativity. Both panels were about ideas and themes such as denial and forgiveness. I could see genre writers contributing to each panel, brining to them a different perspective.
The Byron Bay Writers Festival did have a panel that was allegedly about romance but wasn’t really. Honey Brown, Krissy Kneen and Jennifer St George ended up talking about sex and erotica. It was interesting but not a panel on romance as a genre. If you are a member of the Australian Romance Readers Association, there will be a write up about this panel in the September newsletter.
Some panels I’d like to see at writers festivals would be feminism and romance; how to write authentically about happiness; does success lead to intellectual dismissal in Australia; writing what you know – using your profession in your writing. Maybe I’ll pitch!
The RWA conference was dazzling this year. Held in partnership with the Melbourne Writers Festival,
there was a significant non-romance element to the conference which I was a bit ambivalent about. Graeme Simsion author of the Rosie books gave a key note address, and while I loved The Rosie Project and he is a funny and engaging speaker, I still have a niggling doubt that if he was middle aged and female his books wouldn’t have been the hits they are. Is that me being unfair? Maybe it is.
Chris Corbett’s workshop on screen writing was excellent. He was able to present in an hour a concise and funny workshop, jam packed with meaty, useful material. I’m seriously thinking of doing a day workshop with him in January 2016.
Likewise CS Pacat’s workshop on narrative traction was a terrific rundown on how to maintain tension throughout a story. Her Captive Prince Trilogy is a great example of withholding the resolution of tension in order to keep the reader turning the page.