Day four on my month-long Romantic Novelists Association feature. Each day in February I will have a different author on the blog, talking to me about their books. It is to help celebrate the sixtieth birthday of the RNA and to raise awareness of how it might be a great fit for you if you are an author. I hope you enjoy the features over the next few weeks. Be sure to give the authors a follow on social media and add the books you fancy from the selection of great authors to your own TBR.
💫Romantic Novelists Association
The Romantic Novelists’ Association was founded in 1960 to both celebrate, and demand respect for, romantic fiction. Founder members included Denise Robins, Barbara Cartland, Elizabeth Goudge, Netta Muskett, Catherine Cookson and Rosamunde Pilcher. The first President of the Association, Denise Robins, noted that although romantic fiction gave great pleasure to many readers, the writers almost felt they had to apologise for what they did. The RNA was going to put a stop to those apologies and, instead, celebrate and promote romantic authorship.
In 1966, an early Vice President of the association, Elizabeth Goudge, commented that ‘As this world becomes increasingly ugly, callous and materialistic it needs to be reminded that the old fairy stories are rooted in truth, that imagination is of value, that happy endings do, in fact, occur, and that the blue spring mist that makes and ugly street look beautiful is just as real a thing as the street itself.’
Today, the RNA continues to support and champion the authorship of romantic fiction that shows the value of imagination and the possibility of a happy ending and also celebrates the broader spectrum of romantic fiction that explores the more challenging aspects of relationships and human experience.
💫 Single All the Way
Snow is falling, bells are ringing… and my heart is broken. I pick up the phone to tell my mother about Oliver and me. Then right after I explain, she says, ‘I don’t exactly know how to tell you this, but you’re not the only one who is single again.’
Single together for the first time, 34-year-old Meg and her warm-hearted mother Sally decide to cancel Christmas, and run away to a tiny cottage on the Cornish coast. For Meg, it is the perfect place to heal, away from all the mistletoe, while for her mother it has a special, and secret, place in her heart – from a love story that seems a lifetime ago…
Meg and Sally find they’re getting to know themselves, and each other, better than ever before. But as they are unable to resist getting involved in the village Christmas celebrations, they encounter two handsome local strangers.
Sometimes, it’s being away from home that helps you realise where your heart is. What neither woman knows is that, by the time the new year rolls around, one woman will have fallen in love with their ex all over again, and one relationship will be over for good…
An escapist, romantic and heart-warming novel for fans of One Day in December and No One Cancels Christmas.
Karen King is a multi-published bestselling author of romance novels, YA and children’s books. She has had eight romantic novels, two YA books and 120 children’s books published. She has also written several short stories for women’s magazines.
Currently published by Bookouture, Karen’s latest title, Single All The Way, is out now.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey, please?
I started my writing career freelancing for Jackie magazine and children’s comics such as Postman Pat and Winnie the Pooh, then children’s books before moving onto YA and romance. I’ve had 120 children’s books published, two young adult novels, eight romantic novels and several short stories for women’s magazines. My latest three romance novels, Single All The Way, The Year of Starting Over and Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel, are all published by Bookouture.
Can you tell us how you became involved with the Romantic Novelists Association and what it means for you to be part of it?
I love being part of the RNA, it’s such a supportive organisation, there’s always someone ready and willing to answer any question you have, to jolly you along when the writing isn’t going well, congratulate you when it is and to offer advice. There are also lots of useful workshops run by RNA members and an annual conference where you can meet other members and Industry Professionals. I joined the RNA about ten years ago when I had my first romance novel published. I’ve been a member ever since and am delighted to now be the RNA blog co-ordinator.
What was the inspiration behind your latest release?
My latest release is a Christmas novel titled Single All The Way. The seeds of this story were sown when I read an article about the number of older women who felt trapped because they were no longer in love with their husbands, that they were living their lives on autopilot, going through the motions, doing what was expected of them but not what they wanted to do, how they were screaming inside to be free but that they didn’t have a good enough reason to leave because their husbands hadn’t really done anything wrong. It was this, and the many women’s comments supporting and identifying with the piece, that inspired the character of Sally. Meg and Oliver’s story was inspired by a piece I read about a man who had never felt loved as a child so was scared to be a father himself, and he had chosen to have a vasectomy to make sure he never had children.
Do you find it hard to let your characters go when you finish writing the book?
Not at all, I’ve usually moved on to writing another book so have a different set of characters in my head.
What was your favourite read of 2019?
Becoming by Michelle Obama. Such an inspiring woman and inspirational read.
Do you read other romance authors and who would you recommend?
Yes, lots of them. There are so many good authors out there that it’s difficult to choose, but Sophie Kinsella, Sue Moorcroft, Mandy Baggot and Heidi Swain are all among my favourites
Was there a point in your life that a book helped you get through, if so which one?
Yes, when I was going through a pretty awful divorce after a long and difficult marriage I read the book Change Your Life in 7 Days by Paul McKenna and it helped pull me through.
Is there anyone that you would like to mention and thank for their support of your writing?
I would like to thank Beth Jones, a former editor of Accent Press, who discovered ‘I Do – Or Do I?’ in the slush pile and loved it enough to champion it which resulted in Accent Press giving me a three book contract and taking on my backlist. I would also like to thank Mandy Baggot, who kindly gave me a quote for the cover of my romance novel The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, which became an international best-seller.
If you had the power to give everyone in the world one book, what would it be and why?
I couldn’t choose one. I think different books help depending on the circumstances you’re in.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a novel in a completely different genre to my usual romance novels. And that’s all I can say about it right now.
Lastly, do you have any questions for your readers?
Yes, I’d like to know if there is a story that they haven’t come across that they would like to read. What sort of characters and plot would the story involve?
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💫 Final Thoughts
Thank you to Karen for taking part in my special feature.
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