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ARRC2011 wrap up: Sunday

19 April 2011

After a late night on Saturday night at the Awards Dinner, we had a more leisurely start to the day on Sunday.

Cindy Gerard

The first session started at 9.30 am, with Cindy Gerard delivering a truly inspirational speech about the importance of being able to confine, control and dominate self-doubt. It was certainly an eye-opener to think that a best-selling author could be plagued by self-doubt. 

In her closing Cindy said: “I am a romance writer. And I’m proud of it. And by the way, you should be damn proud to be a reader of some of the best fiction in today’s market. Don’t ever apologise to anyone for loving what you read. I know I’ll never apologise for loving what I like to do and wanting to leave something behind for the world to remember me by.” Wow. How can romance readers not be proud of the books they read when the authors are so proud and passionate about them?

This other time

This panel was led by Paula Roe (left of photo) and featured (L to R) Bronwyn Parry, Annie West, Cindy Gerard, Kelly Hunter and Keri Arthur. A few leading questions, such as “How do your friends and family cope with you being a published author?”, “What has been your strangest inspiration for a story?” and “How far have you gone in the name of research?” led to some fascinating anecdotes and insights into an author’s life. Some of the research in particular was amazing, ranging from jumping off a 40-foot cliff into a river “to see what it would feel like to be on the run”, to staying in a castle overlooking the Rhine and riding in a horse-drawn sleigh “for authenticity”.  A tough job!


Kandy Shepherd (far right in photo) led a panel consisting of (L to R) Lisa Heidke, Cathleen Ross, Ros Baxter, Amy Andrews and Christine Darcas. The panel explored their reasons for writing contemporary romance or women’s fiction, as well as the advantages/disadvantages of writing in the first person or third person. They talked about what contemporary romance offers readers that other sub-genres don’t and also discussed their favourite contemporary authors, which included Marion Keyes, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, Jennifer Crusie, Maggi Alderson and Nora Roberts. The discussion moved on to whether much of their books tended to be autobiographical and from there to how hard it can be to write sex scenes – and the whole “condom thing”. One writer may have mentioned blocking sex scenes using Barbie dolls, but we think she was kidding.

Up and coming authors

This panel, led by Jenny Brassel (far right in photo), joined by (L to R) Helene Young, Heather Boyd, Shannon Curtis, AB Gayle and Maggie Nash was the opportunity to get to know some of the newer names in romance fiction. The authors talked about the various sub-genres they write in, how they started out writing, mistakes they had made along the way, things they had learnt, and who they turned to for help and advice. They also talked about their favourite books to read and about their upcoming books and story ideas they had in the works.


This session featured a chat between Anna Campbell and Anne Gracie, billed as Regency mud-wrestling, refereed by Jenny Brassel. Anna and Anne asked each other questions about their path to publication and also answered questions from the audience. They talked about inspiration, the genesis of various books, their writing habits and naming books. The session felt very intimate with just the two authors, and everyone in the audience got to “know” Anna and Anne.

Fantasy, sci-fi and futuristic

This panel featured (L to R) Kate Cuthbert (moderator), Karen Simpson Nikakis, Erica Hayes, Keri Arthur, Denise Rossetti and Nalini Singh. They talked about their journeys to publication, what their work day is like, what attracts them to their particular sub-genre, and pictures and images that they use for inspriration.

There was also a lot of discussion about how they go about their world building and how they manage to keep so much complex information straight from one book to the next.


The category panel was moderated by Annie West (left of photo), and panelists were (L to R) Melanie Milburne, Haylee Kerans, Paula Roe, Kelly Hunter and Michelle Douglas. Discussion included the first category romance they remembered reading and whether what they write now has similarities to that first book they read, how category romances have changed over the years, and what books or authors have influenced them.

By invitation

The By Invitation panel was chosen by the delegates. Throughout the conference delegates put in their nominations for the panel and six panelists were chosen: (L to R) Helene Young, Lexxie Couper, Nalini Singh, Keri Arthur, Cindy Gerard and Anna Campbell. This panel was very relaxed and a lot of fun. Panelists fielded a wide range of questions from the audience, including “If you weren’t a writer, what would your dream job be?” (several would-be singers – with quick audition included), “Have you ever missed a deadline and what excuse did you use?”, “What sub-genre couldn’t you write?”, “Do you ever read the last page of a book first?”, “Do people ever recognise you?” “What is the secret to making best-seller lists?”

  1. Aimee permalink
    15 May 2011 5:45 pm

    It was a fantastic time!

    Aimee (nonmoty)

  2. Maggie Nash permalink
    19 April 2011 7:38 pm

    We did!

  3. 19 April 2011 6:19 pm

    Looks like everyone had so much fun!!

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