Monday, 14 November 2016

Afternoon Tea with Romantic Novelists

I've been a member of the Romantic Novelists Association for many years now and have always enjoyed reading about the various Chapters around parts of the UK in the quarterly magazine, albeit with a little envy now and then. These localised meetings of romantic novelists sounded so supportive and inspiring - something I've experienced with another group of authors who write in a variety of genres.

Edinburgh Castle

At the conference in July, mention was made again that there was still no Scottish Chapter of the RNA and I already knew a few writers who were keen to meet up north of the border. We also noticed an increased number of Scottish based writers coming to the conferences who perhaps didn't have the support of a local writing group of any kind. However, one of the problems up here is the sheer distance between many of the areas - stretching from the Dumfries area and Borders up to the wilds of Inverness and Orkney.

Then Jean Fullerton, who is the Chapter liaison person, suggested we might start a Facebook group first. A light bulb went on and shortly after returning from the conference, I set up the FB group for the Scottish Chapter of the RNA. At least that way we could find out who all the members were and what part of the country they lived in. Even if meetings were few and far between, we could interact and support each other online.

Scones and cakes

Most of us were surprised and delighted to find the numbers so high, reaching almost thirty on the last count, and soon talk turned to where and when we might try a first real meeting. So to make it a special event, on Saturday seventeen of us met for a posh Afternoon Tea at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, right next to Waverley station for ease of travel. It began with tiny bowls of delicious soup, followed by stands of finger sandwiches and amazing little savoury bites, finishing with the scones (plus jams and clotted cream) and exquisite wee cakes.


The luxury surroundings made our event that little bit out of the ordinary and I'm sure the hotel's Palm Court will feature in more than one romantic novel in future! You can imagine the level of chatter as we all got to know one another and it took me a while to realise the soothing background music at the beginning was being played by a harpist on a little balcony.

As always, not everyone in the group could manage to an event on the same day but it was a great turnout and a fabulous day. Jean even travelled up from London to join us at this first meeting and was delighted to see so many men in kilts, as Scotland was playing at Murrayfield.

Future meetings will be a little more down to earth and informal but what a memorable start to the Scottish Chapter. A few members already have great ideas for the group so I expect this is only the beginning of an exciting journey!



Jean Bull said...

That sounds like an auspicious start to your Scottish Chapter, Rosemary. I hope you'll have many more wonderful meetings, even if they're not always in the Balmoral Hotel!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds fab Rosemary! See you soon for a catch-up. Love Catriona xo

Carolb said...

Sounds like a wonderful start to the new Scottish chapter, Rosemary. And I'm sure it will continue to prosper.

Congratulations to all. :-) x

Mary Smith said...

It was a lovely afternoon, Rosemary. Thanks so much for organising it and I look forward to the next chapter meet up.

Julia Thorley said...

Congratulations on taking the initiative. I hope your Chapter flourishes.

Wendy's Writing said...

Hard to believe there wasn't a Scottish chapter, Rosemary. Good for you for getting it underway X

Nicola said...

How exciting! I was surprised to hear Scotland didn't have its own chapter - especially when some of Katie Fforde's novels are set in the romantic Scottish landscape. So pleased your chapter was such an inspirational and fun opening! May it long continue to grow and develop. Look forward to hearing more about future events.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks, Jean - I expect they will be more informal in future!

Hope to see you soon, Catriona!

Many thanks, Carol - it's good to find new members up here!

So pleased you could join us, Mary!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks, Julia - it's easy to keep wishing and not doing and I'm a terrible procrastinator!

Thanks, Wendy - it's that problem of the vast distances between us all!

Many thanks, Nicola - it's great to know romance is thriving up here. This group is only for Scottish members of the RNA (or members who live in Scotland) even though some may set their books elsewhere.

Patsy said...

It's great that you were able to set this up, Rosemary. Hope you get lots of support and it is eveything you hope it will be.

Gail Crane said...

It sounds a though you had a wonderful time. And, appropriately for the RNA, the Balmoral Hotel and the harpist on the balcony sounds very .... romantic.

Joanna said...

This sounds like a splendid start to the Scottish Chapter, Rosemary, in such a beautiful setting, especially with the harpist tucked away up there on the balcony - how beautiful. How wonderful so many of you could get together and I'm sure the Chapter will go from strength to strength. xxx

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thank you, Patsy!

It was lovely, Gail!

Many thanks, Joanna - it was the perfect way to begin!

Rae Cowie said...

I've just spotted this post now, Rosemary. Don't know where I've been! Thanks again for arranging such a wonderful day. It was perfect in every way. Here's to the next time! xx