|The gala dinner with editor from Harlequin and fellow authors|
It didn't start well. The train to Newport in Wales was packed with a variety of dogs and children crawling down the aisles. At one point I ended up with two unknown babies sitting on my lap. However once we arrived in Newport I recognised some fellow women scrambling with cases and shared a taxi with the lovely Freda Lightfoot to Caerlon.
Conference is all the about the people. Last year I met the lovely medical author Kate Hardy, along with Heidi Rice and Kate Walker. This year, I met two other lovely medical authors Margaret Barker and Jennifer Taylor. I also had the privilege of meeting two Present authors India Grey and Natalie Rivers, and the lovely Harlequin Romance author Fiona Harper.
|Scarlet with Harlequin editor Flo Nicoll|
But then there is also the lectures - to give us all a chance to learn a bit more about the craft. There was a huge range of topics covered in the programme and the hardest thing was picking what to attend. I have to say that this year I was naughty and ducked out of a few lectures through sheer brain drain.
But the ones I attended were fab. The conference started with Celebrations and this year there were a lot of members with good news of sales. It seems great that when we continually hear about tightening purses and less income, writers are still considered a priority. There was an award winning panel with Louise Allen, Elizabeth Chadwick and Jill Mansell all answering questions on how they wrote. I was amazed to learn that Jill Mansell writes all her books longhand with a Harley Davidson fountain pen! I was even more amazed when Fiona Harper (who writes for Harlequin Romance) pulled out her moleskin notebook from her bag and showed me that she writes long hand too - her next book was sitting right in front of me. I nearly snatched it and ran away!
|Scarlet with Harlequin Romance author Fiona Harper|
Jenny Hutton and Anna Baggaley from MIRA and Mira Ink gave an overview for their line, highlighting all areas that sell well in women's fiction and teenage fiction. They also have new websites www.mirabooks.co.uk and www.miraink.co.uk
My favourite talk was given by Fiona Harper on getting emotion on the page and keeping it there. You could have literally heard a pin drop in the room while she was speaking. She has promised to put her notes for the talk on her website
The conference ended with agent Carole Blake and her client Elizabeth Chadwick letting us know how they were 'A Perfect Match'. Their working relationship has lasted longer than Carole's two marriages and they were a true doubleact!
It was a perfect end to a great conference and after the long journey home to Scotland I spent the next few days in bed recovering!
But then it was up and off to London with my kids and what did I do? Something I can never help. I bought tat. Lots of it. My other half cringed in horror when I was let loose in the Harrods Gift Shop. Any item that had the name Harrods on it - I bought. And here's the proof.
Scarlet Wilson's debut book It Started With a Pregnancy is out on 2 September in the UK.