Sunday 6 April 2014

The Novelistas

Me with Valerie-Anne Baglietto
On Friday I met up with my fellow Novelistas in a little pub in North Wales. If you follow our blog, you may think the Novelistas do nothing but party, but usually it is for good reason - to celebrate the success of a book or novella being published. A writer's life can be full of rejections and setbacks so we believe it is important to celebrate success, no matter how small, or we'd go crazier than many people think we are already!

Me with Trisha Ashley
So how did I become a Novelista? Are you ready for a long story? My husband's work meant we often had to move. The first move was to a tiny village just outside Bath. I had a small baby, didn't know a soul and felt incredibly isolated. This was the end of the 1990s, before Twitter and Facebook, so I think if I hadn't decided I was going to write a book I would have gone mad. I did love living near Bath though, and it was the inspiration for my second novel Why Do Fools Fall in Love.

So when I moved to Wales ten years ago, the first thing I did was find out where my local group of writers met. As luck would have it, there was one just a five-minute drive down the road!

Anne Bennett and Juliet Greenwood
In the past ten years our group has gone through many changes and there are now ten of us. We write in all genres but mainly romance. Originally we were 'Dragons', in honour of the symbol on the Welsh flag. Worried that this might give people the wrong impression - that we were large, scaly and ate small children for breakfast - we changed it and became the Novelistas.

We now have a blog, Novelistas' Ink, and we're also on Facebook and Twitter, so there is no escaping us at all.

Annie Burrows
We're not a traditional writers' group. We don't critique each other's work. We are a group of friends who happen to write.

Between us we know what it is like to be rejected, traditionally published, dropped, self-published and hit the bestseller lists. We give each other advice, commiserate with bad news and celebrate our successes.

Because that is what friends are for.

The Novelistas:
Left to right: Erika Woods, Beth Francis, Valerie-Anne Baglietto
Trisha Ashley, Juliet Greenwood, Anne Bennett
Louise Marley, Cheryl Lang, Johanna Grassick

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