I am English and writing books set in England, which I hope will appeal to British readers. It's not that I wouldn't like to appeal to American readers - after all the American market for Romantic fiction is staggeringly huge - but it is a whole different world over there, and despite my being married to an American, and having only recently returned to the UK after four years living in the States, there are aspects of American romance writing that I cannot get my head around. Until I do, I do not plan to join the Romance Writers of America.
Not being an RWA member, I didn't attend the RWA National Conference in Reno last weekend, and so I missed what seems to have been a rather controversial awards ceremony. There are lots of accounts of what happened in the blogosphere and the wider web, from those who were there and from those who weren't, so I will not go into any details here. The best jumping off point for reading all about it is probably the blog written by my charming (if a little forthright) friends Candy and Sarah.
As one who always likes a good conspiracy theory, I was particularly struck by the comments that they link to from Laurie Loves Books, both in her blog and in her column in All About Romance. Laurie's view is that the controversial awards ceremony is in part a result of the entanglement of the RWA with the "culture war" going on in America at the moment. I suspect that she may well have a point.
Back here in the UK the nearest thing we have to the RWA is the wonderful Romantic Novelists' Association. While the RWA has just been celebrating 25 years of existence the RNA is already beginning to think how it will mark its 50th anniversary, five years from now. I think that the RNA committee will have picked up some pointers on one thing not to include in the plans for 2010.