Back from a fun, if exhausting, weekend spent in the delightful company of Charlie Cochrane, Stevie Carroll and Liam Livings at the Festival of Romance in Bedford.
Charlie and I manned (womanned?) a GLBTQ stall at the Romance Fair in the Corn Exchange – Charlie came up trumps by dashing out to the market for emergency pashminas when it emerged that our tablecloth was too short and –horrors! – our table was not decently covered!
Fits of the vapours thus averted, we settled down to hand out free sweeties and, hopefully, increase visibility of the genre.
One visitor to the stall was the lovely Patrick Darcy, who was certainly doing his own bit for increased visibility – I wish I’d got a picture of him in his t-shirt!
Another picture I really should have taken: Stevie dolled up to the nines (I have no idea where the nines actually are, but she was definitely dolled up to them) in a gorgeous fifties-style dress for the Romance Ball in the evening, where awards were handed out, wine was quaffed and we boogied on down to Chap-Hop artist, Professor Elemental. He was entertaining, but a little too fond of tea for my liking…
The following day was the conference, with some interesting presentations by publishers (all of them fronted by glamorous young ladies who looked like they should be starring in their own romances) and a very professional-looking freelance editing team, Ruston Hutton. I took part in a Q&A session on The Romantic Hero, which was a little squeezed for time but contained an interesting perspective from US author Lynne Marie Hulsman on how in harsher times, women want a more caring kind of hero. But the alpha male, it seems, is still firmly on top…
I’ve always felt that my characters don’t really fit the classical definition of romantic hero, and certainly aren’t alpha males, which either made me a very good, or a very bad person to have on the panel (no comments, please!). And of course, although I’d prepared for the panel, much as one of my characters would have, I managed to come up with my key message while driving home in the sunshine: you can keep an eye on trends and what the readers want, but at the end of the day, you have to write a romantic hero you yourself can connect with or it’s probably going to show.
LOL – that’s exactly when I would’ve come up with the key point,too. 🙂
*g* Let’s hope some of the people who were there will read this blog! 😉
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