The Romantic Novelists' Association is very nearly 50 years old. It was founded in 1960 by Alex Stuart, with an initial membership of 115 published authors, with the declared aim of raising the profile of the genre and garnering respect to match its huge popularity, and sales that made publishers rich and the cash tills ring in bookshops throughout the world.
That it has made huge strides in this aim, is a credit to a lot of very dedicated writers, many of them household names, who spare time from writing to appear on television, the radio and spend hours with journalists to press home the message and to organise the prestigious Romantic Novel of the Year, won by many great writers, and more recently, the Romance Prize which recognises the very different challenge of writing short romance fiction. There is also the fabulous New Writers Scheme, which nurtures and encourages the new talent which keeps the genre vibrant, fresh and the biggest selling section of the book market.
The celebrations will kick off later this year with the publication of LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT, a collection of short stories by members and here's a sneak peek at the cover. Edited by Katie Fforde and Sue Moorcroft and published by MIRA, the anthology contains stories by Joanna Trollope, Adele Parks, Maureen Lee, Elizabeth Chadwick, Anna Jacobs and a host of other well known authors. And me. I'm in there, too with a short story called The Partnership Deal.
You can check out the full list of authors at the RNA website. And when you've done that, make a note in your diary to add the hardback edition to your Christmas shopping list later this year. Your mother, your sister, your aunts and your best friends will be so pleased that you did. A paperback edition will be published in 2010.