Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mills and Boon Romance Workshop in Hull

The first time I ever saw the city of Hull - or, to give it its full title Kingston Upon Hull, I was there for a job interview. This was in my other life and other existence as a Children's Librarian.

More years ago than I care to remember, I travelled to Hull for an interview in the huge Central Library on Albion Street. I got the job. And I also got my first sight od a city that has since become so familiar to me as a result of many shopping trips, visits to the Radio Humberside studios for interviews of a different sort, and as the site of one of my very first Writing Romance talks, way back before the 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance was even thought of.

Yesterday I went back again and held a workshop for aspiring romance writers in the wonderful old Local Studies library (now empty since the brilliant brand new History Centre opened on January 25th).

The workshop had been arranged for February because of Valentine's Day of course but even though it had only been announced in the middle of January, the workshop had quickly sold out and so the old, darkwood furnished room was crowded as everyone gathered round the long, old-fashioned library tables to learn and talk about writing romance.

I had a great time. Everyone was so enthusiastic and interested and the two hours just seemed to fly by. The working session that we did on character provoked, as always, lots of discussion, debate and laughter, sparked off by the images of one Mr H Jackman (who else?) and Alyson Hannigan as his heroine. It was wonderful to see people realise ways that they could use the quesrtions we were discussing to deepen their knowledge of their own story characters and I could swear that I could see lightbulbs going off over people's heads all through the session.

I'm only sorry that I couldn't stay any longer but the parking ticket on my car was due to run out any minute (I actually only made it back to it by the skin of my teeth) when I left 30 minutes after the workshop was officially supposed to have ended.

I owe special thanks to the librarians who helped organise this and made the afternoon so easy and enjoyable for me - for Jessica who did all the forward planning and then sadly had to be in Newcastle on the day of the actual event. Thank you too to Rebecca and Hattie who were there on the day to ensure that things run smoothly. They also provided tea and coffee and biscuits that I know were very much welcomed by everyone there. A special extra thank you to Rebecca who put all my handouts and the workshop sheets into a special bound collection that every workshop student could take home with them.

And of course a very warm thank you to everyone who came along and joined in. (If you're reading this blog after finding your way to my web site then please say Hello in the comments so I know you were here.) Your enthisiasm and interest made it a very lively afternoon and it will be remembered as one of my favourite workshops ever. I hope you all enjoyed it too - and don't forget that if you want to know about any more of the talks/workshops I do then you'll find the details over on my Events page.

Lastly, I want to mention two people who added to the pleasure of the day. First was the lovely gentleman who was part of the visually-impaired group who joined us and who came up to me at the tea break and told me that 'I came here today expecting to be bored - and I'm not! I'm loving it!'

And finally, a very special mention for Joanne Cleary who I first met at a one-to-one in one of the Calderdale Writers' Roadshow events last year. She is also one of the writers who was asked for a new submissin as a result of the Presents Writing Contest over on I Heart Presents last year.

Then Joanne had l-o-n-g hair more than halfway down her back. When she arrived at Hull she was sporting an elegant short, sleek bob that made her look wonderful and actually - as I told her - took years off her ! I'm mentioning this because Joanne's hair cut was done not for vanity but for charity. The hair she had cut (and when I mention that it had to be at least 10 -12 inches, you'll see how much hair Joanne lost) had been sent to the Little Princess Trust to help make a wig for a child who has lost their hair following cancer treatment. I think this is a fabulous thing to do and as Joanne is running a sponsorship for the hair cut on her blog I gave her my donation at the end of the workshop.

And if you'd like to sponsor her too you can find the details over on her personal blog where there is a sponsorship link you can use.

Congratulations Joanne - and thank you for coming to the workshop too. Now get writing on that submission and I'll hope to hear good news from you in the future.
PS The radio interview with sine fm radio should be broadcast today sometime between 11 - 12 am. After that it will be available on the internet.


Joanne Coles said...

Thanks so much for the 'shout out', Kate. I had a wonderful time!

Thanks also for pointing your blog readers over to mine and the charity mention. It's such a good cause.

So lovely to see you and the BM again :-)

Caroline Storer said...

Glad you had a great workshop. Joanne's cause is fantastic - well done her! Caroline x


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