Saturday, May 21, 2011

Claudia Connell Journalist of the Year - NOT

The Blue Rinse and Bodice Rippers: In twin-sets and pearls meet the ladies behind Britain's steamiest novels
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I didn't go to the Romantic Novelists' Association summer party. Pressure of dreadlines, and life prevented me from that. But I have been to more RNA events than I can count.  Once, over ten years ago, I was at a RNA Awards Ceremony that was described as being  an assembly of the 'blue rinse brigade'. I was astounded then at the ignorance and pure stupidity of the reporter who described the  gathering of illustrious writers so  untruthfully.

I had always thought that time had changed - and as a women I always believed that  as we have  fought for and enjoyed an improvement in the lot of woimen in general then individual women would  respect the achievements of other women, even in fields they don't aspire to themselves. Or even if they couldn't admire  these achievements wouldn't actually slant a report on them so badly that instead of an accurate report it became at best something closer to fiction, at worst a  lazy report  of such sterotypes that it is an out and out lie.

Heroines swooning 'with alarming frequency and heroes, with names like Troy and Cassius, must have permanent bad backs from forever scooping fair maidens into their manly arms' - er?  Which planet is this woman on?  I can't recall the last time any of my heroines swooned - and I had a boat named The Troy in The Good Greek Wife? Is that what she's thinking of? Does she think 'boat' spells - er  'boy'???

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So - as I said, I wasn't at the RNA Party this time but I know plenty of people who were.  So - try this report by organiser  and author Jan Jones on her blog here  - please note the phtographs of elegant and some very youthful authors -  not a blue rinse in sight. Or even a pearl.

Then try the RNA's official blog - with more photographs  - here

Or the Minxes of Romance  blog here

I'm still looking for a blue rinse - perhaps the reporter  - determined to be accurate and truthful (? ) was a little bit colour-blind and spotted so many glamorous blondes that she thought had blue hair.

Or perhaps the photographer  who was supposed to be capturing the event for her  - see the Minxes' blog - fell asleep and she had to rely on her none to accurate memories.

Perhaps.  Or perhaps she wanted to make a 'joke' and set out determined to make the event fit into it even if it didn't.

And in order to do so, she has called up the image of the late lamented Barbara Cartland from beyond the grave - a lady who wrote her last book and breathed her last  on this earth eleven years ago.  And who was never the typical romantic novelist even when she was alive.

I can't even bring myself to waste my time going through the nonsense in this article - I have much beter  things to do with that time, like  "writing endless schmaltz that always followed the same formula: girl meets boy, boy behaves like arrogant brute, girl hates boy, boy shows soft side, girl falls for boy and they all live happily ever after."

 Oh - so that's what I'm supposed to be doing!
But apart from noting  the fact that the whole tone of this article is pretty ageist, in order to show you the total inaccuracy of  this reporters 'facts'  can I just quote this one, hopelessly unreliable comment:

Key to the success of any romance writer in the UK, steamy or otherwise, is getting the supermarkets to stock your work, as the average reader of dreamy romantic literature doesn’t tend to set foot in Waterstone’s or download to a Kindle.

Er?  Has she been in any Waterstones branch lately?  Looked at the shelves?
Or  looked at the Kindle rankings of so many, many romantic novels on Amazon?

Or read  this article - published in the very same  paper for which she has written this fiction - ahem  - report  - only  four months ago?

Sales of bodice-ripping e-books soar as women use digital readers to hide their romantic novels
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No - I thought not. But I do detect the same sneering-and-making-a-good-story-out-of-things-even-if they-don't-fit-the-facts- tone here in an article that refuses to acknowledge that many readers are young, busy, up to date with ebooks etc - and want their reading choices delivered in this way. Not because they want to hide the covers.

It seems another reporter is determined to twist the facts the way they want them to be for the article they are determined to write.

But I've wasted enough of my time on this inacurate tosh - all I can suggest Ms Connell is that you have such an amazing skill with fiction that perhaps your should try for the RNA's New Writers' Scheme. Or perhaps it's a case of - to   misquote the  comment often (equally erroneously) used about teachers - Those who can, write romantic fiction. Those who can't 'report' it.

So all I ask of my readers is that you take a look at this article in all its glory - then consider the great blogs and photos I've also linked with - and decide for yourself whether everything you read in the papers is really true!


Laura Vivanco said...

Connell's article is incredibly condescending and ageist.

There was one interesting bit of information hidden in the article, though: I didn't know that Roger Sanderson had left M&B.

Cathie Dunn said...

LOL Bravo! Nice comeback, Kate!

I had to snigger at that article as all the writers I know who are members of the RNA are, erm, younger. She appeared to pick only a select few - those that fit in with the pre-planned theme of her article - and ignored the rest.

PS I've yet to come across a hero called Troy ... would he be the one that makes ladies swoon??

Nas Dean said...

Hi Kate,

Thanks for sharing...I went by and saw all the lovely photos of all these lovely young authors who've been enriching our loves with their books!

Summer said...

Few things are more frustrating than ignorance. Any internet search would bring up a diverse, vibrant group of romance authors with vital things to say. I hate negative stereotypes attached to something that is such a joyful, positive experience for me. Romances are the ideal of what love can be and do. Why isn't that a good thing to put out into the universe?

Michelle Styles said...

I was totally surprised to see Catherine Cookson invoked. Another dead author who left the RNA quite early on I believe. There were reasons why the RNA Northumberalnd decided not to use her name and went for Border Rievers instead. Her books and sagas in general have fallen out of fashion in recent years. Why weren't the current stars of the best seller lists like Katie fforde, Sophie Kinsella et al highlighted?
The journalist had an agenda. A pity.

Kiru Taye said...

Isn't it annoying when journalists write with an agenda in mind and not the whole picture or truth.

Just the other day I read in the publishing news that Romantic fiction was one of the genres with steady sales in an otherwise falling print market. So my response to Claudia is 'Ha!'

I saw the pictures of the party. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction... Not a blue rinse in sight. Hmmm...

gaelikaa said...

Ooh, isn't she sarcastic! You're way too kind, Kate, I wouldn't have linked to her. Look at all the publicity she's getting from your readers visiting the links you've given.

Very ageist remarks I must say! I uphold any woman's right, whatever her age, to wear a blue (or pink) rinse and support tights if she so desires without the fear of being laughed at. As a middle-aged woman, I feel very offended by her condescending remarks. BTW, does she thing that the young have invented sex? Maybe her granny should have a word in her ear!


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