The Romantic Novelists Association threw its annual winter party last night. I don't belong to the RNA any more. I did for a long while. People come and go but good organisations go on without them. The RNA gave me so much - fun, friends, contacts, a place to be me as a writer, a haven from the stresses of my job and when I'm an old lady, as I hope to be in time, I will sit at home on winter nights and remember the lunches and the dinners and the people and the committees and how damned generous people within my industry can be.
(left to right, Elizabeth Gill, Trisha Ashley, Leah Fleming)
The party was held at the Mechanics Institute on Birdcage Walk. It's been at various places over the years, we disagree about which was the best. I liked Westminster College where the students used to cater for us and fill us full of gorgeous concoctions involving sweet pastry, strawberries and cream and I liked the ones at the New Cavendish Club especially the year where the weather was so bad that we couldn't go outside on to the rooftop. I can't remember now why it was so good, just that it was the best and we were all together.
June Tate and Lizzie Lamb
We used to have award ceremonies at the Cafe Royale and then at the Savoy. There is nothing like pulling up in a taxi at the Savoy for making you feel as if you're really having a good day.
London is always business for me. I wouldn't dream of going there for pleasure but that's just because every time I go there for work I have such a good time, I couldn't imagine how it might be better. For the last eighteen years I've been going up and down to King's Cross in good weather and bad. I hadn't been for some time before I went this week and it was no different. It's so reassuring to know that always there are such good organisations waiting for us and the Romantic Novelists Association is as it always has been, one of the best.
Catherine King and Norma CurtisMary de Laszlo with Leah
Diane Allen on the right has just had her first novel published. It's with Macmillan and it's called For the Sake of Her Family.