|Welcome with Nicola Cornick and Jan Jones|
This year, the conference was in Leeds Trinity University, a campus just outside Headingly. Leeds is a lovely city but I didn't see anything of it beyond the train station. Horsforth, where the campus is located, was really nice though, and I enjoyed a short and pleasant walk from the train station to the campus with HMB author Rachael Thomas .
The conference sessions were useful and enjoyable and included a double presentation from Mills and Boon. This began with editors from the longer 'Trade' imprint giving a summary of the recent rebranding of the company, and concluded with the Series editors outlining the requirements of the different lines.
There was also a very illuminating session with Nicola Cornick in conversation with Barbara Erskine. I must have been the only one in the audience who'd never read Lady of Hay - something I intend to remedy immediately!
I also really enjoyed Liz Harris' session on pacing, which is something I always struggle with in my writing. Her presentation was both useful and fun, as - in her own words - she'd gotten to grips with animation now and her analogy of pacing being like peeling an onion was an entertaining and invaluable one.
As always, the industry appointments were many and varied and making a choice was difficult. I got three in the end - reserve appointments with Mills and Boon longer series editor Anna Baggaley and independent editor, Laura Gerrard, and my first choice with Kate Bradley from Harper Fiction. All of them gave encouraging and helpful feedback on my timeslip chapter, which is an exciting new experiment for me, and I came away feeling encouraged but also with the realisation that I'll have to write the rest of it now!