The Romance Writers of America (RWA) organization was created in 1981 to advance the professional interests of romance writers. Every year the organization holds an annual conference where writers, editors, agents, and bloggers are under the same roof. Workshops are offered, deals are made, and friendships are renewed.
In 2012, these authors and industry experts talked about the impact RWA has had on their lives: Jessica Andersen, Suzanne Brockmann, Kim Castillo, Elizabeth Essex, Brenda Jackson, Crystal Jordan, Sourcebook’s Dominique Raccah, and Sarah Wendell.
Here are some thoughts from romance writers, editors, and bloggers on the Romance Writers of America.
Jessica Andersen: I found this thing called RWA, and I’m like, ok, RWA. It looks like a group. I know how to be in groups.
Brenda Jackson: She said, “There’s an organization called RWA. You need to get into it.”
Suzanne Brockmann: Interesting, isn’t it? And I think part of what RWA is that you can join RWA if you’re kind of like, “I’m thinking someday about writing a romance novel,” and it’s like, “C’mon in, sister, there’s room for you here.”
Sarah Wendell: Romance Writers of America is a writers’ organization for romance writers, and so their conference is about romance writers. It’s about their craft and the art and the business of writing.
Elizabeth Essex: Wrote on my own for a long time before I found RWA, and my learning curve got very vertical once I had joined RWA, and it changed my writing for the better. Absolutely. I learned much more craft.
Dominique Raccah: It’s the largest writer’s conference in the United States, but I think, secondly, so many people come back year after year that it really feels like a sorority party. It feels like, you know, you go from meeting to meeting, but there’s so much “Hi!” and “How are you?” There’s a joy and a sense of, you know, just a sense of community that you don’t really get at some of the other conferences.
Crystal Jordan: I’m getting that chance to reconnect with them in person, because these people are, you know, I consider them very dear friends, but I see them once a year at this conference, and that’s it.
Crystal Jordan: So this conference is the one time when we all are able to go, “I’m putting everything aside, and I’m focusing on the writing and people who write too.”
Jessica Andersen: This is not a world that I’ve ever been exposed to ever before in my life. I just—I sat down at a table more or less by myself, and within 20 minutes, I had five other people sit next to me. “Hi. How are ya? Are ya new? What are you writing? Who are you?” So it was just really—that was really important, and it was really very welcoming.
Kim Castillo: You know when I’m at RWA, the people I get hugs from, and they’re like, “I’m so glad to see you,” and I’m just like, “I can’t believe they’ve let me into their world and into their hearts.” And it’s something every day, it’s one of my number one blessings. I never ever take it for granted, and it leaves me speechless. It does. The friends that I have now.