We, as contemporary romance writers, are so lucky to have such an active, vibrant chapter, designed just for us, with so many resources and so much encouragement available to help guide us through our careers.
The chapter wouldn’t be what it is today without our wonderful, hard-working, dedicated board members.
With their first-terms about to draw to a close, we thought we’d invite each board members to come and chat with us about what it’s been like serving on a large chapter board and what they’ve learned in the past year.
Next up is our chapter secretary, Katina Drennan.
A. I’ve just always loved reading and telling stories. Even as an adolescent, the backyard play was about writing stories and getting the kids to act them out. (My best friend at the time wanted to be a producer, hahahaha! Don’t know if he ever did. I once typed out the first 20 pages of The Prince and the Pauper on an old manual typewriter pretending I was a writer. If I’d had more paper I would have “typed” more. Thankfully, I never tried to sell any of Samuel Clemmons work as my own.
Q. What appeals to you most about the contemporary romance genre?
A. I found it difficult in the beginning to put the “rules” of storytelling into practice. I’m talking about GMC’s, character arcs, three acts, and so on. The romance genre was a really great format to learn and internalize the process that really applies to all novel writing. I also love the hopeful aspects of the genre, a happy ending.
Q. Why, in your opinion, is it important for contemporary romance writers to have their own chapter?
A. I think it goes to helping author focus on their strengths, but also goes to reader expectation in the genre. These days, especially with indie authors, it’s so important to know your audience and to make sure you consistently hit that bullseye if you want to sell books. Our workshops and discussions help authors understand an perfect their approach to the genre specifically for contemporary.
Q. What does your position as secretary involve? What are some of your main roles? What challenges have you faced? What have you enjoyed most?
A. As Secretary, my focus has been on maintaining and growing our membership. That means making sure new members know how to connect with the group, reminding existing members of the benefits of keeping their membership up to date, and being willing to help in any way I can to promote the chapter. Taking notes and posting the board meeting minutes is part of the process but being involved in the business of the chapter and working to help achieve its goals is a huge part of it.
There would be no chapter without volunteers willing to step up and do their bit to keep it alive. I stepped into the Secretary role when there was an urgent need to fill in vacancies. There wasn’t much guidance and I had to work with the new President and other board members to pretty much redefine what we wanted for the chapter and plan how to achieve it. Since then, we’re back up to a healthy membership and I think we’re providing value to our members. I’m most proud of the current board’s work to bring the Stiletto Contest back as a premiere contest in RWA. most fun has been to be involved in the chapter’s Nationals events. So much fun to put real faces to the members we’ve been working with online all year. Like the Golden Heart and Rita Award nominees, we tend to develop a “sisterhood” (and maybe a couple of brothers) that will last even after we have completed our service to the board.
Q. What are your goals for the chapter? What would you like to see happen over the next year?
A. With the Golden Heart going away, Chapter contests have a potential to play a major role in RWA going forward. But running a contest takes time and dedication to do it right. We’ve got a great Stiletto committee lined up for 2019, but they are going to need many volunteers to make it happen. I’d like to see members take a big role in making the Stiletto the premiere contest for RWA.
The I’m excited for the elections to see who steps up to the plate and what their new ideas can bring. I have served two and a half years as secretary and enjoyed every minute
Q. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with the newer members of the chapter?
A. You always get the most out of an organization when you invest your time and heart in keeping it alive and well. Getting involved in chapter leadership is a great way to stretch yourself. Some may think it may take away from your writing time: yeah, probably a bit. But I feel chapter leadership makes up for that in motivation. We don’t all get the chance to do influential things. So put yourself out there! Your contribution in time and creativity will only enrich your life experience in the long run.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
A. I think the Secretary position is a great way to get started in board service. I want anyone to know who is thinking of running for board service, if you run or secretary, I will be with you all the way to get you started and give you the tools to make the role even better.
Thank you so much, Katina, for all you do for the chapter, and for stopping by the blog!
Kat Drennan writes Contemporary and Women’s fiction. She has just released the second in her “A Classic Car Romance” series, now available on Amazon Kindle and paperback. She is currently Secretary of the Contemporary Romance Writers of American Chapter.