Today we welcome Linda Hooper to the blog. Linda is our hardworking Hon. Membership Secretary as well as a very busy novelist writing under the names of Sarah Mallory and Melinda Hammond.
Welcome Linda, your work for the RNA as Honorary Membership Secretary must take up a lot of your time. Would you please explain to members what it entails?
The Membership Secretary's job must be one of the nicest on the committee. I have the pleasure of keeping the membership records up to date and receiving all the applications from prospective members. It does get busy in December and January, when we have the NWS applications and subscription renewals, but everyone is so lovely, even when I have to remind them that they haven’t paid! The RNA is such a friendly organisation and I have gained so much from it that it is a pleasure to be able to give something back.
What is the worse part of the job?
Checking off all the standing orders when the bank statements come in! There are about 20 pages of names to go through, and since many of us use pen names it can sometimes be a challenge tying up the bank's reference for the payment with the actual author!
How do you plan your RNA duties around your writing life?
During the busy period around the New Year I have to put aside a few full days to tackle the RNA work, but the rest of the year it's mostly only ten minutes to half an hour a day to keep the records up to date. It is necessary to attend the committee meetings, but I can write on the train – I find travel is a good time to think through plotlines or difficult scenes.
You write as Sarah Mallory and Melinda Hammond. Can you tell us how you differentiate between the two names? Do you have two websites and two writing personalities?
I am a Gemini, so I think I have two personalities anyway! I couldn't cope with more than one website, so it is set up under Melinda Hammond with an explanation that I also write as Sarah Mallory. I think "Sarah Mallory" is more of a brand, if you like, for the Georgian and Regency romances I write for Harlequin Mills & Boon. I was first published as Melinda Hammond, writing traditional Regencies that are very "sweet" compared to the slightly hotter historicals I write for Harlequin. However, under the Melinda Hammond name I have also written a darker Georgian revenge novel (Lady Vengeance), two dual-time novels and a World War II short story, but I try to make sure the description explains this, so the reader knows what to expect.
What are you currently working on?
This must be proof of my dual personality, I think! As Melinda Hammond I have just finished and self-published a short story, "And The Stars Shine Down", about the spooky goings on surrounding the rebuilding of a WWII Spitfire , and as Sarah Mallory I have just finished a book based around Waterloo for Harlequin. "A Lady for Lord Randall" is the first of a trilogy called The Brides of Waterloo. RNA members Annie Burrows and Melanie Hilton have written the other two books, based on a fictional artillery unit called Randall's Rogues (we are planning their Facebook Page and Twitter account even as I write this). I am now in the enviable position of thinking up a new historical romance…..
We understand you will soon be passing on the mantle of Hon. Membership Secretary. Who is to be your successor and is there a period of training?
You are right, I have nearly completed my time on committee and I am handing over to Alison May at the AGM in 2015. There is a handbook to guide Alison into the job, and I will be liaising closely with her from the end of this year to ease her into the job.
What will you do with your spare time once you give up your RNA duties?
Write! I have so many stories I want to get into print that I certainly won't have any spare time for extra housework or ironing, I'm afraid!
Melinda Hammond lives high on the Pennines, where the fantastic views provide wonderful inspiration for her romantic historical adventures. She was born in Bristol and grew up telling stories. Melinda left school at sixteen and worked in offices as varied as stockbrokers, marine engineers, biscuit manufacturers and even a quarrying company. She has published over a dozen books as Melinda Hammond and written even more lively historical adventure romances as Sarah Mallory for Harlequin Mills & Boon.
twitter - @SarahMRomance
Facebook - Melinda Hammond - https://www.facebook.com/melinda.hammond.77
Thank you so much for finding time to chat with us, Linda.
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