Wednesday, June 14, 2017

FOCUS ON: Beverley Chapter

Today we welcome Ellie Gray who tells us about one of our recently-formed Chapters.

Enjoying afternoon tea
How long has your chapter been running?
We’ve been running for just over a year. It all started at the RNA Afternoon Tea event in York in September 2015 where we found, by complete coincidence, that five of us on our table live in or near Beverley. We all got on really well, swapped email addresses and kept in touch. Just after Christmas we agreed to have our own Beverley mini-afternoon tea just as a bit of a catch up. We all really enjoyed sharing information, ideas and experiences and to have this as a regular event. As the majority of us were members of the RNA, it made sense to have it as a local Chapter.

How often do you meet?
We meet monthly, on the last Tuesday of every month at 7pm.

Do you have a regular meeting place?
We currently meet at the King's Head in Beverley (our first meeting was in the Beverley Arms Hotel but, following our meeting, it closed down….. I think that was just a coincidence!). The King's Head is a good, central venue but it does tend to get a little busy and noisy so we’re going to explore other options.

How many members attend your meetings?
We’re quite a small group, and usually have between 6 and 10 people at the meetings but we have recently welcomed some new members and we’re looking forward to increasing our membership. This is another reason why we’re exploring other venues as it may be easier to manage if we have a dedicated room or area.
We have a mix of published, non-published, aspiring authors and a mix of RNA and non-RNA members – we’re a very open group and welcome anyone who is interested. Our only stipulation really is that non-members or anyone who is interested in joining or attending the group contacts either myself or one of the other members in the first instance so we can tell them a little bit about the meetings and arrange to meet them at the next meeting.
We have a mix of ages and currently all female! Male members are more than welcome though.

Is your chapter open to non-members of the RNA?
Yes, we’re open to non-members of the RNA and we’re a very open and friendly group, with no requirement for anyone joining to be a romance writer – we have aspiring writers, fantasy/sci-fi, domestic noir writers etc. Since joining the Chapter, at least one member of the group has now joined the RNA NWS so we actively encourage and support aspiring writers and those of us who are published are keen to share our experience and support.

Do your meetings include a meal?
Currently, our meetings don’t include a meal but, as we meet in a pub, I have to say there is often wine involved……

How long are your meetings?
Our meetings start at 7pm in the King's Head, Market Place, Beverley and tend to last a couple of hours. There is plenty of parking outside the pub or in nearby carparks and the bus and train stations are a 5 minute walk away.

Christmas with the
Beverley Chapter

Can you give an outline of speakers/guests you've had in the past year?
We haven’t had any speakers or guests but we have held our own event in Beverley called An Evening with Beverley Chapter. This was a small, ticket only event held in East Riding Theatre in Beverley. Tickets were free but the venue was small so we only allowed up to 15 guests. We had over 70 people wanting to attend so we are looking at holding another event later this year. Four of the Beverley Chapter members did a reading from one of their books and then held a Q&A session. It went very well and we gained a couple of new members from the event. The main draw for the event (and the probable reason for the large number of people wanting to attend) was that Val Wood is one of our members and obviously has a large fan base so this helped with our attendance, I think.

What do you have planned for 2017?
Hopefully, we will be holding another ‘Evening with Beverley Chapter’ event, and on a slightly larger scale this time as the last one was a success. We would like to continue building on our membership too.

What would you say makes your chapter of the RNA so special?
I think we are a really friendly and diverse group of people – both published and non-published, and open to writers of any genre, not just romance. The meetings are informal and relaxed and are a good place to share ideas and experiences and to gain advice in terms of any aspect of writing – there is a lot of experience there. We love to share successes at our meetings but there isn’t an expectation that if you join the group you have to be really focused on getting published; that’s not our way. It is a group where people who write can come and talk about their writing.

Does your chapter have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account?
We have a Facebook page – Beverley Chapter. 

Who is the contact for new members?
Anyone who is interested in joining Beverley Chapter or learning more about the group can contact Ellie Gray on

Thanks so much for joining us. You seem to have had a very busy and successful first year. Wishing you and your members a successful 2017 and beyond.

Image courtesy of
MJ Everest

Natalie Kleinman writes contemporary and historical romantic novels. Her latest Escape to the Cotswolds, is set in the beautiful Cotswolds and is published by HarperCollins HQ Digital on 21st June 2017.

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Sharon Booth said...

It's great to have a chapter of the RNA so close to me. When my work circumstances change next year, I would definitely like to join. Also, will keep my ears open for your event later this year, as I'd love to attend.

Ellie Gray said...

Thanks, Sharon - we will look forward to welcoming you to the group when circumstances allow. It will be lovely to meet you in person at last!