Conference Spotlight ~ Anne Gracie

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.

Anne Gracie  spent her childhood on the move when her father’s job took them around the world. The gypsy life taught her that humor & love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are.  Anne started her first novel backpacking solo around the world. She’s now on her 16th published book.

Anne is a former teacher, a former president of RWAust, a three time RITA finalist, has twice won the Romantic Book of the Year (Australia) and the National Reader’s Choice Award (USA) and has been listed in Library Journal (USA) best books of the year.

At Diamonds Are Forever, Anne is presenting a workshop aimed at ALL writers called ENGAGING YOUR READER.


Beautiful prose and a clever plot is not enough. The secret to selling a manuscript is how well you can engage a reader. Readers read popular fiction — and especially romance — to be swept away, to experience an emotional journey. They don’t simply read — they interact with a book; with the world, with the characters and with their problems. For the writer the key is to create reader engagement on a number of levels — intellectual, psychological and emotional.

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

I write, I blog, I dream, I’m a creative procrastinator.

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations? 

I’m a regular presenter at RWA. I’ve also taken workshops for the Victorian Writers Centre, the NSW Writers Centre and the Queensland Writers Centre, as well as several Romance Roadshows, and I presented a workshop with Kelly Hunter at RWAmerica in New York last year.

What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Diamonds are Forever”?

A recently published author told me at the last conference that something I’d said on this topic helped her to sell her first story, so I thought it would make for a useful workshop. Engaging your readers is a crucial but much undervalued aspect of writing a story that sells.

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

Yes, I’m a big believer in showing not telling, and stuff that sounds simple in theory is not always easy to achieve in practice. So I’ll use a few examples and also try to fit in a writing exercise.


What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?

I love our annual conference — I love catching up with old friends and making new ones. I love the supportive atmosphere, and I adore any kind of craft-of-writing workshop or discussion. I especially love the buzz of excitement that surrounds the new authors and I love how we celebrate each other’s successes. It’s brilliant.

Any advice for conference first-timers?

Don’t be shy about coming. Truly, we’re the friendliest bunch around. We were all newbies once and the constantly changing nature of the writing business makes us all remember that. Don’t be afraid to come up to published authors and talk to them — it’s the best of all times to do that.

If you don’t know anyone who’s going, start talking on the Romaus loop and arrange to meet people. The loop usually organizes a dinner on the Thursday night and that’s great — then you start the conference knowing people already.

Come to the cocktail party and dress up if you can.  Costumes are a real ice-breaker, and you can talk to anyone there about their costume. If you hate costumes, come anyway — nobody cares if you don’t dress up. We’re all there to meet and have fun.

Australian Release


What is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

My latest book is BRIDE BY MISTAKE (Berkley USA, Penguin Australia)

My website is:

I blog with the WordWenches:

Join me on facebook:

Tweet with me:!/AnneGracie


Thank you, Anne.

Our next Conference Spotlight is with Louise Cusack on 9th April.

Leave a comment


  1. Really looking forward to your workshop, Anne! Sounds fabulous 🙂

  2. annegracie

     /  April 3, 2012

    Thanks, Louise. Looking forward to catching up with you!
    Not long to Bundaberg Writefest I guess.
    Wish I could nip up there for the day.

  3. Looking forward to your workshop, Anne.

    You’ve been responsible for turning on several light bulbs in my mind over the last couple of years so I look forward to more illumination!!

  4. annegracie

     /  April 3, 2012

    Well it’s nice to think so, Helene, thanks. I know I love doing workshops with other authors, not necessarily because what they’re saying is new to me, but because I can consider what they’re saying in the context of the book I’m working on at the moment.

    Looking forward to catching up with you, too.

  5. I’m looking forward to your workshop, Anne. Engagement is something you do so well and I always enjoy your workshops. Your ‘mother-in-law test’ has stuck with me and helped me out many times!

  6. Your books always engage me, Anne, and I’ve heard you speak a few times now, so I have no doubt this would be a fantastic workshop.


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