Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER conference.
Rochelle Manners is the commissioning editor and director of independent publisher of inspirational and romance fiction, Even Before Publishing. She is involved in publishing for both the print and digital markets for target audiences in Australia and internationally. Even Before Publishing is an imprint of Wombat Books which also publishes children’s and young adult fiction. Even Before Publishing aims to release books that are of interest in the faith-based and Christian market as well as the trade market as inspirational. Rochelle has a background in teaching, counselling and writing. She is married with 3 young children.
At Diamonds Are Forever, Rochelle is presenting a workshop aimed at ALL writers called INSPIRATIONAL AND FAITH-BASED ROMANCE.
Inspirational writing appears on the surface to be just what it is – inspirational – however different markets have a different understanding. In the American market the term’ inspirational’ is almost interchangeable with faith based writing, and the majority of the books are Christian based. In Australia this isn’t always the case. However is there a way of having books be of interest to both the Christian and trade markets? What aspects of a book relate to both or one of the other?
Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.
Rochelle Manners is an Australian independent publisher.
Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations?
I have presented at workshops and events in the Christian industry before, including The Word Writers Getaway/Fair and through organisations Faith Writers and Omega writers. I have also participated in panels at the NSW Writers Centre and taken pitches at the CYA conference. In both cases these experiences were in children’s fiction. I publish children’s fiction under Wombat Books, including YA romance and contemporary stories.
What prompted you to put together this workshop for “Diamonds are Forever”?
I was exploring what the definitions were for inspirational and faith-based fiction and how these terms were used in different ways in America versus Australia. As a relatively new and growing publisher in Australia, I was exploring and aiming to make some of our fiction suitable for both the trade and Christian markets. In America these words inspirational and Christian fiction are almost interchangeable, in Australia not so much. However many faith based authors have stories that are also mainstream so it seems some stories may suit more than one market. By selling a book to more than one market it opens up opportunities, but it can be difficult to mix these. So I set up about exploring what was popular in mainstream and Christian or faith-based romance and increase interest in Australia and to answer author’s questions on how to write for either or both of these markets.
What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)
We will explore some of the features of good inspirational romance and faith-based romance and focus on how to make a book good irrespective of whether or not it promotes certain values. Looking at how to make a good story will create the best outcome for any book.
Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?
Yes, we will have activities and some “homework” if people want to do further research.
Do you use examples (from your own books, other books, movies etc)?
I will be creating an up to date list of a range of inspirational authors that are worth looking at. I will use examples from some of the books that have been published in Australia and some that have been published overseas. Some of the authors EBP has published are members of Romance Writers of Australia.
Which members will benefit most from this session?
While this activity will focus on inspirational and faith-based fiction, many of the principles and activities will be good for all writers. I would like to focus on how to make a book good irrespective of whether it is founded in an inspirational or religious format. The story should surpass the book and it is not about having a preachy message.
What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?
The best aspect for me about any conference is always the way you learn and get built up through the presentations and the networking. Attending events is wonderful for all of this. I am particularly looking forward to this to meet others who are also interested in romance fiction for Australia.
Where can members find out more about you?
Thank you, Rochelle.
Our next Conference Spotlight is with Helene Young on 16th April.