#RNA60 Birthday Special Feature with Julie Cohen @julie_cohen @orionbooks #RomanceReadingMonth @RNATweets


Today on my month-long Romantic Novelists Association feature. Each day in February I will have a different author on the blog, talking to me about their books. It is to help celebrate the sixtieth birthday of the RNA and to raise awareness of how it might be a great fit for you if you are an author.  I hope you enjoy the features over the next few weeks. Be sure to give the authors a follow on social media and add the books you fancy from the selection of great authors to your own TBR.

❤️Romantic Novelists Association 

The Romantic Novelists’ Association was founded in 1960 to both celebrate, and demand respect for, romantic fiction. Founder members included Denise Robins, Barbara Cartland, Elizabeth Goudge, Netta Muskett, Catherine Cookson and Rosamunde Pilcher. The first President of the Association, Denise Robins, noted that although romantic fiction gave great pleasure to many readers, the writers almost felt they had to apologise for what they did. The RNA was going to put a stop to those apologies and, instead, celebrate and promote romantic authorship.

Since 1960 has RNA has awarded prizes to the best in romantic fiction, and has nurtured new writing through the New Writers’ Scheme.

In 1966, an early Vice President of the association, Elizabeth Goudge, commented that ‘As this world becomes increasingly ugly, callous and materialistic it needs to be reminded that the old fairy stories are rooted in truth, that imagination is of value, that happy endings do, in fact, occur, and that the blue spring mist that makes and ugly street look beautiful is just as real a thing as the street itself.’

Today, the RNA continues to support and champion the authorship of romantic fiction that shows the value of imagination and the possibility of a happy ending and also celebrates the broader spectrum of romantic fiction that explores the more challenging aspects of relationships and human experience.

Website: https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RNAtweets

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Romantic.Novelists.Association/

❤️Julie Cohen

Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine and studied English at Brown University and Cambridge University before pursuing a research degree in nineteenth century fairies. After a career as a secondary school English teacher, she became a novelist. Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide. DEAR THING and TOGETHER were both selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Julie runs an oversubscribed literary consultancy which has helped many writers go on to be published. She is a Vice President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter for LGBTQ+ authors, and a Patron of literacy charity ABC To Read.

You can find Julie on Twitter: @julie_cohen or you can visit her website: http://www.julie-cohen.com.

❤️ The Two Lives of Louis & Louise

Two people.
Two lives.
One chance to see the same world differently.

Louis and Louise are the same person born in two different lives. One was born female, and one male.

They have the same best friends, the same red hair, the same dream of being a writer, the same excellent whistle. They both suffer one catastrophic night, with life-changing consequences.

Thirteen years later, they are both coming home . . .

A tender, insightful and timely novel about the things that bring us together – and those which separate us, from the author of Richard & Judy recommended book Together


Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey, please?

I started writing seriously in my 30s, when I had a career as a secondary school teacher. I’d always wanted to be a writer so I thought it was about time I got on with it! I wrote three novels, all of them rejected multiple times by publishers and agents in the UK and the USA, but I was addicted to writing books by then and I kept on writing and submitting until, in 2004, I signed with my agent and soon after got a publishing deal for a completely different manuscript.

Since then I’ve published over twenty novels. My work has been translated into fourteenlanguages, and sold over a million copies worldwide. I’ve been shortlisted for and won several awards, including Contemporary Romantic Novel of the year in 2017 for my novel TOGETHER. My books DEAR THING and TOGETHER were both selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. My latest novel, THE TWO LIVES OF LOUIS & LOUISE, has been optioned for a feature film.

Can you tell us how you became involved with the Romantic Novelists Association and what it means for you to be part of it?

I joined the RNA in 2002, as an unpublished writer. The support for unpublished writers is phenomenal: because of the RNA I found a mentor, attended conference, discovered my agent, met editors, and had two of my manuscripts critiqued as part of the New Writers’ Scheme. It was one of my proudest moments when I graduated to a Full (published) member—the membership secretary sent me a letter saying ‘Bloody well done!’

I’ve seen the organisation change quite a bit over the past 18 years, most notably with the inclusion of self-published members and the current intiatives to encourage diversity in our membership and in publishing more generally. I’m one of the founding members of the Rainbow Chapter for writers of LGBTQIA+ romantic fiction and I’m thrilled that the chapter has taken off. But what has never changed is the RNA’s utter support of authors, and its uncompromising stance as a champion of relationship-focused novels.

What was the inspiration behind your latest release?

THE TWO LIVES OF LOUIS & LOUISE is about one person, Lou Alder, in two realities. In one reality, Louise Alder is female; and in another, Louis Alder is male. It’s a book about gender, family, community, class, sexuality and love, and it was inspired by ongoing discussions about the role of gender in our society, gender inequality, the nonbinary nature of gender, toxic masculinity, and sexual assault.

Do you find it hard to let your characters go when you finish writing the book?

I always have a mourning period after finishing a book, where I miss the story and the characters desperately. The only way to get over it is to start writing another book.

What was your favourite read of 2019?

Probably my absolute favourite book in 2019 was FINGERSMITH by Sarah Waters, which is incredible on every level and which I really should have read ages ago.

Do you read other romance authors and who would you recommend?

Probably my absolute favourite book in 2019 was FINGERSMITH by Sarah Waters, which is incredible on every level and which I really should have read ages ago.

Was there a point in your life that a book helped you get through, if so which one?

When I was hospitalised with pneumonia I obsessively read Georgette Heyer novels. Her dialogue is so sparkling and her plots are so clever, and there’s always a happy ending. They were immensely comforting.

Is there anyone that you would like to mention and thank for their support of your writing?

When I was hospitalised with pneumonia I obsessively read Georgette Heyer novels. Her dialogue is so sparkling and her plots are so clever, and there’s always a happy ending. They were immensely comforting.

If you had the power to give everyone in the world one book, what would it be and why?

FAR FROM THE TREE by Andrew Solomon is a nonfiction book about parents who have children who are different from them: children who are (for example) geniuses, or transgender, or deaf, or criminals, born to parents who are not these things. It’s an extraordinary testament to acceptance and love and how families are built, and aside from being a very good read, I think it teaches really important lessons in empathy.

What are you working on now?

My next book (and my first historical novel), SPIRITED, comes out in July, so we’re working on cover design and final tweaks. It’s a Victorian-set novel of a fake spirit medium, and her relationship with an unhappily married woman who suddenly starts taking photographs of real ghosts. Meanwhile, I’m writing the novel after that, which I can’t talk about. *Shifty eyes*

Lastly, do you have any questions for your readers?

Oh, so many! But mostly I love getting book recommendations and I love hearing about where and how people read.

❤️ Buy Link
❤️Follow the Tour 
❤️ Connect with Me

Here is a handy link tree with all my social media. Why not follow me on Twitter, Goodreads and Instagram.


❤️Final Thoughts

Thank you to Julie for taking part in my special feature. 

Happy reading,


In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog

contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for us (at no extra cost for you).

2 thoughts on “#RNA60 Birthday Special Feature with Julie Cohen @julie_cohen @orionbooks #RomanceReadingMonth @RNATweets

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