I'd been warned, as a first-timer, to expect the devastating noise level, stunning frocks and extraordinary shoes. They were nearly all women, of course, but I talked with all kinds of people, from a bestselling novelist whose books you can find in supermarkets to a newcomer, partway through her first novel and just testing the waters.
My own novel isn't a romance, strictly speaking, but as long as your story features relationships in some form, which includes just about everything except hardcore science fiction, the RNA offers support, critique, networking and a huge body of experience to draw on. There were seventeen people this year in line for the Joan Hessayon prize for first novel to be published, and their work included everything from fantasy to comedy, from historical to mystery to - of course - good old-fashioned romance. Maybe I'll be standing in that line next year; who knows? Fingers crossed...