Sunday, May 14, 2017

Christina Hollis: The Worth Of Workshops

 Hard at Work! 
I’m a keen member of the local branch of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The Marcher Chapter takes its name from the border country of the Welsh Marches, where England meets Wales. We have meetings every six weeks or so between March and November at The Courtyard, Hereford’s centre for the arts. Our members are scattered far and wide over the West Midlands and East Wales, and Hereford is easily reached by train and road. The possibility of rail delays and the state of the roads puts us off travelling in the short, cold and dark days of winter. That’s when we stay at home and write.

Each Spring and Autumn, the Marcher Group holds writing workshops. Members taking part submit a piece of their work to our Chairman-Co-ordinator, Ann. She makes sure the writer’s name doesn’t appear, then allocates a number to each piece and distributes them via email to the rest of the workshop participants. We then read and critique all the pieces, ready to spend the day of the workshop discussing each of the entries in turn. You can see RNA authors Fay Wentworth, Georgia Hill, Christina Courtenay, Joanna Maitland and Ann Ankers hard at work in the picture above.
Find out more at
The Marcher Group has been running biannual workshops for several years now. It really helps to have several other sets of eyes concentrating on a piece you’ve toiled over until you’re too close to appreciate its worth-or see its flaws! 

I feel my writing has improved a lot since I’ve been attending these sessions. The chance to network, and learn how to accept criticism as well as how to frame it tactfully are invaluable, too. I live deep in the countryside and can go for days without seeing anyone outside my immediate family, so the chance to escape from behind the keyboard once in a while is something I always enjoy. Face-to-face interaction with professionals who have read my work has improved my confidence and speaking skills, too.

I submitted the opening pages of the book which became His Majesty's Secret Passion for The Wild Rose Press to one of the Marcher Group workshops. You can find out more about the book a workshop panel inspired at 

Nearly all the works put through the scheme by other authors have been published. It's Beta reading to the max!

On the strength of the Marcher Groups comments on a piece of mine submitted to a more recent workshop, I worked the sample pages up into a full-length novel. Love Lies Bleeding will be published by Endeavour books later this year, and the encouragement I’ve had from the Marcher Group was invaluable. 

To me, that really proves the worth of workshops.

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. Catch up with her at, on TwitterFacebook, and see a full list of her published books at

Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at  worldwide.


dstoutholcomb said...

sounds like a wonderful group of writers for support


Christina Hollis said...

It is a great resource, Denise. Everyone's work really benefits from the informed comments. In this job, you never stop learning. Thanks for commenting!