Roving Romaniacs in Umbria (The Italian Job, Part 2)


Sue Moorcroft’s fabulous course at Arte Umbria a few years back was something that fellow Romaniac Laura James and I will never forget. When I got the chance to go again to kick start my retirement from teaching, this time with my Romaniac buddy Debbie Fuller-White and a whole gang of other wonderful people, it wasn’t too hard to jump at the chance.




This time, Debbie was taking part in the full course, I was doing the writing retreat thing and the terrace above was the place where inspiration struck most often (possibly because that’s where wine kept appearing.)

Sue did lots of one-to-ones, ran sessions on building characters, short stories, plotting and all sorts of other useful angles on getting a book to take shape and then beating it into submission. We didn’t write hot sex by the pool this time. It was just too…hot.

We even found a hero at the castle – a gorgeous man who also is heavily into wine production – what’s not to like about Lorenzo? Even the name is music to my ears. I finished the edits on a whole book, gave my character some much needed depth and put on half a stone. Two of those things make me happier than the other. Deb got her mojo back and we refrained from having a girlie cat fight over who should stand next to Lorenzo while he told us about…erm…I think it was grapes and stuff, but actually, who cares?

Lor - Copy

And on the way home we did some revision on my all-time favourite of Sue’s books – the story that sparked off a memorable singing event in a Romaniac kitchen at the RNA conference. I can’t remember where we were…maybe Sheffield. But Dream a Little Dream has never been sung like that before.


Huge thanks to Sue, to our lovely hosts David and Sara Moody and to all the rest of the gang for making Arte Umbria a place where writing is as natural as eating, sleeping, breathing…and drinking. Hic.


Deb - Copy

6 thoughts on “Roving Romaniacs in Umbria (The Italian Job, Part 2)

  1. It certainly was an inspiring week for lots of reasons. It was lovely to meet you Celia and Debbie (and the others of course) and hopefully our own retreat will come to fruition next year. I learned so much from Sue and you other writers, I just need to keep the momentum going. Great blog , now I need to do one (it’s been 6 months since I’ve had anything decent to write about!) xxx

  2. It’s a week I’ll never forget – lots of laughter and even more motivation! Lovely to meet you too, Kay

    Celia xx

  3. Reblogged this on Sue Moorcroft blog and commented:
    A lovely blog about this year’s course for Arte Umbria – sadly just ended – from Celia Anderson. The course was brimful this year and the atmosphere absolutely buzzing. Bookings have already begun for next year as a result. Thanks to Celia and the Romaniacs for this blog post.

  4. Looks brilliant – I hope to get to Arte Umbria some day! And I was in that kitchen singing that song with the gang; isn’t there an incriminating video somewhere…? Great post, thanks to The Romaniacs.

    Nikki x

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