On the Board 2019: Officers

We'd like to help you get to know more about the members you've elected to guide our organization! Each week, we'll feature different board members answering some fun questions and talking about what service to the membership means for them. First up: your executive committee! 

HelenKay Dimon, President
Carolyn Jewel, President-Elect
Renee Ryan, Secretary
Nan Dixon, Treasurer

HelenKay Dimon, President

President-Elect HelenKay Dimon

What does RWA Board service mean to you? 

Initially, being on the Board was about giving back. I learned about craft in RWA. I met amazing people and dear friends through RWA. I continue to use the conference as a way to connect with other professionals, editors and some readers. When I moved across the country and didn’t know anyone, my first inclination was to go to a local RWA Chapter meeting where at least I knew there would be people who shared my loved of romance reading and writing.

My thought was to get on the Board, help shape policy and return some of the goodwill that I received over the years. But the reality is that I’ve gained so much from being on the Board. It can be frustrating and some weeks the time commitment is far greater than I ever anticipated, but I still learn and get more than I give. I have a greater understanding of issues facing fellow authors, especially those in marginalized groups, a greater desire to pitch in and help, a greater appreciation for how hard the RWA staff works and how important RWA’s advocacy role is, and an even greater love for the strength, intelligence and determination of our members. Being on the Board is an education, a  journey and an honor.

What trope do you adore?

It’s a tie between marriage/engagement of convenience (which is tough to pull off well in contemporary romance) and best friend’s baby sister. Love both.

What's the best place you've traveled?

Fiji. It was my honeymoon, so everything about the trip (except how long it took to fly there) was pretty great.

What's the weirdest fact you've learned during research?

I’m not sure if it’s weird or just obsessively detailed, but I wrote a romantic suspense that centered on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (the Doomsday Vault) a few years ago. I now can answer almost any questions about the place, from the temperature of the vault, to the seed packets, to the security, to the polar bears that wander around outside the structure. If you have a question, let me know.

Carolyn Jewel, President-Elect

President-Elect Carolyn Jewel

What does RWA Board service mean to you? 

Board service has allowed me to give back to an organization that has been a cornerstone of my professional and personal writing life. Going into my fifth year of serving on the Board I can also say that the experience has changed me for the better.

What trope do you adore? 

Marriage of Convenience. Boy, do I love reading about relationships where the partners fall in love even though it’s inconvenient, unexpected, or unwise and there’s no walking away as the pretense of convenience falls away. My love for Enemies to Lovers is such a close second that I say it’s a statistical tie so I get to have two answers. ;-) I will read stories with that trope anytime all the time.

What song always gets stuck in your head? 

Wow. This question is almost as dangerous as telling the World’s Funniest Joke. I will save you all and decline to answer. (Humming to self . . . .  Thanks. Really. Dagnabit.)

If you could have one of your characters' professions, which would it be? 

Hacker/security consultant. Purely white hat, I promise.

Renee Ryan, Secretary

Renee Ryan

What does RWA Board service mean to you?

I consider my Board service as a chance to give back to the organization that helped me find success in the romance industry. I joined RWA at a time when there weren’t many options for aspiring authors to get their work into the hands of readers. I credit my first sale, and the many contracts that followed, to the education and networking provided by my membership in the organization. The publishing landscape has changed dramatically since my first book hit the shelves. While there are more options for authors, and seemingly unlimited routes to success, gross inequalities still exist in the industry, especially for our marginalized members. As an Officer of the Board, I take this matter seriously, and relish the chance to continue changing the face of romance until all authors have a seat at the table. I’m also pleased to be a part of the advocacy efforts RWA has conducted in the past and look forward to continuing the good fight into the future.

What trope do you adore?

Reunion stories, hands down, are my absolute favorite. There’s something incredibly romantic about looking beyond a past mistake, finding forgiveness, and then embracing a more mature love on the other side. For this reason, my favorite Jane Austen book is Persuasion. In my opinion, the journey from Anne’s youthful mistake to her ultimate reconciliation with Captain Wentworth is one of the most satisfying love stories ever written.

What is your favorite love declaration in a movie?

“As You Wish,” from The Princess Bride, is romantic, unforgettable, and simply perfect. It isn’t particularly romantic, at least, not outside the story. But within the confines of the plot, “As You Wish” stands out as one of the most memorable phrases from a movie known for its quotable lines. Those three little words are so specific to the characters, and such a part of Westley and Buttercup’s journey to happily-ever-after, that they catapult The Princess Bride into a category all its own.

What's the best place you've traveled

Southwestern Ireland left a huge impression on me. I enjoyed so much about the terrain and the people. I specifically loved the Cliffs of Moher, not only for their beauty but also because they appeared in The Princess Bride.

Nan Dixon, Treasurer

Treasurer Nan Dixon

What does RWA Board service mean to you?

Being on the Board allows me to give back to the organization that helped me achieve my dream of becoming a published author. I believe it is important to be involved and help the organization thrive during times of change. With my background as a financial executive, I hope I add another perspective to the Board. My philosophy? Spreadsheets are fun and graphs can tell stories too.

What's your hidden talent?

I love to perform but rarely get the chance anymore. Acting, singing and dancing were my passion. Now I funnel that passion into my writing. Oh - and I can still do back flips on the trampoline. 

How do you reward yourself when you've met a writing goal?

I do tend to forget to reward myself, but I try and get a massage whenever I finish a book. (Rock hard shoulders) Unfortunately, I might have to change the spa I've been using. They no longer serve champagne in the quiet room.  


Read more On the Board 2019 posts! 

On the Board 2019: Directors Volume 1  
On the Board 2019: Directors Volume 2  
On the Board 2019: Directors Volume 3
On the Board 2019: Advisors