UPDATE 6/23/19: The 2019 Historical Novel Society Conference is now past. Our next conference will be in 2021. If you would like to see what previous conference sessions have entailed, please look at the descriptions below.


General Conference Sessions

Friday, June 21, 2019

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. FRIDAY SESSIONS

STATE OF THE STATE OF HISTORICAL FICTION: Agents and Editors Roundtable Discussion: Where our genre has just been; where it is right now; and where it looks like it’s headed. [Melissa Danaczko, Amanda Jain, Rachel Kahan, Kevan Lyon, Grace Menary-Winefield, Kate Seaver, Jodi Warshaw, Paige Wheeler; moderated by HNS A&E Liaison Elizabeth K. Mahon] (Room: Woodrow Wilson A)

SCHOOLBENCHES AND TRENCHES: The Philippine-American War Setting. [Jennifer Hallock] Liberate and uplift? Or conquer and oppress? The revolutionaries of the eighteenth century became the redcoats of the twentieth, fighting a war to seize the Philippines (1899-1913) as the first step toward overseas empire. Enter the American Century, complete with debates over transpacific trade, immigration, Muslim separatists, and national security—all issues that resonate for the modern reader. Historian, teacher, and author Jennifer Hallock will explain why the U.S. colonized the Philippines, how this experience still shapes both countries now, and how it creates engaging American historical fiction. (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

SILK STOCKING REBELS: Writing STEAM-Powered Women. [Nicky Penttila, Kate Quinn, Mary Sharratt; moderator: Margaret Porter] Throughout history, highly motivated women have exploded society’s restrictions, expectations, and demands to pursue achievements in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. A fortunate few were heralded in their own time. Far more were overshadowed by men in their lives—fathers, husbands, rivals, collaborators—ignored for decades or centuries. As writers of historical fiction, we have the power to uplift an unsung heroine, explore the private world of a famous figure, or create an imaginary innovator. Authors experienced in writing these compelling characters will share how to best use that power to reveal a protagonist’s context, conflicts, and contributions. (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

DON’T BITE THE BULLET: Telling the True Story of Civil War Medicine. [Janet Oakley, Jake Wynn; moderator: Sara Dahmen] In both movies and novels, Civil War medicine is often depicted as chaotic, primitive and downright dangerous. But was it? Jake Wynn, Director of Interpretation at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine; author Janet Oakley, great-granddaughter of Union Surgeon WF Osborn of the 11th PA at the Battle of Gettysburg; and author Sara Dahmen, who has researched 19th medicine, will debunk some of the myths of Civil War and talk about the revolution in the care of the wounded from the battlefields to the hospital. Get your scenes right! (Room: Baltimore 4)

RULING THE WAVES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN OR WAIVING THE RULES: Ottoman North Africa, 1510-1830. [Yusuf DeLorenzoBread baskets during revolution in Europe, gatekeepers to the rich markets of the Mediterranean and beyond, the city states on the Barbary Coast of North Africa were feared and vilified by their neighbors almost as much as they were needed. This presentation aims to bring about an appreciation for the rich cultural and historical heritage, geographical and ethnic diversity, and natural beauty of North Africa as an ideal backdrop for vibrant historical fiction, especially after the romantic and fanciful images of an exotic orient are discarded, and the myths personified in the evocative label “Barbary Pirates” are dispelled. (Room: Baltimore 5)

WEIRD-BUT-TRUE THINGS NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THE ROARING TWENTIES. [Mary Miley] The Roaring Twenties—a decade that careened from the heights of vaudeville and silent film to the depths of Prohibition; a time when gangsters, flappers, bootleggers, and jazz musicians came right into the parlor courtesy of a new invention called radio; the moment that women declared their independence at the ballot box, raised their hems, bobbed their hair, slurped bathtub gin, and shimmied late into the night. This light-hearted presentation focuses on some of the weird people and incredible true stories missing from history textbooks. (Room: Annapolis 1 & 2)

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. FRIDAY SESSIONS

SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES YOU MIGHT BE MAKING. [Laura Kamoie] Discover practical and tangible advice for building and improving an effective social media presence from a New York Times bestselling author of over 35 novels. Learn about common and easy-to-rectify mistakes and missed opportunities on multiple social media sites, websites, retail and book promotion sites, newsletters, and more. (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

BEYOND THE BATTLEFIELD: Researching War Stories First-Hand. [Karen A. Chase] Historical war novelists need practical means for discovering the nuances of characters, places, and historical events beyond mere battlefield stories and archival materials. We’ll discuss ways to gain first-hand experience, and best practices for working with historic locations, reenactors, historians, and enthusiasts. Plus, we’ll review how to prepare and budget to travel for research, and how to manage and incorporate your research after your excursion. The goal is to craft war stories that bring readers deeper into the trenches, to allow readers to authentically feel they are one with characters––real and fictional––because the author researched beyond the battlefield. (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

REVOLUTIONIZING THE HERO’S JOURNEY: How to Use Non-Western Folklore to Make Old Tales New. [Vanitha Sankaran] Wondering if non-Western cultures tell stories differently? Yes, they do, and so can you! The Hero’s Journey has been a storytelling mainstay for decades. While there is value in understanding this linear journey, especially as it pertains to Western readers, it is imperative to understand other cultures have different journeys to illustrate conflict, battle, and outcome, with paths and resolutions that are markedly different. Award-winning author and researcher Vanitha Sankaran will lead an intimate interactive workshop on understanding different story goals and how to use alternate plotting structures derived from non-Western cultures to tell stories in a fresh way. (Room: Baltimore 4)

NATURE, NURTURE, NOVEL: Turning the Birth of Psychology into Fiction. [Carolyn Kirby] Are you fascinated by what went on in the Victorian asylum, or by the work of early psychologists? How can these subjects become a research resource for a novelist? Join British novelist Carolyn Kirby to find out how scientific thinking, past and present, including the birth of psychology and ideas about “nature versus nurture,” can provide a fertile source of character and plot for historical fiction. She will consider the ethics of using real historical figures as inspiration, and consider how other novels, like The Alienist by Caleb Carr have done so. (Room: Baltimore 5)

YOU MEAN IT DIDN’T RAIN THAT DAY? The Perils & Pitfalls of Writing Modern History. [Chanel Cleeton, Camille Di Maio, Renee Rosen, Stephanie Thornton; moderator: Kate Quinn] In recent years, more and more historical authors have taken the plunge into writing modern history (Post-WWII, Cuban Revolution, Cold War, & beyond), a heavily documented era which presents its own set of unique benefits & perils. Join us as we discuss the advantages, challenges, and pitfalls of writing and researching a time period when everything from your character’s last sneeze to the cost of a gallon of milk is often documented. (Room: Annapolis 1&2)

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. FRIDAY KOFFEE KLATCHES

GEORGE WASHINGTON: The Man vs. the Myth. [Koffee Klatch Host: Vernon Frykholm] Join General George Washington, portrayed by Vern Frykholm, to learn the truth about the cherry tree, his “wooden teeth,” and that dollar he threw across the Delaware…or did he? Is there any truth to the story of the “Indian prophecy” identifying Washington as the future leader of a great nation, twenty years before the American Revolution? How did Washington contend with the “fake news” of his day? What was his relationship with Benedict Arnold? Any era or aspect of Washington’s life is open for discussion, including love and war, religion, and politics. (Room: Camellia 3)

THE NEW WOMAN: Suffering Suffragists to Flippant Flappers. [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Hazel Gaynor, Stephanie Lehmann] It’s not easy to shake off centuries of oppression, but in the early decades of the 1900s, feminists began to see revolutionary results. “The New Woman,” as she was branded by the media, supported herself and went to college in greater numbers than ever before. She could drive, vote, and live with her lover in Greenwich Village if she chose. Still, society at large disapproved, and laws continued to discriminate against women — something that may sound familiar. Join us to talk about this fascinating era, and why it’s an exciting and relevant time in history to set your novel. (Room: Camellia 4)

WRITING ABOUT ART AND ARTISTS IN HISTORICAL NOVELS. [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Carrie Callaghan & Laura Morelli] From The Agony and the Ecstasy to Girl with a Pearl Earring and more recent tales, novels about artists and art history remain more popular than ever. Why are readers hungry for art-themed novels, and what are the most common tropes? What are the rewards and pitfalls of writing this genre, plus special challenges of bringing visual media to life in words? Explore this rich topic in an informal setting with editor/novelist Carrie Callaghan (A Light of Her Own) and art historian/novelist Laura Morelli (The Painter’s ApprenticeThe Gondola Maker) as your guides. (Room: Azalea 3)

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. FRIDAY SESSIONS

…ADD MORE LIPSTICK AND ATTACK”: Evolution and Revolution in Women’s Fashion From 1850-1970. [Liza Nash Taylor] From whalebone corsets to going commando, the evolution of women’s fashion since 1850 has been influenced by world events as well as by visionary designers including Coco Chanel, Paul Poiret, and Yves St. Laurent. This program features a brief history of how fashion has adapted to and been influenced by changing times. From haute couture to home sewing, the clothes we wear have a history. A former designer for Ralph Lauren, Liza Nash Taylor offers a visual history of fashion evolution and revolution in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

UPPING THE ANTE: Creating and Sustaining Conflict in Stories. [Alma Katsu] All novels need conflict: it’s at the heart of the story itself and it’s why the reader keeps turning the pages. Conflict is what keeps the reader asking, “What happens next?” Infusing your story with tension doesn’t mean you need to resort to melodramatic tricks and clichés. This 1-hour presentation will: define what conflict is (and isn’t); describe four different kinds of conflict and how to layer them to create depth in your novel; teach attendees how to analyze their own writing; provide concrete advice on how to create more suspense and tension; apply these techniques to all kinds of writing, not just mysteries and thrillers. (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

MUST WE ALWAYS SING THE BLUES? Missing Chapters from the African American Experience. [Denny S. Bryce, Piper Huguley, Dolen Perkins-Valdez; Moderator: Sherri L. Smith] After the TV remake of Roots, rapper Snoop Dogg took to social media, saying, “They just want to keep showing the abuse we took hundreds and hundreds of years ago… When y’all gonna make a movie about the success we’re having?” The overriding narrative in African American historical fiction has always been slavery—but there are many more stories to be told!  Join moderator Sherri L. Smith (Flygirl), book reviewer Denny S. Bryce (NPR, Washington Independent Review of Books), and two of the most exciting African American voices in historical fiction today—Piper Huguley (Migrations of the Heart series), and Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Balm)—as we discuss the vibrant missing chapters in Black history. (Room: Woodrow Wilson D)

HERE BE DRAGONS: Navigating the Tumultuous Realm of Editing. [Anna Bennett] Editing is a very important stage in the writing process; and it can be accomplished via many different avenues. From story structure to character arcs, plot holes to denouement, an editor is there to polish your masterpiece and prepare it for review by an agent or publisher. In this workshop, Historical Editorial editor Anna Bennett will walk writers through some common issues while working with them to learn how to identify and avoid such matters in their own writing. (Room: Baltimore 4)

THIS ISLE ISN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US! The Truth about Mary Queen of Scots versus Elizabeth the Virgin Queen. [Margaret George] The high drama of the political rivalry to the death between the cousin-queens Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor is often reduced to “Mary was ruled by her heart and Elizabeth by her head.” As Margaret George researched her two novels about each of them, she found the truth to be much more complex, tied to political alliances, nationalism, genealogy, misogyny, and religion—quite a plateful. Each woman was clever, ruthless, charming, and played to win, surrounded by a cast of ambitious, strong-willed men seeking to manipulate them.  Leave the Hollywood version behind and hear the much more fascinating real story! (Room: Baltimore 5)

WRITING THE HISTORICAL FEMALE IN THE #METOO ERA. [Laura Kamoie, Eliza (E.) Knight, Kate Quinn; moderator: Heather Webb] What does it mean, in any era, for a woman to raise her voice and demand to be heard? This question has never been more important for authors of historical novels than in today’s #MeToo moment. Join a panel of multi-published and bestselling authors as they discuss craft tips, research considerations, challenges, and opportunities in writing stories that center on women, explore the female perspective, and give voice to heroines using their own documented words. (Room: Annapolis 1&2)

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. FRIDAY KOFFEE KLATCHES

BEYOND NURSING: Women’s Work and The Great War. [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Jennifer Robson & Aimie K. Runyan] Often overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of Rosie the Riveter and the heroic efforts made by women in WWII, the contributions of women in the Great War were substantial. Women served as telephone operators, marines, yeomen, and more. This discussion will bring to light the forgotten wartime efforts that helped lay the groundwork for lasting change in the US and abroad despite the postwar reflex to return women to their previous stations. Hosted by internationally bestselling authors, Jennifer Robson (Somewhere in France, etc.) and Aimie K. Runyan (Girls on the Line, etc.) (Room: Camellia 3)

CALL OFF THE REVOLUTION! What-Ifs that Would Have Changed the Course of History. [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Gillian Bagwell & Margaret Porter] If Catherine of Aragon had borne a living son, would England still be Catholic? What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry a son? If Charles II had married his cousin Sophie, would Scotland have avoided destruction? If Edward VIII had renounced Wallis Simpson, would England have supported Hitler? History is full of forks in the road, not always obvious at the time. Sometimes the path followed led to war or cultural upheaval, and the road not taken might have given us a different world. Gillian Bagwell and Margaret Porter discuss these and other intriguing possibilities. Bring your favorite what-ifs! (Room: Camellia 4)

THE MILLENNIAL REVOLUTION, A #KOFFEEKLATCH. [Hosts: Amalia Carosella & Robert Rath] Every generation brings their own perspective, and their own baggage, to the historical genre—and Millennials are no different. How will this generation—the most educated, diverse, and self-obsessed in modern history—change the game? How can tech open new opportunities for fiction? And how might a novel about Robespierre or Henry VIII resonate in the Snapchat age? Join a give-and-take discussion on these questions with real, live millennial authors. (There will be a brief intermission for avocado toast.) (Room: Azalea 3)

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. FRIDAY LUNCH

Buffet lunch with special guest speaker: Guest of Honor Dolen Perkins-Valdez

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. FRIDAY SESSIONS

RAMPING UP YOUR RESEARCH: How to Do Quick, Quality Research. [Helene LaFrance & Michal Strutin] Need accurate details for your Victorian romance? Background on the Haitian Revolution or the Suffrage movement? We’re expert researchers and we’ll show you how to cut through the garbage, get you to free, authoritative research sources, and give you tips on how best to use them. From historic images and clothing collections to databases and archives, let research enliven—revolutionize—your story. Learn how to discover amazing digital collections. Become an instant advanced searcher on Google. Take maximum advantage of your local library services. Goal: Do quick, efficient research and spend more time writing! (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

BEYOND ROSIE THE RIVETER: How Female Heroines Are Revolutionizing World War II Fiction. [Kerri Maher, Jennifer Robson, Sherri L. Smith, Kip Wilson; moderator: Greer Macallister] World War II once brought to mind soldiers, the Holocaust, and women in factories. Important as those stories are, a new generation of novels set during WWII with women in the leading roles are shedding new light on the lives of a diverse array of people living though this rich and complicated time—in America and abroad. This panel brings together YA and adult novelists, one novel-in-verse, and both real-life and fictional heroines: German resistance fighters (Wilson’s White Rose), Americans in London (Robson’s Goodnight from London and Maher’s Kennedy Debutante), African-American pilots, and Japanese-Americans (Smith’s Flygirl and forthcoming Pearl). (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

DON’T GET SCAMMED: Avoiding the Criminals That Prey On Writers. [Brenda W. Clough] To be an author is hard enough. But the industry is full of bad actors and outright criminals who prey upon the unwary. This presentation covers fraudulent publishers, scammy agents, shady book contests, unqualified book doctors—all the pitfalls that will waste a writer’s money and energy and maybe even derail her career. The internet and the advent of self-publishing has made it necessary to be much more careful: on the web nobody knows you’re a dog! But fear not, there are crimefighters combating these scamsters. Learn about possible solutions and the resources available to you! (Room: Woodrow Wilson D)

WARP YOUR MIND: A Hands-On History of Textile Creation through the Ages (interactive workshop). [Libby Hawker] If your writing focuses on female characters, chances are you’ll write at least one scene involving the production of textiles. More likely, you’ll write dozens of textile scenes throughout your career—for the creation of fabric and clothing has been an important feature of women’s lives for thousands of years, across countless cultures. Join author and fiber artist Libbie Hawker for a fun history of textile production through the ages—and gain valuable hands-on experience with fiber prep, spinning, weaving, and more! (Room: Baltimore 5)

SOWING THE SEEDS OF REBELLION: Colonialism and Cultural Clashes. [Annamaria Alfieri, Michael J. Cooper, Sujata Massey; moderator: Nancy Bilyeau] A panel of mystery/thriller authors with novels set in India, Africa, and the Middle East—where imperial powers dislocated indigenous life. Some of the most dramatic and compelling stories of history take place at the intersection of these forces. This panel will have wide appeal to historical novel readers interested in settings outside of Europe or the US, settings at the flashpoints of empire and intrigue, the crossroads of history. And novelists at all stages of their careers will be intrigued by the notion that their books can find an audience outside the crowded fields of Tudor and Victorian England and Renaissance Italy. (Room: Annapolis 1&2)

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. FRIDAY KOFFEE KLATCHES

INSIDE THE WORLD OF ESPIONAGE: Stealing, Deception, and Manipulation. [Koffee Klatch Host: Scott] How can an author write credibly about spies and their various milieus? How do you know how to separate fact from fantasy when you lack the information to determine what’s real? An operations officer with the CIA for more than 30 years will provide an overview on how the spy world really works. (Room: Camellia 3)

GREAT CAESAR’S GHOST! %#%*#$* (and Other Everyday Conversation) in Ancient Rome. [Koffee Klatch Host: Ian M. Evans] This small group discussion will explore the challenge of writing authentic dialogue in an historical period for which we have little understanding of how ordinary people talked to each other. How might we deal with blasphemy, profanity and the everyday vernacular of the citizens of the later Roman Empire, with its hundreds of different nationalities and languages? Ian will first offer examples of the issues he confronted when setting his latest novel in Roman Wales, and then invite open critique and discussion of others’ thoughts about this topic. (Room: Azalea 3) 

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. FRIDAY SESSIONS

WOMEN’S ROLES IN TUDOR LONDON. [Carol McGrath] The Tudor period was one of change. The first part of this talk will consider how City women especially widows and sole traders became independent merchants. The cloth trade had expanded, offering new cloth mixes called “new draperies.” Could these fabrics bypass sumptuary laws? What was the atmosphere in London for women during this era, especially from the merchant class? With reference to Elizabeth Cromwell wife to Thomas Cromwell, the King’s servant, this presentation explores the day to day life of female merchants and housewives, looking in particular at: marriage, birthing traditions and the Tudor way of death. From mid-16th century until the century’s end, England was ruled by queens. Did the rule of queens rather than that of kings, influence women’s lives? There will also be a very brief reference to research tools such as maps, inventories, and household accounts. (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

LANDSCAPES TURNED RED: The Pacifist’s Guide to Writing Authentic Battle Scenes. [David Ebsworth, Jack Hight, Charlene Newcomb; moderator: Glen Craney] Do you dread writing that climactic chapter of bloody combat? Would you rather wage a duel of parlor wits or scheme intrigue in the royal courts? You are not alone. But to the fields of glory the armies must go, so gird your loins as these veterans of war fiction offer tips on creating authentic yet readable battle narratives, including juxtaposing homefront scenes to heighten the stakes, tempering the gore while maintaining the immediacy of threat; making military strategy personal to your characters; depicting the chaos without confusing the reader, and evoking the pace of action. (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

FROM TRIANON TO TUMBRILS: The French Revolution in Historical Fiction. [Leslie Carroll w/a Juliet Grey, Stephanie Dray; moderator: Meghan Masterson] It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was also an era of propaganda and libelles—fake news—designed to tarnish the character of one’s enemies and topple a monarchy. A trio of novelists who have illuminated the conflict from both the Royalist and Republican perspectives will bust the myths and discuss the authentic history of these turbulent times and their own searches for the truth amid the chaos. (Room: Woodrow Wilson D)

DEATH BECOMES HER: The Timeless Appeal of the Tragic Heroine. [Hazel Gaynor, Gill Paul; moderator, Heather Webb] From Anastasia Romanova to Princess Grace of Monaco, there’s something about women who die amid tragic circumstances that appeals to historical novelists—and readers. Fame, legacy, their impact on the world, incomparable talents never given their due are all tenements of a good story and still resonate today, regardless of the era. In this panel, Hazel Gaynor, Gill Paul, and Heather Webb will share their personal fascination with extraordinary characters whose lives were punctuated by tragedy, explaining how they weave fact and fiction, as well as their methods for incorporating pertinent details to make a hero or heroine unforgettable. (Room: Baltimore 5)

SELF-PUBLISHING Q&A. [Janet Oakley, Judith Starkston; moderator: Anna Castle] Three indie authors will answer your questions about self-publishing. Two of us have been at this for years with 17 books in our combined catalogs, while the third is just getting started, so we have different perspectives to share. Our aim is to meet you where you are in the road to self-publication. This will be a highly interactive session. We’ll introduce a handful of perennial topics, but if you’ve got another question, come ask it! We’ll do our best to answer it. (Room: Annapolis 1&2)

IN FOR THE LONG HAUL: The Craft of Writing a Series/Trilogy. [Nancy Bilyeau, Patricia Bracewell,  Anne Easter Smith; moderator: Donna Russo Morin] Whether you’re crafting a trilogy or an ongoing series, serial writing demands considerable forethought and particular tools of the trade. This session will weigh the pros and cons of writing a series and look at the decisions necessary in the earliest planning stages and beyond. Our panelists will present techniques that are crucial to maintaining continuity, how to craft a single plot for each book and over-arching plot for the series, how to age characters authentically, how to engage readers who start mid-series, and how to tie the series together at the end in a manner satisfying to your readers. (Room: Annapolis 3&4)

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. FRIDAY KOFFEE KLATCHES

A CRIME BY ANY OTHER NAME: How an Era’s Definition of Crime Impacts Characters and Plot Lines. [Koffee Klatch Host: Rosemary Poole-Carter] This discussion will examine and explore what is considered criminal in different times and places depicted in historical mysteries and thrillers. How do writers choose perpetrators and victims, devise a resolution to a crime, and provide a sense of justice accomplished that satisfies their readers? Participants will share their thoughts and experiences regarding the ways that varied definitions of crime impact their characters, plot lines, solutions, and themes in historical fiction. (Room: Camellia 3)

UNBUTTONED: Writing Rebel Victoriana. [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Greer Macallister & Deanna Raybourn] When you hear “Victorian era,” do you think of buttoned-up attitudes, highly prescribed societal roles, and repression of all sorts? You’re not alone. However, this period (1837-1901) also had more than its share of wild, rebellious, and experimental people pushing back against society’s rigorous constraints—making these years extremely rich territory for historical fiction. Deanna Raybourn (the Veronica Speedwell mysteries) and Greer Macallister (The Magician’s Lie and Woman 99) will lead a discussion on some of the period’s particularly interesting dichotomies, great research sources, and methods for building a robust, realistic Victorian cast of characters. (Room: Camellia 4)

THE CROSSOVER REVOLUTION: IS IT ADULT OR YA? [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Kerri Maher & Kip Wilson] With teen protagonists central to award-winning adult historical fiction like All the Light We Cannot See, and protagonists beyond school age at the core of award-winning YA historical novels like Code Name Verity, it’s no wonder the line between age categories remains a bit blurry. Adult author Kerri Maher and YA author Kip Wilson are critique partners and editors at the award-winning journal YARN (Young Adult Review Network) who’ve had many discussions on this topic. They’ll share what made The Kennedy Debutante fall under adult and White Rose under YA, along with helping authors decide what’s best for their work. (Room: Azalea 3)

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. FRIDAY SESSIONS

COLD READS. [critiqued by Industry Guests Amanda Jain, Kevan Lyon, Kate Seaver, and Jodi Warshaw. Reader: author Gillian Bagwell] During each session, the first 2 opening pages of manuscripts chosen at random will be “cold read” by a volunteer reader with professional performance skills, as a panel of top industry experts (a combination of editors and/or literary agents) follow along with their own printed copies of the pages. Our industry guests will then offer constructive comments on what worked for them, and what didn’t work quite as well, from the pages that were just presented. Our aim is for audience members, as well as the anonymous author whose work is being critiqued, to learn and develop from the comments. (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS: How to Create and Sustain a Successful Writing Collaboration. [Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig; moderator: Rachel Kahan] Writing books can be a lonely business. Your friends can help. Find out how New York Times bestselling authors Karen White, Lauren Willig, and Beatriz Williams teamed up to write two critically and commercially successful historical novels together. The authors (moderated by their editor, Rachel Kahan of William Morrow) will discuss how to put together a winning team, how to make the most of each member’s talent and manage the creative process, how to market your collaboration, how to balance and complement your collaborative and stand-alone efforts, and—most importantly—how to have fun and stay friends throughout. (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

GASLAMPS, GHOSTS, AND TROPES: Writing the Neo-Gothic Novel. [Nicole Evelina, Clarissa Harwood, Leanna Renee Hieber; moderator: Kris Waldherr] The birth of the Gothic novel occurred both alongside, and in reaction to, the Industrial Revolution: Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, considered the first Gothic novel, was published in 1764. Utilizing mystery, romanticism, and the supernatural, the Gothic also reflected the changing roles of women in society and concurrent rise in Spiritualism. More than two hundred years later, the Gothic novel is enjoying a renewed popularity in historical fiction. In this panel, we’ll discuss what’s involved in writing the neo-Gothic novel, explore subgenres such as steampunk, and offer advice on how to breathe new life into Gothic tropes. (Room: Woodrow Wilson D)

CARDS & DICE ~ OR, HOW YOUR WASTREL SQUANDERED HIS INHERITANCE. [Lawrence Ellsworth] Being a spirited introduction to historical games of chance: how they were played, who played them, how to describe them, and which ones will best serve your dramatic purposes. Behold: a stimulating presentation on luck and its lack throughout the ages, with simple and memorable explications of games played at all levels of society. How do you “run the dice”? What games may a lady play without scandal? Does the House really always win? And how does one…cheat? This stimulating presentation covers all this and more, including demonstrations of key games via audience participation using giant playing cards and oversized dice. (Room: Baltimore 4) 

THEME: WHAT THE HELL IS IT? [Stephanie Lehmann] Many of us think of “theme” as something our English teachers made us discuss to sap the pleasure out of reading. This could explain why a writer might avoid thinking about how it applies to her own work. The elusive definition of theme also makes us wary of the topic. Stephanie Lehmann, an author who’s taught writing workshops for years, has finally grappled with the concept. In this presentation, she’ll share her thoughts on various aspects of theme and how it bears on the writing process. She’ll even attempt to nail down what a theme is supposed to be. (Room: Annapolis 1&2)

PAPAL DAUGHTERS, SECRET ARTISTS, AND POWER WIVES: Writing the Women of the Italian Renaissance. [Donna Russo Morin; Alyssa Palombo; Kate Quinn; moderator: Laura Morelli] The Italian Renaissance is a period that continues to fascinate readers and authors of fiction alike. Often, though, information on women of the period—both notable figures and everyday women—can be harder to come by, given that the period is dominated by many famous men. Authors Laura Morelli, Donna Russo Morin, Alyssa Palombo, and Kate Quinn will discuss the challenges and joys of writing about the Italian Renaissance and its women in particular, those who influenced the art, politics, and religion of their world. The panel will discuss trends and topics related to writing in this fascinating period. (Room: Annapolis 3&4)

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. SPECIAL EVENT

HOOCH THROUGH HISTORY: REVOLUTIONS AROUND THE WORLD. Must pre-register–additional fee of $75/person. [Isobel Carr] A tasting flight across the centuries, touching down in six countries around the globe. Our ”spirit”  guide—food and beverage historian Isobel Carr—will lead attendees through deliciously “Revolutionary” cocktails (pared with a few authentic nibbles) that were imbibed in America, Mexico, Haiti, France, India, and Japan, during particularly turbulent times, and the whats, whys, and hows as to the specific recipes came about. (Room: Woodrow Wilson A)


General Conference Sessions

Saturday Morning, June 22, 2019

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. SATURDAY SESSIONS

GONE WITH THE WINDBAG or, How to Write a Focused Plot Even If It’s 418,053 Words Long. [Stephanie Lehmann] Is your story heading south? Are you lost in the fog of your plot? Even if a novel has the sweep of an antebellum hoop skirt, a solid core structure will keep its story on track. Author and writing instructor Stephanie Lehmann will present an 8-part structure that’s helped free many students from the slavery of aimless rewriting. She’ll spice things up with film clips from GONE WITH THE WIND, using its familiar storyline to illustrate. You’ll be newly inspired to face the next draft, even if you wait until tomorrow to think about it, because after all, tomorrow is… (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

COLD READS. [critiqued by Industry Guests Melissa Danaczko, Rachel Kahan, Grace Menary-Winefield, and Paige Wheeler. Reader: author Leslie Carroll] During each session, the first 2 opening pages of manuscripts chosen at random will be “cold read” by a volunteer reader with professional performance skills, as a panel of top industry experts (a combination of editors and/or literary agents) follow along with their own printed copies of the pages. Our industry guests will then offer constructive comments on what worked for them, and what didn’t work quite as well, from the pages that were just presented. Our aim is for audience members, as well as the anonymous author whose work is being critiqued, to learn and develop from the comments. (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

REVOLUTION IN PARADISE: The Perils and Joys of Researching American Historical Novels About Revolution Inside Communist Cuba. [Robert N. Macomber] Typically, when people think of “revolution” and Cuba, 1959 images of Fidel Castro come to mind. But there is a significant twist in Robert N. Macomber’s presentation, for it refers to the original revolution in Cuba, a thirty-year (1868-1898) struggle by Cuban patriots for independence from Spain. When people think of ‘paradise’ and Cuba, sounds of upbeat music while riding in classic convertibles often presents a more modern image, but only after spending over a decade of research trips on this island gem, can the fullest understanding be revealed. Mr. Macomber will share his unique experiences, sometimes daunting, sometimes hilarious! (Room: Baltimore 3)

THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’: Historical Fiction Joins the Protest March. [Nicole Evelina, Diane C. McPhail; moderator: Glen Craney] We live in tumultuous times. Reactionary forces that evoke dark memories of the world wars are on the rise again—and set against them, resistance and social justice movements. Why now? What lessons have we failed to learn? Are there similarities with these past conflicts? The historical novelist is particularly suited to set these developments in context and help readers understand the shifting social and demographic forces roiling our current political landscape. Join our panelists who have written about momentous social rights crusades for a lively and informative discussion about the march for justice that never ends. (Room: Baltimore 4)

THE ROMANOVS IN HISTORICAL FICTION: Revolution and Popular Imagination. [Tamar Anolic] The 304-year-old Romanov dynasty was swept off its throne by the Communist Revolution of 1917. The reasons for the Revolution were myriad and often depend on the lens of history that the observer uses: a weak monarch disconnected from his people. An only son and sick heir. A mad monk. In the years that followed the Revolution, other dictators rose in the Romanovs’ place, and the entire imperial family was either murdered or exiled. The increased interest in the Romanovs over the last several decades has proven that this period is a fertile one for historical fiction. (Room: Baltimore 5)

HISTORICAL AUTHORS UNITE! All about Author Marketing Collectives. [Janie Chang; Susan Meissner, Aimie K. Runyan; moderator: Kevan Lyon] There’s strength in numbers. Author marketing collectives (AMC) amplify your own marketing efforts, let you tap into members’ diverse expertise, experience, and relationships. How do you establish your own AMC? The Tall Poppy Writers are an AMC with a combined social media reach of approximately 660,000 followers including a Facebook community of 8,500 members. Learn what worked and what didn’t, what an AMC addresses that a publishing house can’t, what agents and editors think of AMCs, and what results TPW is seeing on sales, event attendance, social media engagement, and charitable fundraising. (Room: Annapolis 1&2)

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. SATURDAY SESSIONS

ROMAN MARITIME TRADE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN. [Lewis McIntyre] Two thousand years ago, one hundred and twenty Roman ships plied the open Indian Ocean between Aden and India, doing, in modern currency, billions of dollars in trade each year. However, this important and fascinating trade is little known today. This seminar will explore the history of Indian Ocean navigation, the Hippalic wind that permitted fast open ocean sailing, navigation techniques, and the scope of trade and its importance to the Roman state budget. This seminar will present classical and modern references, to assist authors researching this material for potential fiction or non-fiction works, or for just general interest. (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

REVOLUTIONARY DANCES” THROUGH HISTORY: Part 1—Branlé through Waltz (interactive workshop). As historical authors, we often include dancing scenes in our novels. And nothing can take the place of a little firsthand experience! Celebrated dance master Larry (Corky) Palmer and his wife Cindy will lead a lively interactive hour of period group dance instruction in “revolutionary” dances, with the history and settings of the various dances, for their respective eras, from the English Renaissance through America’s Federal period.  If your “period” falls within these centuries, or even if you’re tired of sitting down, come shake a leg! Recorded music. No previous dance experience necessary. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can move in(Room: Baltimore 1&2)

WHEN YOU DON’T QUITE FIT: Carving Out Your Niche in a Crowded Market. [Leanna Renee Hieber, Deanna Raybourn, Lauren Willig; moderator: Alison Stuart] Publishers and retailers love labels; but what do you do when what you write doesn’t fit neatly on the shelf and publishers shake their heads in woe and say they love your story but you just don’t fit the market? Is it … “tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral” …? In a fun panel discussion, four cross-genre, hybrid writers of historicals, historical mysteries and romantic historicals talk about writing the stories they love and the trials and tribulations of finding their corner of the market. There will be chocolate. (Room: Baltimore 4)

THE ANCIENT WORLD EMPOWERED: Giving Voices to the Voiceless. [Zenobia Neil, Vanitha Sankaran; moderator: Stephanie Thornton] Classics, like fairytales, have the power to imagine and impel. Depending on cultural background, that can mean poring over The Iliad, examining biases in The Mahabharata, or understanding what actual power Cleopatra wielded. The #MeToo movement is new; but the stories the voiceless have not been able to persist through place and time. As the stories of those “left behind” become more available, how does our understanding of the past change? Does this additional insight into the classics offer new perspective on the ongoing struggle to find our place in the world? (Room: Annapolis 1&2)

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. SATURDAY KOFFEE KLATCHES

WHO WAS THOMAS CROMWELL? [Koffee Klatch Host: Carol McGrath] The early Tudor era was a time of great change for England. A new dynasty replaced the Plantagenet rulers and the period was influenced by Renaissance New Learning. The English Reformation emerged from the peripheral of Continental religious movements. Was Thomas Cromwell, the King’s minister, a closet evangelical? Was the closure of the monasteries designed to line the King’s coffers or was this aimed to turn English religious traditions upside down and reform them for genuine reasons? (Room: Camellia 3)

WHAT SHE WORE AND WHY IT MATTERS. [Koffee Klatch Host: Jeanne Mackin] Does it matter that Jean Brody’s girls wore their school caps tilted at a certain angle, or that Scarlet O’Hara wore a dress made of green velvet curtains? Yes! How authors dress their fictional characters is one of the more revealing ways those characters are developed. Clothing adds greatly to the story, and in some moments becomes the story. In this discussion group we will exchange samples of some our favorite clothing moments in great novels, and I’ll discuss the significance of clothing in women’s lives in the early and mid-twentieth century. (Room: Camellia 4)

WOMEN WARRIORS THROUGH HISTORYWho They Are and How to Tell Their Stories. [Koffee Klatch Host: Michal Strutin] Cleopatra and Joan of Arc come to mind, maybe Zenobia of Palmyra. Yet history is full of women who led revolts against Rome, the Han Dynasty, and other juggernauts of their day. We’ll discuss who some of these women were, with a briefly annotated list for reference. We’ll look at the conditions that lead women to rise up. And we’ll discuss how best to tell their stories. Some of these women need a writer to tell their story. Some are well represented in fiction. Bring your favorites and I’ll bring mine. (Room: Azalea 2)

BETWEEN THE LINES WITH CASTRO AND THE KENNEDYS: Politics and Politicians Influencing Story and Character. [Hosts: Chanel Cleeton & Kerri Maher] Politics are terrific drivers of action and intrigue in a historical novel. When characters enter controversies like war and protest, they reveal themselves to readers and throw down gauntlets. When the novel is historical, the stakes are all the higher for a character who might be on the “wrong” side of history. Chanel Cleeton and Kerri Maher both leverage politics in their novels Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba (Cleeton) and The Kennedy Debutante (Maher); they will discuss how their heroines grew in relation to world events and figures like Fidel Castro and Joseph P. Kennedy. (Room: Azalea 3)

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. SATURDAY SESSIONS

THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR IN FICTION AND FACT. [J.D. Davies, Jeff Shaara, moderator: Gillian Bagwell] Jeff Shaara and J.D. Davies discuss writing military historical fiction from the perspective of individual combatants in conflicts on land and sea over the centuries and around the world, sometimes on what turned out to be the losing side. They will consider: Why are readers so attracted to the figure of “the warrior”? Can writers accurately portray the experiences and mindsets of warriors in the past? How accurately—that is, brutally—should writers portray what were often horrific wounds and deaths? Why have some enemies become regarded as “honorable”, and others as the opposite? (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

REVOLUTION THROUGH ART: Rebellion Without a Gun. [Nancy Bilyeau, Donna Russo Morin, Renee Rosen; moderator: Heather Webb] Some of the most influential and determinant aspects of revolution come about through artistic expression. In this panel, we’ll discuss the impact of different artistic mediums that range across several eras and countries, and how they all share a common thread. Bravery, Creation, Change, Revolution. The authors will also share craft advice on how to integrate these themes into the narrative in an authentic and meaningful way. (Room: Woodrow Wilson D)

“REVOLUTIONARY AND SOCIAL DANCES” THROUGH HISTORY: Part 2—Victorian through Gay Nineties early 20th c. (interactive workshop). We historical authors sometimes include dancing scenes in our novels. And nothing can take the place of some firsthand experience! Celebrated dance master Larry (Corky) Palmer and his wife Cindy will lead a lively interactive hour of period group dance instruction in dances that themselves revolutionized the dance floor, such as the Waltz and other dances considered “scandalous” in their day, from the Victorians up through (e.g.) the Ragtime era’s Cakewalk and Castle Walk. If you are researching or writing these eras, or if you just want to get up and cut a rug, come on in and join the merriment! Recorded music. No previous dance experience necessary. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can move in. (Room: Baltimore 1&2)

TOOLS OF THE TRADES: HANDS-ON HISTORY (interactive workshop). [Sara Dahmen] Metalsmith Sara Dahmen will discuss the tools used by artisans of the past, from blacksmiths to coopers to nursemaids. She will also provide some machines, hand-cranks, and hand tools from the 1800s to be touched, tried, and applied. Some participants may wish to attempt to make some small items out of tin with hand pliers and snips. Robust discussion is encouraged. (Room: Baltimore 4)

SHERLOCK HOLMES AS SCIENCE FICTION. [Bradley Harper] At the time that the great historical mystery novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had Holmes examining “tyre marks” and crime scenes, the science of forensic examination did not exist. Bradley Harper will discuss how the techniques Doyle describes in his stories led to the world’s first forensic laboratory, and to the creation of forensics as an academic discipline. (Room: Annapolis 3&4)

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. SATURDAY KOFFEE KLATCHES

AVOIDING BURNOUT IN THE DIGITAL AGE. [Koffee Klatch Host: Robert Rath] The digital revolution is here. You can be your own publisher, set your own deadlines, get funding directly from fans… so why are you working harder than ever? Suddenly you’re writing a book AND promotional content for Twitter, Facebook, and Patreon. The benefits are real, but so are the dangers. Keeping up with it all can be exhausting—especially on platforms that reward volume. What are the advantages of digital promotion? How much should you be doing? What new platforms make this easier? How can you avoid burnout? Join a guided commiseration session on how to cope with new “opportunities.” (Room: Camellia 3) 

LET’S HAVE MORE STORIES ABOUT LADIES OF SCIENCE. [Koffee Klatch Host: Nicky Penttila] What was the most-lucrative trade for women in 18th century America? Midwifery. Who got written out of 19th century US histories of medicine? Nearly every woman physician/obstetrician. From Merit-Ptah, a “chief physician” in the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt, to the gene-splicers and physicians of today, women have served as healers and medical trailblazers throughout history. Join science writer and historical novelist Nicky Penttila for a quick tour of science through the eyes of the women who pursued it (focusing on US and Europe) and discover a treasure-trove of stories just waiting to be told. (Room: Camellia 4)

THE SPORT OF KINGS IN THE NEW WORD: Horse Racing in America. [Koffee Klatch Host: Stephen Petti] Place your bets and see if you’re a winner! Over the centuries we have fallen in love with these majestic animals; and that love affair has covered the gamut of society: billionaires and bums, movie stars and dishwashers, presidents and parolees. One horse was so popular that he graced the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated all in the same week! In a sprint of horseracing in America, Steve Petti will take you out of the starting gate from the beginning of racing in the US, round the turn with the origins of classic racing and the people behind some very familiar names at the turn of the century, and down the stretch of the Great Depression and WWII to the finish line. The horses, the people, the places! (Room: Azalea 3)

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. SATURDAY LUNCH

Buffet lunch with special guest speaker: Guest of Honor Jeff Shaara


Readers Festival Sessions & Book Signing

Saturday Afternoon, June 22, 2019

Readers Festival events are open to the public for the price of festival admission ($10/person). HNS conference registrants may also attend all Readers Festival events.


DYNAMIC DUOS: Husbands and Wives Who Worked Together during the Women’s Suffrage Movement. [Nicole Evelina & Hope Tarr] The words “women’s suffrage movement” conjure images of outspoken women who were either spinsters or fought against male prejudice to achieve their goal. But suffragists actually had many male supporters, and several leaders campaigned side-by-side with their husbands. Nicole Evelina and Hope C. Tarr will introduce you to three such dynamic duos—Victoria Woodhull and her husband Col. James Blood; Virginia Minor and her husband Francis Minor; and Carrie Chapman Catt and her second husband George Catt—and will explore how their partnership and mutual support helped them become living examples of equality among the sexes. (Room: Woodrow Wilson B)

WRITING 20TH CENTURY NON-EUROPEAN HISTORICAL FICTION: Diversity, Research, and Why Not? [Eliza (E.) Knight, Vanessa Riley; moderator: Denny S. Bryce] Western Europe in fiction has served as “default history” for decades (even centuries). Why? Perhaps because this history is more accessible and documented, and the books inspired by this part of the world have held our imagination and interest for generations. Historical fiction and romance readers have been trained to expect their stories to include protagonists, heroes, and heroines, and locations that “look” a certain way. This panel will discuss the importance of dynamic storytelling that includes characters, cultures, locations, and careers from areas other than Western Europe: Afro-Caribbean, early 20th century Americana, and more. They will discuss their journeys, research techniques, and some of the barriers to getting their stories told—plus changes in the publishing industry in recent years that have encouraged culturally diverse storytelling. The purpose of this panel is to provide authors and readers with fresh perspectives and research options about ways to diversify their reading habits as well as incorporate more of the world into their storytelling. (Room: Woodrow Wilson C)

DANCE WITH MEN IN KILTS!* (*MEN IN KILTS NOT PROVIDED) (interactive workshop) [Gillian Bagwell & Bruce Herbold] Wouldn’t it be fun to learn Scottish country dance, so you’re ready when the handsome Highlander or bonnie lassie of your dreams smiles at you across a crowded ceilidh? You can! In this workshop, you’ll learn the basic steps and a few figures you may already know from American square dancing and put it all together in a selection of the fun, friendly traditional social dances of Scotland. No experience or partner is necessary! The footwear for people who do Scottish country dance regularly is ghillies, but ballet slippers or any lightweight shoes that permit flexibility will do. (Room: Baltimore 1&2)

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Crafting the Dual Timeline Historical Novel. [Discussion hosts: Kate Quinn & Beatriz Williams] No trend in recent historical fiction is hotter than the rise of the dual timeline, as authors twine a historical story with a modern story or braid multiple historical narratives together into one. Discuss the advantages and pitfalls of dual timeline historical novels with New York Times bestsellers Kate Quinn and Beatriz Williams, who have between them authored eleven historical novels each juggling multiple timelines. (Room: Baltimore 4) 

WOMEN OF WASHINGTON: First Ladies, Society’s Sirens, and Hustlers on the Hill. [Stephanie Dray; Stephanie Thornton; moderator: Margaret Porter] Women of Washington, whatever their origins, have historically been regarded as revolutionary. Female prominence in the political realm may be the subject of recent headlines, but the past is definitely prologue. Discussion topics include First Ladies and their surrogates, political spouses, office holders, prominent hostesses, women’s suffrage pioneers. Attention will be paid to lesser known females (spies, Civil War nurses) and members of the underclasses: servants, the enslaved, Underground Railroad conductors, prostitutes who serviced influential and powerful men. Which historical women left permanent footprints? What traditions did they buck, and what trails did they blaze? Room: Annapolis 1&2)

“SONGS AND SOLDIERS OF THE CIVIL WAR”: Presented Live With Banjo, Guitar and Song. [Curt Locklear] Be amazed by the Civil War songs performed with banjo and guitar, illustrated by the stories and images that go with the songs. Hear about what the soldiers living in the Romantic Era thought. Learn what they wore, what they ate, the medications they took, and hear true and often funny stories. Curt Locklear has presented and sung before thousands, from Georgia to Texas to Minnesota. He has two highly-acclaimed Civil War novels and is completing the third book in the trilogy. Be prepared to laugh and feel free to sing along. Information for immediate use, backed up by research, comes alive. (Room: Annapolis 3&4)


MORE THAN MONUMENTS, PAST POLITICS: The Human Face of Early Washington, D.C. [Koffee Klatch Host: Jennifer Bort YacovissiThe words “Washington, D.C.” are so often used as an epithet—by politicians, talking heads, and the media as short-hand for corruption, cronyism, and general cluelessness—that it’s sometimes hard to remember that people actually live here. With this year’s HNS conference taking place just across the river from the nation’s capital, this is the perfect opportunity to chat about the rich but hidden history of everyday Washington, D.C., its growing pains, its diverse neighborhoods, and its ordinary citizens—the ones who form the true character of the city. (Room: Camellia 4)

WOMEN OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE. [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Piper Huguley & Elizabeth Kerri Mahon] Beginning at the end of World War I, the Harlem Renaissance was America’s first African-American literary and artistic movement. It was an exciting period in American history, an intellectual, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York, spanning the 1920s. The Harlem Renaissance also sparked the notion of the “New Negro Woman”, relating to women poets, authors and intellectuals, known for their race conscious writing. Women in the Harlem Renaissance played a vital role as the voice for the struggling minority of African American women. (Room: Azalea 3)


TEA & COFFEE WITH OUR TWO GUESTS OF HONOR, Dolen Perkins-Valdez and Jeff Shaara. Author, journalist, and critic known nationwide as “The Book Maven,” Bethanne Patrick, will interview our guests of honor, discussing, among other topics, their literary interpretations of the American Civil War era; followed by a Q&A from the audience. HNS conference registrants may also attend this event. (Room: Woodrow Wilson A) 



LAUNCHING AND SUSTAINING A SUCCESSFUL LOCAL HNS CHAPTER. [Ana Brazil, Faith Justice, Judith Starkston; moderator: Glen Craney] Do you wish you could enjoy on a more regular basis the camaraderie of fellow authors and readers of historical fiction? Since 2011, ten HNS chapters have been formed across the United States, but there remain many regions without chapters. If you feel inspired to start a chapter, or if you’d like to hear ideas on how to help your current chapter grow and flourish, this panel is for you. Panelists will share advice and tips from their experiences in helping administer their respective local chapters. (Room: Annapolis 1&2)



FROM INSPIRATION TO PUBLICATION: RESEARCH RESOURCES. [Koffee Klatch Hosts: Sarah Johnson & Alana White] In best-case scenarios, research sparks the imagination and the emotions. It is the soul of historical fiction, immersing your readers in a particular time and place. But where to begin? Join two seasoned pros – a historical novelist and a librarian – for an intimate discussion focused on using research to bring historical worlds alive while creating rich, believable settings and characters. Participants will learn about a variety of useful sources for historical information and tips for conducting on-site research. Bring your questions and your own favorite sources to share. (Room: Camellia 3) 

“NOTE-WORTHY” NOVELS: Writing Music in Historical Fiction. [Koffee Klatch Host: Mary Sharratt] How does an author translate the magic of music to the written page? How does one read (and write) what is meant to be heard? How can historical fiction illuminate soundscapes for the reader, thereby creating a wrap-around experience that ignites our senses and transports us to another world? Sharing musical cuts with her guests as well as images of the 19th century art that inspired and informed both the real-life characters and the novel they inhabit, author Mary Sharratt, who has woven the unforgettable music of Alma and Gustav Mahler into her acclaimed novel Ecstasy, discusses how writers can capture the unique cadences of classical music and make them come alive on the page. (Room: Camellia 4) 

Conference attendees are also encouraged to use the Saturday mid-afternoon hours to network and mingle. As each conference rolls around, HNS members often ask the Board how/where they can find other panelists for their proposal ideas. Our answer: make new friends and like-minded colleagues at the conferences you attend! Feedback from past conference attendees reflected a desire for some additional open time to mingle—or just to chill. We heard you: here it is.


Explore our conference bookstore and visit guests of honor Jeff Shaara and Dolen Perkins-Valdez and your other favorite historical fiction authors at a book signing. (Room: Pienza Restaurant in Atrium)

Closing Festivities

Saturday Evening, June 22, 2019

5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. DRINKS

NO HOST BAR. Get ready for the banquet with a drink at the no-host bar outside the banquet room. (Room: Foyer outside Woodrow Wilson A)

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. CLOSING BANQUET

CLOSING BANQUET. Enjoy a scrumptious dinner and entertainment as we conclude our 2019 conference. (Room: Woodrow Wilson A)

8:45 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. SPECIAL EVENT

LADY BALTIMORE’S BALL. After the Saturday banquet, the party continues with a lively Ball to close out the festivities. Master dance instructor Larry “Corky” Palmer, who for decades has led the Alexandria Assembly, the George Washington “Birthnight Balls” at the Gadsby Tavern dances; and has brought his skills to Mount Vernon, the White House, the Smithsonian, and the Kennedy Center, will lead our ball—with the assistance of his accomplished wife Cindy, a trio of live musicians, and a duo of costumed dancers to help facilitate our steps through reels and other fun group dances. (Room: Baltimore 3/4/5)

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