Historical Fiction Readers Festival & Book Signing

Please join us for the 2019 Historical Fiction Readers Festival & Book Signing. As a special part of the Historical Novel Society Conference, we invite the public to join us for the afternoon at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center (201 Waterfront St, National Harbor, MD 20745)


1:00 p.m. – Check-in opens

1:15-2:15 – Choose a conference session to attend from the list below.

2:30-3:30 – Tea and Coffee with our Guests of Honor: Jeff Shaara & Dolen-Perkins Valdez; or choose a conference session from the list below.

3:45-5:15 – Book signing (books available for sale from our Barnes & Noble conference bookstore onsite). See list of authors at bottom of page.


Tickets are $10 at the door or $5 if you preorder them through EventBrite.


When you arrive, choose from these sessions to attend during the 1:15-2:15 p.m. hour and the 2:30-3:30 hour. Then explore the conference bookstore and attend the book signing from 3:45-5:15.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. GENERAL SESSIONS

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—Lucy Stone and her husband Henry Blackwell; 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)

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. KOFFEE KLATCHES (limited seating available)

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)

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. GENERAL SESSIONS

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)

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. KOFFEE KLATCHES (limited seating available)

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) 


Explore our conference bookstore and visit your favorite historical fiction authors at a book signing. (Room: Pienza Restaurant in Atrium)



  • Annamaria Alfieri
  • Brook Allen
  • Tamar Anolic
  • Stephen Finlay Archer
  • Anne Armistead


  • Gillian Bagwell
  • Jillian Bald
  • Cryssa Bazos
  • Nancy Bilyeau
  • Betty Bolte
  • Patricia Bracewell
  • Carolyn Kay Brancato
  • Ana Brazil
  • Rebecca Bruff
  • Paula Butterfield


  • John Cahill
  • Linda Cardillo
  • Amalia Carosella
  • Viola Carr
  • Leslie Carroll
  • Alison Case
  • Susan Storer Clark
  • Chanel Cleeton
  • Michael Cooper
  • Michelle Cox
  • Glen Craney


  • Jodi Daynard
  • Jennifer Delamere
  • Camille Di Maio
  • Stephanie Dray


  • Anne Easter Smith
  • Christy English
  • Ian Evans
  • Nicole Evelina


  • Charles Fergus
  • Colleen Adair Fliedner
  • Ann Marti Friedman


  • Hazel Gaynor
  • Margaret George
  • Teel James Glenn
  • Juliet Grey


  • Bradley Harper
  • Clarissa Harwood
  • Libbie/Olivia Hawker
  • Leanna Renee Hieber
  • Griff Hosker


  • Sarah Johnson


  • Laura Kamoie
  • Alma Katsu
  • Susanna Kearsley
  • Carolyn Kirby
  • Eliza (E.) Knight


  • Stephanie Lehmann
  • Robin Levin
  • Jennie Liu
  • Curtis Locklear


  • Greer Macallister
  • Jeanne Mackin
  • Robert N. Macomber
  • Kerri Maher
  • Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
  • Zannah Martin
  • Sujata Massey
  • Meghan Masterson
  • Diana Mathur
  • Carol McGrath
  • Karen McIntyre
  • Lew McIntyre
  • Jane Ann McLachlan
  • Diane C. McPhail
  • Mary Miley
  • Laura Morelli


  • Charlene Newcomb
  • Pamela Nowak


  • Janet Oakley


  • Alyssa Palombo
  • Gill Paul
  • Andrea Penrose
  • Sophie Perinot
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  • Rosemary Poole-Carter
  • Margaret Porter


  • Kate Quinn


  • Weina Randel
  • Deanna Raybourn
  • Tom Reppert
  • Alix Rickloff
  • Vanessa Riley
  • Jennifer Robson
  • Michael Ross
  • Aimie Runyan
  • Elaine Russell
  • Donna Russo Morin


  • Jeff Shaara
  • Mary Sharratt
  • Ann Shortell
  • Sherri L. Smith
  • George Steger
  • Eileen Stephenson
  • Michal Strutin
  • Lori Swerda


  • Hope C. Tarr
  • Stephanie Thornton
  • Mark K. Tilghman


  • Kris Waldherr
  • Heather Webb
  • Karen White
  • Mark Wiederanders
  • Beatriz Williams
  • Lauren Willig
  • Kip Wilson
  • Ellen Marie Wiseman


  • Jenny Yacovissi