Conference Board

2021 Conference Board

Conference Chair: Jenny Quinlan

Jennifer Quinlan (1)Jenny Quinlan, aka Jenny Q, is an independent editor and cover designer specializing in historical fiction. As the founder of Historical Editorial, she has helped hundreds of authors achieve their publishing goals and now manages a team of dedicated editors. She has also been an ardent supporter of historical fiction through her book blog, Let Them Read Books, and she founded the American Historical Fiction group on Goodreads. Jenny earned a degree in history from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) and served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Portland and Maryland HNS conferences. In addition to history, Jenny loves dogs, comfort food, music, craft beer, football, and hockey. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two German Shepherds.

Program Chair: Vanitha Sankaran

VanithaSankaranVanitha Sankaran, PhD, is a medical writer, a journalist, and a novelist. Her debut historical book, Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages, was published by HarperCollins. She was a co-founding editor of the literary journal flashquake for its 10-year run, and has served on for-profit and non-profit Boards over the years. Currently she is working on two novels that combine science and mythology, as well as one set in ancient India. For more information, please visit her website.

Secretary & Communications Chair:  Maryka Biaggio


Maryka Biaggio, Ph.D., is a psychology professor turned novelist who specializes in historical fiction based on real people. Doubleday published her debut novel, Parlor Games, in 2013. Eden Waits, based in the true story of a utopian community founded in the 1890s, was released by Sunbury Press in August 2019. She prides herself on crafting carefully researched and realistic novels, and her fiction has won Willamette Writers, Oregon Writers Colony, and La Belle Lettre awards. She travels extensively, is an avid opera fan, and enjoys gardening, art films, and, of course, great fiction. She lives in Portland, Oregon, that edgy green gem of the Pacific Northwest. Visit her website at

Venue Chair: Christine Trent

Christine TrentChristine Trent is the author of the Florence Nightingale Mysteries and the Lady of Ashes historical mystery series, about a Victorian-era undertaker, as well as the author of three other historical novels. Her novels have been translated into Turkish, Polish, and Czech. Her next book, The Deadly Hours, is a collaboration with Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, and Anna Lee Huber.  She writes from her two-story home library, where she lives with her wonderful bookshelf-building husband, four precocious cats, a large doll collection, entirely too many fountain pens, and over 4,000 catalogued books.

Marketing Chair: Rosanne Lortz Spears

Profile PicRosanne (“Rose”) Lortz Spears is a writer, editor, teacher, school administrator, history-lover, and mom to four boys. Her historical novels include work set during the medieval period and Regency era murder mysteries. Her current project is a Latin curriculum for elementary and middle school students. Rose is a native of Portland, Oregon and is a passionate advocate for a liberal arts education.

Registration Chair: Mary Tod

MKTod-authorM.K. (Mary) Tod’s interest in historical fiction began in her teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy, and Georgette Heyer. In 2004, her husband’s career took them to Hong Kong where, with no job and few prospects, Mary began to write. In her spare time, Mary runs, an award-winning blog. She’s an active member of the historical fiction community and has conducted five unique reader surveys on topics from readers’ habits and preferences to favorite historical fiction authors. Beyond writing, Mary loves biking and hiking holidays, golf, movies, cooking with her husband, and spending time with their two small grandsons.

Treasurer & Finance Chair: Michael Ross

Michael RossMichael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children, and four grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of 39 years. Michael graduated from Rice University and Portland State University with degrees in German and software engineering. He was part of an MBA program at Boston University. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. He’s written short stories and technical articles in the past. Across the Great Divide: Clouds of War is his first novel.

The HNS North America conference is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. A copy of our bylaws can be found here.