At #HNS2021 we had 150+ presenters and panelists who shared and inspired at over 80 panels, presentations, and cozy chats. Click on the letters below to search by presenter last name and find out who was who at the Historical Novel Society 2021 conference! Following each bio are links to the sessions for that presenter.



Thelma Adams is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, The Last Woman Standing, the #1 Amazon bestseller in Jewish Historical Fiction, Bittersweet Brooklyn, and the contemporary comedy of manners Playdate, an O: The Oprah Magazine pick. A career journalist, her essays and culture writing have appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Marie Claire and She is a Top Critic on Rotten Tomatoes and former chair of the New York Film Critics Circle. [FACT IN FICTION: BRINGING LONG-LOST WORLDS TO LIFE]

Annamaria Alfieri has written three historical novels set in South America at different times and places.  Of her debut, The Washington Post said, “As both history and mystery, City of Silver glitters.”  Library Journal said, “History comes alive under Alfieri’s sure hand.  Alfieri’s current series, set in in British East Africa, begins in 1911.  The Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch described Strange Gods as having “the flair of Isak Dinesen and Beryl Markham, the cunning of Agatha Christie and Elspeth Huxley.” The Idol of Mombasa and The Blasphemers have followed. Her work in progress, La Magica, is set in Sicily in 1692. [VOICES THAT SHOOK UP THE PAST]

Marty Ambrose has been consumed with the world of literature, whether teaching in the MFA Program at Southern New Hampshire University or creating her own fiction. She completed her M.Phil. at the University of York (England), specializing in the British Romantics poets; and her fiction writing career has spanned almost fifteen years, with eight published novels. Marty’s first book in a historical trilogy, Claire’s Last Secret, (Severn House, 2018) combines memoir and mystery in a dual narrative of the Byron/Shelley “haunted summer.” Her second novel, A Shadowed Fate, came out this past spring, earning a starred review by Publishers Weekly. [CROSSING TIMELINES: WRITING THE DUAL-NARRATIVE NOVEL]

Danielle Apple is publishing her debut gothic saga this year. A “new” author and Cherokee language learner, she gives some insight as to how a person with limited funds can grow personally and professionally. While her own project includes 1800’s Cherokee characters, Danielle seeks to inspire people to learn more about our nation’s history from Indigenous authors. When she’s not pursuing research bunny trails, Danielle is reading. Her happy place is cozying up on the couch with her dog and a 19th-century gothic novel, but you’ll also find her hiking and exploring ghost towns and forgotten graveyards. [WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS]

Finola Austin, also known as the Secret Victorianist on her award-winning blog, is an England-born, Northern Ireland-raised, Brooklyn-based historical novelist and lover of the 19th century. Her first novel, Bronte’s Mistress, about the “wretched woman” who “corrupted” Branwell Bronte, the Bronte sisters’ brother, was published in 2020. By day, she works in digital advertising. Find her online at [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP THE BRONTES]


Gillian Bagwell’s historical novels feature vivid and lifelike characters and richly textured, compelling evocation of time and place. Before she turned to writing, she was an actress, director, and producer. She founded the Pasadena Shakespeare Company and produced thirty-seven shows over ten years. She’s found her acting experience helpful to her writing, and she’s presented classes and workshops at past HNS Conferences on writing effective historical dialogue, as well as on numerous other topics. Gillian is at work on her fourth novel, a Gothic thriller set in Scotland in 1845-1847 and 1901-1902. Please connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, and her website, [MASTER CLASS: ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE]

Suneetha Balakrishnan, a Creative Writing Trainer certified by the British Council, is a journalist, translator, editor, and writer; working in English and Malayalam, and across genres. She has two novellas, one poetry anthology, and five translations to her credit: including the Malayalam translation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. Suneetha won the 2010 Penguin-HT short fiction competition, the 2012 DWL Short Story Competition, is a Fellow of the Sangam House International Writer’s Residency 2009, a Featured Poet at the Prakriti Poetry Festival 2010, and a 2019 awardee of the Book Completion Fellowship at The Manipal Centre for Humanities. [STATE OF THE STATE: INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING]

Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and more about fearless women and dangerous passions. She has taught advanced literary analysis and writing for more than sixteen years. She has two traditionally published historical erotica and three indie historical novels. She is currently writing her next novel and making videos for new writers on her YouTube channel. Autumn has a passion for history and a special affinity for the unsung courageous females that history neglects or misunderstands. Autumn lives in Southern California with her husband and ever-growing family. She wishes she was one-tenth as brave as the women she writes about. [SYMBOLISM SHAKE UP: STRATEGIES THAT AMPLIFY CONFLICT, CHARACTER, EMOTION, AND THEME; YOUTUBE & ME: A STORY ABOUT RATTLING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA REACH]

Stephanie Barko has specialized in preparing adult pre-pub historical novels and nonfiction for success in the marketplace for the past 15 years. She was voted 2020 Best Book Promotional Firm, Site, or Resource by 23rd Annual Critters™ Readers’ Poll (formerly Preditors & Editors). Historical novelist clients include Pam Webber, Sandra Worth, Jane Kirkpatrick, Karen Kondazian, and Jack Woodville London. Stephanie has served as a Recommended Associate at Author U, an Industry Expert at Author Learning Center, and a Panel Moderator at Texas Book Festival for the past ten years. Based in Austin, Stephanie has degrees in Business & Sociology. [DEMYSTIFYING BOOKBUB]

Jeannette de Beauvoir is an award-winning author of mystery and historical fiction—and of books that combine the two genres. She herself lives and writes in a cottage in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and loves the rich history of Land’s End. She’s a member of the Authors Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Historical Novel Society. She also teaches writing courses both online and onsite. Find out more—and read her blog—at her website, You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Patreon, Amazon, and Goodreads. [CROSSING TIMELINES: WRITING THE DUAL-NARRATIVE NOVEL]

Elizabeth Bell chose a pen name at the age of fourteen and vowed to become a published author. After earning her MFA in Creative Writing at George Mason University and after nearly three decades of research and revision, she published her Lazare Family Saga about a multiracial Catholic family struggling to understand where they belong in the young United States. The first book in the series, Necessary Sins, was a Finalist in the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards. The second and third books were Editors’ Choices in the Historical Novels Review. Visit Elizabeth online at [WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS; BATTLE FLAGS, FALLING MONUMENTS, AND THE LOST CAUSE MYTH: THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF ANTEBELLUM AND CIVIL WAR FICTION]

Marie Benedict is on a mission to excavate from the past the most important, complex and fascinating women of history and bring them and their contributions into the light of present-day. She is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Lady Clementine, The Only Woman in the Room, Carnegie’s Maid and The Other Einstein. Her first co-written novel, The Personal Librarian, with the talented Victoria Christopher Murray, will be released on June 29, 2021. Her books have been Indie Next Picks, Library Reads Picks, a Target Book Club Pick, a Costco Book Club Pick, as well as a Barnes & Noble Book Club Pick—and have been translated into multiple languages. [WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT IF? CHOOSING BETWEEN BIOGRAPHICAL AND NON-BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORICAL FICTION]

James R. Benn is the Dilys and Barry award nominated author of the popular Billy Boyle WWII mystery series—fifteen books to date—as well as two stand-alone books. His novel The Blind Goddess was long listed for the 2015 Dublin IMPAC Literary Award, and his works have garnered numerous starred reviews from major review publications. Benn is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and has a Master’s in Library Science degree from Southern Connecticut State University. He worked in the library and information technology fields for over thirty-five years before leaving to write full-time. [VOICES THAT SHOOK UP THE PAST]

Janet Benton’s novel Lilli de Jong was published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. Kirkus Reviews called it a “monumental accomplishment,” Library Journal and NPR named it a Best Book of 2017, and it remains an editors’ pick on Amazon. Benton has written for the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Writers’ Digest, and more. She edited and co-wrote award-winning TV documentaries for a series on Philadelphia history, The Great Experiment.  She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a B.A. from Oberlin College. She has taught writing at five universities. She mentors writers through The Word Studio. [CREATING CHARACTERS WHO BELONG WHERE YOU PUT THEM]

Nancy Bilyeau is a magazine editor and author whose books include The Crown, The Chalice, and The Tapestry, a trilogy whose main character, Dominican novice Joanna Stafford, struggles to survive Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. She has also written The Blue, a thriller about a Huguenot woman painter in the 18th century, and is currently working on its sequel, The Fugitive Colours. She lives in Woodstock, New York, with her family. [ART & SPIRIT SHESTORIES: REBEL MYSTICS; SAINTS, SEERS, AND HERETICS: EVOKING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD IN HISTORICAL FICTION; VOICES THAT SHOOK UP THE PAST]

Amy Elizabeth Bishop joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret as a literary agent in 2015 after interning for them in 2014. DG&B was founded in 1994 by Jane Dystel, and is a dynamic, full-service literary agency boasting an impressive client list and a sterling reputation. Some of her recent and upcoming titles include The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller, A Dirty Year: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in Gilded Age New York, by Bill Greer, The Silence of Bones by June Hur and The Girl Explorers: How a Group of Adventurous Women Trekked, Flew, and Fought for Human Rights Around the World by Jayne Zanglein. She represents a wide variety of adult upmarket and literary fiction, narrative and prescriptive nonfiction, as well as select YA. In historical fiction, she is looking for female-driven narratives, non-Western European settings, and untold perspectives. You can find her on Twitter at @amylizbishop. [STATE OF THE STATE: TRADITIONAL]

Elizabeth Blackwell writes about women who reinvent themselves after surviving dramatic historical events.  She is the author of Red Mistress, On a Cold Dark Sea, In the Shadow of Lakecrest and While Beauty Slept. A former magazine editor, she lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family and an ever-growing stack of must-read books. [SOCIAL MEDIA FROM SCRATCH: CRAFTING YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE]

David Blixt’s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” His novels span the Roman Empire to early Renaissance Italy, through the Elizabethan era to the Victorian age with his series following daredevil journalist Nellie Bly. In 2021 he revealed that, while researching Bly, he had discovered eleven lost novels by Bly herself. David’s novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history. As the Historical Novel Society says, “Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It’s well worth it.” [FILLING IN THE BLANKS: WRITING ABOUT TIMES AND PLACES WHERE LITTLE IS KNOWN]

Jeffrey Blount is the author of three novels, the most recent being The Emancipation of Evan Walls, winner of the 2019 Readers Favorite Book Award, winner of the 2019 American Bookfest Best Book Award and a Shelf Unbound 2019 Notable Book. He is also an Emmy award-winning television director and a 2016 inductee to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.  During a 34-year career at NBC News, Jeffrey directed a decade of Meet The Press, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and major special events. Born and raised in Smithfield, Virginia, he now lives in Washington, DC. [WRITING OUTSIDE YOUR EXPERIENCE, OR “WHO AM I TO TELL THIS STORY?!”]

Ana Brazil is the author of the historical mystery Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper (Sand Hill Review Press) and writes historical crime fiction that celebrates bodacious American heroines. Her short stories include “Kate Chopin Tussles with a Novel Ending” (Fault Lines anthology), “Miss Evelyn Nesbit Presents” (Me Too Short Stories: An Anthology), and “Mr. Borden does not quite remem–” (Kings River Life). Her work-in-progress features a bodacious vaudeville singer beset with murder, mistaken identity, and multiple romances in 1919 San Francisco. Ana lives in Northern California. [SETTING THE SCENE: EXPLORING HISTORICAL SETTINGS THROUGH GENRES; STARTING AN AUTHOR COLLECTIVE]

Rebecca Bruff heard the undertold story of Robert Smalls on her a trip to South Carolina. Enslaved, Smalls liberated himself and others in a life-or-death escape, was the first Black hero of the Civil War, and a 5 term US Congressman. Bruff was so intrigued that she moved across the country to research and write Trouble the Water. Originally from Texas, she now lives in Beaufort, South Carolina where she writes, volunteers at the Pat Conroy Literary Center, plays a little tennis, travels when she can, and loves life in the low-country with her husband and an exuberant golden retriever. [WRITING OUTSIDE YOUR EXPERIENCE, OR “WHO AM I TO TELL THIS STORY?!”]

Lorelei Brush, after writing hundreds of government reports,  stepped into the glorious freedom of fiction. Her second novel, Chasing the American Dream, rolled from her pen following a six-month stint in the National Archives researching her father’s role in the Office of Strategic Services in World War II. He’d told his children exciting stories of his feats as a spy behind enemy lines, which turned out to be lies. She had to write about his quest to be a hero and how, when the war had not provided the opportunity, he might have used the 1950’s to achieve his goal. [AUTHOR’S SCOOP ON HYBRID PUBLISHERS]

Denny S. Bryce, an award-winning recipient of the RWA Golden Heart®, was a three-time GH finalist, including twice for Wild Women and the Blues, her debut novel. She also writes book reviews for NPR Books and entertainment articles for FROLIC Media. Additionally, the former professional dancer and public relations professional is a self-proclaimed history geek. She credits this obsession to her maternal grandmother, Ella Elizabeth Joseph, who immigrated from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to New York City in 1923. Recently, Denny relocated from Northern Virginia to Savannah, Georgia. She is represented by Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates. [BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORICAL FICTION: BLACK AUTHORS WRITE ABOUT THE PAST WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE; RECENT DEBUTS TELL ALL: THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THE DEBUT EXPERIENCE; ART & HISTORY: SHAKEN, STIRRED, AND STORIFIED]

Mary F. Burns is the author of an historical mystery series featuring John Singer Sargent and Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee) as Victorian Era amateur sleuths. Mary is a former book reviewer for HNS and a frequent presenter at HNS conferences. Her books include Portraits of an Artist, Isaac and Ishmael, J-The Woman Who Wrote the Bible, and Ember Days. Her latest mystery, The Unicorn in the Mirror, sets in 1881 Paris, involves a murder whose roots reach back to 1500, and which engages her characters’ intelligence and intuition against a background of four centuries of French revolution and turmoil. [HISTORY IS CHARACTER: HOW HISTORICAL FICTION CAN ILLUMINATE EVENTS THROUGH CHARACTERS]

Paula Butterfield lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon. She is a film fanatic, a dance devotee, and a pasta aficionado. Paula has been a travel enthusiast since her first plane flight on her own at age five, and she excels at creating an awesome itinerary. She writes historical fiction about women artists and is currently working on a novel about rival Abstract Expressionist artists in post-war Manhattan. [SHAKE UP YOUR STORY WITH ART!]


Susanna Calkins holds a doctorate in early modern British and women’s history and occasionally teaches history at Northwestern University.  She writes two award-nominated historical mystery series—the first set in early modern London and the other in a 1920s Chicago speakeasy. She has delivered several keynotes on writing and researching historical fiction at universities and libraries and has participated in many panels on the subject.  She is the president of Sisters in Crime Chicagoland and lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons. [FOUR ON THE FLOOR: BACKGROUND AS FOREGROUND IN HISTORICAL MYSTERIES; MORE THAN “JUST THE FACTS”: THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF WRITING HISTORICAL MYSTERIES]

Carrie Callaghan is the author of the novels Salt the Snow and A Light of Her Own (both from CRP/Amberjack). She lives in Maryland with her family and three ridiculous cats. She’s something of a political junky, though she hates to admit it. [THE FICTIONAL IS POLITICAL: HOW TO WRITE INTERESTING POLITICS IN ANY STORY; ART & HISTORY: SHAKEN, STIRRED, AND STORIFIED]

Linda Cardillo ( is an award-winning author who writes about the old country and the new, the tangle and embrace of family, and finding courage in the midst of loss. Hailed by Publishers Weekly as a “Fresh Face,” Linda has built a loyal following with her works of fiction—the novels Dancing on Sunday Afternoons, Across the Table, The Boat House Café, The Uneven Road, Island Legacy and Love That Moves the Sun, as well as novellas in the anthologies The Valentine Gift and A Mother’s Heart and the illustrated children’s book The Smallest Christmas Tree. She is also co-founder of Bellastoria Press, ( an independent hybrid publisher partnering with authors to produce, distribute and promote their books. [STATE OF THE STATE: INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING]

Leslie Carroll has authored 21 titles in three genres (including historical fiction, under the pseudonyms Amanda Elyot and Juliet Grey). Her novels have been optioned for film and TV and translated into 12 languages; and she’s the author/narrator of two audio guides to the State Rooms of Versailles, soon to be released. She’s a frequent commentator on royal relationships, appearing on Travel Channel and Canadian History Channel docuseries, the 2020 documentary “Grace of Monaco, Hollywood Princess” for Britain’s Channel 5; and global media discussing the Windsors. Leslie’s also a professional actress and award-winning audiobook narrator, specializing in historical fiction. [NO, REALLY, I DIDN’T MAKE THIS UP: USING THE HISTORICAL NOVELIST’S TOOLKIT TO WRITE COMPELLING NARRATIVE NONFICTION; THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES TO A BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL: 3 PROFESSIONAL ACTORS SHARE TIPS FOR BRINGING YOUR BOOK TO LIFE]

Michaela Carter is a writer, painter, and award-winning poet. She is the author of the novels Further Out Than You Thought and Leonora In the Morning Light. Her poetry won the Poetry Society of America Los Angeles New Poets Contest, has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. She is the cofounder of the independent bookstore the Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, Arizona, where she lives with her husband and two dogs. [CAUSING A SCENE IN INTERWAR PARIS]

Anna Castle writes the Francis Bacon Mystery series and the Professor and Mrs. Moriarty Mystery series. She has earned a series of degrees—BA in the Classics, MS in Computer Science, and a PhD in Linguistics—and has had a corresponding series of careers—waitressing, software engineering, documentary linguist, assistant professor, and digital archivist. Writing fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space. [STATE OF THE STATE: INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING; THE A-Z OF YOUR INDIE AUTHOR BUSINESS; ONWARD THROUGH THE PAST: WRITING THE LONG HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES]

Edie Cay’s debut novel A Lady’s Revenge won the Golden Leaf Best First Book Award, hosted by the New Jersey chapter of the Romance Writers of America. The second in the series, The Boxer and the Blacksmith, won the 2019 Legends Award from Hearts Through History.  Drawing on the history of women’s boxing in nineteenth century London, Cay uses themes of found family and relatable misfits. She is currently at work on the third in the series, A Lady’s Finder, as well as a literary novel titled Square Grand, set in North Dakota at the turn of the 20th century. [SETTING THE SCENE: EXPLORING HISTORICAL SETTINGS THROUGH GENRES; RESPECTING ROMANCE; STARTING AN AUTHOR COLLECTIVE]

Elizabeth Chadwick is a multi-award winning top selling historical novelist with 27 novels in print translated into 18 languages. Her novel The Greatest Knight is a New York Times bestseller and has been optioned for film and TV, and her novel The Scarlet Lion was included in founder of the Historical Novel Society Richard Lee’s top ten novels of the decade. [AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT]

Laurie Chandlar writes and loves everything Art Deco. Like her heroine Lane Sanders, Laurie is fond of her red Mary Janes and a fan of a handcrafted cocktail and the inexhaustible Mayor “Fio” La Guardia. A finalist for the Agatha, the Anthony, a Lefty, Macavity, and the Silver Falchion, Laurie netted the Guides Association of New York Award in 2020. Laurie lives in New York City with her family and two cats named Monty and Maverick. [FOUR ON THE FLOOR: BACKGROUND AS FOREGROUND IN HISTORICAL MYSTERIES; MORE THAN “JUST THE FACTS”: THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF WRITING HISTORICAL MYSTERIES]

Janie Chang writes historical fiction with a personal connection, drawing from a family history with 36 generations of recorded genealogy. Her first novel, Three Souls, was a finalist for the 2014 BC Book Prizes Fiction Prize and her second novel, Dragon Springs Road, was a Globe and Mail national bestseller. Both were nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her third book, The Library of Legends, released in May 2020, is a Globe and Mail national bestseller. [CONNECTING MAINSTREAM AUDIENCES TO UNFAMILIAR HISTORICAL PERIODS; LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS: SAVING CULTURE, SAVING LIVES]

Katherine J. Chen is the author of the novel, Mary B. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Literary Hub, and most recently, in the bestselling historical fiction anthology, Stories from Suffragette City. She is a graduate of Princeton University and a candidate in the MFA Fiction program at Boston University, where she is also a Senior Teaching Fellow. Her second novel on the rise and fall of Joan of Arc will be published in 2022. [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP JANE AUSTEN]

Michael Cooper arrived in Jerusalem in 1966, lived in Israel for eleven years, studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and graduated from Tel Aviv University Medical School. Now a pediatric cardiologist in Northern California he volunteers for medical missions twice a year serving Palestinian children who lack access to care. Foxes in the Vineyard, set in 1948 Jerusalem, won the 2011 Indie Publishing Contest grand prize. The Rabbi’s Knight, finalist for the 2014 Chaucer Award for historical fiction, is set in the Holy Land in 1290. Soon to be published, Sins of the Fathers, is set in Jerusalem during WWI. [VOICES THAT SHOOK UP THE PAST]

John Copenhaver’s historical crime novel, Dodging and Burning, won the 2019 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel and garnered Anthony, Strand Critics, Barry, and Lambda Literary Award nominations. Copenhaver writes a crime fiction review column for Lambda Literary called “Blacklight,” cohosts on the House of Mystery Radio Show, and is the six-time recipient of Artist Fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He’s a Larry Neal awardee, and his work has appeared in CrimeReads, Electric Lit, Glitterwolf, PANK, New York Journal of Books, Washington Independent Review of Books, and others. He lives in Richmond, VA. [MORE THAN “JUST THE FACTS”: THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF WRITING HISTORICAL MYSTERIES]

Erin Cox is a bookseller at Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee. Before moving to Nashville, she worked in marketing at Simon & Schuster and Macmillan in New York City. She also managed the development program for a national nonprofit literacy organization. Erin has an M.S. in Publishing from New York University and B.A. in History from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. [A VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTER: WHAT INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES ARE SEEING & DOING IN THE CHANGING WORLD OF BOOKS]

Carol M. Cram from Vancouver, Canada, is the author of four novels, including the Women in Art Trilogy (The Towers of Tuscany, A Woman of Note, and The Muse of Fire) and Love Among the Recipes. Carol is the founder of Art In Fiction and the Art In Fiction Podcast, the author of over sixty bestselling college textbooks in computer applications and communications, and the founder and Artistic Director of the Bowen Island Writers’ Festival. She was also on faculty at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over two decades and holds an MA in Drama and an MBA. [ART IN HISTORICAL FICTION; USING ART TO INSPIRE STORY]

Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. His fiction has taken readers to Occitania of the Albigensian Crusade, Scotland of Robert the Bruce, and Portugal during the Age of Discovery. The Fire and the Light, a Foreword Magazine BOTYA Finalist, tells the story of the Cathars, a 13th-century sect massacred by the Church. He has explored the religious lives of the 14th-century Culdees and Henry the Navigator’s secretive Order of Christ. A Chaucer Award First-Place Winner and Nicholl Fellowship recipient from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, he has served as president of the HNS SoCal Chapter. [SAINTS, SEERS, AND HERETICS: EVOKING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD IN HISTORICAL FICTION; TURNING THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE: THE TAROT IN HISTORICAL FICTION; BATTLE FLAGS, FALLING MONUMENTS, AND THE LOST CAUSE MYTH: THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF ANTEBELLUM AND CIVIL WAR FICTION]


Melissa Danaczko is an agent at the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency. Before becoming an agent, she was Senior Editor with the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. As an editor, Melissa developed books that became New York Times bestsellers and received or were nominated for honors including The National Book Critics Circle Award, the Man Booker Prize, and the PEN/Bingham Prize. Melissa gravitates towards plot-driven novels with a fresh perspective, energetic writing, bold characters, and deep sense of place. In terms of historical fiction, Melissa loves a strong emotional core, but also has a taste for the dark and strange. It’s a big plus if the work taps into the cultural climate in some way, and she is particularly eager to represent more #ownvoices authors in this genre. [MASTER CLASS: BEYOND THE GATE]

Jasmin Darznik is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bohemians (April 2021), a novel that imagines the friendship between photographer Dorothea Lange and her Chinese American assistant in 1920s San Francisco. Her debut novel, Song of a Captive Bird, was a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” book and a Los Angeles Times bestseller. Darznik is also the author of The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her books have been published in eighteen countries and her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, among others. [WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT IF? CHOOSING BETWEEN BIOGRAPHICAL AND NON-BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORICAL FICTION]

Fiona Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of historical novels set in iconic New York City buildings, including The Lions of Fifth Avenue, which was a Good Morning America book club pick. She began her career in New York City as an actress, working on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down to write fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, and she’s based in New York City. [LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS: SAVING CULTURE, SAVING LIVES]

Jodi Daynard is the author of the bestselling trilogy that began with The Midwife’s Revolt. Her fourth historical novel, A Transcontinental Affair, was published in 2019. She is also the author of many published essays and stories and book reviews, which have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Village Voice, The New England Review, and elsewhere. She has taught writing at Harvard University, at MIT, and in the MFA program at Emerson College. Ms. Daynard has just completed a new novel, details to be announced soon. [FACT IN FICTION: BRINGING LONG-LOST WORLDS TO LIFE]

Stephanie Renee dos Santos is an artist and writer. She is author of art-inspired historical novel Cut from the Earth set in the 18th century Portuguese tile trade during the “Cycle of Masters”, and forthcoming Passion to Paint, story of a South Asian rebel female painter from the 1930’s. Cut from the Earth was short-listed for the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Reviews “Chaucer Book Awards”. She has published in literary journals American Athenaeum and Lalitamba, and written features for the Historical Novel Review and the Historical Novel Society. [ART & SPIRIT SHESTORIES: REBEL MYSTICS]

Julianne Douglas holds a doctorate in French Literature from Princeton University. She has written two agented historical novels set in sixteenth-century France and is currently working on both a French Revolution novel and a dual-timeline historical mystery. She has twice attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Fiction Workshop. Long active in the historical fiction community, she posts book reviews, author interviews, and articles on French history and culture at her website, Writing the Renaissance. [SHARPENING THE BLADE: BORROWING ELEMENTS FROM MYSTERIES TO CRAFT COMPELLING HISTORICAL FICTION]

Lynn Downey spent her childhood in Marin County, California and now lives in the beautiful town of Sonoma, where her great-great-grandparents settled in 1913. She retired from Levi Strauss & Co. in 2014 and today works as a consulting archivist, historian, and lecturer for libraries, museums, and corporations. She is the author of Dudes Rush In, the first of a dude ranch series, as well as Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women. Lynn is now writing a cultural history of dude ranching for the University of Oklahoma Press, which will be published in 2022. [FINDING WOMEN’S VOICES IN ANCESTOR STORIES; SETTING THE SCENE: EXPLORING HISTORICAL SETTINGS THROUGH GENRES]

Susanne Dunlap is the author of ten historical novels for adults and teens. Her PhD in music history has inspired her to bring to life the remarkable stories of women in music from the middle ages through the 19th century. A Junior Library Guild Selection and a Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year, The Musician’s Daughter (Bloomsbury Children’s, 2008) kicked off a YA mystery series with a young Viennese violinist as sleuth, which she is continuing with a forthcoming fourth book. [HYPING HISTORY: STRATEGIES FOR GETTING YOUNG READERS HOOKED ON THE GENRE]


Bella Ellis is the Bronte-inspired pseudonym for Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Rowan Coleman. Rowan is the author of 15 novels including The Accidental Mother, The Day We Met and We Are All Made Of Stars. The Bronte Mysteries is a new series of novels that blends fact and fiction to imagine that before the Bronte sisters were world renowned authors they were amateur sleuths. [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP THE BRONTES]

Malayna Evans was raised in the mountains of Utah and spent her childhood climbing, reading, and finding trouble. Her early fascination with sci-fi—and worlds different than her own she found in books—led Malayna to a lifelong interest in the origins of culture and society. After earning an MA in Greek and Roman history, then Mesopotamian and Egyptian history, she received a Ph.D. in ancient Egyptian history from the University of Chicago. A single mom, Malayna now lives in Oak Park, IL, with her two kids and a rescue dog. Learn more about Malayna at [FROM ACADEMIA TO KIDLIT (AND WHY MY PASSION FOR ANCIENT EGYPT MADE THE TRANSITION WORTHWHILE); HYPING HISTORY: STRATEGIES FOR GETTING YOUNG READERS HOOKED ON THE GENRE]

Nicole Evelina is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction, non-fiction, and women’s fiction whose six books have won more than 40 awards, including four Book of the Year designations, the North Street Book Prize and the Sarton Women’s Book Award. One of her books, Madame Presidentess, was previously optioned for film. Her fiction tells the stories of strong women from history and today, with a focus on biographical historical fiction, while her non-fiction focuses on women’s history. Both share the stories of unknown or little-known figures. [NO, REALLY, I DIDN’T MAKE THIS UP: USING THE HISTORICAL NOVELIST’S TOOLKIT TO WRITE COMPELLING NARRATIVE NONFICTION]

Elizabeth Everett lives in Upstate New York with her family. She likes going for long walks or (very) short runs to nearby sites that figure prominently in the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage. Everett is a passionate advocate for the romance genre and would like for anyone about to cast a stone to read a romance novel written in the past ten years. A Lady’s Formula for Love is her first novel in The Secret Scientists of London series, inspired by her admiration for rule breakers and belief in the power of love to change the world. [RECENT DEBUTS TELL ALL: THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THE DEBUT EXPERIENCE]

Pamela Binnings Ewen is the author one non-fiction book and six historical novels, her most recent being The Queen of Paris, a novel of Coco Chanel, which was ranked No. 1 in Hot New Spring Releases in 2020 historical fiction by Amazon Kindle. Before retiring, she practiced law with the international firm of BakerBotts, LLP. [SHAKE IT UP: WHEN YOUR MAIN CHARACTER IS “UNLIKEABLE”!]


Patricia Finney has been a published writer since she was 18, a long time ago. Her first book was about an Irish harper who killed a king. Twenty-four books later, she has three grown up children and is thoroughly enjoying lockdown. She has had many day-jobs, including newspaper columnist, office cleaner, coffee shop entrepreneur, and stand-up historian. She has lived in Spain and Hungary. Her talk started from the fascinating research she unearthed for Gloriana’s Torch, her novel of the Spanish Armada. She probably won’t be able to resist writing a non-fiction book about it all. [SHOOTING THE SH*T: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN GUNS AND DUNG]

Janet Fitch is the bestselling author of White Oleander, Paint it Black, and now the epic historical novels The Revolution of Marina M. and Chimes of a Lost Cathedral, set during the Russian Revolution.  She was awarded a Likhachev Fellowship to St. Petersburg, Russia in 2009, to further her research. While an undergraduate at Reed College, she majored in history with a specialty in Russian history and imagined she would become an historian before she turned her sights to fiction writing.  Her short stories and essays have appeared in many venues. [SHAKING UP TIME AND PLACE: HISTORICAL CHARACTERS IN UNFAMILIAR CULTURES]

Mariah Fredericks was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from Vassar College with a degree in history and studied Russian at the University of Exeter. She enjoys reading and writing about dead people and how they got that way. For many years, she was the head writer for Book-of-the-Month Club and worked as a freelance editor reviewing narrative history and historical fiction for inclusion in the catalog. She is the author of the Jane Prescott Mystery series, set in 1910s New York. [SHARPENING THE BLADE: BORROWING ELEMENTS FROM MYSTERIES TO CRAFT COMPELLING HISTORICAL FICTION]

Ann Marti Friedman trained as an art historian and enjoys bringing the history of art into her novels.  An Artist in Her Own Right, set in Paris in the early 19th century, tells the story of Augustine Dufresne, a little-known member of the circle of artists surrounding Napoleon Bonaparte.  A Fine Tapestry of Murder takes place in Paris in 1676-1677 amidst the painters, sculptors, tapestry weavers, silversmiths and other craftsmen of the Royal Manufactory of the Gobelins. Ann is now working on its sequel, Death in the Fountains of Versailles. She was a member of the 2020 HNS Master Class on writing historical novels. [STATE OF THE STATE: INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING]

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020. Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.” Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing. [MASTER CLASS: SELF-PUBLISHING 101; Q&A WITH JANE FRIEDMAN]


Michelle Gable is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including A Paris Apartment and the upcoming The Bookseller’s Secret (2021). A San Diego native and graduate of The College of William & Mary, Michelle spent twenty years in finance before retiring to write full-time. She lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband, two teenaged daughters, one geriatric cat, and a Thai street dog. [A NOVEL WAY TO WRITE ABOUT THE KENNEDYS]

Nicole Galland is the author of the historical novels I, Iago; Crossed: A Tale of the 4th Crusade; Revenge of the Rose; Godiva; and The Fool’s Tale. (She’s also written two contemporary romantic comedies, On the Same Page and Stepdog.) Her most recent book, Master of the Revels, is a Shakespeare-themed time-traveling sequel to the New York Times bestseller, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., which she co-wrote with Neal Stephenson. She has been an invited speaker at events such as the Key West Literary Seminar and the Hay-on-Wye Book Festival. Mostly, she’s a Shakespeare nerd. [SHOWBIZ IN SHAKESPEARE’S TIME; CREATING CHARACTERS WHO BELONG WHERE YOU PUT THEM; TIME TRAVEL THROUGH THE AGES]

Indrani Ganguly was born of Bengali-speaking parents in Lucknow, India.  Her parents imbued her with a strong sense of Indian and world history and culture. Indrani studied English Honours at the University of Delhi and sociology and history at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She did her Ph.D. on the impact of British occupation on revolution and reform in West Bengal from the Australian National University. Indrani’s publications target a mix of academic, community sector and creative writing audiences, with particular focus on how different groups negotiate their diverse worlds as part of multicultural societies such as Australia and India. [THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE HISTORY: CAN NOVELISTS BALANCE FACT, FICTION AND ETHICS?]

Claire Gebben is the author of The Last of the Blacksmiths (2014), based on a true story of a 19th century German immigrant blacksmith. Her memoir, How We Survive Here (2018), describes the discovery of ancestral letters in an attic in Germany, which propels her on a transatlantic quest to write about their lives. The Last of the Blacksmiths was named a Notable Book by Cleveland State University. The memoir was a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Claire loves research as much as writing and speaks at numerous venues on topics related to her books. [ALL IS NOT LOST: MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR RESEARCH]

Alex George, a native of England, has published seven novels which have been translated into ten languages. His sixth, Setting Free the Kites, won the Missouri Award for Fiction in 2018. His most recent, The Paris Hours, was released in May 2020. It was a Book of the Month Club pick and a national bestseller. In addition to his novels, Alex’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Literary Hub, and other publications. He’s also an attorney. [CAUSING A SCENE IN INTERWAR PARIS]

Margaret George is the award-winning author of eight epic biographical novels, focusing on the Tudor era (Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I), and the ancient world (Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Mary Magdalene, and Nero), six of these New York Times bestsellers, with twenty-one foreign editions and over two million sold internationally since her debut in 1986. Her The Memoirs of Cleopatra was made into an Emmy-nominated ABC-TV miniseries in 1999.   She has also written a children’s book about tortoises. She has been a speaker at Hampton Court, the Tower of London, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, as well as being interviewed on A & E and the History Channel, and twice has been invited to the National Book Festival at the Library of Congress. See her website at [AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT]

Colleen Gleason, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, has dipped her pen in several genres, from paranormal romance, mystery and suspense, YA, and, of course, historical fiction. She has a book for every taste and reader. Colleen has written stories set in the Middle Ages, the Regency Period, Lincoln’s nineteenth-century America, and even an alternate Victorian London. Colleen lives somewhere in the Midwest with her family and dogs, fingers furious on the keyboard on her next novel. [FOUR ON THE FLOOR: BACKGROUND AS FOREGROUND IN HISTORICAL MYSTERIES; HYPING HISTORY: STRATEGIES FOR GETTING YOUNG READERS HOOKED ON THE GENRE]

Molly Greeley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her addiction to books was spurred by her parents’ floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. She is the author of two novels inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—The Clergyman’s Wife and The Heiress. Molly lives in northern Michigan with her husband and three children. [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP JANE AUSTEN]


Jennifer Hallock writes sex scenes that have been described as “a master class,” making readers “feel squiffy in the stomach,” and organically happening “without making sex the focus of the story.” She is the author of the Sugar Sun historical romance series set during the Philippine-American War. She spends her days teaching American, Asian, and military history, and her nights writing historical happily-ever-afters. She has lived and worked in the Philippines, but she currently writes at her little brick house on a New England homestead—kept company by her husband, a growing flock of chickens, and a mutt named Wile E. [GOOD SEX IN HISTORICAL FICTION: A COZY CHAT WITH A ROMANCE AUTHOR]

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling, USA Today bestselling, and #1 international bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names, the upcoming The Forest of Vanishing Stars, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into 29 languages. A former reporter for People magazine, Kristin was also a frequent contributor to the national television morning show The Daily Buzz. Kristin has spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando with her husband and son. She is the co-founder and co-host of the popular web series and podcast Friends & Fiction. [LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS: SAVING CULTURE, SAVING LIVES]

Cate Hart joined Harvey Klinger in 2019 after 5 years with another agency. Established in 1977 by its eponymous founder, Harvey Klinger, the agency has been among the leading literary agencies in adult and children’s books. Its interests cross many fields in fiction, nonfiction, and middle grade and young adult fiction by new and established authors. Cate specializes in historical, whether middle grade or young adult, women’s fiction and romance, and narrative nonfiction. She is particularly drawn to forgotten stories, especially from underrepresented voices. She is especially excited to see: fresh perspectives and voices in historical for MG and YA; women’s historical fiction beyond WWI and WWII; dual timelines; everything gothic; family sagas and buried secrets; historical romance and romcom outside of Regency period; and nonfiction history and biography. [MASTER CLASS: BEYOND THE GATE; STATE OF THE STATE: TRADITIONAL]

Libbie Hawker, who also writes under the pen names Olivia Hawker and Libbie Grant, is a bestselling author of historical and literary fiction. Her work has been translated into six languages; her most recent, One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Willa Literary Award, and was among Amazon’s top 100 bestselling titles of the year in 2020. She lives in the San Juan Islands with her husband Paul and several naughty cats. [MASTER CLASS: TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS; MASTER CLASS: MAKING IT IN HISTORICAL FICTION; REAL WOMEN, REAL HISTORY, AND WRESTLING WITH AGENCY AMIDST THE PATRIARCHY OF THE PAST; FICTION IN THE FAMILY TREE]

Carrie Hayes was born in New York City and grew up around journalists, idealists and rule breaking women. Her debut novel, Naked Truth or Equality, The Forbidden Fruit was published last year. Reviewed as an Editors’ Choice by HNS, Naked Truth, “offers glimmers of fresh insights into these oft-discussed, oft-challenged women, providing an excellent, entertaining, and provocative read.” [REAL WOMEN, REAL HISTORY, AND WRESTLING WITH AGENCY AMIDST THE PATRIARCHY OF THE PAST]

Jane Healey is the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of The Secret Stealers, The Beantown Girls and The Saturday Evening Girls Club. When her daughters were young, Jane Healey left a career in high tech to fulfill her dream of writing historical fiction about little-known women in history. It was a passion that has turned into something much more. Jane shares a home north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, running, cooking, and going to the beach. [FACT IN FICTION: BRINGING LONG-LOST WORLDS TO LIFE]

Tinney Sue Heath’s background is in journalism, but now she writes fiction set in medieval Italy. When she is not writing, you will probably find her playing medieval and Renaissance music on a variety of peculiar early instruments. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband but travels to Italy as often as possible, for research and other pleasures. Her first novel, A Thing Done, won the Sharp Writ Book Award. Learn more about her work at [SHAKING UP TIME’S FLOWING STREAMS: WRITING ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL HISTORICAL FICTION; SAINTS, SEERS, AND HERETICS: EVOKING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD IN HISTORICAL FICTION]

Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright, tour guide and award-winning, bestselling author of Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy novels for Tor and Kensington such as the Strangely Beautiful and The Spectral City series. A Haunted History of Invisible Women, Leanna’s first foray into non-fiction, focusing on women’s narratives in haunted house and ghost stories, will release in 2022 (Kensington). Her work has won 4 Prism awards and has been included in numerous notable anthologies and has been translated into many languages. A Manhattan ghost tour guide, Hieber has been featured in film and television on shows like Mysteries at the Museum. [NO, REALLY, I DIDN’T MAKE THIS UP: USING THE HISTORICAL NOVELIST’S TOOLKIT TO WRITE COMPELLING NARRATIVE NONFICTION; CROSS-GENRE? YOU BET! A COZY CHAT WITH AWARD-WINNING, BESTSELLING AUTHORS ABOUT NAVIGATING MULTIPLE GENRES; THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES TO A BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL: 3 PROFESSIONAL ACTORS SHARE TIPS FOR BRINGING YOUR BOOK TO LIFE]

Susan Higginbotham turned to nineteenth-century America after writing several novels set in medieval and Tudor England; her latest, The First Lady and the Rebel, tells the story of Mary Lincoln and Emily Todd Helm, half-sisters who find themselves on opposite sides of civil war. A diligent researcher who loves digging through archives, Susan is also the author of two biographies and a number of articles. Having developed a taste for American history, Susan is completing John Brown’s Women, about the wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law who stood behind—and stood up for—the American abolitionist. Susan enjoys traveling and collecting photographs. [RIB REMOVAL AND PROPPED-UP CORPSES: MYTHS ABOUT THE VICTORIANS; BATTLE FLAGS, FALLING MONUMENTS, AND THE LOST CAUSE MYTH: THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF ANTEBELLUM AND CIVIL WAR FICTION]

Gill Hornby is a writer and journalist. She read History at Oxford before working for the BBC, The Times and The Telegraph. She is the author of two non-fiction books for children—on Jane Austen and Mozart—and three novels. Miss Austen, published in 2020 by Century and Flatiron, is her first piece of historical fiction. She lives in Kintbury, West Berkshire, with her husband and four children. [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP JANE AUSTEN]

Jean Huets co-authored, with Stuart R. Kaplan, The Encyclopedia of Tarot, and authored The Cosmic Tarot book, based on the visionary art of Norbert Loesche, and The Bones You Have Cast Down, a novel set in Renaissance Italy and inspired by the Popess card. Her With Walt Whitman, Himself is acclaimed as “a book of marvels” by poet Steve Scafidi and “a true Whitmanian feast” by scholar Ed Folsom. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, and North American Review. She co-founded Circling Rivers, which publishes literary nonfiction and poetry. Visit [TURNING THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE: THE TAROT IN HISTORICAL FICTION]

Piper Huguley, two-time Golden Heart ®finalist, inscribes and celebrates the ancestors to give voice to their stories. Her Migrations of the Heart, a historical romance series, spanning 1915-1935, is based on her family’s history of the Great Migration, the largest internal migration in US history. Huguley is also the author of the Home to Milford College series, which follows the building of a fictitious HBCU during Reconstruction. Her debut historical fiction novel about Ann Lowe, the Black designer of Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress, will release in Winter 2022 (William Morrow). She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son. [BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORICAL FICTION: BLACK AUTHORS WRITE ABOUT THE PAST WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE]


Syrie James is the bestselling author of 13 critically acclaimed novels published in 21 languages, including many award-winning works of historical fiction. Dubbed the Queen of Nineteenth Century Re-imaginings by Los Angeles Magazine, Syrie is a huge fan of Jane Austen, the Brontës, Dracula, and All Things English. A produced screenwriter and playwright, Syrie has given keynote and breakout addresses and served on author panels across North America and in England. Find Syrie on Facebook, Twitter, and at [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP THE BRONTES; ART IN HISTORICAL FICTION; RESPECTING ROMANCE]

Natalie Jenner is the internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen lived. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie is a former lawyer who also once founded Archetype Books, an independent bookstore in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. A #1 National, USA Today and LA Times bestseller, The Jane Austen Society will be translated into eighteen different languages around the world. [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP JANE AUSTEN]

Nancy Johnson is a native of Chicago’s South Side and a graduate of Northwestern University. Working for more than a decade as an Emmy nominated, award winning television journalist at CBS and ABC affiliates nationwide, Ms. Johnson writes at the intersection of race and class. Her much heralded debut novel, The Kindest Lie, is available now. [HIDDEN HISTORIES: RECLAIMING OUR LOST HISTORIES THROUGH CULTURAL WRITING]

Pamela K. Johnson is the author of Tenderhead and co-author of Santa and Pete. She was an editor at Essence magazine and has written for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. [REAL WOMEN, REAL HISTORY, AND WRESTLING WITH AGENCY AMIDST THE PATRIARCHY OF THE PAST]

Sadeqa Johnson is the award-winning author of four novels. Her accolades include the National Book Club Award, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the USA Best Book Award for Best Fiction. She is a Kimbilio Fellow, former board member of the James River Writers, and a Tall Poppy Writer. Originally from Philadelphia, she currently lives near Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three children. Her most recent novel, Yellow Wife, tells the story of a sheltered house servant who is thrust into the bowels of the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit [AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT; BATTLE FLAGS, FALLING MONUMENTS, AND THE LOST CAUSE MYTH: THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF ANTEBELLUM AND CIVIL WAR FICTION; DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN HISTORICAL FICTION: A CONVERSATION]

Joy Jordan-Lake, although born in Washington, D.C., spent her childhood reading and tromping through woods on the Tennessee mountain where she grew up. With a Ph.D. in English lit., she taught for years, which she loved, but now relishes writing full time. Her eight books include two historical novels, the #1 Amazon bestsellers Under a Gilded Moon, set at the Biltmore Estate in 1895, and A Tangled Mercy, a dual timeline set Charleston, and an Historical Novel Society Editors’ Choice; as well as Blue Hole Back Home, winner of the 2009 Christy Award for Best First Novel. [FACT IN FICTION: BRINGING LONG-LOST WORLDS TO LIFE]

Faith L. Justice ( writes award-winning fiction and articles in Brooklyn, New York. Her work appeared in such publications as, Writer’s Digest, and The Copperfield Review. Her most recent book Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome (from Raggedy Moon Books) is the second in The Theodosian Woman series and is available at all the usual places in all formats. Faith is the co-chair of the New York City chapter of the Historical Novel Society and Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine. For fun, she likes to dig in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites. [HOW TO NAVIGATE THE WILD WEST OF AUDIOBOOK PRODUCTION]


Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with Honors in English Literature from Yale University, where William Styron encouraged him to become a novelist, and where he won the prestigious Paine Memorial Prize. His novels include By Fire, By Water, set during the Spanish Inquisition, and Into The Unbounded Night, the story of first century Rome and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. He travels to industrial facilities around the world to help prevent and curtail environmental accidents. A licensed private pilot, he plays classical and jazz flute and lives with his family and their cats in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. [SAINTS, SEERS, AND HERETICS: EVOKING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD IN HISTORICAL FICTION]

Alma Katsu is the award-winning author of six novels, including historical horror (The Hunger and The Deep) and, most recently, Red Widow, her first spy thriller, drawn from a long career in intelligence. She is a graduate of the master’s writing program at Johns Hopkins University and earned her undergraduate degree in literature and writing from Brandeis University. She lives in the Washington DC area with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. For more information, please visit her website at [MASTER CLASS: UPPING THE ANTE; MORE THAN “JUST THE FACTS”: THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF WRITING HISTORICAL MYSTERIES]

Emily Sylvan Kim is a literary agent and the president of Prospect Agency that she founded in 2005. Emily loves taking a holistic approach to agenting, working with her authors to build sustainable careers and partnering with every major publisher. She’s committed to making sure her authors maximize all opportunities for each title, including foreign rights and audio rights. With a focus on romance, contemporary and historical women’s fiction, young adult fiction and a select number of non-fiction, she gravitates towards titles by and for women and girls. Emily loves historical fiction because it can entertain and educate. She is looking for stories that illuminate little known aspects of the past and introduce inspiring historical figures and help readers understand the role women played in history. Some of her clients include Piper Huguely and Julia Kelly. Emily loves drinking tea, taking walks, and having long talks with her clients on the phone–and more recently on Zoom. [STATE OF THE STATE: TRADITIONAL]


C.V. Lee is new to the writing world although the seed for her work-in-progress, Roses & Rebels, set during the era of the Wars of the Roses, was planted 20 years ago. She writes historical family saga, featuring real people whose lives were shaped by the events of their day. Her next WIP, Helier, now in its infancy stage, will follow the same family through the years of the Renaissance and the Reformation. [SETTING THE SCENE: EXPLORING HISTORICAL SETTINGS THROUGH GENRES]

Richard Lee is founder and chairman of the Historical Novel Society. He’s working (has been working for a while) on a novel set in eleventh century Syria at the time of the first crusade. [STATE OF THE STATE: INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING]

Jeannie Lin, a USA Today bestselling author, started writing her first book while working as a high school science teacher in South Central Los Angeles. Her stories are inspired by a mix of historical research and wuxia adventure tales. Jeannie’s groundbreaking historical romances set in Tang Dynasty China have received multiple awards, including the Golden Heart for her debut novel, Butterfly Swords. Jeannie also writes an Opium War steampunk series, the Gunpowder Chronicles.  Her historical erotica series, Princess Shanyin, is written under the pen name Liliana Lee. [CONNECTING MAINSTREAM AUDIENCES TO UNFAMILIAR HISTORICAL PERIODS; CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION FOR HISTORICAL AUTHORS; RESPECTING ROMANCE]

Aimee Liu is the bestselling author of the historical novels Glorious Boy; Flash House; Cloud Mountain; and Face, as well as the memoirs Solitaire and Gaining. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Honors include the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, Bosque Fiction Prize, and Literary Guild Super Release. Her essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She has also written or co-authored more than ten books of popular non-fiction. Aimee teaches in Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program at Port Townsend, WA. [CREATING CHARACTERS WHO BELONG WHERE YOU PUT THEM; SHAKING UP TIME AND PLACE: HISTORICAL CHARACTERS IN UNFAMILIAR CULTURES]

M. Louisa Locke, a retired professor of U.S. and Women’s History, has a successful second career as the USA Today best-selling author of the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. This cozy historical mystery series follows the investigations of Annie and Nate Dawson who own the O’Farrell Street boardinghouse. With the help of their servants, family, and friends, this couple investigates a series of crimes that are associated with various late nineteenth-century female occupations. Not just content with writing about the past, Dr. Locke also writes a science fiction series set in the open-source collaborative world of the Paradisi Chronicles. [STATE OF THE STATE: INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING; ONWARD THROUGH THE PAST: WRITING THE LONG HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES]

Kevan Lyon is a literary agent and partner with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency with more than 20 years in the publishing business, including 12+ years as a literary agent and many years in the wholesale, retail, and distribution business. She thus brings an informed and unique perspective to her work with clients. Her fiction list includes NY Times and USA Today Bestselling authors Kate Quinn, Natasha Lester, Stephanie Dray, Kerri Maher, Jennifer Probst, Jennifer Robson, Laura Griffin and may others. Kevan works with her clients to help them realize their dreams of being published and building a long-term career as a writer. Kevan handles women’s fiction, with an emphasis on commercial women’s fiction and historical fiction. When not reading clients’ work or obsessively monitoring email, Kevan loves to walk near the beach with her 4-legged office mates. For more information, visit the agency website at or their Facebook page, or follow Kevan on Twitter. [STATE OF THE STATE: TRADITIONAL]


Greer Macallister earned her MFA in creative writing from American University. Her new book, The Arctic Fury, was named an Indie Next and Library Reads pick and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Her debut novel The Magician’s Lie was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. She is also the author of Girl in Disguise and Woman 99, optioned for TV by Made Up Stories and Nina Dobrev. A regular contributor to Writer Unboxed and the Chicago Review of Books, she lives with her family in Washington, DC. [WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT IF? CHOOSING BETWEEN BIOGRAPHICAL AND NON-BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORICAL FICTION]

Patricia MacEnulty holds a doctorate in English from the Florida State University. She has published four novels, a short story collection, and a memoir with Profile Books, Livingston Press, and the Feminist Press of City University of New York. She is currently working on a series of historical novels set in the early 20th century. [THE POWER OF VOICE IN HISTORICAL FICTION]

Jeanne Mackin from New York is the author of six novels; the most recent is The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel, which has been translated into five languages. An earlier novel, the award-winning The Beautiful American, is based on the life of photographer Lee Miller, and mysteries written under a nom de plume have been translated into Japanese. She lives in central New York in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse complete with a few wandering spirits. [ART IN HISTORICAL FICTION]

Kerri Maher is the author of The Kennedy Debutante, which People called “a riveting reimagining of a true tale of forbidden love,” and The Girl in White Gloves, which was an HNS Editors’ Choice and Library Reads selection. Her forthcoming biographical novel, The Paris Bookseller, is about bookshop-and-library owner Sylvia Beach, who opened the original Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1919.  A professor of writing for many years, she loves to talk about the craft of writing.  Learn more at [CAUSING A SCENE IN INTERWAR PARIS; A NOVEL WAY TO WRITE ABOUT THE KENNEDYS; LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS: SAVING CULTURE, SAVING LIVES]

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon is a native New Yorker, former actress, and history geek. Her first book, Scandalous Women, was released in March 2011 to enthusiastic reviews. Her second, Pretty Evil New York, will be released in September 2021. In 2011 she was also named RWA NYC’s Author of the Year. She has been featured in the H2 show How Sex Changed the World, as well as The Travel Channel’s Monumental Mysteries and the Investigation Discovery show Tabloid. [NO, REALLY, I DIDN’T MAKE THIS UP: USING THE HISTORICAL NOVELIST’S TOOLKIT TO WRITE COMPELLING NARRATIVE NONFICTION; THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES TO A BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL: 3 PROFESSIONAL ACTORS SHARE TIPS FOR BRINGING YOUR BOOK TO LIFE]

Erika Mailman‘s contemporary YA trilogy The Arnaud Legacy  (Kensington)–Haunted, Betrayed, and Avenged—dips into history with  shades of Elisabet Bathory, the French Revolution, and Arthurian legend. She writes YA under the name Lynn Carthage, and under her real name she’s the author of three adult historical novels: The Witch’s Trinity, Woman of Ill Fame, and The Murderer’s Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel. Her freelance work has appeared in Smithsonian, Washington Post, Lit Hub, Rolling Stone and more. She’s a Yaddo fellow, co-director of Open Page Writers, and a novel-writing instructor through Mailstrom Writing Clinic. & [BREAK IT DOWN: STAYING MOTIVATED FOR THE LONG HAUL; HYPING HISTORY: STRATEGIES FOR GETTING YOUNG READERS HOOKED ON THE GENRE]

Patricia Marcantonio is the author of the Victorian Felicity Carrol Mystery series (Crooked Lane Books); Verdict in the Desert (Arte Público Press, the largest US publisher of contemporary literature by US Hispanic authors); and Red Ridin’ in the Hood and Other Cuentos (FSG), named an Americas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Commended Title. Her screenplays won the Willamette Writers Kay Snow competition and hit the top percentage in several other contests. She earned an Alexa Rose Foundation grant to direct her original play Tears for Llorona and is a Newspaper Association of America New Media Fellow. [RESEARCHING HISTORY: DAUNTING, CHALLENGING AND FUN]

Amy Maroney lives in Oregon, U.S.A. with her family. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, drawing, dancing, traveling, and reading. Amy is the author of The Miramonde Series, an award-winning historical fiction trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail. Amy uses her author platform to raise awareness about the existence of female old masters. She is currently working on a new series set in medieval Rhodes and Cyprus. [SHAKE UP YOUR STORY WITH ART!]

James Conroyd Martin is the hybrid author of Push Not the River, a novel based on the diary of a countess in 1790s Poland; Against a Crimson Sky, which continues the family saga into the Napoleonic era; and The Warsaw Conspiracy, detailing the young Polish cadets’ rising against the mighty Russia. His most recent novel is Fortune’s Child, the first of a duology based on the life of Empress Theodora. The second one is due later this year. In the Chanticleer International Book Awards Fortune’s Child won the 2019 Grand Prize, Book of the Year 2019. [SHAKING UP TIME’S FLOWING STREAMS: WRITING ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL HISTORICAL FICTION]

Susan Meissner is a USA Today bestselling novelist with more than half a million books in print in fifteen languages. Her critically acclaimed works of historical fiction have been named to numerous lists including Publishers Weekly’s annual roster of 100 best books, Library Reads Top Picks, Real Simple annual tally of best books, Booklist’s Top Ten, and Book of the Month. She attended Point Loma Nazarene University and when she’s not working on a book, she volunteers as a writing workshop facilitator for Words Alive, a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing. [TEN TIPS FOR RESEARCHING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION; CROSSING TIMELINES: WRITING THE DUAL-NARRATIVE NOVEL]

Tonya Mitchell received her BA in journalism from Indiana University. Her fiction has appeared in, among other publications, Glimmer and Other Stories and Poems, for which she won the Cinnamon Press award in fiction. She is a self-professed Anglophile and is obsessed with all things relating to the Victorian period. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and three wildly energetic sons. A Feigned Madness is her first novel. [REAL WOMEN, REAL HISTORY, AND WRESTLING WITH AGENCY AMIDST THE PATRIARCHY OF THE PAST]

Laura Morelli from Georgia holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and has taught college students in the United States and in Italy. She is a long-time trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, known for her Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes Made In Italy and other guides. She has been a columnist for National Geographic Traveler and Italy Magazine, and has developed lessons for TED-Ed. [ART & SPIRIT SHESTORIES: REBEL MYSTICS; ART IN HISTORICAL FICTION]

Emily E K Murdoch is a historian and historical romance author. With a Masters in Medieval Studies, she has over 37 historical romance books published. Many of those have been heralded by academic journals for their detailed accuracy, and her genres span from medieval to Westerns to Regency, with different heat levels but—of course—happily ever afters. [NOT A DUKE AGAIN: CHANGING THE HERO IN REGENCY ROMANCE; RESPECTING ROMANCE]

John Musgrove is a new author. His first novel, Ginter’s Pope, which details the romance of the richest man in Reconstruction Era Virginia and his younger man, is being printed by Brandylane Publishers in 2021. He works as an information security analyst in banking, lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his husband, who is retired. John has five university diplomas, has had photographs published by the Smithsonian Traveler magazine, and is renowned for his baking skills. He has traveled extensively, covering six continents and nearly fifty countries. [PORTRAYAL OF LESBIAN AND GAY CHARACTERS BEFORE STONEWALL]


Zenobia Neil was born with a shock of red hair and named after an ancient warrior woman who fought against the Romans. In college, she studied Ancient Greece, Voodoo, and world mythology. She writes historical fantasy about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. [PUTTING THE MAGIC BACK: WRITING HISTORICAL FANTASY; FILLING IN THE BLANKS: WRITING ABOUT TIMES AND PLACES WHERE LITTLE IS KNOWN]


Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English literature from NYU and subsequently taught literature and critical theory at UW-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books, written introductions for novels by Dickens and Trollope for Barnes & Noble, and edited for Victorian Literature and Culture. Her published historical mysteries are all set in 1870s London. A Lady in the Smoke (2015, Random House/Alibi) was a USA Today bestseller; her second and third novels, A Dangerous Duet and A Trace of Deceit (2018 and 2019, William Morrow) have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. You can reach Karen at [SHARPENING THE BLADE: BORROWING ELEMENTS FROM MYSTERIES TO CRAFT COMPELLING HISTORICAL FICTION]

K. Orme, the owner of Tea Notes Press, has been writing for over 15 years and still continues to learn and grow in her craft, with a BA in History and Creative Writing. K. has multiple finished novel manuscripts, all ready for some revisions with each in a planned series. Her debut novel, Pondered in Her Heart, is set to be released in early 2021. She has received numerous awards for her writing and accolades from editors at conferences. But, most importantly, she is the proud mommy of Grantaire, her SDiT, and cares deeply about representing invisible illnesses in fiction. [REPRESENTING INVISIBLE ILLNESSES IN HISTORICAL FICTION]


Rae Ann Parker is the Director of Books and Events for Young Readers at Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the program director for the Nashville chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. [A VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTER: WHAT INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES ARE SEEING & DOING IN THE CHANGING WORLD OF BOOKS]

Gill Paul is the bestselling author of ten historical novels, many of them describing real women she thinks have been marginalised or misjudged by historians. Jackie and Maria looks at the way Jackie Kennedy’s and Maria Callas’s lives began to overlap as they became rivals for Aristotle Onassis, and her forthcoming novel The Collector’s Daughter, due out in September 2021, is about Lady Evelyn Herbert, a remarkable woman who was part of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Gill lives in London with her partner, who is a light artist, and loves wild swimming year-round. [CHASING THE MARKET OR CHASING YOUR DREAM? HOW TO FIND YOUR NEXT NOVEL; A NOVEL WAY TO WRITE ABOUT THE KENNEDYS]

Leslye Penelope is an award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance writer. Equally left and right-brained, she studied filmmaking and computer science in college and sometimes dreams in HTML. She hosts the My Imaginary Friends podcast and lives in Maryland with her husband and furry dependents. Visit her at [HIDDEN HISTORIES: RECLAIMING OUR LOST HISTORIES THROUGH CULTURAL WRITING]

Sarah Penner is the debut author of The Lost Apothecary (March 2021, Park Row Books/HarperCollins), which has been translated into more than fifteen languages. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband. When not writing, Sarah enjoys running, cooking, and hot yoga. To learn more, find Sarah on social media or visit [GONE DIGITAL! TECH TOOLS FOR LANDING A LITERARY AGENT; RECENT DEBUTS TELL ALL: THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THE DEBUT EXPERIENCE; SOCIAL STRATEGY: PLATFORMS AND ONLINE PRESENCE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION WRITERS]

Kathryn Pritchett grew up on a potato farm in Southeastern Idaho but has spent most of her adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area. After years writing and blogging about design for print and online publications, she’s now writing historical fiction. Kathryn is currently seeking representation for her first novel, The Casket Maker’s Other Wife, a fictionalized account of her Swiss ancestor’s 19th century polygamous marriage and work as a frontier midwife in Utah and Idaho. She is working on her second novel, Maude and Early, which features actress Maude Adams, J.M. Barrie’s muse and the original Peter Pan. [FINDING WOMEN’S VOICES IN ANCESTOR STORIES; STARTING AN AUTHOR COLLECTIVE]

D.M. Pulley, before becoming a full-time writer, worked as a Professional Engineer rehabbing historic structures and investigating building failures. Pulley’s survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Since then, Pulley has sold over a half a million books worldwide, and her work has been translated into eight different languages. Pulley’s historical thrillers shine a light into the darker side of life in the Midwest during the twentieth century. The abandoned buildings, haunted houses, and buried past of the Rust Belt continue to inspire her work. [CROSSING TIMELINES: WRITING THE DUAL-NARRATIVE NOVEL]


Samantha Rajaram is the author of The Company Daughters (Bookouture). Her essays and short fiction have been published in Catamaran Literary Reader and India Currents, and she was a contributor to Our Feet Walk the Sky, the first South Asian-American anthology published in the US. She lives in the Bay Area with her three children. [THE FICTIONAL IS POLITICAL: HOW TO WRITE INTERESTING POLITICS IN ANY STORY]

Weina Dai Randel is the award-winning author of The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon, a historical novel series of Empress Wu of China. The Moon in the Palace was the winner of the RWA RITA® Award, a Goodreads Choice Award nominee, and called one of the Biggest Historical Fiction books of 2016 by Bookbub. Her forthcoming novel, The Last Rose of Shanghai, a WWII novel of love and redemption, will be published in November, 2021. Weina lives in Texas. [CHASING THE MARKET OR CHASING YOUR DREAM? HOW TO FIND YOUR NEXT NOVEL; CONNECTING MAINSTREAM AUDIENCES TO UNFAMILIAR HISTORICAL PERIODS]

Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist of the Julia Grey and Veronica Speedwell historical mystery series, is a 6th-generation native Texan. She graduated with a double major in English and history from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of one, Raybourn makes her home in Virginia. Silent in the Grave won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Mystery. Her work has been nominated for an Agatha, a Last Laugh, and more.  A Treacherous Curse was nominated for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Novel. [CROSS-GENRE? YOU BET! A COZY CHAT WITH AWARD-WINNING, BESTSELLING AUTHORS ABOUT NAVIGATING MULTIPLE GENRES]

Cheyenne Richards is a writer, sailor and wellness coach whose life has revolved around family history for decades: First as a marketing executive at, then crafting her forthcoming novel The Prisoner’s Apprentice—inspired by the 19th century serial killer she discovered in her family history closet. Whatever you do, don’t look for consistency. A tomboy who adores polka dots, a Palo Alto native drawn to the past as much as the future, and for all her love of outdoor adventure, you’ll usually find her under a cozy blanket with a good novel. [FICTION IN THE FAMILY TREE]

Vanessa Riley, Ph.D., Southern, Irish, Trinidadian author, writes Historical Fiction and Historical Romance (Georgian, Regency, & Victorian Eras) featuring hidden histories, dazzling multi-cultural communities, and strong sisterhoods. Her books have been reviewed by the AAMBC, Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Publisher Weekly, and the New York Times. Her debut Historical Fiction Island Queen (July 2021 William Morrow) recounts the remarkable life of successful entrepreneur Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a formerly enslaved woman, who battles the unfair taxation of free colored women in British colonies. Riley is represented by Sarah Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. [BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORICAL FICTION: BLACK AUTHORS WRITE ABOUT THE PAST WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE; DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION IN HISTORICAL FICTION: A CONVERSATION]

Margaret Rodenberg’s debut novel Finding Napoleon was published in April 2021 by She Writes Press. She’s a former businesswoman, an award-winning writer, and secretary of the Napoleonic Historical Society, a non-profit that promotes knowledge of the Napoleonic era. Finding Napoleon—based in part on a romantic novel Napoleon Bonaparte tried to write—will shake up your perception of the French emperor. A long-term, enthusiastic member of HNS, she’s currently writing a French Revolution novel that speaks to today’s social unrest. [AUTHOR’S SCOOP ON HYBRID PUBLISHERS; ART & HISTORY: SHAKEN, STIRRED, AND STORIFIED]

Michael Ross has released two novels in the Across the Great Divide series. The Clouds of War was a finalist for book of the year in the Coffee Pot Book Club and an Amazon bestseller and his latest novel focuses on Red Cloud’s War and the Shoshone culture. He is a member of the HNS Board and blogs regularly on American history. [WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS]

Steven Rowley is the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus, a Washington Post Notable Book of 2016 and The Editor, named by NPR and Esquire Magazine as one of the Best Books of 2019. Both are in development as feature films. His new novel, The Guncle, arrives May 25th, 2021. O Magazine hails it as one of the LGBT books changing the literary landscape. Rowley’s fiction has been published in twenty languages. He lives in Palm Springs, California with his partner, the writer Byron Lane. [A NOVEL WAY TO WRITE ABOUT THE KENNEDYS]


Colin W. Sargent is an acclaimed novelist and playwright from Maine. He has an MFA from Stonecoast; a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, UK; and is founding editor of Portland Monthly. His first novel was Museum of Human Beings, followed by The Boston Castrato (published by Barbican Press, and an HNS “Editors’ Choice”). His latest novel, Red Hands (Barbican Press) is a fictional re-creation of more than 800 hours of one-on-one conversations with Iordana Ceausescu, daughter-in-law of the infamous Romanian dictator, during her five-year self-exile hiding in a small town along the Maine coast. [HISTORY IS CHARACTER: HOW HISTORICAL FICTION CAN ILLUMINATE EVENTS THROUGH CHARACTERS]

Whitney Scharer is a writer, teacher, and graphic designer who lives just outside Boston. Her first novel, The Age of Light, was a national bestseller and named one of the best books of 2019 by Parade, Glamour Magazine, Real Simple, Refinery 29, Booklist and Yahoo. Internationally, The Age of Light won Le prix Rive Gauche à Paris, was a coups de couer selection from the American Library in Paris, and has been published in over a dozen other countries. Whitney is the recipient of a 2020 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, and a co-founder of the Arlington Author Salon reading series. [CAUSING A SCENE IN INTERWAR PARIS]

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. Ms. See has also written a mystery series that takes place in China. Her books have been published in 39 languages. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

Guest of Honor Appearances:







Pam Sheppard has spent over 25 years in Sales and Marketing with Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Crown Publishers. Those years of experience and 17 years of editing and consulting equip her with a literary ear and street-smart instincts for her clients’ projects. New applications of her COMP Analysis Reports have supported the marketing efforts of authors and independent publishers alike. [THE MARKETING MAGIC OF GREAT COMP TITLES]

Margaret Skea is a multi-award-winning historical novelist and accomplished speaker, workshop presenter and creative writing tutor. Growing up in the violence of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, much of her writing is concerned with living within conflict, and the pressures that places on families, relationships, and on personal integrity. She is passionate about authenticity in historical fiction and her novels are all set in real history: A Scottish trilogy focusing on a notorious clan feud called the Ayrshire Vendetta and a two-book, fictionalized biography of Katharina von Bora, the escaped nun who married the reformer Martin Luther. [HISTORY IN HISTORICAL FICTION: MAIN INGREDIENT OR ICING ON THE CAKE?]

Judith Starkston has spent too much time exploring the remains of the ancient worlds of the Greeks and Hittites. Early on she went so far as to get degrees in Classics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and Cornell. She loves myths and telling stories. This has gotten more and more out of hand. Her solution is her brand: Fantasy and Magic in a Bronze Age World. Hand of Fire was a semi-finalist for the M.M. Bennett’s Award for Historical Fiction. Priestess of Ishana won the San Diego State University Conference Choice Award. Find out more at [SHAKING UP TIME’S FLOWING STREAMS: WRITING ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL HISTORICAL FICTION; MAKING THE FANTASTICAL REAL]

Jane Steen has been writing and publishing indie historical fiction since 2012. Her books are a blend of mystery and family saga and consist of two series, both set in the late Victorian era. She has lived long-term in both Belgium and the US but is now living on the south coast of England, where she thinks she’ll stay put. As well as being in the HNS, active as a reviewer and conference board member before she moved to England, Jane is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Novelists, Inc., and the Society of Authors. You can find out more at [STATE OF THE STATE: INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING]

Jennifer Steil is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Her newest book, Exile Music (Viking, 2020), is the first novel in English to explore the lives of Austrian Jewish musicians who sought refuge from the Nazis in Bolivia in 1939.  Her two previous books are The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, a memoir of her experience running a newspaper in Yemen, and The Ambassador’s Wife, a novel about a hostage crisis inspired by Steil’s experience. She currently lives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She is now writing a novel about an underground Bolivian community of LGBTQ artists. [CREATING CHARACTERS WHO BELONG WHERE YOU PUT THEM; SHAKING UP TIME AND PLACE: HISTORICAL CHARACTERS IN UNFAMILIAR CULTURES]

Eileen Stephenson, a lifelong ardent admirer of ancient and medieval history, is the author of three books about the Byzantine Empire. The first was the short story collection, Tales of Byzantium. The second was the novel, Imperial Passions: The Porta Aurea, the first of two books about the life of Anna Dalassena, the mother of the first Comnene Byzantine emperor, short-listed for the Chanticleer International Book Awards Chaucer Award in 2018. Her most recent book was a non-fiction history, Byzantine History in the 11th Century: A Brief Introduction, about the Byzantine Empire during this pivotal century. [SHAKING UP TIME’S FLOWING STREAMS: WRITING ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL HISTORICAL FICTION]

Michael Stewart’s debut novel, King Crow was the winner of the Guardian’s Not-the-Booker Award. Other books include Couples, Cafe Assassin and Mr. Jolly. His latest novel, Ill Will: The Untold Story of Heathcliff was inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. His next book, Walking the Invisible, a hybrid memoir about the Brontes’ lives and landscapes, will be published in July 2021. He is also the creator of the Bronte Stones project, four monumental stones situated in the landscape between the birthplace and the parsonage, inscribed with poems by Kate Bush, Carol Ann Duffy, Jeannette Winterson and Jackie Kay. [THE CLASSICS REVISITED: SHAKING UP THE BRONTES]

Elisabeth Storrs is an Australian author who graduated from the University of Sydney in Arts Law, having studied Classics. The three novels in A Tale of Ancient Rome Saga vividly describe the world of Etruria, a sophisticated society which heavily influenced Rome from republican to imperial times. She is the founder of the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) and the program director for the HNSA conferences. In 2020, she founded the $60,000 ARA Historical Novel Prize. Her novels inspired an archaeologist to feature the books’ characters in an audio-visual exhibition of Etruscan statuary at the Museo dell’Agro Veientano in Rome. [USING ART TO INSPIRE STORY; STATE OF THE STATE: INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING]

Wendy Swallow grew up with a dad who loved opera and a mom who taught her to sail. An English major with a Masters in journalism, she wrote for The Washington Post, then taught at American University. She saw Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House as her own marriage crumbled, growing fascinated with heroine Nora Helmer. As a divorced single mom, Swallow often thought about Nora. Swallow published Breaking Apart: A Memoir of Divorce, then remarried and published The Triumph of Love over Experience: A Memoir of Remarriage.  In 2007, she left teaching to travel to Norway and write Nora’s story. [THE PLAY’S THE THING]


Liza Nash Taylor is a late-blooming writer and the author of two recent historical novels from Blackstone Publishing. Etiquette for Runaways (August 2020) is set in 1924. It was named one of Parade’s 30 Best Beach Reads 2020 as well as Frolic’s Best Book of Summer 2020. In All Good Faith, set in 1932, will be published in August 2021. Liza is the 2016 winner of the Fiction Prize of the San Miguel Writers’ Conference and a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow. She lives in rural Virginia, in an old farmhouse which is a setting in her novels. [FASHION SHAKES UP SOCIETY: SCANDALOUS WOMEN AND WHAT THEY WORE, 1770-1960; SHAKING UP TIME AND PLACE: HISTORICAL CHARACTERS IN UNFAMILIAR CULTURES]

Sarah Loudin Thomas is the seventh generation to grow up on her family’s farm in West Virginia and her fiction celebrates that Appalachian heritage. A fund-raiser for a children’s ministry, Sarah has time to write because she doesn’t have children of her own. She is the author of the acclaimed novels The Right Kind of Fool and Miracle in a Dry Season–winner of the 2015 Inspy Award. Sarah has also been a finalist for the Christy Award, ACFW Carol Award and the Christian Book of the Year Award. She and her husband live near Asheville, NC. [ABA OR CBA: WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?]


Linda Ulleseit is the author of three Young Adult historical fantasies that are about flying horses in medieval Wales as well as Under the Almond Trees, a historical novel set in pioneer California, and The Aloha Spirit, set in territorial Hawaii. Linda believes in the unspoken power of women living ordinary lives. Her books are the stories of women in her family who were extraordinary but unsung. Linda is a retired elementary school teacher Linda now writes full time in between traveling with her husband, walking her dogs, and visiting with her two adult sons. She lives in Northern California. [FINDING WOMEN’S VOICES IN ANCESTOR STORIES; STARTING AN AUTHOR COLLECTIVE]


Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma and the Company Files series (Winter Goose Publishing) and the Shane Cleary Mysteries (Level Best Books). Whether it’s contemporary Italy, a Cold War mystery, or Seventies Boston with Shane Cleary, he is known for a turn of phrase and crisp spare prose. His Naming Game was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Historical Mystery and the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original in 2020. Gabriel is a member of the Historical Novel Society, ITW, MWA, and Sisters in Crime. Shane’s cat is named Delilah, but Gabriel’s feline is called Munchkin. [FOUR ON THE FLOOR: BACKGROUND AS FOREGROUND IN HISTORICAL MYSTERIES]

Wendy Voorsanger, born and raised on the American River in Sacramento, has long held an intense interest in the historical women of California, which she chronicles in the blog Prospects of a Woman, her debut historical novel, published in October 2020. She earned a BA in journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Castro Writers’ Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society, and Historical Novel Society. [SHATTERING THE MYTH OF WOMEN IN THE WEST]


Kris Waldherr’s many books include Bad Princess, Doomed Queens, and The Book of Goddesses. Her debut novel The Lost History of Dreams (Atria Books) received a starred Kirkus review and was named a CrimeReads Best Book of the Year. As a visual artist, Waldherr is the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has over a quarter of a million copies in print. She is also a tarotist who teaches the tarot to writers and other creatives. Learn more at [ART & SPIRIT SHESTORIES: REBEL MYSTICS; TAROT FOR FICTION WRITERS]

Susan Wands is a writer, Tarot reader, and actor. A co-chair with the HNS NYC Chapter, she produces book launches and author panels. Her writings have appeared in Kindred Spirits magazine and the Irving Society journal, First Knight. Podcast interviews include: ‘Biddy Tarot’, ‘Imaginary Worlds’, ‘Bad Ass Bitches Tarot’ and the ‘Spirited Tarot.’ Her first book in a series, Magician and Fool: Book One, Arcana Oracle Series, out in 2021, is based on Pamela Colman Smith, creator of the Waite Smith deck. Her next two books, High Priestess and Empress and Emperor and Hierophant, are in final edits. [TURNING THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE: THE TAROT IN HISTORICAL FICTION]

Heather Webb is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction. In 2018, Last Christmas in Paris won the Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR Award, and in 2019, Meet Me in Monaco was a finalist for the Goldsboro RNA award, as well as the Digital Book World’s Fiction prize. Up and coming, The Next Ship Home is a novel of Ellis Island’s dark secrets and the women who confronted a corrupt system to alter their fate as well as the immigrants who came after them. To date, Heather’s works have been translated to over a dozen languages. [CHASING THE MARKET OR CHASING YOUR DREAM? HOW TO FIND YOUR NEXT NOVEL; WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT IF? CHOOSING BETWEEN BIOGRAPHICAL AND NON-BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORICAL FICTION]

Sara Wigal is an Assistant Professor of Cinema, Television and Media and Director of Publishing at Belmont University. Wigal trained under literary agents, magazine editors, and a major publishing house’s marketing department, finally working in literary PR, beginning as an assistant and working her way up to a Senior Manager role. She has been published by Library JournalThe Tennessean, Publishers Weekly, and Writer’s Digest, and was a featured interview in the Writer’s Digest “Guide to Literary Agents” 2019 edition. Wigal is the Fundraising Chair for the Next Chapter Society which supports the programming made possible by the Nashville Public Library Foundation. She is the founder of the Nashville Publishing Meetup, which connects publishing professionals. When she doesn’t have a book in hand, you can find Professor Wigal snuggling with her two dogs, dancing salsa, or doing DIY projects on her cottage home in Nashville, TN. She is an aspiring historical novelist. [PICK A PLATFORM: BUILDING BRAND BEFORE YOU QUERY]

Sarah Woodbury received her Ph.D. in anthropology in 1995 and began writing fiction in 2006. With over a million novels sold to date, she is the author of the bestselling After Cilmeri series, the Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries, The Welsh Guard Mysteries, the Lion of Wales series, and the Last Pendragon Saga, all set in medieval Wales. Sarah is a member of Novelists, Inc.; the Historical Fiction Society Cooperative; and the Historical Novel Society. [AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT; STATE OF THE STATE: INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING; ONWARD THROUGH THE PAST: WRITING THE LONG HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES]

Rita Woods is a writer, a Board-Certified Internal Medicine Physician actively practicing as the Medical Director of a large medical center in Suburban Chicago and a trustee on her local Library Board. Her award-winning debut novel, Remembrance, named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020, came out in January of 2020. Dr. Woods lives outside of Chicago with her family and house full of cats. [HIDDEN HISTORIES: RECLAIMING OUR LOST HISTORIES THROUGH CULTURAL WRITING]

Tessa Woodward is Executive Editor at Harper Collins. She edits a wide array of historical fiction, women’s fiction, and romance. Her women’s fiction titles range from historical fiction hits like New York Times bestselling author Kate Quinn’s The Huntress, Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning, Caroline by Sarah Miller, and Jennifer Robson’s The Gown, to contemporary favorites like Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev, as well as book club hits If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman and You and Me and Us by debut author Alison Hammer. On the historical side, she recently acquired the forthcoming The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli and Kaia Alderson’s Soldier Girls. On the romance side, she edits authors across all genres, including the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers Tessa Dare, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Maya Rodale. She is looking for more women’s historical fiction with strong characters, especially from diverse voices. [STATE OF THE STATE: TRADITIONAL]


Larry Zuckerman, for the past six and a half years, has reviewed one historical novel a week on his blog, Novelhistorian. During much of that time, he has also reviewed for Historical Novels Review, of which he has served as an editor for the past year and a half. A published historian, he has turned to writing historical fiction, most often setting his novels during or around the First World War, on which he is an expert. He is also a former editor, having worked for book publishers, magazines, and a business newspaper. He lives in Seattle. [WHY READ (OR WRITE) HISTORICAL FICTION?]

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