A Taste of HNSNA in 2022

A Taste of HNSNA was held on July 23, 2022 and was our first-ever one-day virtual conference. Over 375 participants enjoyed one full day of virtual programming for historical novelists, including a master class, two presentations, an agent-led Cold Reads session, a panel discussion, and conversation rooms.

We know that two years is a long time to wait between HNSNA conferences, and our 2021 virtual conference showed us that we can still connect and inspire even when we can't be together in person. To whet your appetite for our anniversary celebration (celebrating our tenth conference and twenty years of HNS North America!), we put together A Taste of HNSNA—a sampler menu of programming that reflects the type of content you can expect from HNSNA conferences. Whether you're a longtime attendee or you've not yet had the chance to attend our conference, this one-day event is a great way to reconnect with or introduce yourself to HNSNA!

Once again HNSNA partnered with EventMobi to provide an immersive virtual conference experience. Participants chatted with friends old and new during sessions and conversation rooms, played games, posted to the social wall, browsed our Hooch through History and Historical Highlight videos, and more!

A Taste of HNSNA Program

Here's the full-day program for A Taste of HNSNA participants enjoyed on July 23, 2022.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM (CT)

Welcome Meet & Greet

Join conference chair Jenny Q as we kick off our first HNSNA mini conference! This is your chance to meet your fellow attendees, ask any questions you may have about the day ahead, and talk a little bit about HNS2023.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM (CT)

MARKETING MASTER CLASS: Growing Your Readers Book-by-Book

Karen Chase

Knowing how and where to reach your readers to increase book sales isn’t a creative process, it’s a set of logical steps. And whether you have just one book or several—regardless of how you publish—deepening reader connections will help strengthen book sales over time. In this mini-master class we’ll cover three steps of the process:

  • Developing your author marketing message
  • Building primary and secondary reader profiles
  • Directing readers to read, follow, and buy more books

Karen A. Chase is an author, speaker, and brand designer. For nearly three decades Karen has worked as a professional designer creating brands for national and international organizations, non-profits, and authors. In addition to two decades running her own freelance business, she launched 224Pages, her own publishing house, in 2011. Her first novel, Carrying Independence, book one of the three-part Founding-Documents Series was a nominee for the 2020 Library of Virginia Literary Awards

1:00 PM-2:00 PM (CT)

Cold Reads

Cate Hart, Jill Marr, & Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

Submit the first page of your WIP for a chance of a real-time critique session of your opening pages offered by two agents. A volunteer cold-reads the first page aloud for the audience and agents, and you can hear live feedback. Those whose submissions are not selected will still find much value in listening to the agents’ suggestions.

Find out more about how to submit to Cold Reads.

Cate Hart, agent with Harvey Klinger, specializes in Historical, whether Middle Grade or Young Adult, Women’s Fiction and Romance, or narrative nonfiction. She is also on the hunt for fresh takes on fantasy, cozy mysteries, psychological thrillers, and all things Gothic.




Jill Marr is a senior agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She is interested in adult commercial fiction with an emphasis in romance, suspense, horror, and historical. She is also looking for non-fiction projects in the areas of current events, science, history, narrative non-fiction, sports, politics, pop culture, and music.


Elizabeth Kerri Mahon is a native New Yorker, actress and history geek. Her book, Scandalous Women was an RT Book Review Non-Fiction Pick for April 2011. Elizabeth has been featured in the H2 show How Sex Changed the World, as well as The Travel Channel’s Monumental Mysteries, and the ID show Tabloid.  Pretty Evil New York, a look at some of New York’s most notorious female criminals was released in 2021.

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM (CT)

Researching Historical Fiction: Writing the Past with Authenticity

Susan Meissner

Ask any reader of historical fiction what they enjoy most about reading the past and they will tell you it’s all about learning the details of a place and time that actually existed. But how does an author go about researching those details, and how can she be sure she’s got it right? Let’s look at the different resources we can plumb not just for names and dates, but the scintillating essential that make the past come to life.

Susan Meissner is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction with more than three-quarters of a million books in print in eighteen languages. She is an author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Nature of Fragile Things, which earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly; The Last Year of the War, named to Real Simple magazine’s list of best books for 2019; As Bright as Heaven, which earned a starred review in Library Journal; Secrets of a Charmed Life, a Goodreads finalist for Best Historical Fiction 2015; and A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction titles for 2014. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University and is also a writing workshop volunteer for Words Alive, a San Diego non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth foster a love for reading and writing.

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM (CT)

Dual Timelines: Two for One: Writing a Dual Timeline Novel

Susanna Kearsley

Whether you’re tackling a timeslip or simply a series of flashbacks, the technical challenges of interweaving two sets of main characters, two plots, and two story arcs stay the same: How do you switch back and forth without losing the readers' interest or being confusing—and how do you bind both the stories together to strengthen your themes? We’ll look at the range of rewards that this much bigger canvas can offer a story.

New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is a former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, most often in twin-stranded stories that interweave modern adventure with romance, historical intrigue, and sometimes an edge of the unexplained. First published in 1994, she has been a full-time writer since 1996, and her award-winning books are available in translation in more than 25 countries.

4:45 PM - 5:45 PM (CT)

Genre Fiction: Going Deeper with HistFic Subgenres

Glen Craney, Jeannie Lin, Maya Rodale, Shveta Thakrar

We’ve largely come to accept that historical fiction is any story set 50 or more years in the past. But what people expect out of a historical fiction novel has changed quite a bit over the years, with different historical subgenres becoming increasingly popular. Join our panelists as they discuss the nuances of writing history around the elements of romance, fantasy, crime, and war.

Glen Craney is an author, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. A native Hoosier, he caught the history bug as a boy while tracing the steps of his ancestors on Civil War battlefields. His novels have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the bloody moors of Robert the Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the Western Front trenches of World War I, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. Recipient of the Nicholl Fellowship Prize from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for best new screenwriting, Glen is also a Military Writers Society of America Gold Medalist, a Chaucer Award First-Place Winner, a four-time indieBRAG Medallion honoree, and a four-time Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist. His recent novel, The Cotillion Brigade, about the most famous female militia in American history, earned a Historical Novels Review Editor's Choice recommendation. He has also served as the president of the Southern California Chapter of the HNS. For more information about Glen and his books, visit www.glencraney.com

Jeannie Lin started writing in 2005 while she was teaching high school. After a long journey through rejections and contests and revisions, her manuscript Butterfly Swords won the 2009 Golden Heart® award for historical romance. Her first two books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and her second novel, The Dragon and the Pearl, was listed as one of Library Journal’s Best Romances of 2011. Her stories are inspired by her love of adventure, history, and fantasy in both Western and Asian traditions


Maya Rodale is the bestselling and award-winning author of funny, feminist fiction including historical romance, YA, and historical fiction. A champion of the romance genre and its readers, she is also the author of Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. Maya has reviewed romance for NPR Books and has appeared in Bustle, Glamour, Shondaland, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, and PBS. She began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and has never been allowed to forget it.



Shveta Thakrar’s debut novel, Star Daughter, is a standalone YA fantasy perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, and Margaret Rogerson, and her second novel, The Dream Runners, set in the same Hindu mythological universe, is out now. Shveta's work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Enchanted Living, Uncanny Magazine, and Toil & Trouble. You can find her online at www.shvetathakrar.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @ShvetaThakrar.

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (CT)

Conversation Rooms

One of the best things about a conference is meeting like-minded people who share your interests, and A Taste of HNSNA is no different! Here are the conversation rooms you can join:


Ancient, Medieval & Renaissance

Join fellow enthusiasts of the far-distant past in a lively discussion about the joys and challenges of writing about the days gone way by. History, art, music, fashion, food, drink—it’s all on the table!

CRYSTAL KING is the author of The Chef’s Secret and Feast of Sorrow, which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and was a Must Read for the MassBook Awards. She is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert and has taught classes in writing, creativity and social media at Harvard Extension School and Boston University, among others.

American History

From colonization to the post-war era, come spend an hour discussing our fascination for America’s controversial history and how historical novelists can add their voices to the genre.

LARS D. H. HEDBOR is a leading novelist of the American Revolution, with his fifteenth book of the era launching in September. He's also written many articles about events and details of life during the Revolution, presented at several conferences, appeared on national television as a historian of the Revolution, and created a stage adaptation of one of his novels, which will premiere later this year as a virtual presentation.

Crime, Mystery & Thriller

Historical mysteries continue to be popular across all time periods, and thrillers are catching on with historical novelists too. Meet your fellow mystery enthusiasts to talk about sleuthing and incorporating thrills and chills in historical fiction.

JONATHAN F. PUTNAM is the author of historical fiction, including the Lincoln & Speed Mystery series.  He serves on the Board of Directors of both the Historical Novel Society North America and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. Jonathan splits his time between London and Cape Cod.


Whether you’re writing historical romance or romantic historical fiction or just enjoy a good love story, come chat with us about the language of love through the ages.

NY Times bestselling author JENNIFER ASHLEY has written more than 120 novels in historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance, historical mystery, urban fantasy, and historical fiction. She also writes as Ashley Gardner and Allyson James. She lives in northern Arizona and loves to read, write, cook, play guitar and piano, and build dollhouse miniatures.


Military, Battles & World Wars

From ancient times to the 20th century, let’s talk about clashes and conflicts, soldiers and civilians as we discuss why these subjects continue to be so popular and where novelists can find new inspiration.

GLEN CRANEY is an author, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. His recent Civil War novel, The Cotillion Brigade, earned an HNS Reviews Editor's Choice recommendation and a Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal.

Publishing & Marketing

Come chat with fellow attendees about their paths to publication. We’ll talk about the state of an ever-changing industry and current and emerging trends. And we’ll engage in a helpful discussion of what’s working and not working in marketing historical fiction and how authors can up their own game.

CAROL M. CRAM is the author of three historical novels, The Towers of Tuscany, A Woman of Note, and The Muse of Fire, and a contemporary novel, Love Among the Recipes. Carol is co-director of Write On Bowen: A Festival for Readers & Writers on Bowen Island and serves as the Marketing Chair for the Historical Novel Society North America.

Regency & Victorian Eras

Dukes and viscounts abound, but this was also an era of war and political and social upheavals and the rise of the middle class. Chat with fellow enthusiasts about these ever-popular time periods for all subgenres of historical fiction.

NICOLE EVELINA is a USA Today bestselling author and biographer who writes historical fiction, non-fiction, and women’s fiction. Her books have won more than 50 awards, including four Book of the Year designations. Nicole is now a hybrid author but was named Missouri’s Top Independent Author by Library Journal and Biblioboard as the winner of the Missouri Indie Author Project in 2018 and has been awarded the North Street Book Prize and the Sarton Women’s Book Award. One of her novels, Madame Presidentess, was previously optioned for film.

SciFi, Fantasy & Alternate History

Fantasy, what-ifs, and the supernatural have long had a place in histfic. Chat with fellow writers about infusing the historical with these elements.

VANITHA SANKARAN PhD is a medical writer, a journalist, and a novelist. Her debut historical novel, Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages, was published by HarperCollins. She was a co-founding editor of the literary journal flashquake for its 10-year run, and has served in several positions on the Historical Novel Society North America board, currently as Programming Chair.

Note that the conversation rooms were not recorded.

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