Thursday, June 22, 2017

(additional fees apply for the Academy)

9:00 am – 12:00 noon & 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Broadway III & IV: THE WRITER’S TOOLBOX: Kate Forsyth

Internationally acclaimed bestselling author Kate Forsyth (Bitter Greens, The Wild Girl) will present this all-day soup to nuts workshop.

In this fast-paced and intensive workshop, award-winning author Kate Forsyth equips participants with all the tools they need for their writer’s toolbox: plotting, creating characters and narrative voice, inventing the world of the novel, understanding story structure, building suspense, controlling pace, and much, much more. The workshop is always refined to suit the particular needs of the participants, and so is never taught in the same way. It is suitable for writers at any stage of their creative journey.

10:00 am – 12:00 noon

Pavilion West: DYNAMIC PACING: The Best-Kept Secret to Making Your Novel Impossible to Put Down: Selden Edwards & Irene Goodman

Long-time New York City literary agent Irene Goodman and New York Times best-selling author Selden Edwards will lead a spirited two-hour exploration of creative plot structure that grabs the reader in the first pages and doesn’t let go until the last. In this workshop you will learn how clever plot construction and wording could make all the difference in selling your manuscript to a publisher, no matter the genre.

When Selden Edwards wrote his first novel and sent it out to agents, he received a call from an agent after only a few days. The agent said he “just couldn’t put it down.” The book went out to publishers immediately, and was sold within a matter of days. The editor said he “just couldn’t put it down.” Why? Because this book had great pacing. Most authors don’t even realize that this dollop of zing is essential. If you have good pacing, you can write about watching paint dry and make it impossible to put down. Learn how in this intensive, interactive, and occasionally hilarious class.

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm


Instructor Gordon Frye will discuss the history and handling of firearms from the mid 16th century to the present day. From Francis Drake to Cromwell, Redcoats to Bluebellies, Cowboys to Doughboys and GI’s, the workshop will walk participants through the proper loading, handling and firing of representative firearms from these periods. Participants will hold, load (using dummy rounds of course!), and learn the proper carrying and firing techniques.

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Pavilion West: “YOU HAD ME AT HELLO” — A Two Part Presentation: Heather Webb/Gillian Bagwell

In a duo of afternoon workshops, author-editor Heather Webb (Becoming Josephine, Rodin’s Lover) will teach you how to write that un-put-down-able “grabby” opening and author-actress/director Gillian Bagwell (The Darling Strumpet, Venus In Winter) will reveal the secrets of writing believable dialogue.

Part 1:  HOW TO WRITE AN AGENT-GRABBING OPENING, Instructor Heather Webb:  1:30-3:00

In this workshop, learn what makes an opening grabby — or trite — and how to win the agent or editor’s eye for which you’re vying. We’ll look at first lines, clichés, and techniques for making opening pages both appealing and unique by examining samples of the greats, as well as other methodologies. Attendees are invited to submit pages ahead of time for feedback from the instructor. One-on-one discussion to follow.

Part 2:  SAY WHAT? WRITING HISTORICAL DIALOGUE, Instructor Gillian Bagwell:  3:00-4:30

What characters say and how they say it is vitally important to the quality and flavor of a novel, and writing dialogue in a historical novel presents special challenges. Gillian Bagwell will share what she’s learned in the course of writing three acclaimed historical novels.

Participants are also encouraged to attend the workshop offered during the conference on Friday from 2:30-3:30 titled “Speak the Speech I Pray You,” in which Gillian, Leslie Carroll, C. W. Gortner and Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, all professional actors and authors of multiple historical titles, read aloud scenes from selected submissions.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm



Friday, June 23, 2017

8:00 am – 9:00 am   SESSIONS


[Irene Goodman, Lucia Macro]

A writer’s career is an adventure. A very experienced agent and a very experienced editor, who have worked together for years, will explain the ropes — the best way to break in, how to escalate, what to do when your career stalls, and the thrills and perils not just of being on top — but knowing how to stay there.


[Jennifer Weltz]

Literary Agent Jennifer Weltz has sat through many author pitches; and, like all agents, spends a great deal of time pitching her clients’ works to editors, film people, and the international market. She will go through the many key do’s and don’ts when you sit down across from an agent or editor, as well as share some of the best and worst pitches she has given and received. For the bravest souls, she will then open up the floor for people to try out their own pitches and get some feedback before facing off during the conference!


[Lisa Chaplin]

The Writers Process: Summoning the Muse writing craft track Session I  (interactive workshop)

The ultimate in historical plotting — your own visual synopsis. Starting with a professional elevator pitch for each attendee, we delve into story and character arcs. Discussing “all roads lead to (and from) Rome”, we formulate “hour”, “minute” and “second” hand story questions to create a “clock arc”: a visual synopsis to blu-tack to your wall, color-coded and filled with story signposts and necessary historical detail, so you are never lost in your story again.


[Anna Castle, M. Louisa Locke, Jennifer Quinlan, Sarah Woodbury]

Self-published (indie) books are the new mid-list, steadily building audiences and sometimes making headlines. Indie authors are gaining traction in libraries and bookstores, and often surpass traditionally published authors in earnings. Self-publishing has many advantages, including control over production pace and quality. Although the process may seem daunting, it’s not as hard as you might think. This panel supplies an overview of publishing a book from concept to sale.


[Glen Craney, Jennifer Robson, M.K. Tod; moderator: Kevan Lyon]

With the centenary remembrance of 1914-1918 now underway, historical novelists and publishers are offering fresh perspectives from the trenches and the home fronts. Our panel members will discuss their novels set in the years before, during, and after World War I. They will also explore the sources and reasons for renewed reader interest in the period, and how the passage of a century has reshaped our understanding of that pivotal conflict.


9:15 am – 10:15 am   SESSIONS


[Geraldine Brooks, Sherry Jones, Rebecca Kanner, Mitchell James Kaplan, Mary Sharratt; moderator: Vanitha Sankaran]

When writing about religious figures, what are the rules? How reverent or realistic should we be? Should we engage in myth-busting, or write tales of miracles? Given readers’ sensitivities, why write about the sacred at all? Five authors of historical fiction portraying religious figures talk about the risks and rewards of breathing humanity back into history’s sacred icons — and whether, given what we know now, we would do it again.

Galleria North:   KILLING TIME — DEATH COMES TO EVERY ERA: Historical Mysteries & Thrillers

[Carrie Bebris, Priscilla Royal, Christine Trent; moderator: Sophia Grant]

The march of time never stopped the march of crime. Whether medieval or Victorian London, Tudor England or the English Regency, the unscrupulous — even those who enforced the laws — always found a way to do the deed, while the protagonists did their heroic best to find justice, no matter what form that justice took. Panelists discuss setting as character, plots consistent with the time period, and unforgettable protagonists on the hunt for a killer, or even outrunning death.

Galleria South:   ONCE UPON A TIME: Drawing on Myth, Magic, and Fairy Tales in Historical Fiction

[Stephanie Carroll, Kate Forsyth, Leanna Renee Hieber; moderator: Anna Limbrick]

The grand sagas of the past — the myths and legends and fairy tales that have been told and retold for generations – can be a rich seam of inspiration for Historical Fiction writers. Each culture has its own creation myths and legends of heroes and monsters and quests and gods, and drawing upon these tales for narrative structures and symbols can help give your novel a universal significance. Whether you choose to directly retell a well-known tale, or simply draw upon some of its motifs and metaphors, understanding the who and why the tale was told can help illuminate it for both the writer and their audience.

Pavilion West:   THINGS THAT GO “BANG” IN THE NIGHT: Firearms for Novelists – Writing it Right

[Gordon Frye]

This presentation will be about some of the mistakes that are commonly made in the fictional portrayal of firearms. We all know that when an author makes a boo-boo it can blow the whole scene for us. This will help you to not fall into that trap by giving you some of the basics on historical and modern firearms, who used what, where they used them, and how it was accomplished.


[Stephanie Dray, Lars D.H. Hedbor, Laura Kamoie; moderator: Matt Phillips]

Between Outlander, Turn, and Hamilton: The Musical, the American revolutionary era has gained renewed public interest and attention. Join authors established in this era in a discussion of trends and opportunities in American revolutionary fiction, research challenges and advantages, topics and figures ripe for fictionalized treatment, how to incorporate historical sites into your research and promotion, and more.


[Vicky Oliver]

The Writers Process: Summoning the Muse writing craft track Session II (presentation)

A writer’s task is daunting. You confront the blank page every day, spend years developing and fine-tuning your craft, only to face masses of rejection. For the thick-skinned, the process is painful. For sensitive types, it can be absolutely debilitating. Vicky Oliver, author of six career books, discusses: the seven habits of successful writers; what to do with your rejections; getting emotionally tough; rising above rejection to excel (and hopefully publish).


9:15 am – 10:15 am   KOFFEE KLATCHES


[Themed KK Host: Carol McGrath]

It is not easy to invent or reinvent a medieval heroine who convinces your reader and yet who appeals to today’s readership. We like independent women. Yes, there are plenty of those throughout the Middle Ages. First research and then, like an archaeologist, bury the research in your writing of a great story for her. Discover how with the author of the best-selling trilogy The Daughters of Hastings.

Boardroom West:   POPULARITY OF FAMILY SAGAS (multiple books about the same extended family)

[Themed KK host: Lynn Paragamian]

A discussion of why family sagas are so popular. Detailed Presentation description: Presenter Intro; Define the Family Saga; Discussion Questions: Are they more accessible since it’s the same “world/people” every time? Do readers prefer to read about the same characters/world rather than investing time learning about new characters that they may not like? If you’re starting to write in this genre, would you write a family saga?


10:30 am – 11:30 am  SESSIONS

Galleria North:   FROM BUSTLES TO SUFFRAGETTES: Writing Victorian Era & Gilded Age Fiction

[Stephanie Carroll, Nicole Evelina, Leanna Renee Hieber, Amanda McCabe (Laurel McKee); moderator: Susan McDuffie]

This panel of award-winning authors will discuss writing and publishing Victorian Era and Gilded Age fiction. With books ranging from romance to biographical, and in settings from the U.S. to England to France, these authors know all things Victorian! Learn from their research techniques, their tips for developing Victorian worlds, and from their particular expertise in late nineteenth century history.


[C.W. Gortner, Patricia Kullberg, Phillip Margolin; moderator: Barbara Corrado Pope]

How closely does the historical novelist have to stick to the facts of history in order to fulfill her contract with her readers? To present actual historical actors in an ethical way? In other words, how far can we bend history to make a good story? An historian, a lawyer, a professional writer, and a doctor, novelists all, provide their perspective on this central question of our craft.

Pavilion West:   INNOVATIVE PROMOTION: Create a “Big Book” Campaign on a Not-So-Big Budget

[Kristina McMorris]

Looking for fresh, cost-effective ways to gain the attention of readers, bloggers, book clubs, and local and national media? Join Kristina McMorris, a former PR Director and New York Times bestselling author, as she shares inventive promotional strategies designed to boost book sales, in-house support, and even attendance at book-signing events. Also, learn how to apply an advertising perspective and business mentality to everything from cross-promotions and online giveaways to book trailers and more.

Pavilion East:   BUTTONS AND POINTS AND PINS, OH MY: Clothing Before the Zipper

[Isobel Carr]

Getting your characters’ clothes on and off can be a challenge if you’ve mostly only seen paintings or pictures of extant items in museum collections (or in films, where many times the clothing is simply wrong). Join historical author and re-enactor Isobel Carr for a detailed look at the proper layers and how clothing functioned from the Tudors to the Georgians. This workshop dovetails nicely with the “Undressing Your Heroine: Corsets & Beyond History of Underwear workshop being given on Saturday.


[Stephanie Dray, Kim Rendfeld, Aimie Runyan, Anne Easter Smith]

The Writers Process: Summoning the Muse writing craft track Session III (panel discussion)

Even though you are writing fiction, you know you need to accurately portray the architecture, landscape, culture, religion, historic characters’ personalities, and more. That requires real-life details. But what if your research yields almost nothing? Representing three continents and several time periods, along with diverse cultures, the panelists discuss how writers can re-create their characters’ world, even with scant clues.


10:30 am – 11:30 am   KOFFEE KLATCHES & WORKSHOPS


[General KK host Kate Forsyth]

Kate Forsyth was recently named one of Australia’s 15 Favourite Novelists. She is also a master storyteller and a sought-after creative writing teacher, who has sold more than a million books worldwide. Come and share an hour with her, hear her stories about growing up in Australia (yes, she did once have a pet kangaroo!), and her fascinating knowledge of history, art, poetry and fairy tales (Kate also has a doctorate in fairytale studies).

Council Suite:   OUT LOUD AND PROUD IN FRONT OF A CROWD: Reading Your Work for an Audience: Session I

[Interactive Workshop; space limited. Advance signup necessary]

[Leslie Carroll]

This interactive workshop, first presented at HNS2015 in Denver is back by popular demand — with 2 small sessions, to provide more authors the opportunity to get up on their feet. A poor reading during a presentation can change a potential reader’s mind about buying the author’s book. Why risk self-sabotage and lose potential sales? There’s no reason your reading shouldn’t be as exciting as your writing! This interactive workshop, taught by a multipublished historical novelist who is also an award-winning audiobook narrator, will show you how to use your voice to bring to life the characters and atmosphere you already made sing on the page.*

*participants must send 2 manuscript pages to the presenter in advance of the conference; presenter will mark up the pages prior to the conference to better enable her to coach the participants on reading them during the session.


[Themed KK Host Jennifer Leo]

A frank discussion of marketing and publicity tactics employed before, during, and after an author’s debut novel release: what worked, what didn’t, and what I’d do differently next time.

Boardroom West:  KINGS, QUEENS & VIKINGS: England Before the Conquest

[Themed KK Host: Patricia Bracewell]

The history of Pre-Conquest England has been mined recently to produce not just historical novels, but the popular television dramas Vikings and The Last Kingdom. In this session we’ll discuss the history behind the fiction; for example, what made Alfred the Great so great, or how that guy named Cnut managed to snatch the English throne. We’ll consider why Vikings have become so popular, and we’ll share our favorite 10th -11th century heroes and heroines.


11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Buffet lunch with special guest speaker:



1:15 pm – 2:15 pm   SESSIONS


[Mary Sharratt, Jinny Webber; moderator: Sophie Perinot]

Shakespeare’s England revealed a surprising degree of gender fluidity. Boys played female roles on the English stage while playwrights across Europe celebrated the adventures of outspoken crossdressing women. Offstage, women like Moll Frith, the real life Roaring Girl, dressed in male attire and did exactly as she pleased. This panel will discuss variations of gender representation in this era and how historical fiction can explore this intriguing territory and make it come alive.

Galleria South:   MIXING IT UP: Historical Writing in Multiple Genres

[Margaret Porter, Aimie K. Runyan, Kris Waldherr; moderator: Susan Higginbotham]

Historical fiction authors have enhanced their reputations, platforms, and incomes by exploring the full spectrum of history writing. Panelists published in multiple formats will share insights about successfully “mixing it up,” as well as the challenges of doing so. Areas of discussion include historical fiction subgenres (mystery, biographical, romance, YA, etc.) and reaching additional readerships through nonfiction categories (biography, academic publications, travel writing, blogs, and more.) Discover how expanding our focus can be revitalizing, inspiring, and lucrative.


[Stephanie Dray]

The Writers Process: Summoning the Muse writing craft track Session IV (interactive workshop)

Just because our characters may have written on papyrus scrolls with reed pens doesn’t mean that we have to. Come learn how to use cheap but powerful tools like Scrivener and Aeon Timeline to improve your writing, organize your writing life, and take your career to the next level.

Pavilion East:   KICKSHAWS: Georgian and Victorian Refreshments (interactive workshop)

[Isobel Carr, Delilah Marvelle]

Quaking Pudding and Blanc’mange ahoy! Join a duo of bestselling authors for a taste of Regency and Victorian era refreshments and a look inside the Georgian kitchen with a discussion of period cookery tools and techniques.


[Libbie Hawker, Priscilla Royal, Stephanie Thornton, Sarah Woodbury; moderator: M. Louisa Locke]

With so many publishing options currently available to writers, we will explore the main routes now available for the historical fiction author. Panelists will discuss the pros (and cons) of self-publishing, small presses, the Big 5, and hybrid routes to publishing.


1:15 pm – 2:15 pm   KOFFEE KLATCHES

Forum Suite:   BATTLE TESTED: Women in the Two World Wars

[Themed KK Hosts: Kate Quinn, Jennifer Robson]

From the front lines to the home front, the women of WWI and WWII waged their own battles. Discuss the little-known female spies, pilots, nurses, code-breakers, and ambulance drivers of the 20th century war zones with bestselling authors Jennifer Robson (After the War is Over, Somewhere in France) and Kate Quinn (The Alice Network).

Council Suite:   DEATH BECOMES HER: The Weird and Wonderful World of Victorian Funerals

[Themed KK Host: Christine Trent]

Christine Trent, author of the Lady of Ashes historical mystery series featuring a Victorian undertaker, will discuss the morbid/strange/unknown/fascinating particulars of Victorian funeral customs. Authors will learn what mistakes to avoid when writing about death and funerals of this historical period, and readers can satisfy their appetites for details of this compelling topic. Ghoulish questions welcome!

Boardroom East:   THE LONE RANGER WAS BLACK: Reintegrating Minority Viewpoints into Historical Fiction

[General KK Host: J. James Cotter]

With an ever increasing number of minorities in the U.S. as well as globalization, historical novelists will reintegrate minority viewpoints and contributions deleted from mainstream history. We’ll discuss issues of finding resources, balancing ‘known’ history with alternatives, the implications for the craftmarket changes, understanding and justice in viewpoints, point of view. Examples from American history will stimulate discussion.


2:30 pm – 3:30 pm   SESSIONS

Grand Ballroom I:   SPEAK THE SPEECH, I PRAY YOU: How Well Does Your Dialogue Work?

[Gillian Bagwell, Leslie Carroll, C. W. Gortner, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon]

Reprised by popular demand from HNS2015 in Denver! What characters say is vitally important to the flavor and quality of a novel, but many writers struggle to write dialogue. This workshop lets writers evaluate how well their dialogue works by hearing scenes read by professional actors who are also historical novelists. The panel will discuss the effectiveness of the dialogue, techniques for writing successful dialogue, and how writers can use what they’ve learned.

Galleria North:   POLISH YOUR MANUSCRIPT TILL IT SPARKLES: Tips for Self-Editing, Receiving Feedback, & Hiring a Professional

[Sherry Jones, Heather Webb]

Want to take your manuscript to the next level? Learn how to engage your critical eye, play on your strengths, and utilize feedback. But you’ve tried all of that and still feel stuck! Discover when it’s time to shelve a manuscript, and when it’s time to seek professional help with tips from two multi-published editors.

Galleria South:   BEYOND BIOGRAPHIES: Uncovering History through Experts, Adventures, And Primary Sources

[Margaret George, Jennifer Robson; moderator: Kristina McMorris]

Join three bestselling historical authors as they discuss the greatest benefits, surprises, and pitfalls they have encountered using primary-source material, from letters and artifacts to site visits and reenactments. Learn how to creatively locate helpful experts in almost any field — whether in exorcisms, railway timetables, or prison escapes — to ensure authenticity. Plus, find out how to track down and efficiently utilize daring research adventures, ranging from gladiator-training sessions to flights on WWII aircrafts.

Pavilion West:   THE CAVALIERS & THE ROUNDHEADS: The Other Civil War

[Alison Stuart]

Over a hundred years before the French Revolution and the American Revolution, there was the English Revolution, more commonly known as the English Civil War. Six bloody years of warfare, a king executed and ten years of experimentation with republicanism makes this period one of the most influential and interesting in world history. A lighthearted and entertaining presentation on the history of the English Civil War and its current place in modern historical fiction.

Pavilion East:   FINDING YOUR REGENCY WIT AND VOICE (interactive writing craft workshop)

[Mary Chase Comstock]

Most writers attempting the Regency romance or historical novel do their homework on the history and manners of the time. However, adopting the voice and wit of the period is much more difficult. In addition to tips and strategies for acquiring a Regency “voice,” and finding opportunities for humor, this hands-on workshop will allow participants to share short excerpts they, or others, have written for on-the-spot critique and revision.

Broadway III/IV:   LOOKING BACK: 24 Revision Techniques That Will Take Your Work From Good to Great

[Alana White]

The Writers Process: Summoning the Muse writing craft track Session V (presentation)

Your manuscript is ready for publication — or is it? Have you employed just the right amount of action, exposition and dialogue without letting one overwhelm the other? (Are you sure?) Have you unintentionally overused pet words and phrases? This presentation covers two-dozen (at least) revision techniques to help writers take their work from good to great.


2:30 pm – 3:30 pm   KOFFEE KLATCHES


[Themed KK Host: Juilene Osborne-McKnight]

The little people are not leprechauns, Gaelic is not just one language, and no proper Celt would ever use the terms m’lord or m’lady. In this koffee klatch, novelist, journalist and professor of Irish studies Juilene Osborne-McKnight will lead you through the ancient world of the Celts toward historically accurate portrayals of a people who are often misunderstood and misinterpreted.


[Themed KK Host: Martha Conway]

Historical novel writers know all about rolling up our sleeves and getting deep into research mode. But what if you want to write about cultures that are underrepresented in historic documents, such as Native American women or female professional musicians in the 19th century? This koffee klatch is an opportunity to share sources of useful and authentic material, and tips for making the best use of the material, however slim, that you have.

Boardroom West:   ROBESPIERRE IN VR: A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Storytelling

[Themed KK Host: Robert Rath]

From blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed to the pseudo-documentary game 1979 Revolution, historical fiction has become the most popular genre in video games. But look beyond the explosions and you’ll find a blossoming medium that’s tailor-made for examining historical questions. Join author and game critic Robert Rath for a survey of how games are changing the genreand how you can use digital tools to tell, or augment, your own historical narratives.


3:45 pm – 4:45 pm  SESSIONS

Galleria North:   COLD READS

[critiqued by Industry Guests Anna Michels and Lucia Macro. Reader: author Margaret Porter]

During each session, the first two opening pages of manuscripts chosen at random will be “cold read” by a volunteer reader, as a pair of top industry experts (a combination of editors and/or literary agents) follow along with their own printed copies of the pages. Then our industry guests will offer constructive comments on what worked for them, and what didn’t work quite as well. Our aim is for audience members as well as the anonymous author whose work is being critiqued to learn and develop from the comments.

Galleria South:   COLD READS

[critiqued by Industry Guests Erin Harris and Bess Cozby. Reader: author Gillian Bagwell]

Session as described above.


[Ann Moore, Jennifer Weltz; moderator: Candace Robb]

Authors Candace Robb and Ann Moore, and agent Jennifer Weltz share how they conceived and executed plans to reboot their careers. With Robb, they brought her extensive backlist forward into frontlist as a prelude to the release of a new series. Their success garnered a Publishers Weekly article and was recently featured in MWA’s The 3rd Degree. Historical novelist Ann Moore provides another success story regarding the carefully engineered re-release of her acclaimed Irish trilogy.

Pavilion East:   YOUNG AT HEART: Writing YA and Adult Crossover

[Loretta Ellsworth, Janet Graber, Patrice Kindl; moderator Irene Goodman]

Are you wondering if your book is right for the YA market? Many YA novels are read by adults, but what about adult crossover novels? What criteria does a book need to meet to be classified as YA, and what makes a good Adult-YA crossover title? What components does historical fiction have in particular that appeal to the crossover market?

Broadway III/IV:   COME WITH ME, TO THE LAND FARAWAY: A Discussion of Novels Set in Asia

[Janie Chang, Elsa Hart, Weina Dai Randel; moderator: Kevan Lyon]

Novels with Asian settings are increasingly popular with readers and publishers alike. How do authors craft and research novels with Asian — or other unfamiliarsettings? In this panel, authors of fiction set in Asia will offer tips and tactics drawn from their personal inspirations and research methods, while providing insights about avoiding stereotypes, the use of foreign languages in fiction, and blending historical fiction with other genres, such as mystery and paranormal.


5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Grand Ballroom I:   HOOCH THROUGH HISTORY: From Mead to Martinis

Special event (pre-registered, additional fee)

[Isobel Carr]

A tasting flight across the centuries, from the Middle Ages to the Mad Men era of the Swinging Sixties. Never tasted absinthe, let alone “louched” it into a glass? Was it really banned because it was believed to be an aphrodisiac? Our ”spirit” guide — food and beverage historian Isobel Carr — will lead attendees through the whats, whys, and wheres of six different period-accurate beverages.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

8:00 am – 9:00 am   SESSIONS

Galleria North:



[Stephanie Dray, Kevan Lyon, Anna Michel; moderator: Greer Macallister]

Washington and Lincoln have their place, but mainstream history is only a sliver of our past. Representing the agent’s, editor’s and authors’ viewpoints, this panel will discuss using lesser-known American figures and events to create rich stories that also teach readers about forgotten elements of our history. Every untold story needs someone to tell it: Is that someone you?

Pavilion West:   HOW FAR CAN A HORSE WALK IN A DAY and Other Questions of Accurate Historical Travel

[Faith Justice, Mary Ann Trail]

Characters in historical novels do not stay in one place. Sometimes they need to race after kidnappers, sometimes they even travel for fun! Mary Ann Trail and Faith Justice set their novels in very different eras (England 1801 and Ancient Rome) but faced the same issue. How do you move characters from place to place with historical accuracy? They will discuss their research and the sources they used to provide believable backgrounds to their novels.

Pavilion East:   STATE OF THE STATE OF HISTORICAL FICTION Agents and Editors Roundtable Discussion: Where our genre has just been; where it is right now; and where it looks like it’s headed.

[Moderator: HNS A&E Liaison Elizabeth Kerri Mahon]


[Janet Fisher, Kirby Larson, J. L. Oakley; moderator: Libbie Hawker]

There’s more to the Pacific Northwest than Lewis and Clark and logjams. The region holds a unique position as the continent’s last frontier. When nearly every coastline in the world had been mapped, America’s northwest remained a mystery to explorers, a blank wilderness. That untamed edge resonates in the land’s character. Each panel member writes about a period in the area’s turbulent history and will share that facet as it relates to the whole.


9:15 am – 10:15 am   SESSIONS


[Stephanie Cowell, David Ebershoff, Yves Fey, Colin Sargent, Linda Ulleseit; moderator: Mary Burns]

Times have changed since Victoria was Queen and Oscar Wilde paid dearly for his indiscretions. Western world gay and lesbian notables have had to tread carefully in their public personae, writing veiled correspondence with code words to indicate secret lives behind the veil of “normalcy.” This panel of authors has written about LGBT characters in historical settings — real people and fictional ones in the midst of historical events — and will share their writing insights, obstacles, and dilemmas.


[Gennifer Choldenko, Susan Fletcher, Kirby Larson; moderator: Karen Cushman]

To many young readers, yesterday is history. And what happened before that is boring and irrelevant. How do we make a faraway time and place seem real and engaging? How can we appeal to young people without sacrificing accuracy or ignoring difficult historic realities? Four award-winning authors of historical fiction for young people discuss the issues involved and offer specific examples of ways to illuminate the past using primary sources, material culture, and imagination.


[Patricia Bracewell, Nicole Evelina, Rebecca Kanner, Mary Sharratt; moderator: Stephanie Lehmann]

Historical novelists creating female protagonists face particular challenges. For centuries, history has defined “greatness” in terms of politics, power, and invention realms largely closed to women. Only about half a percent of recorded history pertains to women. But personal experience is historical, and can be as political as any war. This panel will address ways that women have been written out of history, and how authors can fill in the gaps and update the past.


[Mary Malloy]

The Internet now allows access to primary sources that can give your book fascinatingly appropriate details. Most of the texts published in English since the invention of the printing press are now online, including plays, novels, sermons, statements from the gallows, descriptions of nature around the globe, and instruction manuals for every kind of job from blacksmithing to navigating a ship. Mary Malloy will introduce databases of historical materials and discuss ways to use them.


[ Eliza Knight, Delilah Marvelle, Amanda McCabe; moderator: Laura Kamoie]

Chat with USA Today and national bestselling authors who have written in both genres. Learn how they apply the cutting-edge marketing/business tactics of the romance world into the historical fiction arena to stay ahead of the curve (and employed!), and how they research their worlds in order to get it right while bringing the history and romance to life within the pages.

Broadway III/IV:   LET’S DO THE TIME WARP: Controlling the Chaos When Writing Different Eras

[C.W. Gortner, Kate Quinn, Heather Webb; moderator: Stephanie Thornton]

The world of historical fiction is huge, spanning from ancient times to the 20th century, and almost everywhere in between. While some authors decide to remain strictly within one time period, others crave a change of scenery and find themselves shifting eras. Join us in this time warp as we discuss the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of writing and researching an entirely new era.


9:15 am – 10:15 am  KOFFEE KLATCHES


[Themed KK Host: Cheryl Carpinello]

Learn how to put your knowledge of history into a format that teachers and students will love when you visit classrooms. This presentation will focus on Arthurian/medieval and ancient worlds, but the information is easily adapted to other eras. Areas to be covered include the use of the components of fiction writing to outline students’ stories, short story writing, poetry, and visual aids.

Council Suite:  FINDING NERO

[Themed KK Presenter: Margaret George]

Nero: Emperor, artist, tyrant. Fiddled while Rome burned. “What an artist the world is losing!” Killed his mother. Built architectural wonder house, the Domus Aurea. Competed in Olympic Games. Descendant of both Augustus and Marc Antony. Is all this true? How much is legend, how much fact? He was the last of the dynasty founded by Julius Caesar and has been called ‘the first mass market pop star.’ He also has been labeled crazy, an artist, a visionary, and an actor supreme. Who is the real Nero, and how did he get to be this way? Margaret George, who just completed a novel about Nero, will explore these questions.

Boardroom East:   BEYOND GOURDS & RATTLES: Native Healers in The American Southwest

[Themed KK Host:Jude Johnson]

Medicine women, shamen, curanderas, and brujos: before mainstream medicine came to the Wild West, Native healers were respected and revered. We’ll talk about the differences, similarities, and how healers helped shape legends of the Wild West.


10:30 am – 11:30 am   SESSIONS


[Amalia Dillin/Carosella, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Judith Starkston; moderator: Margaret George]

Writing historical fiction set within myth and legend poses some intriguing issues today. To what extent do fantastical elements belong in myth-inspired historical fiction? When considering the sexual and racial diversity of the past, how can we contradict the popular white-washed version that often builds around legendary icons? It seems time for writers of the mythic traditions in historical fiction to bust some stereotypes and in the process hit some historical high notes.

Galleria South:   AUTHOR COLLABORATION: Writing & Promoting as a Team

[Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, Kristina McMorris, Heather Webb]

From anthologies and co-written novels to group promotions, author collaborations can effectively boost readership and creativity — or end in disaster. Four widely acclaimed authors will share insightful advice on how to successfully work as a team, whether during the writing and editing stages or while promoting to readers and the media. Learn about the benefits and challenges of group contests and launch events, as well as other unique marketing opportunities for writers interested in combining efforts.

Pavilion West:   UNDRESSING YOUR HEROINE: Corsets & Beyond

[Isobel Carr]

Join bestselling author and historical re-enactor Isobel Carr for a look at underwear through the ages (medieval through Victorian). Isobel has a life-time of re-enactments, costume research, and historical clothing recreation to draw upon. She’ll walk you through the undergarments, the layers of clothing, and the basics of how the clothing went on and came off (and how they all function as a whole when worn).

Pavilion East:   FUN WITHOUT FOOTNOTES: Writing Historical Fiction as Academics & Amateurs

[Julianne Douglas, Hana Samek Norton, Lucy Pick]

Readers of historical fiction like to be entertained and some may think that they are also being educated. Should they place higher trust in authors with advanced degrees in history or related disciplines to do both? Three academics /historical novelists divulge whether an academic degree really helps or hinders in creating a fictional world, opine on playing fast and loose with history in service of the story, and tackle truth and accuracy in historical novels.

Broadway III/IV:   TWO FOR ONE: Weaving the Twin-Stranded Storyline

[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.


10:30 am – 11:30 am  KOFFEE KLATCHES & WORKSHOPS

Forum Suite:   GOING INDIE: Ask Me Anything

[Themed KK Host: Nicole Evelina]

Have questions about self-publishing historical fiction, but maybe you didn’t want to ask them in front of a large workshop? Now you can ask a multi-award-winning indie author anything in an intimate environment. Nothing’s off limits: how to get started, cost, what marketing techniques work, resources you may want to use, challenges to being indie in the historical market, how to start your own imprint and more. Come prepared to pick Nicole’s brain.

Council Suite:   OUT LOUD AND PROUD IN FRONT OF A CROWD: Reading Your Work for an Audience: Session II

[Interactive Workshop; space limited. Advance signup necessary]

[Leslie Carroll]

This interactive workshop, first presented at HNS2015 in Denver is back by popular demand — with 2 small sessions, to provide more authors the opportunity to get up on their feet. A poor reading during a presentation can change a potential reader’s mind about buying the author’s book. Why risk self-sabotage and lose potential sales? There’s no reason your reading shouldn’t be as exciting as your writing! This interactive workshop, taught by a multipublished historical novelist who is also an award-winning audiobook narrator, will show you how to use your voice to bring to life the characters and atmosphere you already made sing on the page.*

*participants must send 2 manuscript pages to the presenter in advance of the conference; presenter will mark up the pages prior to the conference to better enable her to coach the participants on reading them during the session.

Boardroom East:   GOING MEDIEVAL: How to Infuse the Middle Ages Into Your Novel

[Themed KK Host: Annette Oppenlander]

A discussion on what it takes to firmly set your novel in the Middle Ages. Movies often romanticize medieval Europe, showing characters in beautiful dresses drinking wine from gilded cups. The reality looked quite different. What methods should you apply to take your reader into the past so that s/he can experience this amazing era with authenticity?

Boardroom West:   THE AUDACITY OF WILL: Writing Shakespeare!

[Themed KK Hosts: Stephanie Cowell and Mary Sharratt]

A pair of authors , each of whom dared to put words in Shakespeare’s mouth as a main character in one of their novels, discuss this enduring icon. The Bard of Avon arguably left behind the greatest corpus of literature in the English language, yet much of his life is steeped in mystery. We don’t even have a record that he attended grammar school. This dearth of evidence hasn’t stopped academic historians from weighing in on Shakespeare’s marriage, his religion, and even his sexuality. But the question remains: who was Shakespeare, the man behind the plays?


11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Buffet lunch with special guest speaker:




Galleria North:   RACE: Writing About the World’s Most Provocative Topic

[Chanel Cleeton, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, Weina Dai Randel, Vanitha Sankaran; moderator: Teralyn Pilgrim]

Whether you’re writing about a different culture or your own, there can be immense pressure to handle it a certain way. But race doesn’t have to be taboo. By having the courage to add racial diversity to our writing, we can reach outside of the experiences we’re all familiar with and delve into something new. This panel will be a frank, open, and honest discussion on writing about race.


[Stephanie Renee dos Santos, Yves Fey, Kris Waldherr; moderator: Laura Morelli]

How do works of art inspire stories? Novels based on art and artists have a venerable tradition in historical fiction. The panelists pull back the curtain to reveal the artistic inspirations for their novels. How can we “look” for stories in works of art, and what are the tricks of the trade when it comes to writing about visual art?

Pavilion West:   THE TUDORS: An English Dynasty?

[Mari Griffith]

Everyone has heard of the Tudors. Henry VIII’s unfortunate tendency to lop off his wives’ heads is well documented. We weep for the sad fate of Anne Boleyn and admire the Virgin Queen for having ‘the heart and stomach of a king’. But where did they come from, these colorful Tudors? What were the origins of the most famous dynasty in British history? Misconceptions abound but writer and broadcaster Mari Griffith tells the true story.

Pavilion East:   SWASHBUCKLING MEN: Writing the Male Perspective

[Margaret George, Stephanie Thorton; moderator: C.W. Gortner]

The male perspective in historical fiction is undervalued. Publishers often say male characters don’t sell. Yet men played vital roles in history and their perspective can be challenging to write in ways that appeal to both genders. Join two gentlemen and two ladies — authors with both indie and traditional credentials—as we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the male perspective, as well as innovative ways to sell books with male lead characters.

Broadway III/IV:   FROM THE MERRY MONARCH TO THE FOUR GEORGES: 17th and 18th Century London Coffee House Conversation

[Themed Koffee Klatch hosts Gillian Bagwell & Margaret Porter]

The coffee house was a popular gathering point — especially for writers — where people shared ideas and engaged in friendly debate, fueled by that wonderful caffeinated beverage without which few modern-day authors could survive. Comparing two fascinating historical eras, the 17th century and the 18th century, we’ll explore their similarities and differences, popularity, variety of characters, diverse geographical settings, and more. Aristocrats, commoners, colonists, foreigners, readers, writers, historical nerds — all are welcome! (Swordsticks must be checked at the door — and the coffee will, alas, be only virtual.)




[Themed KK Hosts: Sandra Byrd & Laura Frantz]

How does one weave in threads of faith without being pedantic or preachy? What ways can novelists meld faith and fiction organically? Understanding that fiction is not a place to teach a lesson, but that themes may be naturally explored in the lives of three-dimensional characters, Byrd and Frantz will discuss how they approach subtle spirituality in their works and answer questions and facilitate conversation to help provide takeaways for attendees


[Themed KK Host: Dan Jorgensen]

In the days when the West was often ruled by the gun, it took a woman of great character and strong resolve to survive. From the hardy pioneers who crossed the vast prairies and mountains, to nurses and stagecoach drivers, to those forced by circumstance, need (and sometimes adventure), into lives as outlaws, gamblers, or what was politely referred to as “soiled doves,” women played a crucial role in shaping the frontier. Add to that the history of the strong women who already were in the West — our Native American ancestors — and a deep and rich treasure awaits writers willing to dig for their stories. This session discusses the why, where, and how to find these incredible sources — from visits to tiny, out-of-the-way communities and museums, or one-on-one talks with people who are descended from those about whom you are writing — and how to take that information and use it in bringing your own stories, not matter the era or locale, to life.


[Themed KK Hosts: Rae Ann Parker, Kimberly Cross Teter, Alana White]

In an informal gathering three authors with diverse publishing backgrounds in the children’s market will share their insights into all facets of writing for today’s youth audience.

Boardroom West:   HOW I TRACKED DOWN ONE OF PICASSO’S BEST FRIENDS: Finding Direct Connections to Your Heroes & Heroines — an Intimate Conversation

[Themed KK Host: Diane Haeger]

Writing about real historical figures or subjects can be a challenge. It involves going the extra mile to uncover those little gems that will help bring a time and story to glittering life. But being a “creative sleuth” often isn’t easy. This interactive “koffee klatch” will include: suggestions for creating/following leads and sources, specific examples of having successfully hunted down direct connections to characters, as well as an open, freeform Q&A throughout.


2:30 pm – 3:30 pm


Grand Ballroom I:   COFFEE & TEA WITH OUR TWO GUESTS OF HONOR, Pulitzer Prize Winner Geraldine Brooks and acclaimed author David Ebershoff. Classical Radio DJ Ed Goldberg, star of Portland’s popular “Author Author” program, will interview our guests of honor and moderate questions from the audience. HNS conference registrants may also attend this event.


2:30 pm – 3:30 pm


Galleria North:   BOOK REVIEWERS TELL ALL: Advice for Authors & Readers

[Sarah Johnson, Jenny Quinlan, Meg Wessell]

Book reviews are crucial to an author’s success. But who are these reviewers? How do you find them, and how do you convince them to review your book? Longtime historical fiction reviewers will discuss what makes a good review, how to find the right reviewers for your book, interacting with bloggers and review organizations, including Historical Novels Review, handling negative reviews, and the benefits of hiring a blog tour company to help promote your book.

Galleria South:   INDIE SUCCESS: What’s Working Now For Independent Authors In Historical Fiction

[Libbie Hawker, Laura Morelli]

Independent authors in other genres have found great success, and historical fiction authors have joined the party! Laura Morelli and Libbie Hawker discuss what is working now for independent authors in historical fiction. What’s worth it, and what is a waste of time? This discussion will cover writing in series, building a platform, experimenting with pricing, selling foreign rights, getting into bookstores, and taking advantage of paid advertising. Bring your burning questions about indie publishing!

Council Suite:   Q&A with the HNS Board


3:45 pm – 4:45 pm SESSIONS

Galleria North:   COLD READS

[critiqued by Industry Guests Martin Biro and Kevan Lyon. Reader: Caren Wasserman]

During each session, the first 2 opening pages of manuscripts chosen at random will be “cold read” by a volunteer reader, as a pair of top industry experts (a combination of editors and/or literary agents) follow along with their own printed copies of the pages. Then our industry guests will offer constructive comments on what worked for them, and what didn’t work quite as well. Our aim is for audience members as well as the anonymous author whose work is being critiqued to learn and develop from the comments.

Galleria South:   COLD READS

[critiqued by Industry Guests Irene Goodman and Jennifer Weltz. Reader: Margie Peterson]

Session as described above.


[Paula Yost]

This presentation will explain when your work is ready to be copyrighted and teach you how to go about obtaining a copyright if you are not represented by a literary agent or publisher. We will also go over what to do if you feel that your copyrighted material has been stolen. This is very much a “how to” presentation where you will learn how to do a lot of basic legal steps on your own.


3:45 pm – 5:15 pm

Pavilion Ballroom East & West: BOOK SIGNING

8:45 pm – 10:45 pm

Pavilion Ballroom East & West: HELLFIRE AT HNS!

After the Saturday banquet, the party continues with a Regency Masquerade Ball featuring instruction in English Country Dance from David Macemon, accompanied by a trio of musicians; as well as instruction in whist from Marva Wiebe, a member of Portland’s Jane Austen Society, and her card-playing colleagues. Complimentary domino masks at the door!

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