Monday, June 24, 2013

Historical Novel Society, St. Petersburg, 2013

Lady Joan, Gillian Bagwell
 Historical Novel Society, St. Petersburg, Florida, 2013

I looked forward to this conference from the moment I heard of this group. The North American association of writers of historical fiction gather every two years to enjoy the camaraderie of others of common interest as well as take seminars and meet editors and agents. The organization was begun by Richard Lee, a Brit, and every other year a meeting is held in London.

Though the British HNS has a paid staff, the North American chapter operates solely with volunteers.

Gillian Bagwell, author of The King's Mistress and The Darling Strumpet joined us for supper in character the night of the costume event. This talented woman wrote the script for the event incorporating the costumes participants chose to wear. It was hilarious!

Margaret George reading a sex scene from her novel.

Diana Gabaldon: Moderator of Sex Scene readings at the Historical Novel Society Meeting
Mary Burns,  Webmaster and Program Co-ordinator,
and Sharman Ramsey

 I had the pleasure of visiting with keynote speaker, Anne Perry, for about 30 minutes and found her to be a delightful conversationalist. Not knowing who she was, I invited her to join a group of us who were visiting in the lobby. She did.

Diana Gabaldon, one of my favorite writers, surprised me by being even more lovely than her pictures.

I volunteered to help and wound up ushering those who had signed up to their interviews with agents. In the process I met Jill Marr, Deni Dietz (who also has a company that publishes mysteries), and Natalia Aponte. Other agents in attendance were Helen Heller, Jean Huets, Greg Johnson, Kevan Lyon, Nephtele Tempest, Irene Goodman and Diana Fox.

Jodi Daynard and Ann Weisgarber, fellow panelists on Writing the American Experience, took sharing their writing experience seriously and regardless of the 8:00 hour on Sunday morning our panel held forth in an entertaining and enlightening manner. 

As a first time participant, I was impressed with the egalitarianism of the Historical Novel Society. The most successful enjoy the events along with novice writers.

Mary Burns, Marion and Gene Fox, Meredith West and Ann Chamberlin became friends before the conference ended. I now want to attend the conference to be held in 2014 just to see them all again.

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