HNS 2011 Highlights and Wrapup

Now that the Historical Novel Society’s 2011 Conference is over, I’d like to share some highlights and reflections, and to encourage everyone writing historical fiction to attend either next year’s conference in London or the 2013 event here in the states (in Florida, if rumors prove true).

The highlights, in no particular order:

  • The agents, editors and publishers’ representatives seemed more active and accessible during this conference than at any other I’ve attended. (That could be a function of the attendees rather than the conference, but it’s a fact regardless of cause.)
  • Ditto the authors. Harry Turtledove, Michelle Moran and Erika Mailman all get double gold stars for accessibility and sterling senses of humor. (I spoke with others too, but these stood out for me.) As a whole, the authors seemed more interested in enjoying time spent in the company of other writers – published and unpublished – and less inclined to spend time together as an insular  and isolated group.
  • The panels were engaging, informative, and often humorous (Michelle Moran, in particular, brought down the house in her panel on Author-Editor Relationships). Many were covered on Twitter (Hashtag #HNS11) for people seeking a more detailed recap.
  • It didn’t rain. (After a month of precipitation in Sacramento, that’s a big one in my book.)
  • The Twitter Crew -  @DeeAnnSmithKC, @AmandaVOrr, @marcijefferson, @ChristyEnglish, @msheatherwebb, @TeralynPilgrim, @kriswaldherr, @sherryjones, @lit_gal (and apologies to anyone I might have missed) – an instant group of friends who came together and made the conference tons of fun.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the conference, as always, was the opportunity to meet and share the time with a fantastic group of inspired people who share a common love for history despite the wildly diverse range of times and topics. In three days of nearly constant talking (I have the lost voice to prove it) I didn’t find any two people writing the same thing. I heard about Roman Britain, Ancient Tyre, Mongolia, the Civil War, the Isle of Wight, the Wars of the Roses, and Renaissance Venice, just to name a few. I heard fabulous pitches for novels I can’t wait to read.

Anyone can schedule lectures. It’s people who make a conference. And from the organizers’ dedication to the passion of every writer and publishing professional, the people made HNS 2011 both memorable and great.

I can’t wait for 2012.

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4 Responses to HNS 2011 Highlights and Wrapup

  1. Thank’s so much for the wrap-up; I can feel the energy and the passion here in Hawaii. Looking forward to London next year ( and the publication of the third book in The Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series.)

    • sspann says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! And congratulations on the upcoming book – if you’re going to London, hopefully I can see you there! (

  2. deanna says:

    Yes, the tweets were amazing. I was there and still enjoyed seeing the tweets from panels I wasn’t able to attend. My hat is off to those tireless thumb tappers. BTW, I sat beside Sherry Jones during the banquet and the late-night sex scene reading, and I can say with some authority that she is lightning fast on her tiny pink keyboard :-)

    • sspann says:

      Thanks for the comment Deanna! Sorry it took me so long to get it approved – my spam filter seems to consider “late-bight sex scene readings” a questionable topic.

      Then again, from what I’ve heard it was exactly that. (I had to skip because of a long drive the next morning.)