Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Historical Novel Society Conference

What fun. 250 historical novel writers and readers gather in Schaumburg, Illinois, to hear Diana Gabaldon, Margaret George, Edward Rutherford, and many other well knowns in the historical genre. The sub-genres of historical mystery, historical romance, historical adventure, historical biography and more were all represented. The participants were able to mingle and chat with the presenters in democratic fashion and I took advantage to meet Margaret Frazier who writes the Dame Frevisse mystery series and Anne Easter Smith who wrote A Rose for the Crown, a superb novel.

You could sign up to pitch your unpublished novels to editors and agents. You get an eight minute private time with the editor or agent of your choice. It's a scary thing to do but I took a deep breath and pitched my own novels to two editors.

The book room was jammed with the latest offerings and provided a good overview of what is now fashionable in historicals. For make no mistake, Madame Fad, (that bitch), directs what is published and what sells. The Tudor period leads the pack but is slipping back to be replaced by the Romans and the Medievals. Britain is still the setting of choice and novels featuring British royalty attract readers. According to historical mystery writer, Kathy Lynn Emerson, the next fashionable era will be the twenties and early thirties.

In the evening, the show-offs among us paraded in out historical costumes. My suffragette outfit turned out to be a winner and I was handed, for a prize, a stack of Philippa Gregory novels. Major shiver of delight. Gregory is one of my all time favourites. I also won a free membership in the organization. Next year the conference will take place in Britain.

The final evening ended with the late night sex scene ending. Historical romance, perhaps not as historically accurate as the biography types would like, is still able to steam up a room. If you get a chance, check out Jade Lee. Wild stuff.

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