Monday, June 24, 2019

Historical Novel Society Conference 2019

Annamaria on Monday

The biennial Historical Novel Society Conference was held this past weekend at National Harbor, Maryland, a complex of shorefront restaurants and stores.  It also includes the Gaylord  Resort and Convention Center, a building roughly the size of San Francisco International Airport.

That's the hotel and conference center in the distance.
It's so big that 1. It looks close in this picture, and
2. It is impossible to photograph the whole thing.

The evidence of its size: In every elevator bank there is
this sign, offering a navigation app to lost guests.
Unlike the mystery conventions that we MIErs are used to, authors cannot just sign up for this event and expect to be put on a panel.  With HNS, a few authors working together or a single individual must submit a detailed proposal on what they want to present.  A jury decides whether or not to accept.  I have teamed up with other mystery writers in the past and not made the cut, but this year four of us made it onto the crowded schedule.

Sujata, Michael Cooper (who has guest blogged here a few times), and I teamed up to talk about colonialism, with mystery/thriller writer Nancy Bilyeau was our moderator.  Here is what our proposal said:

   A panel of mystery/thriller authors with novels set in India, Africa, and the Middle East—where imperial powers dislocated indigenous life. Some of the most dramatic and compelling stories of history take place at the intersection of these forces. This panel will have wide appeal to historical novel readers interested in settings outside of Europe or the US, settings at the flashpoints of empire and intrigue, the crossroads of history. And novelists at all stages of their careers will be intrigued by the notion that their books can find an audience outside the crowded fields of Tudor and Victorian England and Renaissance Italy.

A happy crew who've just finished their presentation
It was a privilege to be part of the discussion, which was lively and elicited a bunch of good questions--always a sign of successful presentation.

Lunches and one dinner are included for conference attendees, and they are communal, giving us multiple opportunities to sit together at table and meet up with new people.

Our dining room during the final banquet.  There were about 400 in attendance.

Book signings were scheduled all at once on Saturday afternoon.  Fans were invited to come free for the signing.  There was music.  People dressed as historic figures of the local area.  It was a bit of a carnival, but in terms of sales - for me any way - was not that much different than signing at Malice or Left Coast Crime.  It was festive, which was nice.

HNS separates signing authors into what period they write
 about, because fans usually have a time in history that interests them.
This and Victorian are by far the largest categories.

Your reporter was at the end of this table.  I think it was where they put the
writers an ordinary person would call "miscellaneous," or "obscure."
The fans waiting to come in.  Most of them headed straight for the Tudor
and Victorian tables.
 As with the Left Coast Crime conference this past March in Vancouver, the location offered some benefits most conferences do not.  It was delightful to be able to walk out and, in five minutes, find sights worth seeing along the water and and good places to eat.

What a delightful design for a playground.
So cute!

1 comment:

  1. Who'd dare call you "miscellaneous" or "obscure," Sis!! I shall thrash the cad!