Historical Novel Society North American Conference 2019

HNS2019
Susanna here, still settling back to life in the workaday world after a wonderful time at the HNS North American Conference, held this year at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor in Maryland—a beautiful setting, although I have to admit the whole sensation of being in a community enclosed within a glass dome where everything was aiming to look old yet had a futuristic edge felt so surreal at times it had me thinking "Logan's Run" on more than one occasion 🙂 But with so much natural light, it was all but impossible to get the usual hotel fatigue that comes with conferences. The hotel staff was wonderful, the food was superb, and the booksellers friendly. On top of which, the conference committee did an outstanding job of organizing everything, so those of us attending only had to worry about which of the many interesting sessions to choose.


Gaylord national resort and convention center maryland

Writer M.K. Tod has written good summary posts on two of these sessions so far: one on the agents and editors panel discussion on The State of Historical Fiction, and another on Tips on Writing a Series, and she'll probably do more if you keep an eye on her blog.

WenchEven the luncheon keynote speeches had me scrambling for paper and pen to take notes—they were as packed with information and inspiration as any of the regular sessions. I especially enjoyed the keynote given by one of the guests of honor, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of Wench and Balm, who encouraged us to remember that, although our research is an important part of what we do, "we mustn't forget that we are storytellers. We are weavers of tales that cause people to forget that they have to eat dinner…The same kind of spell we find ourselves in when we're writing is the kind of spell we want our readers to be in when they're reading." The only thing that can give them that, she told us, is the imagination. "If it was just the research they wanted," she said, "they would read historians. They read us for the wondrous."

In between getting informed and inspired, I took part in the really fun costume competition, held as a way to get all of us introverted writerly types to break the ice and get to know one another at the beginning of the conference. It also gave me a good excuse to wear my favourite 18th century gown and hat, made by April C. Thomas of Fashions Revisited (she even made the shift and stays I've got on underneath!) and my red shoes, sadly out of frame, from American Duchess. And I even got to meet your first President, George Washington himself (as portrayed by Vern Frykholm, Jr., one of the presenters at the conference).Susanna and Vern Frykholm Jr as George Washington HNS 2019I saw old friends, and met new ones, and had a marvellous time.

And of course one of the nicest things was, I finally got to meet fellow Wench Andrea for the first time, face to face! Because although we "talk" nearly every day by email, and our wenchly group is warm and close and lovingly supportive, so it FEELS as though I've met them all in person, there were still a couple whom I hadn't, yet.

And now, at long last, I can cross Andrea off that list, as we got to spend some lovely hours together through the weekend (and it was very prescient of her to pack a sweater that matched my hair!)

Susanna Kearsley and Andrea Penrose HNS 2019

Do you have friends that you've never met, but who you feel you know? Or friends you rarely get to see, but feel connected to?

 

 

25 thoughts on “Historical Novel Society North American Conference 2019”

  1. “forget that they have to eat dinner” LOL, got that right! Or sleep … go to the bathroom … feed the cat …
    Well, you all are the friends I’ve never met but wish I had. Not much travel in my future, but if I could, I’d make it happen. Virtual hugs to all of you anyway, and thanks for the column, Susanna, it was fun reading.

    Reply
  2. “forget that they have to eat dinner” LOL, got that right! Or sleep … go to the bathroom … feed the cat …
    Well, you all are the friends I’ve never met but wish I had. Not much travel in my future, but if I could, I’d make it happen. Virtual hugs to all of you anyway, and thanks for the column, Susanna, it was fun reading.

    Reply
  3. “forget that they have to eat dinner” LOL, got that right! Or sleep … go to the bathroom … feed the cat …
    Well, you all are the friends I’ve never met but wish I had. Not much travel in my future, but if I could, I’d make it happen. Virtual hugs to all of you anyway, and thanks for the column, Susanna, it was fun reading.

    Reply
  4. “forget that they have to eat dinner” LOL, got that right! Or sleep … go to the bathroom … feed the cat …
    Well, you all are the friends I’ve never met but wish I had. Not much travel in my future, but if I could, I’d make it happen. Virtual hugs to all of you anyway, and thanks for the column, Susanna, it was fun reading.

    Reply
  5. “forget that they have to eat dinner” LOL, got that right! Or sleep … go to the bathroom … feed the cat …
    Well, you all are the friends I’ve never met but wish I had. Not much travel in my future, but if I could, I’d make it happen. Virtual hugs to all of you anyway, and thanks for the column, Susanna, it was fun reading.

    Reply
  6. Lovely post. I liked your costume very much. Especially the hat. Very fetching.
    As a reader, I look forward to finding those books which make me forget that life goes on while I read.

    Reply
  7. Lovely post. I liked your costume very much. Especially the hat. Very fetching.
    As a reader, I look forward to finding those books which make me forget that life goes on while I read.

    Reply
  8. Lovely post. I liked your costume very much. Especially the hat. Very fetching.
    As a reader, I look forward to finding those books which make me forget that life goes on while I read.

    Reply
  9. Lovely post. I liked your costume very much. Especially the hat. Very fetching.
    As a reader, I look forward to finding those books which make me forget that life goes on while I read.

    Reply
  10. Lovely post. I liked your costume very much. Especially the hat. Very fetching.
    As a reader, I look forward to finding those books which make me forget that life goes on while I read.

    Reply
  11. Yes I have many friends who grew up in the same culture (religious cult) as I did and many are the children of my old classmates. I reach out to them to offer support and adjustment into another world. I have only met a few of them in person, but we have fantastic discussions online.
    Then I have friends who I met a long time ago and have recently reconnect with online and now we can catch up on our lives. We are all busy and scattered around the world so chances of meeting are not as often as any of us would like. So keeping in touch this way is better than not.
    What a wonderful weekend you had and the costumes must have been fun to admire. I would have been busy with my camera. I hope you had the chance to take lots of photos.

    Reply
  12. Yes I have many friends who grew up in the same culture (religious cult) as I did and many are the children of my old classmates. I reach out to them to offer support and adjustment into another world. I have only met a few of them in person, but we have fantastic discussions online.
    Then I have friends who I met a long time ago and have recently reconnect with online and now we can catch up on our lives. We are all busy and scattered around the world so chances of meeting are not as often as any of us would like. So keeping in touch this way is better than not.
    What a wonderful weekend you had and the costumes must have been fun to admire. I would have been busy with my camera. I hope you had the chance to take lots of photos.

    Reply
  13. Yes I have many friends who grew up in the same culture (religious cult) as I did and many are the children of my old classmates. I reach out to them to offer support and adjustment into another world. I have only met a few of them in person, but we have fantastic discussions online.
    Then I have friends who I met a long time ago and have recently reconnect with online and now we can catch up on our lives. We are all busy and scattered around the world so chances of meeting are not as often as any of us would like. So keeping in touch this way is better than not.
    What a wonderful weekend you had and the costumes must have been fun to admire. I would have been busy with my camera. I hope you had the chance to take lots of photos.

    Reply
  14. Yes I have many friends who grew up in the same culture (religious cult) as I did and many are the children of my old classmates. I reach out to them to offer support and adjustment into another world. I have only met a few of them in person, but we have fantastic discussions online.
    Then I have friends who I met a long time ago and have recently reconnect with online and now we can catch up on our lives. We are all busy and scattered around the world so chances of meeting are not as often as any of us would like. So keeping in touch this way is better than not.
    What a wonderful weekend you had and the costumes must have been fun to admire. I would have been busy with my camera. I hope you had the chance to take lots of photos.

    Reply
  15. Yes I have many friends who grew up in the same culture (religious cult) as I did and many are the children of my old classmates. I reach out to them to offer support and adjustment into another world. I have only met a few of them in person, but we have fantastic discussions online.
    Then I have friends who I met a long time ago and have recently reconnect with online and now we can catch up on our lives. We are all busy and scattered around the world so chances of meeting are not as often as any of us would like. So keeping in touch this way is better than not.
    What a wonderful weekend you had and the costumes must have been fun to admire. I would have been busy with my camera. I hope you had the chance to take lots of photos.

    Reply
  16. Sounds like a lovely conference. Great dress and hat….very 1776. Funny you should ask about connecting with someone I think I should know but I attend the SIWC every year and have never met you! Maybe this year I will bump into you.

    Reply
  17. Sounds like a lovely conference. Great dress and hat….very 1776. Funny you should ask about connecting with someone I think I should know but I attend the SIWC every year and have never met you! Maybe this year I will bump into you.

    Reply
  18. Sounds like a lovely conference. Great dress and hat….very 1776. Funny you should ask about connecting with someone I think I should know but I attend the SIWC every year and have never met you! Maybe this year I will bump into you.

    Reply
  19. Sounds like a lovely conference. Great dress and hat….very 1776. Funny you should ask about connecting with someone I think I should know but I attend the SIWC every year and have never met you! Maybe this year I will bump into you.

    Reply
  20. Sounds like a lovely conference. Great dress and hat….very 1776. Funny you should ask about connecting with someone I think I should know but I attend the SIWC every year and have never met you! Maybe this year I will bump into you.

    Reply

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