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I had the great good fortune to attend the biennial North American conference of the Historical Novel Society last weekend. By nature I am, shall we say, socially avoidant; at parties I’m the guy holding up the wall. So it was good exercise for me to travel to this conference, socialize with about 300 other novelists, publishers, and lovers of historical fiction, appear on a panel, and generally enjoy the company of like-minded souls.

The highlights of the event were many, but for me, they included:

  • Being on a panel with Emily Victorson of Allium Press, Kristy Blank Makansi of Blank Slate Press, J.S. Dunn of Seriously Good Books, and Joanne Lewis of Telemachus Press about self-publishing, indie publishing, and alternative pathways to the market;
  • Meeting Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, getting my copy signed, and having some great conversation about American historical fiction. Also in on one of our conversations was David Langum, a dedicated promoter of quality historical writing in America, and meeting him was a real thrill. Langum, by the way, is a superb legal historian, and his book on the cultural and legal history of the Mann Act is well worth a look.
  • Listening to panels on writing about women in history and about non-mainstream approaches. The “Off the Beaten Path” panel was a particular favorite because it included a couple of bloggers I like to read, Unabridged Chick and The Queen’s Quill.

All in all, it was a great weekend, downpours notwithstanding!