Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bits and pieces

The Historical Novel Society's 2012 conference in London is shaping up nicely.  The conference website is taking early bookings for the HNS's largest UK event so far, a 3-day (including optional excursions) gathering of historical fiction enthusiasts on September 28-30, 2012. Editors and agents will be taking pitches from prospective authors, and the international line-up of novelists who will be speaking is impressive.  The guests of honor are Lindsey Davis and Margaret George.

I'll be there, too, speaking about something historical fiction-related - the full program hasn't been posted yet - so keep your eye on the site for additional information.  Better yet, sign up for email updates via the link at the bottom of any conference page.

Fancy traveling to historical sites of major importance in the lives of the Tudor monarchs - Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, Hatfield House, Shakespeare's birthplace, and more - in the company of a bestselling historical novelist and fellow enthusiasts?  Margaret George will be leading a 10-day tour of England this October, "The Lives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I," via Academic Travel.  See also an interview with Margaret about the tour via that link (see end of page).

Four years ago, I interviewed novelist Patricia O'Brien about Harriet and Isabella, an excellent dramatization of rock star preacher Henry Ward Beecher, his equally famous sisters, and the sex scandal involving Beecher that preoccupied late 19th-century America.  I was surprised to learn that O'Brien has a new historical novel out, but it's written under another name.

The New York Times broke the story about how O'Brien's agent, unsuccessful at selling her new novel under her real name due to a poor sales record, shopped The Dressmaker under a pseudonym - Kate Alcott - and sold the manuscript to Doubleday within three days.  The Dressmaker, about a plucky seamstress who survives the Titanic (a nice centennial tie-in there), was published last month.

Lastly, I was thrilled to read on her website that Kate Morton will have a new novel out later this year.  That's all that's posted for now, so I'll be on the lookout for more details later on.


  1. My goodness, I wish I could attend that conference, for O so many! reasons. :)

    Don't think it is in the cards though, as the summer is entirely booked with travel and some of it arduous, and some dangerous as well arduous (though I myself am not including myself in that part of the venturing -- and do quite wish in some ways the Spouse was not!).

    Love, C.

  2. I'm so excited about the new Kate Morton book!

    The Historical Novel Society Conference sounds like it will be wonderful. Can anyone join the Society? I'd love to attend one year.

  3. Hi C, and wishing you and the spouse safe travels. I have some other summer trips planned, too - all related to other conferences. It's been a long time since I've been to London, so part of it will be vacation.

    Melissa, yep, anyone can join the Society. The main site is at There'll be another North American one in 2013 (down in St. Petersburg, FL).

  4. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Wow, that sounds like a fun conference!! I've been wanting to go back to the UK for awhile; perhaps I'll have some
    $$ by September for such things . .

    Sarah Other Librarian

  5. Often this website is where I hear about things first.

    Thanks for telling us about the conference. As a writer, I'd love to be there.

    But there's

  6. I see V.M Whitworth on the HNS Conference list. I recently read and very much enjoyed her historical thriller, "The Bone Thief". I believe it is her first novel and is complete in itself, though apparently the first in a series.

    It's set in 9th century England around the struggle for power between King Alfred's children Athelfled, Lady of the Mercians, and Edward, now king of Wessex. Entertaining, suspenseful and atmospheric - a retiring, naive young cleric must outwit a myriad of devious Danes and dodgy Englishmen with an eye for the main chance in order to win the prize (the bones of a venerated saint) and save the Lady he idolizes.

    Can't wait for the next one- I'm an absolute sucker for those Anglo-Saxons and Vikings :)

  7. I may get some $ from the university to attend/speak at the conference - fingers crossed...

    Glad to hear your positive report on The Bone Thief, Annis. I've had my eye on it but since I'm overwhelmed with reading material at the moment, I may wait for the paperback in August - or get it at the conference. I wouldn't mind seeing more fiction from that era, either - Cornwell's latest has whetted my appetite for more.

  8. Wow, the conference sounds absolutely amazing.

    I hadn't heard the story about The Dressmaker being written under a pseudonym!