Saturday, November 29, 2008

Announcements, announcements

At long last, registration for the next Historical Novel Society conference is open. It will be held June 12-14, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield in Schaumburg, Illinois, in Chicago's northwestern suburbs.

Julianne posted about it on Writing the Renaissance last week, but I've been so busy lately processing registrations and fixing up the website that I neglected to announce this on my own blog! In less than a week, we already have over thirty people signed up. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in person.

Three other librarians and readers' advisors (two of whom are my editors) and I will be presenting a session on some of the best historical novels we've read since the last conference. Alas, it's scheduled opposite two other programs that sound really interesting, so I hope people who attend (or are speaking at) one of the others will report back.

Also, while scanning my publisher's website, I noticed that not only do I have a publication date and price for Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre, my forthcoming reference book, but it has a cover - and it's headless! Publication will be March 30, 2009. The copyedited manuscript arrives within two weeks, so I'll be proofreading over the holidays.

Finally, some recent historical novel deals from Publishers Marketplace. Additional information, added by me, is indicated in brackets below.

Fiona Mountain's LADY OF THE BUTTERFLIES, a sweeping historical novel -- with love triangles, armed rebellion, and murder by poison -- based on the life of Lady Eleanor Glanville, a 17th century naturalist and butterfly collector, to Rachel Kahan at Putnam, for publication in 2010, by Jane Kirby at Random House UK (US).

[Fiona Mountain has a website, with a short paragraph describing the new novel. I haven't read either of her mysteries, but highly recommend her earlier Isabella, a sweeping love story about Fletcher Christian and his cousin Isabella Curwen, and the untold reasons behind the mutiny on the Bounty. Has anyone else read it?]

Kate Quinn's BLOOD FOR BLOOD, an epic novel of ancient Rome, pitched as Bernard Cornwell for women, in which a slave girl falls in love with the greatest gladiator of the time, all culminating in a conspiracy to assassinate the Emperor Domitian, to Jackie Cantor at Berkley, for publication in 2010, by Pam Strickler (NA).

Vanitha Sankaran's WATERMARK, set in 1320 in Narbonne, France, when church-controlled parchment made paper making a near-heresy, told by a young albino mute woman, the literate daughter of a papermaker imprisoned when the Inquisition finds her using paper to write troubadour poetry about courtly love, to Lucia Macro at Avon, by Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).

[The author's website has an excerpt of her upcoming novel, which will be on my TBR as soon as it appears.]

Kathryn Wagner's DANCING FOR DEGAS, the story of Degas and his ballerina muse; in the tradition of Girl with a Pearl Earring, showing the opulence of late 19th century Paris, as told through the eyes of a young Parisian ballerina, to Caitlin Alexander at Bantam Dell, in a very nice deal, for publication in Spring 2010, by Kirsten Manges at Kirsten Manges Literary (NA).

Ron Rash's THE INNOCENTS, set during World War I, about a deserter taken in by a young Appalachian woman who knows nothing of his past, to Lee Boudreaux at Ecco, in a good deal, by Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).

Janet Woods's HEARTS OF GOLD, the story of a girl abandoned on the Australian goldfields, and of the man who rescued her, to Amanda Stewart at Severn House, in a nice deal, for publication in April 2009, by Pat Hornsey at International Scripts.

[Woods has written many romantic sagas; her website is here.]

Ghostwalk author Rebecca Stott's THE CORAL THIEF, set in 1815 Paris about a group of radical philosopher-thieves on a mission to reclaim art and paintings stolen by Napoleon, to Cindy Spiegel at Spiegel & Grau, for publication in fall 2009, by Emma Sweeney.

[Author's website here, with information on her first novel, Ghostwalk.]


  1. Am hoping I can make the HNS conference, but it's still less than a 50% chance.

    All those lovely books - so little time to read them!

    Cool cover, though I'd still prefer to see a head!!

  2. Great cover! Congratulations - I'm looking forward to this!

  3. Anonymous11:46 AM

    I'm looking forward to many of these, especially the new Stott --- but I am very wary of the Sankaran book. Paper was widely used in the Mediterranean by the 14th century, parchment was not controlled by the church, and there was a massive tradition of reading and writing that was separate from the church too by that point.

    People who are picky about historical detail can be tiresome, but when the entire premise of the book is based on distorted history...

    Well, I don't buy it. But I am sure it is an engaging story, and I am certain others will.

  4. Congrats! I like the cover. And the book Blood for Blood sounds pretty interesting!

  5. Great post! So helpful. See you all in the Windy City.


  6. Hi,
    I'm Douglas W. Jacobson, author of NIGHT OF FLAMES: A Novel of World War Two, and I would highly recommend attending the HNS conference. The 2007 conference was my first and I served on a panel along with Bernard Cornwell, which was a real treat for a "Sharpe" fan. The conference is a great place to mingle with other authors, author wannabes, agents, publishers, all of whom are historical fiction junkies. I'll be there again, serving on another panel.

  7. Douglas and Holly - thanks for commenting, and I'll look forward to seeing you in Schaumburg. (And Lucy and Michelle too!) We're up to 50+ registrations already, after 10 days, so that's what I've been taking care of instead of blogging...

    I've been thinking about the blurb for Watermark (and your comments, Lucy - thanks for the info). It's an area of interest though not expertise for me, though I've been doing some reading about Provence as a center of the papermaking industry at the time, particular among the Albigenses. I'm also wondering if there's more to it than the blurb reveals. To have a novel's entire premise based on history that's completely wrong - I know authors often get minor facts wrong, but that surprises me. I know that such a thing has happened before, however.

  8. Hi, Sarah, I discovered your blog while searching for information about Historical Novels Review. I just found out that my book The Light Across the River was reviewed in November. How can I obtain a copy of the review? Thanks in advance!

    Stephanie Reed

  9. Hi Stephanie! I'll email you a copy right now.

  10. Anonymous4:59 PM

    Hello there,

    Just came across your blog, nice to see my work, Watermark, mentioned. I researched the history behind papermaking in that area very carefully--the blurb does not quite do that research justice, however I wasn't consulted when they announced the details.

    Hope to meet some of you at the HNS conference. It will be my first.


  11. Hi Vanitha,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. PM does get creative when condensing material down to a single sentence, don't they? I'll look forward to meeting you at the conference - and hearing more about your novel!