Saturday, May 02, 2020

Online events from historical fiction authors during the pandemic

Among the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the literary sphere, in-person author events have been canceled, including signings, launch parties, festivals, and conference appearances. This will be the case for a long time to come.

As a result, online author events have been springing up, many of which feature historical novelists discussing their books and the genre, followed by Q&A. I've attended a few of these, have signed up for more, and plan to watch recordings of others I wasn't able to view live.  Because I live in a small, rural college town where the nearest non-used bookstore is 50 miles away, I almost never got to attend author events unless the university was sponsoring one or if I traveled to attend a conference. I've been enjoying these meetings and webinars -- there isn't a bad seat in the house -- and getting the opportunity to hear from authors about their works.

Here are some online HF events I've come across.  Fellow readers:  have you caught any of these, and are there any others you especially enjoyed or would recommend?

Last week, I received an email invite to a Thursday night Zoom session at the Unbound Book Festival out of Columbia, Missouri -- renamed Housebound Unbound for this year -- featuring novelists Alex George (The Paris Hours), Meg Waite Clayton (The Last Train to London) and Whitney Scharer (The Age of Light).  I'm not sure how I got on the mailing list, but thanks to whoever added me!

Among other topics, the trio and the moderator talked about writing historical fiction about real people. Clayton, who wrote about WWII heroine Truus Wijsmuller's role in the Kindertransport, spoke about wanting to honor the real person in her writing and the importance of having the novel reflect what her historical characters actually did. George, who was also the festival organizer, discussed conducting research not just for facts, but for adding color (a great way of expressing it), and Scharer, a student of photography and admirer of the work of Man Ray, spoke of discovering Lee Miller through him and being astonished she hadn't come across her subject earlier.  The session was recorded, and it looks like you can register to watch it on demand.

Library Love Fest, from HarperCollins' library marketing department, had a Facebook Live session last week with appearances from Stephen P. Kiernan (Universe of Two) and Beatriz Williams (Her Last Flight).  Please click on the link above to watch the video since my attempts to embed things from FB aren't working.

I especially enjoyed this one after having read Universe of Two earlier this year; review to come. It's about the lives of a young couple during the development of the Manhattan Project.

Although I didn't get to see "Drinks with Dames" live on April 25th on Zoom due to high demand and technical limitations on attendance, it's on YouTube (embedded below) for all to see.  Participating authors are historical novelists Georgie Blalock, Janie Chang, Chanel Cleeton, Laura Kamoie, Eliza Knight, Kerri Maher, Kate Quinn, Alix Rickloff, Jennifer Robson, Erika Robuck, Renee Rosen, Stephanie Thornton, and Bryn Turnbull.  They all talk about how they've had to readjust their lives and writing schedules, their latest book releases, and what they're working on.

As part of their Herstory tour, Harlequin Australia had a Facebook Live session on April 23rd with Australian HF authors Karen Brooks (The Chocolate Maker's Wife), Mary Anne O'Connor (Where Fortune Lies), Kerri Turner (The Daughter of Victory Lights), and Tea Cooper (The Woman in the Green Dress).

Canadian historical novelist Genevieve Graham organized the Our View from Here live Facebook session with fellow authors Roxanne Veletzos, Ellen Keith, Kristen Harmel, Jennifer Robson, and Julia Kelly.

Upcoming tomorrow (Sunday, May 3rd), you can register for various free sessions at the Newburyport Literary Festival, including a 3:15pm EST panel with Anne Easter Smith and C.C. Humphreys talking about researching other pandemics during medieval times and the 17th century.

And on Thursday May 7th: Left Bank Books in St. Louis will be hosting a HF panel with Jennifer Rosner, Lisa Wingate, and Jan Eliasberg at 7pm CST on Facebook Live, and Alex George (The Paris Hours) will be chatting about his new release on May 6th, also at 7pm.

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