My experience of writers conferences is mostly confined to (wonderful and energising) romance writers conferences but there you are among a wide variety of genres and sub genres, my recent time with the HNS gave me 3 glorious days with just lovers of historical fiction... people who didn't mind if you bowled up to them and asked what period of history they were passionate about.
Back to Eleanor of Acquitaine... and Aphra Behn and... an amazing assortment of historical personages who turned out for the Welcome Cocktail party and costume contest. I hurriedly scribbled 'Lady Jersey, queen of the Ton' on my label and I was set.
Over the three days I learned about how to load historic weapons, wrangle writing books set in different periods, the present state of historical fiction (not encouraging... female protagonist, not Tudor, not straight historical biography but preferably a real person), writing historical mysteries and other workshops and panels... although I have to confess to not getting to as many as I would have liked owing to other commitments and an unexpected (and unwelcome lurgy!).
My own presentation on Cavaliers and Roundheads was on the Friday afternoon. A small (and hopefully appreciative) audience, despite my diminishing voice and a power point clicker with a mind of its own. **I will be putting my paper up on my website once I am home.**
Other treats included hearing Geraldine Brooks talking about her road to historical fiction and David Ebershoff talking about the writing of the Danish Girl. The delightful Kate Forsyth entertain us with the fairy tale of Tam Linn at the final dinner. Even Lady Jersey got her moment as she launched the post dinner 'Masquerade Ball'. Unfortunately she had by this stage succumbed to jet lag + flu so retired early.
And the highlight? A thoroughly alcohol soaked journey through the history of booze, led by the immensely knowledgeable Isobel Carr. From mead to martini and quite a few interesting excursions in between, including a tot of absinthe (no hallucinations were reported).
I have to extend a HUGE shout and thank you to the organising team for the conference. I have organised no less than 3 romance writer conferences in the past and I know exactly how much work goes into it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your patience, your smiles and your tireless hard work over the weekend. I hope one day to return and reconnect with my new found tribe!