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Discussing Believable Characters at the Historical Novel Society Conference
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Thrilled to say I’ll be moderating a panel at the Historical Novel Society Conference in San Diego June 17-19, 2011, focused on “Making Characters Believable.”  It will be held from 9:45-10:45 a.m. Saturday, June 18th and I think my opening remarks will be focused on the fascinating book, Strange Histories by Darren Oldridge (Routledge Press).  Stay tuned for news of who else will be on the panel.

HNSThe HNS conference link is http://www.hns-conference.org

The Friday night welcome banquet features Harry Turtledove as keynote.  Here’s what Wikipedia says about him: “Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History".[6][7] Within that genre he is known both for creating original alternate history scenarios such as survival of the Byzantine Empire or an alien invasion in the middle of the Second World War and for giving a fresh and original treatment to themes previously dealt with by many others, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War and of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream.[8] His style of alternate history has a strong military theme with scenes of combat happening throughout many of his works.” 

The conference Saturday night dinner features Cecilia Holland as keynote speaker.  Holland is the author of 28 novels (!) and Wikipedia says “is known for her spare, unadorned, incisive narrative style, filled with physical, emotional, and intellectual tension. Unlike most historical novelists, who restrict themselves to a relatively narrow time and place, she seems to possess the ability to inhabit almost any point in history and geography and to convincingly take the reader there with her. She is especially drawn to intercultural conflict, and has been a reader of historical primary sources since adolescence.
Her unblinking grasp of the often harsh details of life in the distant—or recent—past is impeccable and her depiction of it is meticulous. She has the knack of showing how even the strangest of strange worlds makes perfect sense to those immersed in it. Her strongly character-driven plots often are developed from the viewpoint of a male protagonist. While including plenty of action (her battle scenes are noteworthy for their bottom-up viewpoint and understated verisimilitude), her work focuses primarily on the life of the mind—whatever that might mean in a particular culture -- and especially on politics, in the broadest sense.”