So last week-end I had the privilege of being a featured speaker at the Historical Novel Society’s conference. It’s a smaller conference of about 300 people, most of whom are more educated than…well, me. And even if they’re not more educated, they seem to be because they know things about history. A lot of cool things about history, actually, like what really is the difference between Roman and Greek culture, and what that Other Boleyn girl’s name is.
I know stuff about US history and also can credibly talk about Chinese history and culture. But these people know what the difference between a fossil and an artifact. And they actually make it fun to learn! Here’s a picture of someone in the costume competition. Every entrant got a stack of books too!
So what, I ask you, was I doing being a featured speaker? Was I the keynote? Hardly. Was I featured as the go-to-girl for information on historical romance? Um, no. Though I did manage to talk a lot about being a romance novelist, mostly because I didn’t want to be found out as a historical ignoramus. But by the end of the conference, I can safely say that just about all 300 attendees knew who I was. Why? Because I was part of the late night sex readings. Yes,
you read that right. Late Night Sex Reading in front of everybody. And they didn’t even dim the lights!
Those who know me probably aren’t in the least bit surprised by this, but I have to say, I was rather intimidated. Not only was I sitting up there with the likes of Diana Gabaldon (who, by the way, is Dr. Gabaldon), but I was about to read an intimate scene from one of my books in front of people who could put me under the academic table, so to speak, without even waking up. Sure, I’d spent the day with them, and not a one was rude, pompous or arrogant. They were all lovely, fascinating people who share a love of history. But as the week end wore on, I realized that what I love is romance. I want to see two people overcome immense obstacles as they fall in love. That love doesn’t need to be in history, though I adore writing in the regency era. It could as easily be contemporary as paranormal or fantasy (see www.jadeleeauthor.com for my current releases–hint, hint).
So my love and their love didn’t quite connect as I’d hoped. And that was never more apparent to me than the moment I stepped up to read the oral sex scene in The Dragon Earl.
Now, I’m supposed to be reporting on what fabulous things went on at the conference. People who were there (Barbara Vey, Beyond Her Book Blog), books that were interesting (I was very impressed with Kamran Pasha and his book about the mother of the Muslim faith, Mother of the Believers, and some of the fabulous things I learned (that I’m an academic embarrassment). But truthfully, I was too busy being impressed to take notes. Yeah, I suck.
But…the conference website gives the speakers and their websites and
more. You can find out details there.
But mostly, what I wanted to say was that these are smart, funny, wickedly interesting people! Historical novels aren’t even remotely like taking a history class from boring old Mr. Thompson who smells bad. They’re fascinating and true! Well, true-ish. And I would highly recommend attending next year! Or in 2 years if you might have difficulty getting to England (they alternate
conferences between North America and England).
Oh, and by the way, the late night sex reading went great. Turns out that even if I don’t remember who the Galts invaded, I can still write (and read aloud!) about falling in love. And the Other Boleyn Girl’s name was Mary.