HNS London 2012 – an update

The cold struck on Friday, September 21st. “Shit,” I muttered while staring at my laptop but then, in what I like to think of as my ‘cup half full’ approach to life, I told myself it would be over in a week, hardly likely to affect my attendance at the Historical Novel Society conference in London. Might need some cough lozenges and hand sanitizer – the lozenges so I could listen and talk without too much hacking, the hand sanitizer so I wouldn’t infect any fellow writers, members of the publishing industry or historical fiction enthusiasts.

I was, as some of you readers might recall, scheduled to talk about the historical fiction survey at the conference.

The flu struck on Tuesday, September 25th. I spent most of that day and all day Wednesday dozing on and off, eating nothing and, on the advice of Jenny Barden (Conference Coordinator and programme director) and my mother, drinking hot water infused with lemon and honey. To no avail.

On Thursday morning, I admitted defeat. This gal was not going to fly across the Atlantic Thursday night, I could barely think straight or keep anything down let alone pack, get myself to the airport and endure ten or more hours of travel. Jenny was amazing. My fellow panelists, Justin Neville, Emma Darwin and Harry Sidebottom, agreed to look after the session and I returned to bed. This ranks as my biggest disappointment of 2012.

But that’s not the end of the story.

In the tradition of compelling historical fiction, where disaster strikes from unexpected quarters, knights in shining armour ride to the rescue and princesses remain the hidden power, the following unfolded.

  • I sent my speaking notes to Justin but given the feeble state of my brain, did not copy Emma, Harry or Jenny.
  • Saturday morning, Justin was in a car accident on the way to the conference. Very good news – Justin was not hurt.
  • Harry brought an earlier version of my agenda to the breakout session.
  • Emma brought a copy of my survey results.
  • Emma and Harry carried the day – or as Emma said, “we busked it”.

Drama and serendipity – a noteworthy combination. I offer grateful thanks to all involved.

23 thoughts on “HNS London 2012 – an update”

  1. What horrible luck! Missed chatting with you at the banquet last night. I talked to Justin this morning before our session and was shocked to hear about the car accident. Hope you’re feeling back up to speed soon. I’m sure your remaining panelists did a great job filling in; I heard them on other panels and they were excellent speakers.

  2. Thanks to all of you for expressions of sympathy. Regarding my cold/flu, I am feeling better. Regarding the conference – I will look forward to next year! Regarding the survey, I’m thinking about doing another one 🙂

    1. And I you! I am sure there will be another time. Florida in 2013? From following tweets and checking various blogs, I can see that it was a great success. Congrats to you all. You must be thrilled.

  3. I was looking forward to meet you, I’m sorry and you must be so disappointed…I have a few notes about the conference, I’ll post them in the next few days. it was fun, I don’t think I can make it to Florida, but hopefully I’ll make 2014 🙂

  4. So sorry about your trip. You missed a great conference and Bernard Cornwell was hilarious at the dinner. There is always Florida next year. Hope to see you there.

    Harry and Emma pulled off the class brilliantly. The data was very useful–so thank you for that. Emma mentioned that you had even more data on your site? Would love to see it.

    1. Thanks Diana for those kind words. Please peruse this site using ‘historical fiction survey’ in your search and you will find lots! If you wish to discuss further I would be delighted. Contact me at maryktod [at] gmail [dot] com. Emma and Harry must be very talented and not just as writers 🙂

  5. I just saw this — I’m so sorry! What a huge disappointment. I really understand how big a disappointment it had to be for you too.

    There’s next year though. And flying with even a cold is no fun. With the flu — far, far worse.

    1. Many thanks, Foxessa. Definitely a big disappointment. However, life goes on. I’m trying to regroup so my thoughts and mutterings are all about ‘what’s next’ on this journey to write historical fiction 🙂

      1. There are so many disappointments — I was in London for the HNS weekend, but could not attend any of the events due to the obligations for the event(s) that paid our way there. And our hotel was not far from the hotel where the HNS events were taking place. But that’s not the same kind of disappointment as for you, who had an event at the HNS weekend. Again, my sympathies.

        All best — C.

  6. Such a shame, but the day was saved, and now there’s HNS Florida to look foward to next year. I think, in the end, everyone who attended the workshop did manage to collect a copy of your wonderful survey…

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Jenny. HNS Florida is definitely on my radar. I will continue to explore the survey results with the possibility of doing another one – wider, more balanced audience, perhaps a slightly different mix of questions – next spring. I look forward to keeping in touch.

  7. Last spring I planned to definitely sign up for the HNS conference in London and I was ecstatic. But, as in your case, life got in the way. I was so disappointed but you must have been desolate! The flu and no conference. Are you going to Florida’s version next summer? Not sure I want to brave Florida in June.

    1. Hi Elaine … glad you found me! I definitely plan to attend HNS next June. Already have it on my calendar! Florida is hot and muggy in June but no worse than a hot Toronto summer day 🙂

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