I have some pretty super big and incredible news: at the Historical Novel Society Conference in Florida next year, guess who's going to present a panel on Depicting Religion in Historical Fiction? Me!
When I went to the conference in 2011, it changed my career and probably my life. At the time I didn't know much about who I was as a writer or what I wanted to do with my career. I was working on a novel about the Vestal Virgins (which I'm querying right now), but it wasn't until I went to the conference that I realized historical fiction was my genre.
I also realized at the conference that all the books I wanted to write focused on religion or spirituality of some sort: SACRED FIRE is about ancient Roman priestesses, VOODOO QUEEN is about Marie Laveau, JOAN is about Joan of Arc (it's a working title). All my favorite books are spiritual too: Pope Joan, Mother of the Believers, Peony in Love.
It was like a light bulb went on. I thought to myself, Yay, I know who I am now!
I was hesitant to put together the proposal for this panel at first. After all, most of the speakers are fabulous and famous, whereas I haven't published a thing. But I believed in the idea and in my ability to discuss it.
When I mentioned a panel on religion on the conference's Facebook page, so many people got excited about the idea that I decided to go for it. In the end, I figured if the other speakers were awesome enough and my proposal polished enough, people would gloss over my as-yet-not-awesome status.
The other speakers are Mary Sharratt, author of Illuminations, Kamran Pasha, author of Mother of the Believers, and Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile.
Needless to say, I'm pretty excited!