Chairman and founder
Richard Lee founded the Historical Novel Society in 1997 after trying to join it, only to find it didn’t exist. The society has since developed in many ways, following the enthusiasms of the active membership.
Richard has been involved with the organisation of many UK HNS conferences and co-hosted the Cambridge History Festivals. He ran author talks for two years at English Heritage’s flagship Kirby Hall re-enactment event. He has been a judge of the CWA’s Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy, the RNA’s Pure Passion Awards and has established the HNS New Novel Award and Short Story Award.
Richard studied English at Merton College, Oxford, and worked for many years bookselling with W.H. Smith and Waterstone’s. One day he will finish his novel of the Crusades. Twitter: @histnovel
Editorial Team – Historical Novels Review
Bethany Latham, Managing Editor
Bethany Latham is a Professor, Librarian, and Managing Editor of the Historical Novels Review. She is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Academic Librarianship, as well as a reviewer for HNR and Booklist, and a contributor to NoveList. She regularly publishes book chapters and articles in various scholarly journals. Bethany is also the author of three works of nonfiction.
Sarah Johnson, Book Review Editor
Sarah Johnson has been an editor with the Historical Novels Review since 2000. An academic librarian and readers’ advisor, she has been reading and collecting historical novels for many years and also reviews for Booklist and CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. Her articles and reviews have appeared in NoveList, The Globe and Mail, Bookmarks Magazine, Library Journal, and other popular and scholarly publications. In 2012, she won the American Library Association’s Louis Shores Award for excellence in book reviewing. She has authored three nonfiction books, most recently Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre.
For more information, visit readingthepast.com
Lucinda Byatt, Features Editor
Lucinda Byatt developed a passion for all things Italian as a result of studying, working and marrying in Italy. She has worked as a translator for longer than she cares to remember, and now also teaches Italian Renaissance history at Edinburgh University. Raised on a reading diet of Cynthia Harnett, Rosemary Sutcliff and Anya Seton, she loved history enough to complete a doctorate. She’s fascinated by the lure of historical fiction, but also unashamedly purist. Solid research must underpin the flights of fancy. She’s delighted to be part of the editorial team for the society’s Historical Novels Review.
Find out more at lucindabyatt.com
Kate Braithwaite, US Reviews Editor
Kate has been reviewing and writing feature articles for Historical Novels Review since 2012, and is excited to join the editorial team. She’s the author of three fact-based historical novels: Charlatan, The Road to Newgate, and The Girl Puzzle – A Story of Nellie Bly. Particularly fascinated by stories of exceptional and sometimes forgotten women from the past, Kate spends most of her time with her nose in a book (or kindle). Beyond the world of historical fiction, Kate has reviewed for BookBrowse and BlueInk and supports other authors with a developmental editing service. When not reading or writing, she’s usually busy with her kids, walking the dog, or zooming with family back in the UK. Find out more at www.kate-braithwaite.com.
Myfanwy Cook, New Voices Column Editor
Myfanwy is currently an Honorary University Fellow at two British universities. A prize-winning short fiction writer, she is passionate about encouraging aspiring writers to use historical facts, places and events as inspiration to write engrossing historical fiction. In order to introduce novice writers to the joy of writing, she designs and runs historical fiction and creative writing workshops and courses for universities, medical schools, museums, libraries, community groups and companies. Based on workshops and with contributions from 50 writers, Historical Fiction Writing – A practical guide and tool-kit was published in 2011 and Creative Writing Cocktails in 2018. She has initiated and overseen numerous community writing projects and anthologies, the most recent being ‘Go Gothic’. www.myfanwycook.com or Twitter @MyfanwyCook.
Bryan Dumas, US Reviews Editor
Bryan Dumas is a freelance writer, book reviewer, and history teacher (middle and high school). His most recent work, a series of historical non-fiction articles called “Stories of Survival,” appeared in American Survival Guide magazine. He has served as a reviewer for HNR for two years and is excited to be joining the editorial team. He is a self-described history nerd, with a B.A. and M.A. in US History. Bryan is also an outdoor enthusiast who once hitchhiked across Alaska and the Yukon just to see Jack London’s cabin in Dawson City. When he’s not reading historical fiction, he’s writing it. Bryan is currently working on a novel set during the Great Chicago Fire. He lives in Colorado with his amazing wife, son who says no a lot, and neurotic dog. You can find him online at bryanpgdumas.wordpress.com and on twitter @BryanDumas.
J. Lynn Else, Reviews Editor
J. Lynn “Jessi” Else is a Minnesota author who’s self-published two historical fiction novels set in ancient Egypt, The Forgotten: Aten’s Last Queen (an HNS Indie Editor’s Choice book for 2016) and The Forgotten: Heir of the Heretic, as well as a sci fi novella, Strangely Constructed Souls, about a human zoo on an alien world. Through Inklings Publishing, she’s authored the “Awakenings” YA fantasy trilogy, which includes Descendants of Avalon (2018), Lost Daughters of Avalon (2019), and Prophecy of Avalon (2021). She’s been a reviewer with the Historical Novel Society since 2016, and loves reading about awesome women from antiquity. Besides history, she also gets nerdy with Star Wars, Star Trek, MST3K, and X-Files. She believes in unicorns and practicing random acts of awesome. You can find her at www.teasippinnerdymom.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teasippinnerdymom, on Twitter @JLynnElseAuthor, or Instagram at JLynnElseAuthor.
Alan Fisk, UK Reviews Editor
Alan has returned to being a reviews editor. After a wide variety of careers including being a supermarket floor cleaner, office clerk, fruit picker, Air Force officer, and benefits claimant, he took late retirement a few years ago from his last job, as a technical editor. He published five historical novels before abandoning writing, but he is still an avid reader of historical fiction. His website is at https://www.alanfisk.com
Sarah Hendess, US Children’s Reviews Editor
Sarah Hendess has reviewed books for the Historical Novels Review since 2018. By day she teaches U.S. History to middle- and high-schoolers. Her alter ego is an active member of the Florida Writers Association and a four-time finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Awards. With any luck, someday she’ll win. She holds a B.S. in Professional Writing and an M.A. in History, so reading, writing, and reviewing historical fiction seems like the natural thing to do. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and too many pets.
Edward James, UK Reviews Editor
Edward James lives in Cheltenham, England, where he has retired after being successively a university lecturer in Britain and America, a British civil servant, an EU official and an international consultant in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He has published books on social policy and local history and two historical fiction novels, The Frozen Dream and Freedom’s Pilgrim, both set in the Age of Discovery. Plus a personal memoir, Collateral Damage. He was also editor of the Cheltenham Writers’ Circle anthology, Hillside Voices.
Doug Kemp, UK Reviews Editor
Doug has been the UK Reviews Editor since 2007, having first joined the HNS in 2000. A keen but amateur historian, his main interest is in the Restoration Court and politics of Charles II. But he also has an enthusiasm for good writing of any kind and a passion for books. Doug has had a number of short stories published in various anthologies.
He took early retirement in 2013. When not reading or writing he can be very often found looking after his granddaughter, playing golf or following the English football club, Leicester City.
Janice Ottersberg, US Reviews Editor
Janice has been a reviewer for the Historical Novels Review since 2016. An avid reader all her life, she began a deep love of historical fiction at a very young age with her discovery of authors Norah Lofts, Winston Graham, and Anya Seton. Ever since, she has mined libraries and bookstores in the quest for her next favorite historical fiction author. In 1999, using her computer science degree, she worked as a technical editor, formatting eBooks for netLibrary, a company in Boulder, Colorado that did pioneering work converting books to electronic format. In 2021 she retired from the accounting field as a CPA. Now she devotes her time reading from her vast library, honing her writing skills, and continuing as a reviewer for HNR while stepping into the role of a reviews editor. She lives in Arizona with her husband and is owned by a dog and two cats.
Karen Warren, UK Reviews Editor
Karen Warren is a full time writer, having previously been an academic librarian and then a tax professional. She is currently writing her second novel, while planning the third… As well as reviewing for the Historical Novel Society, she includes reviews on her author blog (Karen Warren Author). Karen is also a travel writer, writing for her own site (WorldWideWriter), and third party publications. This allows her to indulge her many interests, including some rather obscure aspects of history.
Larry Zuckerman, US Reviews Editor
Larry Zuckerman has worked for a wine merchant, taught English for the Peace Corps in Africa, spent twenty years as an editor, and been a full-time parent of two sons, now grown. He has published books about the potato’s influence on Western history and the German invasion and occupation of Belgium during the First World War. These days, he writes exclusively historical fiction and hones his craft by reviewing for these pages and on his blog, Novelhistorian.com. As a reader, he needs stories about people who have inner lives — dreams, desires, impulses, private selves — the quality that, to him, makes Winnie the Pooh and War and Peace special in the same way.
Fiona Sheppard, Proofreader
Fiona grew up in West Wickham, Kent and moved to Canada in 1972. She married a Canadian, home-schooled 3 children, ran a tourism business, was volunteer president of the local daycare and retired in 2011. She reads 80/100 books a year and doesn’t have a TV. Most walls of her house are lined with bookshelves – both fiction and nonfiction. Special interests are Welsh and Scottish history, Vikings, early Britons, the Conquest, Roman Empire, Renaissance Italy, Lancasters, Yorks and Tudors. She cannot imagine a world without books in her life and volunteers many hours with the local library just to be sure. She began helping Sarah Johnson in 2014, by compiling the lists of forthcoming novels for children and YA, and proofing the quarterly HNR magazine document. She lives in south-central Ontario.
Claire Morris, Web Features Editor
Claire Morris started reviewing books for the HNS in 1998, and became managing editor of Solander in 2004. She helped organize the first North American conference in 2005, and coordinated the marketing and communications for the second conference in 2007. In 2009 she left the HNS to focus on other things; five years later she has returned as web features editor. Claire works as a professional writer and editor, and is the principal of Claire Morris Strategic Writing & Editing.
HNS Sponsored Interviews Team
Fueled by her love for storytelling and history, M.N. Stroh writes Christian Historical Fiction with an edge, to inspire the downtrodden and outcasts through adventure-laden escapes that lead them back to their First Love. Her debut series, Tale of the Clans, releases in Fall of 2021. M.N. serves as Director of Communications for Serious Writer Inc. affiliate, Writers Chat. She is also the director of Serious Writer Book Club and a member of ACFW and Historical Novel Society.
Rebekah Simmers is the author of The King’s Sword, the first novel of The Metzlingen Saga. Largely inspired by medieval and renaissance periods and her own family history, Rebekah loves to incorporate details into her writing from her years living, researching, and traveling abroad. As a military child and spouse, former public servant, and special needs parent of five children, Rebekah strives to honor the unique voices and perspective – the perseverance, resilience, struggles, experiences, and grace – of those who live a life of service both inside and out of the home. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and co-admin for a private group of international writers.
Tracey Warr divides her time between France and the UK. She has published five novels set in early medieval Europe and based on the lives of real women who earn brief mentions in chronicles and charters. Almodis the Peaceweaver (Impress Books, 2011) focuses on an 11th century countess of Toulouse and Barcelona. The Viking Hostage (Impress Books, 2014) is based on the true story of a French viscountess kidnapped by Vikings. The Conquest trilogy – Daughter of the Last King (Impress Books, 2016), The Drowned Court (Impress Books, 2017), and The Anarchy (Impress Books, 2020) – centre on the tumultuous life of the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys. Tracey’s writing awards include a Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary and an Author’s Foundation Award. She is currently Head of Dartington Arts School in Devon, UK.