Conference Board



Conference Chair   Vanitha Sankaran


Vanitha Sankaran, PhD, is a biomedical communications consultant and a writer and editor of fiction and non-fiction work. Her debut historical novel, Watermark, was published by HarperCollins in 2010. She was a co-founding editor of the literary journal flashquake for its 10-year run, and has served on for-profit and non-profit Boards over the years. Many will remember her from the HNS 2013 Conference in Florida, where she served as both Conference and Program Chair. Currently, she is working on an adult historical novel and a young adult fantasy. For more information, please visit her website at



Program Chair  Leslie Carroll

LC closeup photo Rinaldi shoot pic on biz cardLeslie Carroll is a multipublished author in three genres, including historical fiction, where (under the pen names Amanda Elyot and Juliet Grey) she has written about numerous scandalous women, from Helen of Troy to Marie Antoinette. Her novels have been optioned for film and television and translated into 11 languages. A frequent commentator on royal romances and relationships, she has been interviewed by, USAToday, the Australian Broadcasting Company, NPR; was a featured royalty expert on CBS nightly news in London during the royal wedding coverage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton; and appears on royal-centric Travel Channel and Canadian History Channel docuseries. Leslie is also a professional actress and an award-winning audio book narrator, specializing in works of historical fiction. Visit her at



Venue Chair and Registration Coordinator  Maryka Biaggio

Maryka BiaggioMaryka Biaggio, PhD, a professor of psychology for 30 years, undertook writing fiction as a serious pursuit around 2000. She improved her craft by completing three novels before writing Parlor Games, which was published by Doubleday in 2013. Now she splits her time between writing and working as a higher education consultant. Excerpts of her novels have garnered Willamette Writers and Belle Lettres awards. She specializes in writing historical fiction about real people.




Marketing Chair   Vicky Oliver

Vicky oliver pictVicky Oliver has been running her debut historical novel through writing classes at NYU and Gotham for the past three years. When she isn’t penning her novel, she writes business career books and has published six so far, including: Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008); 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005); The Millionaire’s Handbook (Skyhorse, 2011); Power Sales Words (Sourcebooks, 2008); 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions (Sourcebooks, 2010) and the newly published Live Like A Millionaire (Without Having To Be One) (Skyhorse, 2015). Vicky runs a job consulting practice, blogs for The Globe and Mail in Canada, and is co-president of the Brown University Club in NY. Vicky also sits on the Association of Class Leaders Board of Advisors up at Brown University. Vicky lives and writes in Manhattan.



Secretary   Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

Elizabeth MahonElizabeth Kerri Mahon is a native New Yorker, former actress and history geek. Her first book, Scandalous Women, was released in March 2011 to enthusiastic reviews (Stiletto Storytime called it “not to be missed.”) Since the book’s release, it has been sold to Thailand, Korea, and Poland and was a bestseller in Singapore. The book was featured in the Daily Candy weekend section, and it was an RT Book Review Non-Fiction Pick of the Month for April 2011. She was also named RWA NYC’s Author of the Year for 2011. In 2012, she was a featured speaker at the We Move Forward conference on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and was asked to participate in Chick History’s yearlong project #HerStory. Elizabeth has been featured in the H2 show How Sex Changed the World, as well as The Travel Channel’s Monumental Mysteries and the Investigation Discovery show Tabloid.



Treasurer   Caren Wasserman

Caren Wasserman, unlike the rest of the HNS Conference Board, has always been a numbers person. She earned her BS and MBA from Cornell University and has spent most of her career in banking. However, Caren has been an avid reader literally since she was old enough to sit up and hold a book: everything from Greek mythology and the classics to contemporary mysteries, and of course, is a passionate fan of historical fiction. She is also a huge dog lover and used to breed and race thoroughbreds. She has raced her horses at several racetracks including the historic Saratoga Race Course.



2017 Non-Board Coordinator Positions

Volunteer Coordinators: Mary Tod and Jenny Quinlan
Website Coordinator: Kay Henden
Website Design Consultant: Kris Waldherr
Bookstore Coordinator: Patricia Kullberg
Tote Bag Designer: Kris Waldherr