Saturday, March 1, 2014

Realm Makers Conference

The Realm Makers Conference is coming!  Mark your calendars now - May 30-31 at Villanova University, PA.  I have an interview with the founder, Becky Minor. For even more information, see the website:

Where did the idea for Realm Makers come from?

Realm Makers grew out of the rising sentiment among Christian speculative fiction authors that we don’t quite fit on either side of the religious market or secular market fence. We needed a place of our own to relax and be ourselves, whether that involves geeking out over the latest season of Doctor Who or working out the nuances of a costume. The idea of offering a full two days where every class applied to the speculative fiction writer grabbed me by the throat a couple years ago and insisted to be brought to life.
 How did you develop this from an idea into a full-fledged conference?
 Mostly by doing the thing in life that terrifies me most . . . asking other people to jump on board. Having faculty people want to hear is a huge part of enticing attendees to join us, so making connections was the first step. Splickety Magazine editor Ben Erlichman is the king of networking, so his help has been invaluable in initiating those conversations. From there, it was just a matter of analyzing other conferences I’ve been to and figuring out the most efficient way to imitate those events.

Does Realm Makers have a mission statement? If so, what is it?

 Realm Makers strives to provide a faith-friendly symposium for writers and artists who focus their creative efforts on science fiction, fantasy, and all their sub-genres. Whether artists wish to gear their content for the inspirational or secular marketplace, they have a place at Realm Makers.

What makes Realm Makers stand apart from other conferences for writers who are Christian?

 The full-conference focus on speculative fiction as a genre is the key factor that differentiates Realm Makers from other Christian conferences. While we do offer some classes on general writing craft, I’m convinced that nowhere else could you spend two days drinking in content that embraces geekdom with one arm and a walk of faith with the other. Realm Makers is a place where an author can talk about his work and about his faith, and the folks at his lunch table will “get” what he loves. (Because let’s face it, many of us have sat at that “mixed genre” conference lunch table and gotten some wide-eyed looks when we explain what we write.)

How will Realm Makers 2014 differ from the first Realm Makers?

Much of the conference will have a similar feel and approach to the first year. We have a powerful faculty with some returning faces and some newcomers. As for what’s changed, we have added a cool “early bird” session that will occur on Thursday night, which involves snacks, public critique, and prizes. So our general approach is to continue to offer what worked well last year and to tighten the areas that were a little loosey-goosey. We’re learning as we go.

What can attendees expect from Realm Makers this year?

This year, attendees can expect to meet 60-100 cool folks who love what they love (We’re hoping for the sell-out at 100), to enjoy first rate facilities at Villanova University, and to hear engaging experts in many areas of writing they might not find at other Christian writers conferences. We’ll also repeat our Friday night awards dinner where costumes are encouraged but not required.

What are the benefits from attending a conference like this?

Learning and building relationships are by far the top two benefits of attendance. For authors looking for homes for their manuscripts, we also have a growing list of editors and agents who will be listening to pitches during the conference, so attending could very well advance some of those writers toward landing that contract. It’s a well-known fact that authors who meet editors at conferences have a much better chance at publication/representation than those who submit blind queries.

What kinds of workshops are in the works for 2014?


The 2014 schedule will include workshops and panel discussions on

  • the use of science in fantasy
  • what it’s like to be wounded or to have to wound someone else
  • the process of developing graphic novels
  • flash fiction
  • horror
  • networking
  • the role of an agent
  • the inner workings of a publishing house
  • creating story-world languages
  • and more still in development!

Are you going to have a costume banquet and book signing again this year?

Ooops! Got ahead of you on this one, didn’t I? Yes, we are still planning the costumes-encouraged dinner on Friday, though people should definitely feel at ease coming in something from their regular wardrobe. We get that cosplay isn’t for everyone. The programming for Saturday night is still in development.

Do you have any tips for attendees?

First and foremost—even if something makes you feel like you’re going to die of anxiety, give it a go…whether it’s talking to an author or speaker in the hallway, or sitting at a table full of people you don’t know, or trying out flash fiction even though you can’t say “Hello” in less than 2500 words. Judging by last year’s conference attendance, Realm Makers is a great place to take some chances and reap the rewards, whether personal or professional. So I guess my other piece of advice is “Don’t miss it!”" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway