New to the field, she found the 3000 plus attendees quite daunting; however, she encourages anyone interested in attending a conference in their field to “go for it.” “It can be intimidating at first,” she explains, “but you have to remember that you are among like-minds who offer a wealth of information."
Shirley’s favorite part of the conference was being able to attend presentations by some well-known Crusades scholars whose work she has read and cited. One such presentation was given by Dr. Carole Hillenbrand, an extremely well respected historian. She reports, “When Dr. Hillenbrand spoke you could have heard a pin drop. The reverence she was paid was mind-boggling."
Although Shirley’s own research into Christian and Muslim women and the Crusades only began a year ago, she discovered that her focus is unique. In fact, her topic has attracted serious attention from a well-known publisher who proposed a contract to publish her manuscript when it is finished. Not knowing how seriously to take such offers, she sought the advice of UI&U faculty. The advice given to her was to read Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction and Get it Published
by Alfred Fortunato. While she is not quite ready to tackle a manuscript, we look forward to hearing more about her book in the future .