Real people in fiction

Hi, Jo here, asking — and giving — opinions on real people in fiction.

When I thought about this I decided it was interesting how much historical fiction does without real people, but those books would mostly be the romances. That's not to lessen romance, but the stories are usually intimate and often domestic, so it's possible to not even mention the current monarch or prime minister. Historical novels often use real people as protagonists, though there is mid ground. Are Dorothy Dunnett's historical works historical novels when the principal characters are fictional? I'd say yes, but I've heard the debate.

What do you think? What other works of historical fiction use imaginary protagonists other than as an observer/storyteller when the novel is about the real person?

Do you have a preference?

My guideline would be to compare the historical romance with contemporary. When reading a contemporary romance, thriller, or women's fiction book, how often is any prime minister or president mentioned? If other notables are mentioned, it's often as a side reference. Real people rarely appear. Of course there are legal traps awaiting any such mention, whereas a tart comment about Casanova or Nelson is unlikely to get the historical author sued.

AshockdelHowever, I do often end up bringing real people into my romances, generally in very minor ways, just because they're there in my imaginary world. This can lead to awkward touches, however. For example, in A Shocking Delight (out in April) the hero, David, is the new Earl of Wyvern and an upstart. I knew he'd need to be formally introduced to Devon society by the Lord Lieutenant of the county. It's only a mention but it's important to his discomfort with his situation. 

I looked up the Lord Lt of Devon in 1817 and used his title, Lord Fortescue, but my editor felt that the title made it seem he'd be a character in the book, which he isn't. Therefore I simply referred to him as the Lord Lieutenant, which was okay by me, but it intrigued me. I think the problem was because he's a new name to the reader which builds expectations.

Fortescue

I couldn't find a picture of him, which is a bit odd, but this is his brother, who succeeded him. As I think it's a rather nice portrayal of a Regency gent, I thought I'd include it.

I mention that David will also have to be presented to the Regent. That's no problem because the Regent is a known entity. If true, which it wasn't, I could have said that David was going to dine with Wellington without raising reader expectations. But dinner with Lord Fortescue might lead the reader to expect more of him. 

Have you ever been frustrated by the mention of real people without enough detail?

Do you prefer your romances without real people at all?

Who's the most unusual and intriguing real person you've met in a historical romance?

Perhaps this is on my mind because of the book I'm working on now. It's triggered by a real event, but I'm coming to think I can't use the real key players because it would be too tangled and not fit the timeline of my story. The readers would expect a closure that doesn't happen for some years. So I'm going to have to blend without offending the truth.

Wish me luck!

Say something interesting on this musing post and I'll enter your name for a copy of The Dragon's Bride, the precursor to A Shocking Delight. 

Cheers,

Jo

225 thoughts on “Real people in fiction”

  1. Oh, that’s a lovely book cover. I’ll always buy something that features a pretty blue dress!
    Interestingly, I was just thinking about this. In particular I was thinking about how there’re so many made-up dukes and earls in historical romance (which is sort of necessary!) that it seems rare a real figure leaps onto the page.
    I wouldn’t mind a few more real members of the aristocracy turning up, even if just to show not every duke in Regency England was Fabio personified!
    Real people appearing in contemporary stories rarely work. I’ve read some books where one of the characters works in Hollywood, and I always cringe when I read about them having dinner with Susan Sarandon or just getting off the phone with Baz Luhrmann.

    Reply
  2. Oh, that’s a lovely book cover. I’ll always buy something that features a pretty blue dress!
    Interestingly, I was just thinking about this. In particular I was thinking about how there’re so many made-up dukes and earls in historical romance (which is sort of necessary!) that it seems rare a real figure leaps onto the page.
    I wouldn’t mind a few more real members of the aristocracy turning up, even if just to show not every duke in Regency England was Fabio personified!
    Real people appearing in contemporary stories rarely work. I’ve read some books where one of the characters works in Hollywood, and I always cringe when I read about them having dinner with Susan Sarandon or just getting off the phone with Baz Luhrmann.

    Reply
  3. Oh, that’s a lovely book cover. I’ll always buy something that features a pretty blue dress!
    Interestingly, I was just thinking about this. In particular I was thinking about how there’re so many made-up dukes and earls in historical romance (which is sort of necessary!) that it seems rare a real figure leaps onto the page.
    I wouldn’t mind a few more real members of the aristocracy turning up, even if just to show not every duke in Regency England was Fabio personified!
    Real people appearing in contemporary stories rarely work. I’ve read some books where one of the characters works in Hollywood, and I always cringe when I read about them having dinner with Susan Sarandon or just getting off the phone with Baz Luhrmann.

    Reply
  4. Oh, that’s a lovely book cover. I’ll always buy something that features a pretty blue dress!
    Interestingly, I was just thinking about this. In particular I was thinking about how there’re so many made-up dukes and earls in historical romance (which is sort of necessary!) that it seems rare a real figure leaps onto the page.
    I wouldn’t mind a few more real members of the aristocracy turning up, even if just to show not every duke in Regency England was Fabio personified!
    Real people appearing in contemporary stories rarely work. I’ve read some books where one of the characters works in Hollywood, and I always cringe when I read about them having dinner with Susan Sarandon or just getting off the phone with Baz Luhrmann.

    Reply
  5. Oh, that’s a lovely book cover. I’ll always buy something that features a pretty blue dress!
    Interestingly, I was just thinking about this. In particular I was thinking about how there’re so many made-up dukes and earls in historical romance (which is sort of necessary!) that it seems rare a real figure leaps onto the page.
    I wouldn’t mind a few more real members of the aristocracy turning up, even if just to show not every duke in Regency England was Fabio personified!
    Real people appearing in contemporary stories rarely work. I’ve read some books where one of the characters works in Hollywood, and I always cringe when I read about them having dinner with Susan Sarandon or just getting off the phone with Baz Luhrmann.

    Reply
  6. I kind of like having real people appear in historical novels. If there isn’t much about them in the book, I can always look them up elsewhere. Besides, it’s always intriguing to discover that a character you thought was fictional is real, like Allan Breck Stewart (the first fictional character I fell in love with) in “Kidnapped.” And lots of real people wander through Sir Walter Scott’s books.
    I think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.

    Reply
  7. I kind of like having real people appear in historical novels. If there isn’t much about them in the book, I can always look them up elsewhere. Besides, it’s always intriguing to discover that a character you thought was fictional is real, like Allan Breck Stewart (the first fictional character I fell in love with) in “Kidnapped.” And lots of real people wander through Sir Walter Scott’s books.
    I think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.

    Reply
  8. I kind of like having real people appear in historical novels. If there isn’t much about them in the book, I can always look them up elsewhere. Besides, it’s always intriguing to discover that a character you thought was fictional is real, like Allan Breck Stewart (the first fictional character I fell in love with) in “Kidnapped.” And lots of real people wander through Sir Walter Scott’s books.
    I think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.

    Reply
  9. I kind of like having real people appear in historical novels. If there isn’t much about them in the book, I can always look them up elsewhere. Besides, it’s always intriguing to discover that a character you thought was fictional is real, like Allan Breck Stewart (the first fictional character I fell in love with) in “Kidnapped.” And lots of real people wander through Sir Walter Scott’s books.
    I think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.

    Reply
  10. I kind of like having real people appear in historical novels. If there isn’t much about them in the book, I can always look them up elsewhere. Besides, it’s always intriguing to discover that a character you thought was fictional is real, like Allan Breck Stewart (the first fictional character I fell in love with) in “Kidnapped.” And lots of real people wander through Sir Walter Scott’s books.
    I think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.

    Reply
  11. I think that the way that you have been incorporating the real people is the best way – only when it can’t be avoided, and changing as necessary (putting the book first). However, I do feel that if an author includes a real person in historical fiction and changes anything then there must be an author’s note which explains what was changed. The real person can’t answer back!
    I don’t like it when I feel that a real person has been dragged into an historical novel – for me, the integrity of the book is what matters most. If it isn’t necessary to include the real person, why do it? – generally, the weight of that real person’s presence will unbalance the book.
    As for contemporary books – I agree with Sonya’s comment. For the average reader to get the reference the real person must be well-known, and how many normal people bump into well-known people day-to-day? Again, I think it tends to unbalance the book.

    Reply
  12. I think that the way that you have been incorporating the real people is the best way – only when it can’t be avoided, and changing as necessary (putting the book first). However, I do feel that if an author includes a real person in historical fiction and changes anything then there must be an author’s note which explains what was changed. The real person can’t answer back!
    I don’t like it when I feel that a real person has been dragged into an historical novel – for me, the integrity of the book is what matters most. If it isn’t necessary to include the real person, why do it? – generally, the weight of that real person’s presence will unbalance the book.
    As for contemporary books – I agree with Sonya’s comment. For the average reader to get the reference the real person must be well-known, and how many normal people bump into well-known people day-to-day? Again, I think it tends to unbalance the book.

    Reply
  13. I think that the way that you have been incorporating the real people is the best way – only when it can’t be avoided, and changing as necessary (putting the book first). However, I do feel that if an author includes a real person in historical fiction and changes anything then there must be an author’s note which explains what was changed. The real person can’t answer back!
    I don’t like it when I feel that a real person has been dragged into an historical novel – for me, the integrity of the book is what matters most. If it isn’t necessary to include the real person, why do it? – generally, the weight of that real person’s presence will unbalance the book.
    As for contemporary books – I agree with Sonya’s comment. For the average reader to get the reference the real person must be well-known, and how many normal people bump into well-known people day-to-day? Again, I think it tends to unbalance the book.

    Reply
  14. I think that the way that you have been incorporating the real people is the best way – only when it can’t be avoided, and changing as necessary (putting the book first). However, I do feel that if an author includes a real person in historical fiction and changes anything then there must be an author’s note which explains what was changed. The real person can’t answer back!
    I don’t like it when I feel that a real person has been dragged into an historical novel – for me, the integrity of the book is what matters most. If it isn’t necessary to include the real person, why do it? – generally, the weight of that real person’s presence will unbalance the book.
    As for contemporary books – I agree with Sonya’s comment. For the average reader to get the reference the real person must be well-known, and how many normal people bump into well-known people day-to-day? Again, I think it tends to unbalance the book.

    Reply
  15. I think that the way that you have been incorporating the real people is the best way – only when it can’t be avoided, and changing as necessary (putting the book first). However, I do feel that if an author includes a real person in historical fiction and changes anything then there must be an author’s note which explains what was changed. The real person can’t answer back!
    I don’t like it when I feel that a real person has been dragged into an historical novel – for me, the integrity of the book is what matters most. If it isn’t necessary to include the real person, why do it? – generally, the weight of that real person’s presence will unbalance the book.
    As for contemporary books – I agree with Sonya’s comment. For the average reader to get the reference the real person must be well-known, and how many normal people bump into well-known people day-to-day? Again, I think it tends to unbalance the book.

    Reply
  16. It depends on portrayal, for me. The casual introduction of an actual person is like a hidden treat for the reader who knows (or discovers) the connection to reality. (Lord Fortescue could have kept his name!) When an undue weight is put on the famous person, it weighs the story down and makes me roll my eyes.
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina. She wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.
    Versus
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina, the super couple known for uniting after his divorce from the equally famous Jennifer, in their wake trailed their children – biological and adopted – who drove their charity work and kept the international press desperate for a photo. While she had met them on a Unicef trip to the south Sudan, the trip where she fully came to understand poverty under the madonna-esque eye of Angelina, she wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.

    Reply
  17. It depends on portrayal, for me. The casual introduction of an actual person is like a hidden treat for the reader who knows (or discovers) the connection to reality. (Lord Fortescue could have kept his name!) When an undue weight is put on the famous person, it weighs the story down and makes me roll my eyes.
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina. She wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.
    Versus
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina, the super couple known for uniting after his divorce from the equally famous Jennifer, in their wake trailed their children – biological and adopted – who drove their charity work and kept the international press desperate for a photo. While she had met them on a Unicef trip to the south Sudan, the trip where she fully came to understand poverty under the madonna-esque eye of Angelina, she wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.

    Reply
  18. It depends on portrayal, for me. The casual introduction of an actual person is like a hidden treat for the reader who knows (or discovers) the connection to reality. (Lord Fortescue could have kept his name!) When an undue weight is put on the famous person, it weighs the story down and makes me roll my eyes.
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina. She wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.
    Versus
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina, the super couple known for uniting after his divorce from the equally famous Jennifer, in their wake trailed their children – biological and adopted – who drove their charity work and kept the international press desperate for a photo. While she had met them on a Unicef trip to the south Sudan, the trip where she fully came to understand poverty under the madonna-esque eye of Angelina, she wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.

    Reply
  19. It depends on portrayal, for me. The casual introduction of an actual person is like a hidden treat for the reader who knows (or discovers) the connection to reality. (Lord Fortescue could have kept his name!) When an undue weight is put on the famous person, it weighs the story down and makes me roll my eyes.
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina. She wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.
    Versus
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina, the super couple known for uniting after his divorce from the equally famous Jennifer, in their wake trailed their children – biological and adopted – who drove their charity work and kept the international press desperate for a photo. While she had met them on a Unicef trip to the south Sudan, the trip where she fully came to understand poverty under the madonna-esque eye of Angelina, she wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.

    Reply
  20. It depends on portrayal, for me. The casual introduction of an actual person is like a hidden treat for the reader who knows (or discovers) the connection to reality. (Lord Fortescue could have kept his name!) When an undue weight is put on the famous person, it weighs the story down and makes me roll my eyes.
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina. She wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.
    Versus
    Alice ducked to avoid Brad and Angelina, the super couple known for uniting after his divorce from the equally famous Jennifer, in their wake trailed their children – biological and adopted – who drove their charity work and kept the international press desperate for a photo. While she had met them on a Unicef trip to the south Sudan, the trip where she fully came to understand poverty under the madonna-esque eye of Angelina, she wasn’t dressed for the inevitable paparazzi shots a conversation would bring.

    Reply
  21. I think writers have to be very careful about writing in well known real people. Dunnett did it extremely well, but I read an “historical” novel about the U.S. revolution which started with the poor protagonist saving the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, and who went on to stumble over every important founder of the American Revolution. It was completely unbelievable, because his hero didn’t start out in a position to know these people.

    Reply
  22. I think writers have to be very careful about writing in well known real people. Dunnett did it extremely well, but I read an “historical” novel about the U.S. revolution which started with the poor protagonist saving the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, and who went on to stumble over every important founder of the American Revolution. It was completely unbelievable, because his hero didn’t start out in a position to know these people.

    Reply
  23. I think writers have to be very careful about writing in well known real people. Dunnett did it extremely well, but I read an “historical” novel about the U.S. revolution which started with the poor protagonist saving the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, and who went on to stumble over every important founder of the American Revolution. It was completely unbelievable, because his hero didn’t start out in a position to know these people.

    Reply
  24. I think writers have to be very careful about writing in well known real people. Dunnett did it extremely well, but I read an “historical” novel about the U.S. revolution which started with the poor protagonist saving the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, and who went on to stumble over every important founder of the American Revolution. It was completely unbelievable, because his hero didn’t start out in a position to know these people.

    Reply
  25. I think writers have to be very careful about writing in well known real people. Dunnett did it extremely well, but I read an “historical” novel about the U.S. revolution which started with the poor protagonist saving the life of the Marquis de Lafayette, and who went on to stumble over every important founder of the American Revolution. It was completely unbelievable, because his hero didn’t start out in a position to know these people.

    Reply
  26. I enjoy mentions of “real” people in historical novels, assuming, of course, that they are doing things they actually did — or could be reasonably expected to have done. They spark my interest and I then try to learn more about them. Dunnett, for example, taught me that the Tudor ladies, Ivan the terrible, and Suleiman the Magnificent were contemporaries. I had no idea as their countries’ histories were taught separately in the California schools of my youth. And, her villains, are written such to make you really dislike them. I did not properly appreciate the tomb of Margaret Lennox at Westminster Abbey because I will always see her as despicable 🙂

    Reply
  27. I enjoy mentions of “real” people in historical novels, assuming, of course, that they are doing things they actually did — or could be reasonably expected to have done. They spark my interest and I then try to learn more about them. Dunnett, for example, taught me that the Tudor ladies, Ivan the terrible, and Suleiman the Magnificent were contemporaries. I had no idea as their countries’ histories were taught separately in the California schools of my youth. And, her villains, are written such to make you really dislike them. I did not properly appreciate the tomb of Margaret Lennox at Westminster Abbey because I will always see her as despicable 🙂

    Reply
  28. I enjoy mentions of “real” people in historical novels, assuming, of course, that they are doing things they actually did — or could be reasonably expected to have done. They spark my interest and I then try to learn more about them. Dunnett, for example, taught me that the Tudor ladies, Ivan the terrible, and Suleiman the Magnificent were contemporaries. I had no idea as their countries’ histories were taught separately in the California schools of my youth. And, her villains, are written such to make you really dislike them. I did not properly appreciate the tomb of Margaret Lennox at Westminster Abbey because I will always see her as despicable 🙂

    Reply
  29. I enjoy mentions of “real” people in historical novels, assuming, of course, that they are doing things they actually did — or could be reasonably expected to have done. They spark my interest and I then try to learn more about them. Dunnett, for example, taught me that the Tudor ladies, Ivan the terrible, and Suleiman the Magnificent were contemporaries. I had no idea as their countries’ histories were taught separately in the California schools of my youth. And, her villains, are written such to make you really dislike them. I did not properly appreciate the tomb of Margaret Lennox at Westminster Abbey because I will always see her as despicable 🙂

    Reply
  30. I enjoy mentions of “real” people in historical novels, assuming, of course, that they are doing things they actually did — or could be reasonably expected to have done. They spark my interest and I then try to learn more about them. Dunnett, for example, taught me that the Tudor ladies, Ivan the terrible, and Suleiman the Magnificent were contemporaries. I had no idea as their countries’ histories were taught separately in the California schools of my youth. And, her villains, are written such to make you really dislike them. I did not properly appreciate the tomb of Margaret Lennox at Westminster Abbey because I will always see her as despicable 🙂

    Reply
  31. I think the most intriguing ‘real’ characters I met in a book are Sir Harry Smith and of course his wife Juana, who were portrayed vividly in Georgett Heyer’s ‘The Spanish Bride’. The story of their initial meeting and their life together during the Peninsular Wars captivated me and I then went on to research their real life story, which turned out to be even more amazing than Heyer had depicted. They were indeed a real Regency romance couple.

    Reply
  32. I think the most intriguing ‘real’ characters I met in a book are Sir Harry Smith and of course his wife Juana, who were portrayed vividly in Georgett Heyer’s ‘The Spanish Bride’. The story of their initial meeting and their life together during the Peninsular Wars captivated me and I then went on to research their real life story, which turned out to be even more amazing than Heyer had depicted. They were indeed a real Regency romance couple.

    Reply
  33. I think the most intriguing ‘real’ characters I met in a book are Sir Harry Smith and of course his wife Juana, who were portrayed vividly in Georgett Heyer’s ‘The Spanish Bride’. The story of their initial meeting and their life together during the Peninsular Wars captivated me and I then went on to research their real life story, which turned out to be even more amazing than Heyer had depicted. They were indeed a real Regency romance couple.

    Reply
  34. I think the most intriguing ‘real’ characters I met in a book are Sir Harry Smith and of course his wife Juana, who were portrayed vividly in Georgett Heyer’s ‘The Spanish Bride’. The story of their initial meeting and their life together during the Peninsular Wars captivated me and I then went on to research their real life story, which turned out to be even more amazing than Heyer had depicted. They were indeed a real Regency romance couple.

    Reply
  35. I think the most intriguing ‘real’ characters I met in a book are Sir Harry Smith and of course his wife Juana, who were portrayed vividly in Georgett Heyer’s ‘The Spanish Bride’. The story of their initial meeting and their life together during the Peninsular Wars captivated me and I then went on to research their real life story, which turned out to be even more amazing than Heyer had depicted. They were indeed a real Regency romance couple.

    Reply
  36. I think using historical people in books can be a wonderful part of the worldbuilding, and though not necessary, it helps ground the book in the period (and unless you’re writing alternative fantasy history, sometimes, like in your example, you NEED to include a real person). When writing contemporary fiction, I feel it’s usually unnecessary (and unwise) to mention real people, unless they are somehow germane to the plot (all it does is date the book).

    Reply
  37. I think using historical people in books can be a wonderful part of the worldbuilding, and though not necessary, it helps ground the book in the period (and unless you’re writing alternative fantasy history, sometimes, like in your example, you NEED to include a real person). When writing contemporary fiction, I feel it’s usually unnecessary (and unwise) to mention real people, unless they are somehow germane to the plot (all it does is date the book).

    Reply
  38. I think using historical people in books can be a wonderful part of the worldbuilding, and though not necessary, it helps ground the book in the period (and unless you’re writing alternative fantasy history, sometimes, like in your example, you NEED to include a real person). When writing contemporary fiction, I feel it’s usually unnecessary (and unwise) to mention real people, unless they are somehow germane to the plot (all it does is date the book).

    Reply
  39. I think using historical people in books can be a wonderful part of the worldbuilding, and though not necessary, it helps ground the book in the period (and unless you’re writing alternative fantasy history, sometimes, like in your example, you NEED to include a real person). When writing contemporary fiction, I feel it’s usually unnecessary (and unwise) to mention real people, unless they are somehow germane to the plot (all it does is date the book).

    Reply
  40. I think using historical people in books can be a wonderful part of the worldbuilding, and though not necessary, it helps ground the book in the period (and unless you’re writing alternative fantasy history, sometimes, like in your example, you NEED to include a real person). When writing contemporary fiction, I feel it’s usually unnecessary (and unwise) to mention real people, unless they are somehow germane to the plot (all it does is date the book).

    Reply
  41. I should have said that the gentleman was a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland–twice AND voiced an opinion for Catholic emancipation.

    Reply
  42. I should have said that the gentleman was a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland–twice AND voiced an opinion for Catholic emancipation.

    Reply
  43. I should have said that the gentleman was a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland–twice AND voiced an opinion for Catholic emancipation.

    Reply
  44. I should have said that the gentleman was a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland–twice AND voiced an opinion for Catholic emancipation.

    Reply
  45. I should have said that the gentleman was a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland–twice AND voiced an opinion for Catholic emancipation.

    Reply
  46. I don’t mind some actual figures in a book. We all know who is the regent, depending on the times, and we know that Wellington could have interacted with any soldier.
    What I do not care for, are novels written around real historic figures, like “The Other Boleyn Girl” and novels by Alison Weir. These tend to confuse us as to what is really true, and often are not even historically accurate to the facts that we do know.
    hhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373775903/wordwenches0b-20

    Reply
  47. I don’t mind some actual figures in a book. We all know who is the regent, depending on the times, and we know that Wellington could have interacted with any soldier.
    What I do not care for, are novels written around real historic figures, like “The Other Boleyn Girl” and novels by Alison Weir. These tend to confuse us as to what is really true, and often are not even historically accurate to the facts that we do know.
    hhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373775903/wordwenches0b-20

    Reply
  48. I don’t mind some actual figures in a book. We all know who is the regent, depending on the times, and we know that Wellington could have interacted with any soldier.
    What I do not care for, are novels written around real historic figures, like “The Other Boleyn Girl” and novels by Alison Weir. These tend to confuse us as to what is really true, and often are not even historically accurate to the facts that we do know.
    hhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373775903/wordwenches0b-20

    Reply
  49. I don’t mind some actual figures in a book. We all know who is the regent, depending on the times, and we know that Wellington could have interacted with any soldier.
    What I do not care for, are novels written around real historic figures, like “The Other Boleyn Girl” and novels by Alison Weir. These tend to confuse us as to what is really true, and often are not even historically accurate to the facts that we do know.
    hhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373775903/wordwenches0b-20

    Reply
  50. I don’t mind some actual figures in a book. We all know who is the regent, depending on the times, and we know that Wellington could have interacted with any soldier.
    What I do not care for, are novels written around real historic figures, like “The Other Boleyn Girl” and novels by Alison Weir. These tend to confuse us as to what is really true, and often are not even historically accurate to the facts that we do know.
    hhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373775903/wordwenches0b-20

    Reply
  51. For the most part, I love historical characters in my historical fiction, but sometimes the fit is awkward. At other times, it’s a pure delight.
    At one point during my reading of historical fiction, the Regent was almost always present in Regencies. Sometimes as a womanizer, sometimes as a gambler, sometimes as incompetent, and sometimes as an intelligent but misunderstood figure.
    A couple of romance authors have used the Duke of Bridgewater as a secondary character. Their author notes mention that he never married.
    One of my favorite incidents of a historical character was Ben Franklin. The hero took the heroine to see him demonstrate electricity, and then they generated some sparks of their own.

    Reply
  52. For the most part, I love historical characters in my historical fiction, but sometimes the fit is awkward. At other times, it’s a pure delight.
    At one point during my reading of historical fiction, the Regent was almost always present in Regencies. Sometimes as a womanizer, sometimes as a gambler, sometimes as incompetent, and sometimes as an intelligent but misunderstood figure.
    A couple of romance authors have used the Duke of Bridgewater as a secondary character. Their author notes mention that he never married.
    One of my favorite incidents of a historical character was Ben Franklin. The hero took the heroine to see him demonstrate electricity, and then they generated some sparks of their own.

    Reply
  53. For the most part, I love historical characters in my historical fiction, but sometimes the fit is awkward. At other times, it’s a pure delight.
    At one point during my reading of historical fiction, the Regent was almost always present in Regencies. Sometimes as a womanizer, sometimes as a gambler, sometimes as incompetent, and sometimes as an intelligent but misunderstood figure.
    A couple of romance authors have used the Duke of Bridgewater as a secondary character. Their author notes mention that he never married.
    One of my favorite incidents of a historical character was Ben Franklin. The hero took the heroine to see him demonstrate electricity, and then they generated some sparks of their own.

    Reply
  54. For the most part, I love historical characters in my historical fiction, but sometimes the fit is awkward. At other times, it’s a pure delight.
    At one point during my reading of historical fiction, the Regent was almost always present in Regencies. Sometimes as a womanizer, sometimes as a gambler, sometimes as incompetent, and sometimes as an intelligent but misunderstood figure.
    A couple of romance authors have used the Duke of Bridgewater as a secondary character. Their author notes mention that he never married.
    One of my favorite incidents of a historical character was Ben Franklin. The hero took the heroine to see him demonstrate electricity, and then they generated some sparks of their own.

    Reply
  55. For the most part, I love historical characters in my historical fiction, but sometimes the fit is awkward. At other times, it’s a pure delight.
    At one point during my reading of historical fiction, the Regent was almost always present in Regencies. Sometimes as a womanizer, sometimes as a gambler, sometimes as incompetent, and sometimes as an intelligent but misunderstood figure.
    A couple of romance authors have used the Duke of Bridgewater as a secondary character. Their author notes mention that he never married.
    One of my favorite incidents of a historical character was Ben Franklin. The hero took the heroine to see him demonstrate electricity, and then they generated some sparks of their own.

    Reply
  56. “Real people” walking through a fiction novel help to anchor the place and time. I read a lot of Cecilia Holland’s novels when they were available to me, and I liked her method of writing about an event not focusing on the historical figures, but the guy sort of standing off to the left who had his own problems to deal with.

    Reply
  57. “Real people” walking through a fiction novel help to anchor the place and time. I read a lot of Cecilia Holland’s novels when they were available to me, and I liked her method of writing about an event not focusing on the historical figures, but the guy sort of standing off to the left who had his own problems to deal with.

    Reply
  58. “Real people” walking through a fiction novel help to anchor the place and time. I read a lot of Cecilia Holland’s novels when they were available to me, and I liked her method of writing about an event not focusing on the historical figures, but the guy sort of standing off to the left who had his own problems to deal with.

    Reply
  59. “Real people” walking through a fiction novel help to anchor the place and time. I read a lot of Cecilia Holland’s novels when they were available to me, and I liked her method of writing about an event not focusing on the historical figures, but the guy sort of standing off to the left who had his own problems to deal with.

    Reply
  60. “Real people” walking through a fiction novel help to anchor the place and time. I read a lot of Cecilia Holland’s novels when they were available to me, and I liked her method of writing about an event not focusing on the historical figures, but the guy sort of standing off to the left who had his own problems to deal with.

    Reply
  61. Real people in contemporary romance is a bit off putting, especially as the more famous are often in the newspapers. It seems unlikely that the hero/heroine would be in the same place at the same time. But, real people in historical romance seems to place the story in context. Your reference to the Lord Lieutenant is a good example. If really interested, then the reader could look up the real man’s name, otherwise, he is unlikely to play any big part in the story, apart from shaking hands so to say, so don’t bother with his name. Similarly, Wellington seemed to be all over the place so he could have been there, but in his case, just the name Wellington brings the man to life. Also using the term ‘Prinny’ and the reader knows exactly who is being mentioned. I suppose it is a fine line – name or explain.

    Reply
  62. Real people in contemporary romance is a bit off putting, especially as the more famous are often in the newspapers. It seems unlikely that the hero/heroine would be in the same place at the same time. But, real people in historical romance seems to place the story in context. Your reference to the Lord Lieutenant is a good example. If really interested, then the reader could look up the real man’s name, otherwise, he is unlikely to play any big part in the story, apart from shaking hands so to say, so don’t bother with his name. Similarly, Wellington seemed to be all over the place so he could have been there, but in his case, just the name Wellington brings the man to life. Also using the term ‘Prinny’ and the reader knows exactly who is being mentioned. I suppose it is a fine line – name or explain.

    Reply
  63. Real people in contemporary romance is a bit off putting, especially as the more famous are often in the newspapers. It seems unlikely that the hero/heroine would be in the same place at the same time. But, real people in historical romance seems to place the story in context. Your reference to the Lord Lieutenant is a good example. If really interested, then the reader could look up the real man’s name, otherwise, he is unlikely to play any big part in the story, apart from shaking hands so to say, so don’t bother with his name. Similarly, Wellington seemed to be all over the place so he could have been there, but in his case, just the name Wellington brings the man to life. Also using the term ‘Prinny’ and the reader knows exactly who is being mentioned. I suppose it is a fine line – name or explain.

    Reply
  64. Real people in contemporary romance is a bit off putting, especially as the more famous are often in the newspapers. It seems unlikely that the hero/heroine would be in the same place at the same time. But, real people in historical romance seems to place the story in context. Your reference to the Lord Lieutenant is a good example. If really interested, then the reader could look up the real man’s name, otherwise, he is unlikely to play any big part in the story, apart from shaking hands so to say, so don’t bother with his name. Similarly, Wellington seemed to be all over the place so he could have been there, but in his case, just the name Wellington brings the man to life. Also using the term ‘Prinny’ and the reader knows exactly who is being mentioned. I suppose it is a fine line – name or explain.

    Reply
  65. Real people in contemporary romance is a bit off putting, especially as the more famous are often in the newspapers. It seems unlikely that the hero/heroine would be in the same place at the same time. But, real people in historical romance seems to place the story in context. Your reference to the Lord Lieutenant is a good example. If really interested, then the reader could look up the real man’s name, otherwise, he is unlikely to play any big part in the story, apart from shaking hands so to say, so don’t bother with his name. Similarly, Wellington seemed to be all over the place so he could have been there, but in his case, just the name Wellington brings the man to life. Also using the term ‘Prinny’ and the reader knows exactly who is being mentioned. I suppose it is a fine line – name or explain.

    Reply
  66. I don’t usually mind some actual people in a book. Of course it depends how they are written into the story. And do they really need to be there in the first place.

    Reply
  67. I don’t usually mind some actual people in a book. Of course it depends how they are written into the story. And do they really need to be there in the first place.

    Reply
  68. I don’t usually mind some actual people in a book. Of course it depends how they are written into the story. And do they really need to be there in the first place.

    Reply
  69. I don’t usually mind some actual people in a book. Of course it depends how they are written into the story. And do they really need to be there in the first place.

    Reply
  70. I don’t usually mind some actual people in a book. Of course it depends how they are written into the story. And do they really need to be there in the first place.

    Reply
  71. Hi Sonya, yes there are a lot of made up peers, and there have to be. I did a tally of real dukes for one of my books, I think because it was important who was eligible. I think it was for The Scandalous Countess when Georgia was thinking who she could bear to marry so as not to lose social ranking.
    Yes, in contemporaries it usually seems like name-dropping.

    Reply
  72. Hi Sonya, yes there are a lot of made up peers, and there have to be. I did a tally of real dukes for one of my books, I think because it was important who was eligible. I think it was for The Scandalous Countess when Georgia was thinking who she could bear to marry so as not to lose social ranking.
    Yes, in contemporaries it usually seems like name-dropping.

    Reply
  73. Hi Sonya, yes there are a lot of made up peers, and there have to be. I did a tally of real dukes for one of my books, I think because it was important who was eligible. I think it was for The Scandalous Countess when Georgia was thinking who she could bear to marry so as not to lose social ranking.
    Yes, in contemporaries it usually seems like name-dropping.

    Reply
  74. Hi Sonya, yes there are a lot of made up peers, and there have to be. I did a tally of real dukes for one of my books, I think because it was important who was eligible. I think it was for The Scandalous Countess when Georgia was thinking who she could bear to marry so as not to lose social ranking.
    Yes, in contemporaries it usually seems like name-dropping.

    Reply
  75. Hi Sonya, yes there are a lot of made up peers, and there have to be. I did a tally of real dukes for one of my books, I think because it was important who was eligible. I think it was for The Scandalous Countess when Georgia was thinking who she could bear to marry so as not to lose social ranking.
    Yes, in contemporaries it usually seems like name-dropping.

    Reply
  76. ” think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.”
    That’s a good point, Lil. And in such a book the details will often be wrong.
    If I’m using a real person I do my best to make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. Just because a person was alive at the time, he or she might not be in London, or England. Or be seriously ill.

    Reply
  77. ” think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.”
    That’s a good point, Lil. And in such a book the details will often be wrong.
    If I’m using a real person I do my best to make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. Just because a person was alive at the time, he or she might not be in London, or England. Or be seriously ill.

    Reply
  78. ” think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.”
    That’s a good point, Lil. And in such a book the details will often be wrong.
    If I’m using a real person I do my best to make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. Just because a person was alive at the time, he or she might not be in London, or England. Or be seriously ill.

    Reply
  79. ” think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.”
    That’s a good point, Lil. And in such a book the details will often be wrong.
    If I’m using a real person I do my best to make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. Just because a person was alive at the time, he or she might not be in London, or England. Or be seriously ill.

    Reply
  80. ” think real people are probably best left out of books that don’t have much connection with reality in the first place, but I enjoy seeing them in historicals that take place in a real, historically grounded setting.”
    That’s a good point, Lil. And in such a book the details will often be wrong.
    If I’m using a real person I do my best to make sure they’re in the right place at the right time. Just because a person was alive at the time, he or she might not be in London, or England. Or be seriously ill.

    Reply
  81. HJ, that’s a good point about what the reader knows. If we bring in a person for a purpose, but the reader doesn’t know that (for eg) they were a famous worker for the abolition of slavery, the whole point could be missed.

    Reply
  82. HJ, that’s a good point about what the reader knows. If we bring in a person for a purpose, but the reader doesn’t know that (for eg) they were a famous worker for the abolition of slavery, the whole point could be missed.

    Reply
  83. HJ, that’s a good point about what the reader knows. If we bring in a person for a purpose, but the reader doesn’t know that (for eg) they were a famous worker for the abolition of slavery, the whole point could be missed.

    Reply
  84. HJ, that’s a good point about what the reader knows. If we bring in a person for a purpose, but the reader doesn’t know that (for eg) they were a famous worker for the abolition of slavery, the whole point could be missed.

    Reply
  85. HJ, that’s a good point about what the reader knows. If we bring in a person for a purpose, but the reader doesn’t know that (for eg) they were a famous worker for the abolition of slavery, the whole point could be missed.

    Reply
  86. LOL on Margaret Lennox, Glee!
    That does touch on a problem. Sometimes the author’s view of a person isn’t the generally accepted one. Or the historical character has warring camps, as with Richard III. Then it can be perilous ground.

    Reply
  87. LOL on Margaret Lennox, Glee!
    That does touch on a problem. Sometimes the author’s view of a person isn’t the generally accepted one. Or the historical character has warring camps, as with Richard III. Then it can be perilous ground.

    Reply
  88. LOL on Margaret Lennox, Glee!
    That does touch on a problem. Sometimes the author’s view of a person isn’t the generally accepted one. Or the historical character has warring camps, as with Richard III. Then it can be perilous ground.

    Reply
  89. LOL on Margaret Lennox, Glee!
    That does touch on a problem. Sometimes the author’s view of a person isn’t the generally accepted one. Or the historical character has warring camps, as with Richard III. Then it can be perilous ground.

    Reply
  90. LOL on Margaret Lennox, Glee!
    That does touch on a problem. Sometimes the author’s view of a person isn’t the generally accepted one. Or the historical character has warring camps, as with Richard III. Then it can be perilous ground.

    Reply
  91. Yes, that’s a great example Trish.
    There was a BBC radio dramatization of their story recently. Not based on the Heyer, but on other documents, and mostly about the war and Wellington, but Harry and Juana played major roles. I don’t think it’s still available to listen to, but you might be able to buy a recording from the BBC Radio iplayer site.
    I do alert people to such things on my Facebook author page, if you don’t already “like” there. http://www.facebook.com/jo.beverley. These days you have to make the effort to check, though, because FB isn’t feeding all the posts through.

    Reply
  92. Yes, that’s a great example Trish.
    There was a BBC radio dramatization of their story recently. Not based on the Heyer, but on other documents, and mostly about the war and Wellington, but Harry and Juana played major roles. I don’t think it’s still available to listen to, but you might be able to buy a recording from the BBC Radio iplayer site.
    I do alert people to such things on my Facebook author page, if you don’t already “like” there. http://www.facebook.com/jo.beverley. These days you have to make the effort to check, though, because FB isn’t feeding all the posts through.

    Reply
  93. Yes, that’s a great example Trish.
    There was a BBC radio dramatization of their story recently. Not based on the Heyer, but on other documents, and mostly about the war and Wellington, but Harry and Juana played major roles. I don’t think it’s still available to listen to, but you might be able to buy a recording from the BBC Radio iplayer site.
    I do alert people to such things on my Facebook author page, if you don’t already “like” there. http://www.facebook.com/jo.beverley. These days you have to make the effort to check, though, because FB isn’t feeding all the posts through.

    Reply
  94. Yes, that’s a great example Trish.
    There was a BBC radio dramatization of their story recently. Not based on the Heyer, but on other documents, and mostly about the war and Wellington, but Harry and Juana played major roles. I don’t think it’s still available to listen to, but you might be able to buy a recording from the BBC Radio iplayer site.
    I do alert people to such things on my Facebook author page, if you don’t already “like” there. http://www.facebook.com/jo.beverley. These days you have to make the effort to check, though, because FB isn’t feeding all the posts through.

    Reply
  95. Yes, that’s a great example Trish.
    There was a BBC radio dramatization of their story recently. Not based on the Heyer, but on other documents, and mostly about the war and Wellington, but Harry and Juana played major roles. I don’t think it’s still available to listen to, but you might be able to buy a recording from the BBC Radio iplayer site.
    I do alert people to such things on my Facebook author page, if you don’t already “like” there. http://www.facebook.com/jo.beverley. These days you have to make the effort to check, though, because FB isn’t feeding all the posts through.

    Reply
  96. I’ve featured the Duke of Bridgwater as a minor character, Shannon, and he was interesting. There were often interesting scientists and engineers around and I think bringing them in sometimes shows that many of the upper classes were very interested in new ideas and progress.

    Reply
  97. I’ve featured the Duke of Bridgwater as a minor character, Shannon, and he was interesting. There were often interesting scientists and engineers around and I think bringing them in sometimes shows that many of the upper classes were very interested in new ideas and progress.

    Reply
  98. I’ve featured the Duke of Bridgwater as a minor character, Shannon, and he was interesting. There were often interesting scientists and engineers around and I think bringing them in sometimes shows that many of the upper classes were very interested in new ideas and progress.

    Reply
  99. I’ve featured the Duke of Bridgwater as a minor character, Shannon, and he was interesting. There were often interesting scientists and engineers around and I think bringing them in sometimes shows that many of the upper classes were very interested in new ideas and progress.

    Reply
  100. I’ve featured the Duke of Bridgwater as a minor character, Shannon, and he was interesting. There were often interesting scientists and engineers around and I think bringing them in sometimes shows that many of the upper classes were very interested in new ideas and progress.

    Reply
  101. Good point, Jenny. If we put our characters in a real time and place there could well be famous people around, and then it would be odd to ignore them!
    I fictionalized Beer in Devon because there was a real and famous smuggler operating there at the time of my book. And then it allowed me to change some other details to suit my stories.

    Reply
  102. Good point, Jenny. If we put our characters in a real time and place there could well be famous people around, and then it would be odd to ignore them!
    I fictionalized Beer in Devon because there was a real and famous smuggler operating there at the time of my book. And then it allowed me to change some other details to suit my stories.

    Reply
  103. Good point, Jenny. If we put our characters in a real time and place there could well be famous people around, and then it would be odd to ignore them!
    I fictionalized Beer in Devon because there was a real and famous smuggler operating there at the time of my book. And then it allowed me to change some other details to suit my stories.

    Reply
  104. Good point, Jenny. If we put our characters in a real time and place there could well be famous people around, and then it would be odd to ignore them!
    I fictionalized Beer in Devon because there was a real and famous smuggler operating there at the time of my book. And then it allowed me to change some other details to suit my stories.

    Reply
  105. Good point, Jenny. If we put our characters in a real time and place there could well be famous people around, and then it would be odd to ignore them!
    I fictionalized Beer in Devon because there was a real and famous smuggler operating there at the time of my book. And then it allowed me to change some other details to suit my stories.

    Reply
  106. I enjoy finding real historical figures in stories. One of the things I love-and-hate about ebooks is the instant access to Google when I get curious about something in a novel, and I confess that I spent about an hour looking up Bridgewater and his canals in the midst of reading one of your books – in my defense, it was a reread. 🙂
    My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.

    Reply
  107. I enjoy finding real historical figures in stories. One of the things I love-and-hate about ebooks is the instant access to Google when I get curious about something in a novel, and I confess that I spent about an hour looking up Bridgewater and his canals in the midst of reading one of your books – in my defense, it was a reread. 🙂
    My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.

    Reply
  108. I enjoy finding real historical figures in stories. One of the things I love-and-hate about ebooks is the instant access to Google when I get curious about something in a novel, and I confess that I spent about an hour looking up Bridgewater and his canals in the midst of reading one of your books – in my defense, it was a reread. 🙂
    My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.

    Reply
  109. I enjoy finding real historical figures in stories. One of the things I love-and-hate about ebooks is the instant access to Google when I get curious about something in a novel, and I confess that I spent about an hour looking up Bridgewater and his canals in the midst of reading one of your books – in my defense, it was a reread. 🙂
    My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.

    Reply
  110. I enjoy finding real historical figures in stories. One of the things I love-and-hate about ebooks is the instant access to Google when I get curious about something in a novel, and I confess that I spent about an hour looking up Bridgewater and his canals in the midst of reading one of your books – in my defense, it was a reread. 🙂
    My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.

    Reply
  111. Honestly it doesn’t make a difference to me or not. I read for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate everything else but it’s not the crucial element for me.

    Reply
  112. Honestly it doesn’t make a difference to me or not. I read for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate everything else but it’s not the crucial element for me.

    Reply
  113. Honestly it doesn’t make a difference to me or not. I read for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate everything else but it’s not the crucial element for me.

    Reply
  114. Honestly it doesn’t make a difference to me or not. I read for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate everything else but it’s not the crucial element for me.

    Reply
  115. Honestly it doesn’t make a difference to me or not. I read for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate everything else but it’s not the crucial element for me.

    Reply
  116. I read romances for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate the historical elements and want them to be factual but they don’t make or break the story for me. The characters do.

    Reply
  117. I read romances for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate the historical elements and want them to be factual but they don’t make or break the story for me. The characters do.

    Reply
  118. I read romances for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate the historical elements and want them to be factual but they don’t make or break the story for me. The characters do.

    Reply
  119. I read romances for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate the historical elements and want them to be factual but they don’t make or break the story for me. The characters do.

    Reply
  120. I read romances for the interaction between the hero and heroine. I appreciate the historical elements and want them to be factual but they don’t make or break the story for me. The characters do.

    Reply
  121. When considering your question, Jo, I realized that when it’s an historical character who interests me, I LOVE having them onstage periodically.
    One of my favorites is Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is a major character in Sharon Kay Penman’s medieval mysteries, beginning with The Queen’s Man, and Keena Kincaid’s Ties That Bind from her Druids of Duncarnoch series.
    Seeing Wellington almost every time I pick up a Regeny anchors me in time, but just isn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  122. When considering your question, Jo, I realized that when it’s an historical character who interests me, I LOVE having them onstage periodically.
    One of my favorites is Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is a major character in Sharon Kay Penman’s medieval mysteries, beginning with The Queen’s Man, and Keena Kincaid’s Ties That Bind from her Druids of Duncarnoch series.
    Seeing Wellington almost every time I pick up a Regeny anchors me in time, but just isn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  123. When considering your question, Jo, I realized that when it’s an historical character who interests me, I LOVE having them onstage periodically.
    One of my favorites is Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is a major character in Sharon Kay Penman’s medieval mysteries, beginning with The Queen’s Man, and Keena Kincaid’s Ties That Bind from her Druids of Duncarnoch series.
    Seeing Wellington almost every time I pick up a Regeny anchors me in time, but just isn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  124. When considering your question, Jo, I realized that when it’s an historical character who interests me, I LOVE having them onstage periodically.
    One of my favorites is Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is a major character in Sharon Kay Penman’s medieval mysteries, beginning with The Queen’s Man, and Keena Kincaid’s Ties That Bind from her Druids of Duncarnoch series.
    Seeing Wellington almost every time I pick up a Regeny anchors me in time, but just isn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  125. When considering your question, Jo, I realized that when it’s an historical character who interests me, I LOVE having them onstage periodically.
    One of my favorites is Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is a major character in Sharon Kay Penman’s medieval mysteries, beginning with The Queen’s Man, and Keena Kincaid’s Ties That Bind from her Druids of Duncarnoch series.
    Seeing Wellington almost every time I pick up a Regeny anchors me in time, but just isn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  126. I think if one were writing in a real person, it would be easy to fall into a trap of presenting their character as the writer thought it was. I also think that because most famous historic people have very definitive characteristics, it would be easy to do. A true problem presents itself.
    But, for an author, if you have done your homework, and know your topic, then jump on it like a duck on a junebug, because it will add to time and place in a story. The atmosphere will be enhanced and the story will seem much more real.

    Reply
  127. I think if one were writing in a real person, it would be easy to fall into a trap of presenting their character as the writer thought it was. I also think that because most famous historic people have very definitive characteristics, it would be easy to do. A true problem presents itself.
    But, for an author, if you have done your homework, and know your topic, then jump on it like a duck on a junebug, because it will add to time and place in a story. The atmosphere will be enhanced and the story will seem much more real.

    Reply
  128. I think if one were writing in a real person, it would be easy to fall into a trap of presenting their character as the writer thought it was. I also think that because most famous historic people have very definitive characteristics, it would be easy to do. A true problem presents itself.
    But, for an author, if you have done your homework, and know your topic, then jump on it like a duck on a junebug, because it will add to time and place in a story. The atmosphere will be enhanced and the story will seem much more real.

    Reply
  129. I think if one were writing in a real person, it would be easy to fall into a trap of presenting their character as the writer thought it was. I also think that because most famous historic people have very definitive characteristics, it would be easy to do. A true problem presents itself.
    But, for an author, if you have done your homework, and know your topic, then jump on it like a duck on a junebug, because it will add to time and place in a story. The atmosphere will be enhanced and the story will seem much more real.

    Reply
  130. I think if one were writing in a real person, it would be easy to fall into a trap of presenting their character as the writer thought it was. I also think that because most famous historic people have very definitive characteristics, it would be easy to do. A true problem presents itself.
    But, for an author, if you have done your homework, and know your topic, then jump on it like a duck on a junebug, because it will add to time and place in a story. The atmosphere will be enhanced and the story will seem much more real.

    Reply
  131. It’s an age thing. I realize that many readers need a summary as to FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower et al., but the blurbs irritate me. The less I know about an era, the more I appreciate identifying info, but even then, I prefer to read that in a foreward.

    Reply
  132. It’s an age thing. I realize that many readers need a summary as to FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower et al., but the blurbs irritate me. The less I know about an era, the more I appreciate identifying info, but even then, I prefer to read that in a foreward.

    Reply
  133. It’s an age thing. I realize that many readers need a summary as to FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower et al., but the blurbs irritate me. The less I know about an era, the more I appreciate identifying info, but even then, I prefer to read that in a foreward.

    Reply
  134. It’s an age thing. I realize that many readers need a summary as to FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower et al., but the blurbs irritate me. The less I know about an era, the more I appreciate identifying info, but even then, I prefer to read that in a foreward.

    Reply
  135. It’s an age thing. I realize that many readers need a summary as to FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower et al., but the blurbs irritate me. The less I know about an era, the more I appreciate identifying info, but even then, I prefer to read that in a foreward.

    Reply
  136. “My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.”
    I agree, Marna. And it’s one reason I have trouble with alternate history. I’ve read some where someone lives instead of dying, and that’s okay because the real people can still act like themselves, but if someone decides to make Wellington a traitor, or Brummell a devoted family man…. No.

    Reply
  137. “My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.”
    I agree, Marna. And it’s one reason I have trouble with alternate history. I’ve read some where someone lives instead of dying, and that’s okay because the real people can still act like themselves, but if someone decides to make Wellington a traitor, or Brummell a devoted family man…. No.

    Reply
  138. “My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.”
    I agree, Marna. And it’s one reason I have trouble with alternate history. I’ve read some where someone lives instead of dying, and that’s okay because the real people can still act like themselves, but if someone decides to make Wellington a traitor, or Brummell a devoted family man…. No.

    Reply
  139. “My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.”
    I agree, Marna. And it’s one reason I have trouble with alternate history. I’ve read some where someone lives instead of dying, and that’s okay because the real people can still act like themselves, but if someone decides to make Wellington a traitor, or Brummell a devoted family man…. No.

    Reply
  140. “My only caveat really, is that their actions and characterisation shouldn’t contradict known facts, beyond tiny things like shifting a date or two slightly – if the writer needs to alter their biography and behaviour more than that I think it’s time to file their serial number off and rename them, unless it’s alternate or secret history.”
    I agree, Marna. And it’s one reason I have trouble with alternate history. I’ve read some where someone lives instead of dying, and that’s okay because the real people can still act like themselves, but if someone decides to make Wellington a traitor, or Brummell a devoted family man…. No.

    Reply
  141. I think you’re highlighting the difference between historical novels based around the lives of real people, and historical romances in which real people play very small or even walk-by parts. It is tricky to make real people major players in a romance.

    Reply
  142. I think you’re highlighting the difference between historical novels based around the lives of real people, and historical romances in which real people play very small or even walk-by parts. It is tricky to make real people major players in a romance.

    Reply
  143. I think you’re highlighting the difference between historical novels based around the lives of real people, and historical romances in which real people play very small or even walk-by parts. It is tricky to make real people major players in a romance.

    Reply
  144. I think you’re highlighting the difference between historical novels based around the lives of real people, and historical romances in which real people play very small or even walk-by parts. It is tricky to make real people major players in a romance.

    Reply
  145. I think you’re highlighting the difference between historical novels based around the lives of real people, and historical romances in which real people play very small or even walk-by parts. It is tricky to make real people major players in a romance.

    Reply
  146. I’d say the author is allowed to write a real person as she thinks they were, Annette, but as you say, they need to do their research and stick with the known facts. It can still leave a lot open to interpretation, though.

    Reply
  147. I’d say the author is allowed to write a real person as she thinks they were, Annette, but as you say, they need to do their research and stick with the known facts. It can still leave a lot open to interpretation, though.

    Reply
  148. I’d say the author is allowed to write a real person as she thinks they were, Annette, but as you say, they need to do their research and stick with the known facts. It can still leave a lot open to interpretation, though.

    Reply
  149. I’d say the author is allowed to write a real person as she thinks they were, Annette, but as you say, they need to do their research and stick with the known facts. It can still leave a lot open to interpretation, though.

    Reply
  150. I’d say the author is allowed to write a real person as she thinks they were, Annette, but as you say, they need to do their research and stick with the known facts. It can still leave a lot open to interpretation, though.

    Reply
  151. It’s always a balance, isn’t it, Liz. As an author I can’t know what all my readers know and have to try to steer a course that will work for most.
    Jo

    Reply
  152. It’s always a balance, isn’t it, Liz. As an author I can’t know what all my readers know and have to try to steer a course that will work for most.
    Jo

    Reply
  153. It’s always a balance, isn’t it, Liz. As an author I can’t know what all my readers know and have to try to steer a course that will work for most.
    Jo

    Reply
  154. It’s always a balance, isn’t it, Liz. As an author I can’t know what all my readers know and have to try to steer a course that will work for most.
    Jo

    Reply
  155. It’s always a balance, isn’t it, Liz. As an author I can’t know what all my readers know and have to try to steer a course that will work for most.
    Jo

    Reply
  156. I enjoy having real historical figures in a romance. For me, it adds an extra layer of authenticity to the book. I do agree though that an author has to careful how she handles real people. If she contradicts any major known facts or I spot someone doing something unlikely or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, then my belief in that author’s “authority” goes down the pan. Too many mistakes and I’ll stop reading. A story I read once about the English Civil War comes to mind. The author clearly disliked Charles I and really relished depicting him in the worst possible light whenever he appeared. OK, the man had his faults, but he wasn’t a coward and her very one-sided view of his nature jarred and spoilt the whole book for me.

    Reply
  157. I enjoy having real historical figures in a romance. For me, it adds an extra layer of authenticity to the book. I do agree though that an author has to careful how she handles real people. If she contradicts any major known facts or I spot someone doing something unlikely or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, then my belief in that author’s “authority” goes down the pan. Too many mistakes and I’ll stop reading. A story I read once about the English Civil War comes to mind. The author clearly disliked Charles I and really relished depicting him in the worst possible light whenever he appeared. OK, the man had his faults, but he wasn’t a coward and her very one-sided view of his nature jarred and spoilt the whole book for me.

    Reply
  158. I enjoy having real historical figures in a romance. For me, it adds an extra layer of authenticity to the book. I do agree though that an author has to careful how she handles real people. If she contradicts any major known facts or I spot someone doing something unlikely or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, then my belief in that author’s “authority” goes down the pan. Too many mistakes and I’ll stop reading. A story I read once about the English Civil War comes to mind. The author clearly disliked Charles I and really relished depicting him in the worst possible light whenever he appeared. OK, the man had his faults, but he wasn’t a coward and her very one-sided view of his nature jarred and spoilt the whole book for me.

    Reply
  159. I enjoy having real historical figures in a romance. For me, it adds an extra layer of authenticity to the book. I do agree though that an author has to careful how she handles real people. If she contradicts any major known facts or I spot someone doing something unlikely or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, then my belief in that author’s “authority” goes down the pan. Too many mistakes and I’ll stop reading. A story I read once about the English Civil War comes to mind. The author clearly disliked Charles I and really relished depicting him in the worst possible light whenever he appeared. OK, the man had his faults, but he wasn’t a coward and her very one-sided view of his nature jarred and spoilt the whole book for me.

    Reply
  160. I enjoy having real historical figures in a romance. For me, it adds an extra layer of authenticity to the book. I do agree though that an author has to careful how she handles real people. If she contradicts any major known facts or I spot someone doing something unlikely or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, then my belief in that author’s “authority” goes down the pan. Too many mistakes and I’ll stop reading. A story I read once about the English Civil War comes to mind. The author clearly disliked Charles I and really relished depicting him in the worst possible light whenever he appeared. OK, the man had his faults, but he wasn’t a coward and her very one-sided view of his nature jarred and spoilt the whole book for me.

    Reply
  161. I prefer real historical figures in supporting roles – I always end up looking them up and find many on Wikipedia with often quite a lot of information including gossip about them. That adds to the background about the fictional characters lives and is often how I learn about people places & times.

    Reply
  162. I prefer real historical figures in supporting roles – I always end up looking them up and find many on Wikipedia with often quite a lot of information including gossip about them. That adds to the background about the fictional characters lives and is often how I learn about people places & times.

    Reply
  163. I prefer real historical figures in supporting roles – I always end up looking them up and find many on Wikipedia with often quite a lot of information including gossip about them. That adds to the background about the fictional characters lives and is often how I learn about people places & times.

    Reply
  164. I prefer real historical figures in supporting roles – I always end up looking them up and find many on Wikipedia with often quite a lot of information including gossip about them. That adds to the background about the fictional characters lives and is often how I learn about people places & times.

    Reply
  165. I prefer real historical figures in supporting roles – I always end up looking them up and find many on Wikipedia with often quite a lot of information including gossip about them. That adds to the background about the fictional characters lives and is often how I learn about people places & times.

    Reply
  166. If the book is set in London society during the early years of the Regency omitting mention of Brummell would be a little strange. If characters go to Almacks after 1815 they should mention Lady Jersey.
    The person most often misrepresented, in my view, is Lord Byron. Many authors use the opinions of Lady Caroline ( scorned lover) and Lady Byron ( vengeful wife) which were only known years later and forget that in 1814 Byron was as popular as the most popular star today. he had hundreds of letters including curls of hair from the head as well as below the waist.
    I would expect that the Duke of Devonshire would be named as a bachelor duke in any story about a family trying to marry off a spinster.
    I didn’t know that bit about the Lord Lieutenant introducing the new earl to Devon society . Something new. I would have liked to have had the name. I don’t expect all the named characters to have a part in the story. It seems to me that the story seems more rooted in reality if people have names.Otherwise I think that the author shares my problem of thinking up names for minor character.
    Of course, I would never think that about any book by Jo.
    I have the Dragon Bride. I like all the scenes in which David has appeared (In that book and others)so far even though I am not quite as sympathetic about smuggling.

    Reply
  167. If the book is set in London society during the early years of the Regency omitting mention of Brummell would be a little strange. If characters go to Almacks after 1815 they should mention Lady Jersey.
    The person most often misrepresented, in my view, is Lord Byron. Many authors use the opinions of Lady Caroline ( scorned lover) and Lady Byron ( vengeful wife) which were only known years later and forget that in 1814 Byron was as popular as the most popular star today. he had hundreds of letters including curls of hair from the head as well as below the waist.
    I would expect that the Duke of Devonshire would be named as a bachelor duke in any story about a family trying to marry off a spinster.
    I didn’t know that bit about the Lord Lieutenant introducing the new earl to Devon society . Something new. I would have liked to have had the name. I don’t expect all the named characters to have a part in the story. It seems to me that the story seems more rooted in reality if people have names.Otherwise I think that the author shares my problem of thinking up names for minor character.
    Of course, I would never think that about any book by Jo.
    I have the Dragon Bride. I like all the scenes in which David has appeared (In that book and others)so far even though I am not quite as sympathetic about smuggling.

    Reply
  168. If the book is set in London society during the early years of the Regency omitting mention of Brummell would be a little strange. If characters go to Almacks after 1815 they should mention Lady Jersey.
    The person most often misrepresented, in my view, is Lord Byron. Many authors use the opinions of Lady Caroline ( scorned lover) and Lady Byron ( vengeful wife) which were only known years later and forget that in 1814 Byron was as popular as the most popular star today. he had hundreds of letters including curls of hair from the head as well as below the waist.
    I would expect that the Duke of Devonshire would be named as a bachelor duke in any story about a family trying to marry off a spinster.
    I didn’t know that bit about the Lord Lieutenant introducing the new earl to Devon society . Something new. I would have liked to have had the name. I don’t expect all the named characters to have a part in the story. It seems to me that the story seems more rooted in reality if people have names.Otherwise I think that the author shares my problem of thinking up names for minor character.
    Of course, I would never think that about any book by Jo.
    I have the Dragon Bride. I like all the scenes in which David has appeared (In that book and others)so far even though I am not quite as sympathetic about smuggling.

    Reply
  169. If the book is set in London society during the early years of the Regency omitting mention of Brummell would be a little strange. If characters go to Almacks after 1815 they should mention Lady Jersey.
    The person most often misrepresented, in my view, is Lord Byron. Many authors use the opinions of Lady Caroline ( scorned lover) and Lady Byron ( vengeful wife) which were only known years later and forget that in 1814 Byron was as popular as the most popular star today. he had hundreds of letters including curls of hair from the head as well as below the waist.
    I would expect that the Duke of Devonshire would be named as a bachelor duke in any story about a family trying to marry off a spinster.
    I didn’t know that bit about the Lord Lieutenant introducing the new earl to Devon society . Something new. I would have liked to have had the name. I don’t expect all the named characters to have a part in the story. It seems to me that the story seems more rooted in reality if people have names.Otherwise I think that the author shares my problem of thinking up names for minor character.
    Of course, I would never think that about any book by Jo.
    I have the Dragon Bride. I like all the scenes in which David has appeared (In that book and others)so far even though I am not quite as sympathetic about smuggling.

    Reply
  170. If the book is set in London society during the early years of the Regency omitting mention of Brummell would be a little strange. If characters go to Almacks after 1815 they should mention Lady Jersey.
    The person most often misrepresented, in my view, is Lord Byron. Many authors use the opinions of Lady Caroline ( scorned lover) and Lady Byron ( vengeful wife) which were only known years later and forget that in 1814 Byron was as popular as the most popular star today. he had hundreds of letters including curls of hair from the head as well as below the waist.
    I would expect that the Duke of Devonshire would be named as a bachelor duke in any story about a family trying to marry off a spinster.
    I didn’t know that bit about the Lord Lieutenant introducing the new earl to Devon society . Something new. I would have liked to have had the name. I don’t expect all the named characters to have a part in the story. It seems to me that the story seems more rooted in reality if people have names.Otherwise I think that the author shares my problem of thinking up names for minor character.
    Of course, I would never think that about any book by Jo.
    I have the Dragon Bride. I like all the scenes in which David has appeared (In that book and others)so far even though I am not quite as sympathetic about smuggling.

    Reply
  171. I love it when real people show up in historical novels just as long as they really fit into the story. Jo, you are right that it isn’t easy for the author to make it work a lot of the time, but depending on the story and the characters involved the real person can enhance the story immensely.
    I do think real people work better in historical novels than in contemporary ones. Since we really know less about the day to day life of historical characters than modern ones it seems like it is easier to justify introducing historical figures…. besides like you pointed out way lower chance of lawsuits. 😉
    All that said, it does depend on how the character is introduced whether I expect him or her to play a larger part in the novel…

    Reply
  172. I love it when real people show up in historical novels just as long as they really fit into the story. Jo, you are right that it isn’t easy for the author to make it work a lot of the time, but depending on the story and the characters involved the real person can enhance the story immensely.
    I do think real people work better in historical novels than in contemporary ones. Since we really know less about the day to day life of historical characters than modern ones it seems like it is easier to justify introducing historical figures…. besides like you pointed out way lower chance of lawsuits. 😉
    All that said, it does depend on how the character is introduced whether I expect him or her to play a larger part in the novel…

    Reply
  173. I love it when real people show up in historical novels just as long as they really fit into the story. Jo, you are right that it isn’t easy for the author to make it work a lot of the time, but depending on the story and the characters involved the real person can enhance the story immensely.
    I do think real people work better in historical novels than in contemporary ones. Since we really know less about the day to day life of historical characters than modern ones it seems like it is easier to justify introducing historical figures…. besides like you pointed out way lower chance of lawsuits. 😉
    All that said, it does depend on how the character is introduced whether I expect him or her to play a larger part in the novel…

    Reply
  174. I love it when real people show up in historical novels just as long as they really fit into the story. Jo, you are right that it isn’t easy for the author to make it work a lot of the time, but depending on the story and the characters involved the real person can enhance the story immensely.
    I do think real people work better in historical novels than in contemporary ones. Since we really know less about the day to day life of historical characters than modern ones it seems like it is easier to justify introducing historical figures…. besides like you pointed out way lower chance of lawsuits. 😉
    All that said, it does depend on how the character is introduced whether I expect him or her to play a larger part in the novel…

    Reply
  175. I love it when real people show up in historical novels just as long as they really fit into the story. Jo, you are right that it isn’t easy for the author to make it work a lot of the time, but depending on the story and the characters involved the real person can enhance the story immensely.
    I do think real people work better in historical novels than in contemporary ones. Since we really know less about the day to day life of historical characters than modern ones it seems like it is easier to justify introducing historical figures…. besides like you pointed out way lower chance of lawsuits. 😉
    All that said, it does depend on how the character is introduced whether I expect him or her to play a larger part in the novel…

    Reply
  176. Nancy, I’m not sure some people _have_ to be mentioned. It will depend on the characters and context, but as you say, if they’re obsessed with who’s who, or searching for the most eligible men, some real names would slide in smoothly.
    However, most historical romance, and especially Regency, is like an alternate reality, and there is the danger of distracting some readers from the story. If the reader isn’t familiar with Devonshire she might assume he is part of the main story and a likely candidate!
    As for The Dragon’s Bride, Lucy, my heroine in A Shocking Delight definitely disapproves and they have some lively debates on the pros and cons.

    Reply
  177. Nancy, I’m not sure some people _have_ to be mentioned. It will depend on the characters and context, but as you say, if they’re obsessed with who’s who, or searching for the most eligible men, some real names would slide in smoothly.
    However, most historical romance, and especially Regency, is like an alternate reality, and there is the danger of distracting some readers from the story. If the reader isn’t familiar with Devonshire she might assume he is part of the main story and a likely candidate!
    As for The Dragon’s Bride, Lucy, my heroine in A Shocking Delight definitely disapproves and they have some lively debates on the pros and cons.

    Reply
  178. Nancy, I’m not sure some people _have_ to be mentioned. It will depend on the characters and context, but as you say, if they’re obsessed with who’s who, or searching for the most eligible men, some real names would slide in smoothly.
    However, most historical romance, and especially Regency, is like an alternate reality, and there is the danger of distracting some readers from the story. If the reader isn’t familiar with Devonshire she might assume he is part of the main story and a likely candidate!
    As for The Dragon’s Bride, Lucy, my heroine in A Shocking Delight definitely disapproves and they have some lively debates on the pros and cons.

    Reply
  179. Nancy, I’m not sure some people _have_ to be mentioned. It will depend on the characters and context, but as you say, if they’re obsessed with who’s who, or searching for the most eligible men, some real names would slide in smoothly.
    However, most historical romance, and especially Regency, is like an alternate reality, and there is the danger of distracting some readers from the story. If the reader isn’t familiar with Devonshire she might assume he is part of the main story and a likely candidate!
    As for The Dragon’s Bride, Lucy, my heroine in A Shocking Delight definitely disapproves and they have some lively debates on the pros and cons.

    Reply
  180. Nancy, I’m not sure some people _have_ to be mentioned. It will depend on the characters and context, but as you say, if they’re obsessed with who’s who, or searching for the most eligible men, some real names would slide in smoothly.
    However, most historical romance, and especially Regency, is like an alternate reality, and there is the danger of distracting some readers from the story. If the reader isn’t familiar with Devonshire she might assume he is part of the main story and a likely candidate!
    As for The Dragon’s Bride, Lucy, my heroine in A Shocking Delight definitely disapproves and they have some lively debates on the pros and cons.

    Reply
  181. Jo, I love running across real people in historical romances as I feel it helps ground the story in reality. Also, in earlier time periods, there is always the possibility that they might be my ancestors! Thanks for all your wonderful books!

    Reply
  182. Jo, I love running across real people in historical romances as I feel it helps ground the story in reality. Also, in earlier time periods, there is always the possibility that they might be my ancestors! Thanks for all your wonderful books!

    Reply
  183. Jo, I love running across real people in historical romances as I feel it helps ground the story in reality. Also, in earlier time periods, there is always the possibility that they might be my ancestors! Thanks for all your wonderful books!

    Reply
  184. Jo, I love running across real people in historical romances as I feel it helps ground the story in reality. Also, in earlier time periods, there is always the possibility that they might be my ancestors! Thanks for all your wonderful books!

    Reply
  185. Jo, I love running across real people in historical romances as I feel it helps ground the story in reality. Also, in earlier time periods, there is always the possibility that they might be my ancestors! Thanks for all your wonderful books!

    Reply

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