I’m starting to think ahead to Book 2 in my Regency mystery series. And this time around I think I’d like to include some significant ‘real life’ Regency guest stars–namely Lord Byron and (my muse) Lady Caroline Lamb.
In my current novel (book 1) I was VERY careful to create only fictional Regency folk–with a little bit of ‘real life’ name dropping. I mention Prinney (the Prince Regent), Napoleon, Lord Byron and his publisher John Murray, Beau Brummell, and others. But they are only on the periphery. The background. They never take the stage.
I did this because I wanted the story to be 1st and foremost about my characters. I didn’t want any distraction caused by some famous person showing up.
Also, writing about a real life personage is A LOT of work involving a TON of research.
Which is why I’m now wondering: am I crazy to want to include Lord Bryon, a historical personage so overly fictionalized that he has his own reading list? see “Best Lord Byron Books”
Also, how can I possibly do him justice? There are a bunch of biographies solely devoted to trying to do him justice.
Also, how can I do justice to a person that is so beloved? Will English grads (and English professors) nation wide send me snarky letters, irate at my fumbling portrayal?
On the other hand–HOW CAN I RESIST?
My novels is set in the fall of 1813. THIS IS PRIME BYRON TIME Part 1! (Part 2 is when he hooks up with The Shelleys in 1816…but that is beyond my novel’s current time line.)
So just before my novel’s time line:
- Byron publishes Childe Harold in March 1812 and ‘becomes famous’…
- In March 1812 Byron and Caro Lamb start their mad cap, cross dressing, self stabbing, on/off again affair…
- By the summer of 1813, Caro Lamb has embarrassed herself so badly in her conduct in this affair she is taken out of town…
- In the summer of 1813 his half sister Augusta Leigh arrives…
- In the fall Byron visits Newstead Abbey, returning to London Oct. 19 1813…
Which is right about the time of my novel. And not a lot happens to him between Oct-Nov.
What an intriguing lull! My writing instincts insist I must fill it! Imagine if my characters have a run in with the great Lord B! (*gleeful chuckle*)
And so–as is the way of writing–it doesn’t matter in the end what I think.
The decision is made for me.
I go where I must.
Hehe. Suggest you buy Lawyers in Hell edited by Janet Morris. It’s the first of the new of the Heroes in Hell books (the old ones are out of print, but you can find them on Abe and Amazon). Lots of real life characters in those books, and they have one Hell of a time…