real fictionI’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 MurrayBeau 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.