Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Writing Wednesday: Real People

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Today’s vlog was definitely one of the most fun to make, as it had me dressing up (a little bit) as two different characters in order to talk about how I incorporate real-life characters into historical fiction.

A question for readers who love historical fiction: do you like it when real people make “cameo appearances” in novels that are otherwise fictional? It’s not a historical novel but I remember being a bit thrown recently when a pre-presidential Barack Obama makes a brief walk-on appearance in Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. And you do see this a lot in historical novels — I don’t mean the kind that are actually about real people, like  Philippa Gregory’s Tudor novels, but novels that are about fictional people in a historical setting, and suddenly there’s a glimpse of Samuel Pepys across the pub scribbling in his diary, or whatnot. My current novel is going to include appearances by less well-known historical characters, like Jessie Ohman who I portrayed so brilliantly in the video above, but also by people who are relatively famous in Newfoundland, like William Coaker and Wilfred Grenfell. I’d love to know how readers feel about real historical characters showing up in otherwise fictional stories!


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