21 February 2013

Anne Perry (on Writing Historical Novels)

It is a tremendous temptation to use real people in historical novels. The famous, the infamous, the eccentric, cry out to get onto the pages. Perhaps the monstrous most of all; like Vlad the Impaler and Rasputin. But they were real people, and the more recent ones may well have living descendents. Do you want your grandfather or your great grandfather on the pages of someone else’s novel? It may be okay if they’re witty and brave and beautiful. What if they aren’t? What if you knew them, or a lot about them, and the word portrait is simply horribly inaccurate? They don’t need to have been portrayed as guilty of a crime, just being callous or stupid.
New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling novelist Anne Perry at

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