How to Breathe New Life Into Real Historical Characters

How to Breathe New Life Into Real Historical Characters

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Using examples from historical fiction, including his own, Robert J Lloyd considers the ways authors use real people as characters in their stories. He discusses why real characters are used to populate historical fiction, rather than creating a completely fictional world. He looks at the ethics of using real people - the arguments for and against - and the 'rules' that seem to have become the norm. Lloyd also discusses problems he's encountered, sources used when researching, and how far research needs to go.


Robert J. Lloyd, the son of parents who worked in the British Foreign Office, grew up in South London, Innsbruck, and Kinshasa. He studied for a Fine Arts degree, starting as a landscape painter, but it was while studying for his MA degree in the History of Ideas that he first read Robert Hooke’s diary, detailing the life and experiments of this extraordinary man. After a twenty-year career as a secondary school teacher, he has now returned to painting and writing.

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