If you write historical fiction, what era do you choose to place your story? Or is it the time period that chooses you?
History as a backdrop
I dropped my heroes in the throes of the French Revolution, in Paris, the day after Marie-Antoinette’s execution. France is imploding, uprisings are sweeping the provinces, the people of Paris are marching on the Royals’ castles, the guillotine is overworked.
Meanwhile, in London… nothing much is happening, except King George is sick. In fact, all the European monarchies are riveted by the French Revolution and busy maintaining order in their own country.
Maximilien Robespierre is in my story but I don’t actually have a scene with him. He’s ever present though, my villain’s mentor and hero. Tomorrow stop by Romance & Beyond, I’ll have a full article on Robespierre.
I also show Monsieur Sanson, the Executioner, whose charge is given by royal decree. His father and grand-father were also the Kingdom’s executioner. Except the job changed when the guillotine was adopted as the only death penalty. Before, death for the low classes came in the form of the breaking wheel, beheading by sword for the aristocracy, which usually took at least two blows. With the concepts of equality, liberty and fraternity, death came in one format for all.
Do you include real historical people in your stories? How do you weave them in?
Picture: From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the time turner with Harry and Hermione.