Someday I will write a long post about my favorite character I've created, Marjory Dawson Hastings. I adore her. However, today, I am posting about her dull, duty-bound, uninspiring (or is he, really?) husband, Lieutenant Hastings.
When I first wrote Linden Hall, Lt. Hastings was a means to an end--someone to enter Marjory's life and have some ill effect. He also did a dashing fine job of being an arrogant prick whom others could react to, and for showing a general high-born disdain of those beneath him and the colonial rebellion. Now that I've plucked her from that book and given her a story of her own (delicious fun writing, it is!), Hastings has a much larger role. Also, way back when, I did a quick research of English people with the last name Hastings so that if there were some wretched politician or famous thief or treasonous murderer named Hastings I could drop that name like a hot potato and find a less loaded surname.
I did find a Hastings--a Warren Hastings, first governor of the "Company Raj" in India. Pish-posh, I thought, how much more unrelated to my potential storyline could he be!
Ahem. Quite a bit of my impetus for this new project was that Marjory, at the end of Linden Hall, was left in a rather rough place. And thinking of ways to get her out of it included her conniving her husband into promotions. Ah, I thought, he served with Cornwallis on the Southern Campaign in the Revolution! He could follow Cornwallis to India when he goes to serve as governor!
And you see where Mr. Warren Hastings comes in now--adding a whole new wrinkle if Mr. Hastings were to be some sort of relative. You see, Mr. Hastings didn't leave his post unscathed--he was accused of all sorts of financial misdealings (of which he was eventually acquitted).
Something to ponder--I've never included a real person, no matter how obscure, in my writing before. But it seems a fun challenge--and I've grown to like Mr. Warren Hastings. An orphan and a widower, he eventually had his moment of romantic intrigue when he began an affair with a German noblewoman--and lived with her before her husband divorced her, whereupon he married her. I would love to include the scandalous couple--though I've a feeling from their biographies and, even, portraits that they were rather less scandalous in person.
Have you ever included real people in your writing? What about people inspired from real life--alive or in the past?