Monday, September 20, 2010

A Rather Funny Character Happenstance

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?

3 comments:

Connie said...

Nope. I've never included a real person--makes me nervous that I'd get something wrong.

Sharmon said...

In Which I Always Get Lost in Research--reading up on my novel background always gets me in trouble. Everyone sounds so intriguing, I'm inventing all sorts of past and future lives for them as I read and I want WRITE about them! As Hema put it so succinctly on a post, my imagination shoots off like a "dog smelling bacon". I haven't yet written about a real person, but have toyed w/ the idea in my historical. And actually may "drop some names" in the Victorian section of my contemporary. Does name dropping count?
Wish you the best w/ the Hastings--they sound so fun!

Rowenna said...

Connie--I have that fear, too--which is why Warren would merely make a guest appearance,a cameo, and then recede again. I couldn't make him a main character, I'd have to speculate too much!

Thanks, Sharmon--I know, research is so delightfully distracting!