Originally Posted by DaveK
...When reading HF, I expect the author to be VERY familiar with the time period. I like to feel as if I've gotten into a time machine and I am watching the events take place. If I'm in the room with Julius Caesar I don't expect the samurai to show up with machine guns and start blowing away senators. We're into Mel Gibson movie territory at that point...
Awww - you're no fun at all!
OP - I think any real people should be portrayed as accurately as possible. I usually
try to avoid long dialogue with real people - what if I'm totally misrepresenting them?
I like to have historical basis for approximately 90% of what my fictional characters are/do. Meaning, did I read that someone actually did such and such in a similar time period as my character - even if it was highly unusual? If yes, I feel comfortable using it, and might go out of my way to use it. However, if it's unusual, it should be used sparingly - probably only one character can be/do that unusual thing.
Ideally, the story should aim to be accurate to the point that when you ask the reader to believe something improbable, it melds together seamlessly for the reader.
Having said that, I tend to write a lot about established, but obscure, facts that aren't well known. I'm not sure if the average reader will go along with some of them or not.