When my friend in Michigan found out I was writing a historical fantasy for my first little novella, he asked, "Will you talk about the reality of the age?" I asked what he meant. He said, "How people smelled and the disfiguring diseases people had." Uh. NO.
As seen by the picture at left, I think my feelings on avoiding any smelly or unpleasant realism in historical stories are apparent. There are times I'm not even glad when a writer introduces a pregnancy into the story, though intellectually I know that back in the days of no birth control this result could always be possible. I just don't want the love/lust/erotic factor to be interrupted by anything close to everyday worries.
And other readers feel the same way. I remember one of my favorite authors writing a scene about the plague where the hero had to lance the heroine's huge bubo and described it as ' spurting its putrefaction everywhere'. I kid you not. The reader's shock and revulsion that I read in reviews and on message boards at the time (2004) about this wretched scene was fierce. They didn't want to read about this.
So writer friends...what is your opinion on this touchy subject?
I leave you with one last thought...
While some people cried foul when The Tudors cast a dark-haired, svelte Henry VIII, I was glad. Give me some sexy people to look at; I can go to WalMart to see the hoi polloi!