Salacious fiction meticulously researched

O Almighty Sunshine of my Day,

I've recently completed a novel but need a piece of your wisdom before I start querying around, and nevermind if I get the title of Nitwit of the Day. Even if fictional, my story is based on real facts and real persons. One of the main characters is fairly well known in the political and economical circles worldwide (however, give his name to the general public and many will go "Who???"). He is involved in some very kinky sex scenes and the book also offers accurate descriptions (based on true facts gathered during a big conference) on how the rich, powerful and famous behave when they are among themselves and thing that nobody is watching them (answer: like insufferable spoilt brats). I've of course changed names and places and blahblahblah, but both the man and the gathering of world leaders I am talking about remain recognisable.

Question is: should I mention in my query that this is based on true characters and facts, even though I'll hide behind the "This is a fiction" banner to cover my ass should this ever get published, or say nothing and see if potential buyers figure it out by themselves? Would you jump at an opportunity to get "juicy stuff" or run away as fast and far as you could?

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and, last but not least: I live in a country very famous for its chocolate, so if you ever get any serious craving drop me a line and I'll ship over some of the best we have...

This reminds me a bit of when William Shakespeare queried me early in his writing career and asked would it be ok to take some liberties with the War of the Roses. Then, as now, characters based on real people would stomp across the stage (or in your case, the novel).

"Sure Wills", sayeth I to he. "No problemo. Just don't annoy Her Maj the QE1" (well, there was no 1 then, cause who knew if there'd be a 2).

So we pitched it as "fiction steeped in the reality of the day" and sure enough, those suckers...err...producers bought it. And the rest as they say is l'histoire.

No one ever went broke overestimating the public's desire for salacious kinky sex world leader fiction.... well, Broadway could have with Bill O'Reilly's Those Who Trespass
but that's another story.


AzGhostWriter said...

Well everyone at the time knew who William was talking about, including HRM...Q1 -- He was lucky to keep his head, I might add.

Skylar said...

But if this is a living political figure, isn't there a risk of being sued for libel? Or is "changing the name to protect the guilty" and calling it "fiction" enough to avoid that?

Anonymous said...

And can you do the same thing if the living person is only well known in the small town where you've set your story? In other words, do you have more leeway to comment on public figures than on ordinary unknowns?

If I write a story about an unsolved murder, change the names, and add fictional bits and arrive at a "solution" is it libel? Is it libel if, in the small town where the story is set, the original persons could be recognizable, even though seriously and intentionally warped in my fictional version? And even though the fictional solution is intended as just that-fiction?

Oh my.

Steorling said...

okay, this made me cringe... "'even though I'll hide behind the "This is a fiction" banner to cover my ass'"

Can you say "Dan Brown"...with a straight face? I can't.