With regards to writing historical fiction, how accurate does a novel have to be? My story is set in Anglo-Saxon England, but my characters are supposedly important, influential figures within the period and I'm not sure if they can be entirely "made-up" considering it would contradict historical records and fact? Can I, in theory, simply create regions and Kings, or noblemen, and still have them interact with people who really existed and events which actually happened? Thanks.
1) It’s your story; you can do what you want.
2) Bearing that in mind, when doing historical fiction, you have to decide how accurate you want to stay to real people and events your characters interact with. Making that decision will involve a lot of research. Depending on how much you have a story outlined now, it can change a great deal the more you learn about the historical time, places, and people. There are plenty of novels out there which create fictional characters to interact with ‘real people,’ and what makes it fiction is being able to tweak historical events and people with the characters and the world you want to build.
The one thing to keep in mind is research, always research. Once you know as much as you can dig up about the history (people, places, politics, religion, sociology of the time, etc.), you can give yourself liberty to play with it in a knowledgeable way.
Hope this helps!