Thursday, April 5, 2007


Posted by Kate

I've been thinking about heroes lately. I need one.

Usually, I can go straight to my hot hunk hero photo gallery, grab one of my favorites and get down to it--er, well, you know, start writing. *g*

But for my latest manuscript, I'm looking for a truly unlikely hero. And all the magazine ads and Google images and Casablanca headshots I pour over aren't helping. I've got a picture of this guy in my head and there's no one else out there quite like him. He's mine, all mine. Now how do I bring him to the page? How do I describe that mouth of his? Can I just say "yummy" and leave it at that? Probably not.

Just for fun, here's my heroine Gracie's quick first impression of hero Cane's mouth in my American Title III book THE KAMA SUTRA CHRONICLES:

He looked rugged and wild and more than a little pissed off. Gracie didn’t know why he was scowling at her, but it didn’t detract from the rough beauty of his mouth, which was wide and firm, with the bottom lip slightly fuller than the top.

She loved that in a mouth.

Now where was I? Oh yeah. Heroes. They really do come in all shapes and sizes, don't they? One girl's Roarke is another girl's Sanjaya, right? (Scary, but true.)

My goal is to make the reader believe that my hero, this dude--nerd, vampire, billionaire, whoever he is--can not only rock her world but also save it at the same time. Guess I'd better get to work. do you bring your characters to life? Do you need visual aids like I do? Or would you rather stick with what's in your own imagination? And by the way, who do you see playing Roarke in the film version? *g*


Caren Crane said...

There is no man I have found in reality who could be Roarke! Maybe if you mixed some 15 years-ago Pierce Brosnan with someone darker and far more dangerous. The Roarke of my mind has no equal here. Kind of like Jamie in the Outlander books. Who could compare?

Christine said...

I go both ways (ooh! that's a little too much information). Just kidding. For most of my stories I've imagined the hero in my head but for my latest wip I found a fantastic picture of Hugh Jackman and that was it. He was perfect for my hero. I kind of like this way better because I can describe him better.

Maureen Child said...

I'm with Christine.... sometimes the image in my head is all I need, and other times...there was a great picture of "Sawyer" from the TV show Lost that really worked for me!

And please. WHO could they possibly find to play Roarke???

Kate Carlisle said...

Caren and Maureen (hi!), I totally agree with you on the Roarke issue. There's no one like him in the real world!

But then there's Hugh Jackman. Sigh. I'm right there with you, Christine!

Aunty Cindy said...

Kate you SCAMP!
That piccie of JD gave your old Aunty MAJOR heart palpatations!

Interesting that you bring up hero "inspirations". The hero in my 06GH final was a composite of several hunks, Mel Gibson a la Road Warrior, and Colin Farrell (yes, my hero was Irish) to name two. The hero of my second Rom Suspense was TOTALLY based on Eric Bana, at least physically. However, I remember when I was in the midst of writing that book, EB was on a talk show promoting "Munich" and when he started talking (in that adorable Aussie twang) I was startled. "Hey, that doesn't sound like Von!" LOL!
As for my current WIP, my hero is also Irish and like Christine, I happen to have this fantastic piccie of Hugh Jackman...

Now as for Roarke...Suz and Joan, stand by with the crash cart, Aunty is about to lapse into full swoon mode. Oh yes, I have a very definite image of that sexy Irishman in my mind. But the closest match in real life would probably be Clive Owen (does that man exude sex appeal through every pore or WHAT?!?!), but as Caren says with a pinch of that smooth suave Pierce B. thrown in, and maybe a dash of Viggo M.'s intensity...

your drooling (not to mention totally inspired),
Aunty C

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ah Aunty Cindy, I must confess I have a particular weakness for Clive myself. I think I have all of King Arthur memorized, and mind you he wasn't the only good looking hunk in that particular saga!

I'm afraid I'm of the imagination is a very good thing camp on this one. I like them big and brawny, not too pretty and very intense. Sometimes it's very hard to find a real life one to fit the bill.


Joan said...

Do not throw cabbages at me but...

who's Roarke? (dodge, dodge, ouch) Are you talking about Roarke from SHANNA?

Now onto inspiration. I never was one for actually finding pictures that were my characters until time to write Damon. And yup, you guessed it...a FABULOUS pic (two actually) of Hugh Jackman from People magazine. He has longer, tousled hair, scruff and THE most intense look.

But when I put that picture up for inspiration while writing,I find I don't necessarily use it for the physical description. Rather the "essense" of Damon.

Now that I've moved onto Bran, I have a black haired guy from a Nautica cologne add. Dear God, does he have the look for my soul wounded ex-gladiator!

Who votes to ask Hugh Jackman to be our first blog guest? LOL


Inara said...

I'm with Joan--who's Roarke? (remember, be kind...I have small children, don't watch TV much OR get to the movies, and don't have cable!)

Anyway, I love this question because I was absolutely amazed when I joined RWA and all these women talked about using pictures for their inspiration. I find it kills my mojo to try to compare either hero or heroine to someone in real life. I like bigger than life heros (I go back to Johanna Lindsey--she does my all time favorite heros, like Anthony Mallory...) and heroines that can't be contained in a real life body. For me, trying to do so just waters them down.

Besides, 99% of the "hot guy" pictures I see don't turn me on in the slighest. I find guys with styling products in their hair, carefully cultivated stubble, and baby oil on their pecks less than attractive. I prefer the old fashioned man who would rather die than get a manicure or let someone style his hair.

Real men don't pose, KWIM? ;-)


Aunty Cindy said...

For the edification of Joan and Inara, the Roarke over whom we are drooling copious amounts is the hero of the J.D. Robb "In Death..." series. He's a hunky Irish rogue, richer than sin, knows everyone and owns just about everything (including a couple of planets, I think), and is a whiz with gadgets and crime solving paraphenalia (some illegal). Oh, and one other little detail, legendarily indefatigable in the sack...

Christine said...

Joan!! I think we talking about the same picture of Hugh Jackman. Isn't is totally awesome? I didn't even recognize him at first.

Kate Carlisle said...

You're all cracking me up!! LOL

Thanks for clueing these girls in on who the legendary Roarke is, Aunty!

Inara, I am totally with you on the Johanna Lindsay heroes! I started reading romance with her books and I still love them!

And I, too, am a huge Clive and Hugh fan, but I'm wondering if anyone else has the same secret yearning for Christian Bale as I have? Is it just me? Wasn't he the hottest, darkest, most brooding Batman ever? (Bring that drool cup over here, Aunty!!)

Anna Sugden said...

Roarke *sigh* - enough said.

I usually find pics that give the same feel as I'm going for and I have a wonderful friend who mocks up book covers for me as inspiration. (I have a great Hugh pic for Mortgaged Hearts!)

My latest hero is a hockey player (yes, he has all his teeth). He is inspired by a real player, so pics were easy. Check them out, ladies - beneath all that padding there are some real hunks!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I agree w/ Caren - nobody yet "discovered" as an actor could play Roarke. :> Christian Bale - oh, yeah, yummy as batman. I'd have to say the same about Val Kilmer. Don't really like him in anything else, but as Batman? Oh, yeah. So far, Hugh Jackman and Clive are the only ones w/ the looks and intensity to play Roarke, but I still don't think they're right. I don't pick pictures either, but do love to HAVE the that TMI? ahem...inspire my heros. I'm with Inara on most ads, too. No hairy chests in those pics, one of my fav things. Too much styling product too, but mostly its the "I'm Obviously Gay" in the posing that turns me off. :> I like making them up and creating a man no actor could possibly ROarke. May we all be so lucky to have millions of people wondering who'll play our heros on film!

Anna Campbell said...

You'll all shoot me, but I haven't read the In Death books! Oh, dear, that hurt to admit. I had to admit I hadn't read GWTW the other day in public too - all my historical romance cred has fled! Oh, Christian Bale! He works for me. I think it's that intensity. When writing heroes, I usually have a type of man in mind - so the hero of CTC was definitely along the lines of DDL in Last of the Mohicans and the hero in book two was definitely a bigger, rangier version of James Blunt and the hero in book three has a lot in common with Bryan Ferry in his younger days. But they evolve into such individuals, they usually start being themselves instead of the model. Although Kylemore in CTC definitely kept DDL's beak nose. I'm sure I've said to you, much as I ADORE my cover, every time I look at John deS's cute little button nose, I go, "NOOOOO!!" Much like Frodo did when the Balrogg got Gandalf!

Trish Milburn said...

Oh, you all have posted about so many very good-looking men -- Clive, Hugh, Daniel (Anna, Last of the Mohicans is one my my all-time favorite movies). Suz, I totally agree with you on King Arthur being full of hunky hotness. I like Ioan Gruffudd and Hugh Dancy in addition to Clive.

I'm visual, so I have a whole file of photos of potential characters that I rip out of magazines. Whenever I'm starting a new book, I spread out those photos and see which one jumps out at me for my hero and then for my heroine. I'm been having trouble finding the right picture of the heroine in my paranormal YA, though I know the hero is Jared Padalecki (Sam on Supernatural).

Anna Campbell said...

Trish, I go all tingly whenever I see the "I will find you!" scene. What a man!

Interesting what you say about being visual. Marion Lennox, the Aussie category goddess (or one of them!) did a workshop a few years ago at our conference about what sort of writer are you. I'd never heard of it before. But I'm a very strong auditory writer. I hear them. They talk to me. That's how I first make their acquaintance. I wonder if that's why I absolutely, positively have to write to music too. It's probably why I need to go back and layer visual clues and actions whereas most of the dialogue I write stays much as is.

Joan said...

Ohhh this is weird.

With all the talk about "visual" and "auditory" it came over me in a flash that..I "feel" them first. (In my dreams) LOL

Now apologies to the In Death fans....I've never read Nora in that persona either but give me a sinfully dark Irishman and well....