Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book?
Now I’m embarrassed. I always have an actual person’s face in mind for my characters. Always. And usually that face belongs to an actor or actress. It’s just easier for me to write when I can see the character living out what’s going on in my mind.
I had Colin and Joshua completely fleshed out in the character development sheets I always use when I first start writing. I knew them. I knew what they were like. I knew what the liked and didn’t like. I knew their faults and flaws and weaknesses. I knew their strengths. And I had a (sort-of) idea what they looked like.
Colin, of course, was Irish. And I wanted him to look Irish. It’s a lot of who he is as a man and it was important to me that the character’s image in my mind convey the deep love he feels for being Irish. So, I went looking for Irish men. And this is who I chose:
Kill me now! Yes. It’s Jamie Dornan. But… BUT… I honest-to-god had NO idea who he was when I picked the image. He just looked IRISH! I am no fan of Christian Grey, had never read 50 Shades of anything, have never seen the movies, had never seen Jamie in anything. He just looked… Irish! And, of course, he looked hot as FUCK!
As Joshua said when he first saw Colin on hit motorcycle: “Colin sat astride the bike, his muscular frame wonderfully emphasized by his black leather jacket and tight jeans. In his hand was a helmet emblazoned with a shamrock and the words: ‘Go Irish!’ My God, Joshua thought, his breath catching in his chest. He’s just so fucking hot!”
I know now, of course. Trust me to pick the actor playing the most notorious heterosexual on the planet as the mental model for my gay-as-hell Irish cop.
But… once I saw him I was sunk. He just WAS Colin! So I’m stuck with Jamie Dornan… if such a thing is possible. And, frankly, the Jamie Dornan who was and remains ‘Colin’ in my fevered brain is Jamie as Sheriff Graham in ‘Once Upon a Time’. THAT’ is Colin to me.
Joshua. Again, I went on the hunt for an ethnic look. Joshua is Jewish. I needed a Jewish guy. And there he was.
Again, I had no clue who Adam Brody was when I picked him. I had never seen the OC, didn’t know Adam from Adam in the garden of Eden. I just knew he was Joshua. There were the dark, tumbling curls that Colin drooled over. There was the Jewish strength and calm that he relied on.
In fact THIS is the picture that Colin was looking at when he thought: “Alone in his apartment at night, he studied the only picture he had of Joshua, clutching it tightly in one hand while holding his phone in the other. It was a black and white photo which Joshua had given to him some weeks ago. The photo was beautifully lit and the reflective expression on Joshua’s face framed by his dark, tumbling curls tore at Colin’s heart. He gazed past Colin with dreamy eyes which focused on some distant and unreachable goal.”
So those are the two guys I continually saw in my head as I wrote Love’s Magic. I have to confess… once I’d discovered Jamie Dornan (and I admit that I am really late to that party!) I knew Colin couldn’t have been anyone else. And frankly, having he and Adam firmly planted in my brain made writing Colin and Joshua’s romantic scenes a lot more pleasurable. I mean a LOT!
I often wonder if I’m the only author who uses uber-hot fantasy guys as her mental model when they write. Somehow I doubt it.
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