Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday Talk Time - Heroes and Bad Hair Days

Today's Thursday talk-time is brought to you by Historical author Claire Thornton. She asks...


Until I decided to write a series of linked books set during the reign of Charles II, I’d never asked myself that question.

My previous heroes had certainly always had hair. And they always looked sexy - whether they were rescuing their heroine from danger or romancing her in less hazardous circumstances. But they were all responsible adults and, just as I didn’t nag them to wash behind their ears, I left the finer details of when they combed their hair up to them.

But the stories in my CITY OF FLAMES trilogy are all set in 1666, during the reign of Charles II. Long natural hair had been fashionable for men for a while, but now periwigs were coming into vogue. So, for the first time, I had to give some serious thought to what my heroes were going to do with their hair.

The reign of Charles II, is a wonderful, colourful period. Actresses appeared on the London stage for the first time (until then, female roles had been played by boys). There were great steps forward in science and commerce. And one of the most famous events in London’s history – the Great Fire which destroyed nearly all of the medieval City – took place in 1666.

As befitted an era of such drama and change, every aspect of fashion was flamboyant. Men wore lace edged cravats and brocade or velvet coats. And some of them wore periwigs.

But, despite their flamboyant finery, these were active men. They managed their estates, conducted business, practised their swordsmanship and even fought duels. They didn’t wear their periwigs every waking moment - as you can see in this picture of Rufus Sewell from the BBC production of Charles II: The Power and the Passion.

I soon realised there were more options available for my heroes than I’d first anticipated.

I decided that Gabriel, Marquis of Halross, the hero of the first book in the series, THE DEFIANT MISTRESS, would look magnificent with his own rippling waves of dark brown hair falling around his shoulders.

When Lady Desire Godwin, the heroine of the second book, THE ABDUCTED HEIRESS, first sets eyes on her hero, Colonel Jakob Balston, he has just climbed over the parapet of her rooftop garden. The evening sunlight makes his long blond hair shine like liquid gold.

The hero of the third book, the Duke of Kilverdale, is the only one who wears a periwig. When THE VAGABOND DUCHESS begins, he has been travelling incognito, and his own wild black hair makes him look like an enticing vagabond. Later in the story, when he assumes the extravagant finery of a duke, he wears a magnificent black periwig. But, when he is alone with his heroine and he removes his wig – oh – what wonderful sensual possibilities his deliciously cropped hair offered.

So can a hero ever have a bad hair day?

Absolutely not. Whether he has glorious, flowing locks the heroine simply can’t keep her hands off, very short hair, or something in between – his hair is always as magnificently sexy as the man himself.

Claire's latest North America release is book one of a trilogy!

THE DEFIANT MISTRESS is out in NA this November.

But in December lucky UK readers are up to Book 3 in the series with THE VAGABOND DUCHESS.

More at her website @


  1. You know, I really love the cover for 'The Defiant Mistress'. It absolutely screams 'Buy Me'. Mind, Claire is an auto-buy for me anyway. :)

    Back to the cave ...

  2. I love the cover as well! I will have to look for it here in the States.

  3. Thank you, Natasha!

    Yes, I love the cover too. I’m very excited, because the North American covers were all specially commissioned and I particularly love the one for The Defiant Mistress.

    Jennifer, I hope you’re able to find it, and that you enjoy it.

    Best wishes