Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday Talk Time :: Hunky Heroes

Today, Harlequin Medicals author and Pink Heart Society friend Margaret McDonagh stops by to indulge one of our favorite things to talk about...and think about...and write about...HUNKY HEROES! Complete with pictures. See, I told you she was a good friend.

There are many essential elements that combine to make a good story, but a romance would not be a romance without a hunky hero, one the reader can fall in love with as well as the book's heroine. Whatever your personal taste, be it for contemporary or historical novels, alpha or beta males, the hero is all important.

For me, a strong, gorgeous, caring Medical hero is impossible to beat! I've read about some scrumptious ones and have thoroughly enjoyed creating some of my own. As sad as it is to end a book and move on, there is always the burn of excitement when the time comes to invent, meet and get to know a new hero. And one of the first jobs I have to do is trawl through my copious “potential hero” folder for the perfect inspiration for the new man in my life! It's a tough job, I can tell you! And equally hard having to sit here all day gazing at one of these scrumptious men while writing romantic and sexy things about him!!!

I'm very visual and very character based. I find it helps me to work with images in mind and, although I don't create a collage, character pictures of both hero and heroine have pride of place on my desk when I'm writing. How do I know when I have found the right one? It's hard to put into words, but I know my hero and heroine in my head – their back stories, characteristics, likes and dislikes, their dreams and their demons, the inner turmoil they face, their strengths and weaknesses. Looking through the pictures in my hero folder, there is something about an image that will jump out at me. It's not so much the handsomeness ... let's face it, they are all gorgeous! It's a certain look or expression, a twinkle in the eye, a brooding quality, a sense of strength or vulnerability – something that jumps out at me as being “right” for the character of the man I am building and coming to know.

I hope I have managed to get it right more than wrong and that readers have fallen as much in love with my heroes as I and my heroines have. Illustrating this guest blog are some of the pictures that have inspired my heroes so far ... and a sneak preview of some of the ones waiting in the wings for their stories to be published!

Meet Nic from “The Italian Doctor's Bride”

Conor from “A Doctor Worth Waiting For”

Kyle from “His Very Special Nurse

Cameron from “One Special Night” -->

The story of sexy Italian Seb, “An Italian Affair”, is due in April 2008 in the new writers' anthology

while naughty Oliver, from “Virgin Midwife, Playboy Doctor”, book 8 in the Brides of Penhally Bay series, will be on the shelves in July 2008.

Finally, I shall leave you with the inspiration for the hero I am working on at the moment, a sexy French doctor called Gabriel Devereux. If I successfully escape the deadline cave fingers crossed you can meet him in book 12 of the Brides of Penhally Bay series in November 2008. What more could a girl need than the delicious Thierry Henry? That accent, that voice, that body!

Already in the early planning stages are Nathan, Luke, Rico, Gus, Thorn, Sinclair and Riley. I have their pictures picked out and I can't wait to tell their stories. Watch this space!

What makes a good hero for you? Who has been your favourite, most memorable hero ever? Two lucky dip winners from the comments left to this post will win a copy of my current story, Their Christmas Vows, out now in the Christmas Weddings anthology which includes stories from Carole Mortimer and Shirley Jump.

For more from MM, keep your eyes open for the exciting 12-book Brides of Penhally Bay series which begins with Caroline Anderson's “Christmas Eve Baby”, in the shops in December 2007. Check out her website or drop her an email.


  1. Hi Margaret,

    What a terrific post. All those lovely pics! It must be nice to have them to look back on and say 'that was my hero for this book'. Mine are all in my head - incredibly vivid and real to me, just as their personalities are and their voices (ooh, those lovely sexy voices in my head!). I've never used a particular photo as inspiration for a hero though sometimes one aspect, such as a great pair of eyes that I've seen, may find their way into my character. Interestingly I'm toying with a new hero now who just might be inspired by a particular movie character (and actor). Will see how it goes.

    What makes a good hero? Someone with integrity, honour and honesty. I love the good looks we can give our heroes, and their intelligence, humour and other attributes. But for me, above all, it's a core of inner decency plus an absolute focus on the heroine, that does it for me every time.


  2. I do what you do too! I always cast and you are's often a look and not only the right guy...something that makes you catch your breath and say, That's HIM!

    The hero from Marriage at Circle M was SO solid for me. I could see his body language, I could hear his voice as he spoke. I still get shivers when I hear this actor's voice on one of my favourite shows. Mmmmm

    Some day I'm going to write a book with Dennis Haysbert as the character and with that VOICE. LOL. Don't think he's a Romance hero though.

  3. OOh Mags, just WHO is the divine creature that inspired Cameron in "One Special Night"? Can I borrow him? He's lovely!
    To be honest, I think I fall in love , at least a little bit, with every single hero I read. Just no beards please!
    Best wishes,

  4. Thanks so much, Annie. I couldn't agree more about the characteristics for a true hero. I hope your new one comes together in your head and you have fun bringing him to life. I find using pictures works for me - not that my hero is exactly like the image, but something about that image brings some aspect of the hero to life for me that I can work from.

    Donna, it's lovely when you get that real connection with a character, isn't it? It makes them seem so much more vivid. Dennis Haysbert is a new one to me but I hope you find just the right role for him in the future.

    Rach, how I wish I knew who "Cameron" was. He's the one that got away for me!! I've had the picture on file for years waiting for the right time to use it and when I was searching for the Cameron look, this jumped out at me. That compelling intensity. The picture is from a Seiko watch advert. I have never been able to track him down, though. If anyone ever finds out who he is, I will love you forever!! The wonderful Kate Hardy borrowed this picture for her wonderful Charlie in her Posh Docs series.

    Mags xx

  5. Wow! Thanks for all the yummy eye candy. What a nice way to start the day!

    Great post, too. I'm like you. Very visual with my characters. Having a picture really helps me bring this character to life.

  6. Hey Mags! Great to see a few sporting heroes in there. Did you have to make Italian Seb grow a few inches? I imagine our Alessandro needs it :)

  7. Mags-- what I wouldn't give for a flick through your hero collection!

    I work in the same way too-- I like a real face and a real set of mannerisms and body language to draw from. The hero of my first book came entirely from my own head and I think probably represented some sort of ideal for me, so I decided when I started the second book that I would base future heroes on images... otherwise I could be in danger of writing about the same man every time!!

    Thanks for sharing some of your boys-- that's got to be even more of a sign of a generous nature than sharing your last Rolo!

  8. Thanks very much, Melissa, I'm glad I helped a bit to get your day off to a good start! Nothing like a bit of yummy eye candy to start things off on the right foot!

    Jopee, how could you?! My beloved Alex del Piero is absolutely scrumptious in every way and needed no enhancements from me to turn him into Seb! I have Fabio waiting in the wings for Rico. And if I ever get the chance to write more Italians, I am sure the likes of Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta will provide some inspiration, too!

    Great to see you here, India. I shall be glad to share glimpses of my hero folder with you! But I do have a confession to make. I might give up my last Rolo, but I have kept my "Mr Perfect", (who inspired Frazer in Their Christmas Vows), hidden so far and have been too selfish to share him with anyone! Still, it's nice to see the rest of the boys all gathered together on the PHS. Now that's one party I'd love to be at!!

    Mags xx

  9. Ah, Mags' hero folder. I've been very privileged there - as she says, I leaped on Cameron and squeaked, "He'd be perfect for Charlie Radley!" So thank you, Mags, for the inspiration.

    I have a copy of Frazer's story in my TBR pile and can't wait to read it (except I must meet my deadline first or I'm toast). And then I might have to start whining to see the picture *g*

    Lovely post, Mags. Thanks for the inspiration - and for writing such warm, lovely stories.

  10. Thanks so much, Kate. Your Charlie was wonderful and it was so interesting seeing how two different authors created two different heroes from the same inspirational picture!

    Good luck with that deadline.

    Mags xx