Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekend Wind-Down:: Picture Perfect Characters

This weekend at The Pink Heart Society award winning author and 2008 RITA Finalist Linda Goodnight talks to us about Picture Perfect Characters...

I’m a very visual person. A photo can inspire me to write an entire book. Recently, my editor called while I was in the midst of a tight deadline wanting ideas for my next contracted book. My brain was steeped in the current manuscript and could not come up with a single thought, much less a full-fledged idea. Then an interesting thing occurred. My son emailed a photo to me. Five minutes later I contacted my editor with an idea which has now become “The Baby Bond”, a future Love Inspired.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. For all of my books I use photos as inspiration--Photos of the setting, the characters, their homes, and even of their bedrooms. When the other authors of The Wedding Planners and I were in the planning stage of the series, we came up with photos of the building and offices that would carry through all six books.

Then I began to brainstorm my contribution, Winning the Single Mom’s Heart. I searched the internet for just the right photo of my ‘cake fairy’ Natalie, her hero Cooper, and her twins.

Reese Witherspoon seemed perfect to play the part of Natalie, a perky, diabetic, determined to stand on her own two feet, cake designer.

A young version of the Olsen Twins, one naughty and one nice, became Rose and Lily, Natalie’s twins.

The hardest part in this little play to cast was Dr. Cooper Sullivan. Sexy, brilliant, driven, and born to wealth, he was a real GQ kind of man. Early on, I found a photo and tried to make him become Cooper. He would not cooperate, so back to the internet I went. Finally, I settled on Patrick Dempsey, changed his eyes to dark brown, and made him a bit younger. Voila’! I had Cooper Sullivan. What do you think? Does he work? Any thoughts about other GQ kind of men I might have used?

Below is a blurb about Cooper and Natalie’s story. Romantic Times Magazine called it: “charming, funny, and deeply emotional.” It arrives in stores in the U.S. at the end of June, so I hope you’ll give it a read and let me know if I’ve hit the mark with my choice of characters.

Widow Natalie Thompson is too focused on raising her twins and making ends meet to even want a Mr. Right in her life. Her Mr. Right died—and she’s still mad at him about that. Then Dr. Cooper Sullivan, her late husband’s friend and fiercest competitor enters the picture. Natalie is sure he only wants to best her husband in the one way he never did—by winning her. With one matchmaking and one sabotaging twin tossed into the fray, is there any hope for romance between the doctor and the reluctant wedding baker?

Also visit The Wedding Planners’ Blog for fun and prizes!

Linda's contribution to The Wedding Planners - Winning The Single Mom's Heart - is on sale in the UK, Ireland, the USA and Canada in July...

To find out more about Linda and her books you can visit her Website and her Blog.

Thanks Linda!


  1. Hi Linda,

    I like the ideas of pictures inspring romance writers. If a reader doesn't 'get' the picture and see the characters, setting etc I'm afraid that the book may be abandoned after a chapter or two.
    I'm very interested in reading Winning the Single Mom's Heart from your choice of pictures alone. I'm sure you're aware that Reese and Patrick were lovers in Sweet Home Alabama and while I loved this fun film I must admit I was a tad disappointed that she chose her childhood sweetheart/husband over the warm Patrick Dempsey character.
    So, I'm finally gonna get to see the couple I wanted together, actually get together and live happily ever after.

    Great choices,

  2. Hi Linda, I was just watching your contribution on Author Talk on Youtube and here you are on pinkheart... great. I know what you mean about photos, I've been scouring the net for photos for a future heroine/hero.. and I just don't seem to be able to find anything, I know the type of person I have in mind for both but I really wish I could find a website with stock photos for heroes and heroines, it would make things a whole lot easier...