When I was building the character of Garrett Calder, the aloof, bad-boy hero of That New York Minute, I considered Johnny Depp as a source of inspiration. But Johnny is too firmly Jack Sparrow in my mind these days—too likable and too camp to be my hero.
Instead, I chose a more Christian Bale approach. Like CB, my hero is a guy who appears in total control of himself, but when you dare to look beyond the barriers he so skillfully erects, there’s stuff lurking under the surface that he can’t quite get rid of. Your gradually realize that when his smile lingers too close to a smirk, he’s trying to distract you from looking more closely.
Garrett Calder is a different kind of hero for me. I’ve written bad boys before, but they’ve been more the charming playboy type. No one calls them on their bad behavior (until they meet the heroine, of course!) because they’re so darned likable.
The reason no one calls a Christian Bale-style hero on his bad behavior is because he’s intimidating. Not always intentionally, but sometimes, yes! The Christian Bale hero might be capable of charming, but usually doesn’t bother. He has a sharp wit, but it’s sometimes too subtle for others to pick up on (the heroine “gets it”, of course!).When Christian Bale accepted the role of Batman, he reportedly “felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the batsuit” (according to Wikipedia). He dealt with this “by depicting Batman as a savage beast.” Or, as we say in romance novels, “untamed.” And that’s really the feel I wanted for Garrett Calder, whose nickname in the office is The Shark. A wild creature, a loner. But one who’s tamable by the right woman.
Can you think of any aloof bad-boys (fictional or real), that you consider ideal material for the heroine with taming skills? One that springs to my mind is the hero of Flowers from the Storm, by Laura Kinsale (whose name just happens to be Christian!). I’d love to hear about some of your favorite bad boys and the women who tamed them.