We're delighted to welcome Leigh Duncan and her hunky cowboys to the Pink Heart Society today, where she's talking Harlequin American Romance and hero inspiration...
Every writing project has its good days, days when the creative juices are flowing, the words crystallize into perfect sentences, the characters come alive. Then, there are the times that are just plain fun! One of my favorites is the day I figure out what (or who) my main characters look like. Imagine being forced to spend hours combing through images of rugged rodeo cowboys, hunky movie stars, and muscular sports figures. Oh my!
For my current series, Glades County Cowboys from Harlequin American Romance, I’ve been lucky enough to spend not one, not two, but four glorious days searching for tall, dark, blue-eyed, handsome cowboys. The results? Meet the Judds.
Did I hear a big Yee-Haw?
These are definitely not country-western singing sensations, Naomi and Wynona Judd. No, this is Male on Monday here at the fabulous Pink Heart Society so we’re talking about guys. Specifically, strong, strapping, handsome guys. Men like the Judds, ranchers who’ve been managing South Florida’s fictional Circle P Ranch going back four generations.
Let’s start with the patriarch of the family, Seth Judd. Seth plays an important role as the hero’s mentor and close friend in Rancher’s Son. And who better to portray the man who spent forty years managing the Circle P Ranch than Harrison Ford, the man nominated for an Academy Award for his role in Witness, my all-time fav movie.
Did you know that, unlike his counterpart Seth, Harrison wasn’t always sure about his acting career? As hard as that is to believe, it’s true! After struggling to find roles in Hollywood, Harrison quit the acting business to become a carpenter. A starring role in American Graffiti put him back on the screen and gave us heroes to cheer for in Indiana Jones and Patriot Games.
Back on the Circle P ranch, that thousand acres of palmetto and scrub just outside of Okeechobee, Seth’s five sons vow to carry on the Judd family traditions in their father’s stead. First up in The Bull Rider’s Family is second son, Colt Judd aka Bradley Cooper. Like his alter ego, Bradley has always known what he wanted to do in life. He even skipped his graduation ceremony from the Actors Studio (where he received an MFA) to take a starring role in Wet Hot American Summer. He’s had his pick of films and television series ever since, including a supporting role in Hallmark’s The Last Cowboy.
When Colt finds love on the Circle P and buys ranch of his own, down-on-his-luck brother Hank arrives to pick up the reins as manager of the ranch. A stint as ranch manager on the Circle P may be the perfect way for Hank Judd to reconnect with his ten-year-old daughter. And selling his former girlfriend's family ranch will provide the cash he needs to restart his failed real-estate business. He just has to resist falling for the girl next door all over again. But Hank faces troubles on every front in His Favorite Cowgirl.
I wonder if Ian Somerhalder felt the same way when his character on Lost was written out of the script. Piercing blue eyes, Southern roots and a killer smile make Ian the perfect actor to portray Hank.
Next spring, we’ll travel once more to the Circle P for oldest brother Garrett’s heart-wrenching story in The Rancher’s Lullaby. I’m putting the final touches on that book right now. Garrett is such a wounded soul! I found his twin in actor Dylan McDermott. Like Garrett, this man has overcome loss and accomplished much.
Look for The Rancher’s Lullaby in stores next May.
What comes next? There could be more stories in the Glades County Cowboys series. After all, there are five Judd brothers. Maybe the younger twins, Randy and Royce will share their stories with us. I hope so! Especially if it means another day—or two—browsing the internet for pictures of tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed, hunky cowboys.
Are you completely bowled over by Leigh's All American Cowboys? And which celebrity-inspired Judd is your favourite? Come tell us about your favourite cowboys...
Leigh Duncan writes contemporary romance with a dash of Southern sass. An Amazon best-selling author of Harlequin American Romance, Leigh lives on Florida’s East Coast where she serves as the PAN liaison for the Space Coast Authors of Romance (Florida STAR).