Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Little Something for the Weekend - The Perfect Hero

We're delighted to have Melinda Curtis back, talking about how her inspiration for heroes affects the way she writes them.  PLUS she's got a special offer for Pink Heart Society readers...
I write a lot of books every year. One of the biggest challenges is figuring out what the hero looks like to me – coloring, facial expression uniqueness, body type, etc. My heroes usually have “dark hair” for two reasons. I was first published by Harlequin and they were notorious (among authors) for not depicting blond heroes well (or, let’s face it, guys with facial hair).

I thought it’d be fun to take you along with me as I land on the perfect hero for my latest work-in-progress, a sweet romantic comedy novelette in my Fairytale Fellas series: Cinderella Fell for a Fella

As I write this article, I’m just starting to think about a name for my hero and land on Mack Prince. Just his name sounds sturdy and dependable, but he’d also have something that sets him apart from the crowd. So I’m ready to think about a “dark haired” guy and how my heroine might first think of him. It’s kind of like taking my hero for a test drive and it goes something like this: 

Could he be like Robert Downey Jr.? If so, I might write something like:  

He stood next to the display of tennis shoes – tall, wiry, dark eyes twinkling as he watched shoppers pass, as if he was one of Cindy’s kindergarten students daydreaming of mischief or recess or…the puppies at the shelter booth across the way. Then those dark eyes found Cindy in the crowd, and she felt that twinkle all the way down to her toes. 

Or could he be like Johnny Depp in one of his early, soulful roles? If so, I might write something like:  

He stood next to the display of tennis shoes, standing out more than the neon sneakers next to him with his shoulder length black hair, teal paisley button down, gold-tipped cowboy boots, and collection of Bohemian bracelets on each wrist. It wasn’t until after Cindy’s brain registered his appearance that her gaze caught on his soulful one. I’ve loved deeply, that gaze said. I’ve been hurt, those dark eyes said. And something in Cindy’s chest constricted and was lost.


Or could he be like Ben Barnes? If so, I might write something like: 

He stood next to the display of tennis shoes – tall, wiry, tan, a poster boy for exercise. Cindy wouldn’t just buy sneakers from this guy, she’d follow him on the jogging trail, have kale shakes for breakfast, and give up chocolate. Okay, maybe not chocolate. And then his dark gaze connected with hers and something inside her shifted. So long, chocolate.

Can you see how taking characters for a test drive helps establish who your hero and heroine could be? Does one of my heroes resonate with you more than another? 

If so, place your vote by commenting below. If none of them resonates, suggest a different role model for my hero and take him for a test drive starting with the phrase: He stood next to the display of tennis shoes… 

Melinda Curtis is an award winning author who writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line.  Melinda also writes independently published, steamy and fun romances as Mel Curtis. 
Mel's latest book, One Perfect Year, is available from Harlequin, Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iTunes now:

He's coming up on her blind side

How can Shelby Hawkley forgive Gage Jamero for bailing on her when she needed him most? He and her husband, Nick, were the best part of her life. Now her former best friend is back, shaking up the widowed wine harvester's world. The safest bet is to protect herself. Except Gage is awakening feelings that are decidedly unfriend-like.

Shelby is the woman Gage has secretly loved since high school. Starting over—together—could be the best dream he's ever had. If only he can find the courage to say what he should have said all those years ago.


  Readers of the Pink Heart Society blog will be sent a FREE copy of Cinderella Fell for a Fella by signing up for Melinda’s book release email newsletter: 

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  1. Thanks for the fascinating post. I love how you test drive your heroes.
    I love all the examples you gave, but I would vote for RDJ. Something about that twinkle...

  2. Hey, Carol, RDJ is a fav, for sure! Thanks for posting!

  3. Melinda, what fun! All three of your test drives are terrific, but I don't have it in me to vote against RDJ any time, anywhere. ;-) You almost got me with the third one, though. That chocolate line is too funny!

  4. HI Mel, I just reread these now and though #swoon RDJ, I LOVE that chocolate line. Pure genius!