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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hero Inspiration

When I brainstorm a new story, I usually have an idea about the characters. Some info about their past, maybe a hobby, their family…some tidbit that gets me brainstorming so I can create someone readers will come to care about, root for and, in the hero’s case, fall in love with.

With my current release from Harlequin Romance, Not-So-Perfect Princess, the heroine was a continuity character. I knew everything I needed to know about her. My hero, however, was unknown. I knew he lived on an island in the Mediterranean, was a prince, a sailor and a black sheep. But his backstory and motivation were a mystery to me. 

Until I was at a friends house and thumbing through a magazine…

As soon as I saw a Nautica advertisement, my hero came alive in my mind. The setting, the sailboat, the man. It was all so perfect. Ideas and insights exploded in my head. I couldn’t jot down notes fast enough. I asked if I could rip out the ad to take home with me. She, also a writer, said yes, even though it was a brand new magazine.

When it came time to write my story, I kept this image firmly in mind as well as the ad close at hand. Alejandro became his own man, but the ad helped me get there!

Of course, when the cover came out, that hero looked nothing like I imagined my hero looking like. This wasn't the first time that happened. I knew it wouldn't be the last.

But when I had Romance Trading Cards made for this title to take with me to the RWA conference in NYC, I decided to look for a hero who was more like my inspiration from the ad than the one on the cover. I must admit it was fun looking through all the stock photo sights for the perfect guy.

I don’t think I did too badly. What do you think?



Monica Marlowe said...

No doubt about it - he is HOT! I enjoyed your post about where hero inspiration comes from ... sometimes all it takes is an ad in a magazine!

Melissa McClone said...

Thanks Monica. And yes, inspiration can come from anywhere!

Anonymous said...

I love your Romance Trading card. He really resembles the model in the ad. Good job.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Robin said...

Oh, he's fabulous! :-)

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Na said...

I really like how the hero came to you! I guess sometimes you never know what you're looking for until you find it. When it comes to visualizing my heroes and heroines with some help from the cover it's usually a mash-up of people and imagination. I like that you found the hero in a Nautica ad but also added to it with your imagination. I like the romance trading card, it must have been fun taking part in creating it.

shiderly77 said...

Loved your post. Thank you!

JohnF said...

Best of luck!

Melissa McClone said...

Stacie - glad you like it! I thought they matched pretty well.

Robin - thanks!

Na - it's amazing what a visual can do. And yes, the RTC designer has a template she follows, but I got to come up with the pics and wording. That was fun!

shiderly77 - thanks!

JohnF - Thank you!