Hi Writing Playgrounders! Thanks so much for asking me to visit today and talk about my latest release TEMPT THE DEVIL. You are obviously the cool girls in the classroom and I’m flattered you’ve asked me to hang out with you. Unless I have to go through some weird and painful initiation ceremony? Eeeek!
I thought today I’d talk about inspiration!
Was that a groan I heard from the back row?
No, I mean GOOD inspiration! The sort we all have fun with. Bear with me!
I don’t know if you’ve ever done one of those workshops which analyzes what kind of writer you are. As far as I know, there are three kinds. Visual – you see the characters first, you’re very aware of what each scene looks like. Auditory – you hear your characters and once you’ve got their voices right, you’re set to go. Kinesthetic – you picture your characters in action, they’re doing stuff and everything else flows from there.
I’m primarily an auditory writer. Characters start talking in my head and the story flows from there. And when I tell people that, they always look at me like I’m slightly odd. Well, maybe more than slightly. But I, like most people, have a strong secondary sense and mine is visual. I fairly quickly work out what these characters look like.
Often they look like REAL people. Well, actors and musicians and such.
I have friends who then go and cut out pictures of the people involved (I’m far from the only person who bases characters’ appearances on actual people) and stick them up on their computer. I don’t go so far. I just need that first impression and frankly, by the time I finish the book, each character has become so much an individual, that immediate impression of what they look like doesn’t matter so much. My characters look like themselves by the end. But that originating spark really helps me get a fix on a character.
With CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, Kylemore looked like Daniel Day-Lewis, or he did until I was doing my final rewrites and I saw Richard Armitage. My good friend Christine Wells (who writes fantastic historical romance if you haven’t read her yet) told me she’d watched North and South and the leading man was Kylemore come to life. I scoffed, resisted, then eventually succumbed by checking out this guy. Wow! He WAS Kylemore come to life. Dark, intense good looks, deep-set dark blue eyes, that commanding blade of a nose, that long, lean body. Verity always looked like Olivia Hussey in Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. I wanted someone with that slightly Madonna quality – in spite of Verity’s profession!
With TEMPT THE DEVIL, my new Regency noir from Avon which is a January 2009 release, my hero and heroine were really strong in my mind right from the start, including what they looked like. This really is a blessing for a writer!
The Earl of Erith is an unrepentant rake in his late 30s. I wanted someone dark and louche and dangerous with a lazy, self-confident sexuality. I immediately thought of Bryan Ferry in the early 80s – around the Let’s Stick Together stage. For anyone who’s too young to remember, here’s a youtube link:
And here he is as lead singer with Roxy Music. I love this song and I think it’s a gorgeous video in that overblown, romantic 1980s style:
Doesn’t this guy look like your perfect Regency bad boy? The bad boy who’s done everything and seen everything and thinks life holds no more surprises. Well, my dear earl, have I got news for you!
Olivia Raines is equally decadent and jaded. She’s in her early 30s and the most sought-after courtesan in London. She despises her clients and her life but can’t quite bring herself to break away from all the glitter and glamour. When she agrees to become the Earl of Erith’s mistress, she expects just another meaningless affair. As you’ll probably guess, she has a few surprises ahead of her too!
I didn’t want a woman who was conventionally beautiful. But I wanted a woman so striking and so redolent of sensuality that she stops men in their tracks. Someone strong and smart and witty but with a hint of depth behind the spectacular facade. I immediately thought of a young Lauren Bacall.
So do you have real-life prototypes for your characters? Do you find yourself casting actors to play the hero and heroine in romance novels you read? If you chose people to play your favorite characters, who would you pick? My favorite answer wins a signed copy of my latest release TEMPT THE DEVIL!
You know the drill.... comment to enter the contest to win a copy of Tempt the Devil. And check out Anna on her website at www.annacampbell.com .