Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog. Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Recipe For A Hero


How Characters Come Alive
How many of you grew up watching Westerns on television? I sure did! Well, the good ones came on after my bedtime, so I listened to most of them—Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, Bonanza, Cheyenne (I love Clint Walker’s voice!  Okay, so I liked to look at him, too). But one show I did get to see was Maverick, and the lovable cardsharp played by James Garner, Bret Maverick, is one of the best bad boy charmers ever created. No one can top it, in my opinion.

Growing up on a dairy farm isn’t exactly exciting, but it’s a wonderful setting for a kid with an overactive imagination, especially fueled by the movies and television shows of the time. All my stories have sprung from this fertile ground, and I doubt the ideas will ever run dry. I hope not! As of now, I’d have to live to be about 450 to get all my story ideas written.

Even after all these years, Maverick’s easy charm and smiles in the face of danger has never left me—or a lot of us, judging from comments on my blog. So when the leading lady character came to me, a heroine based on my aunt Grace’s incredible math abilities, it hit me that she needed a bad boy charmer to loosen her up a bit (my heroine, not Aunt Grace—she was a hoot!). You know who that is!

Recipe for a hero: Take one Maverick, add in a little Remington Steele. Blend. Maybe throw in a little James Bond (shake, don’t stir), and mix in some of my dad’s unique brand of humor. Go off half-baked, and there you have it.

Along about the time Sleight of Heart was taking shape, I read George Devol’s Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi for another project. Not only is Devol’s book a great how-to for a thoroughbred gambler, it’s a fantastic character study—mostly because of what he doesn’t say. A lot of Burke O’Shaughnessy’s outlook on life came from that book.

So there you have it. Once the characters are solid and the situation is crazy enough, the author has to get out of the way and let the Muse go to work. Believe me, sometimes it’s quite a ride.

I’m planning a series of novellas in the High-Stakes Heroes series to follow up Sleight of Heart. The heroes are named and a few of the stories are solidifying in the mysterious corners of my mind, so watch for those in late 2014.

For more western historical romance, try my Hearts of Owyhee series. These books are all set in Owyhee [oh-WY-hee] County, Idaho Territory, in the mid 1880s. The county was named after some Hawaiian fur trappers were lost there, and never found, in the 1820s. Owyhee is the original anglicized spelling of Hawaii.

And whoever agrees with me that Clint Walker was the most handsome cowboy ever, and James Garner was the most charming gambler ever--okay, so you don't have to agree, but you better have good reason--you'll be entered to win a Kindle copy of any of my books.  Winner will be drawn Oct. 8th (because I'll be gone over the weekend--it's our wedding anniversary!).

13 comments:

  1. Every one of the characters you mentioned are heart throbs of mine. Great insight. Enjoyed your blog!

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    1. Thanks, Karren. Yep, can't think of any current stars that had what they had, though. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. My dad had to finish watching Gunsmoke before he took mom to the hospital to have my brother, Matthew. I'm assuming he was named after Matt Dillon....or
    "Matthew" as Festus sometimes said. Thanks for bringing up good memories, Jacque!

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    1. Now that's a funny story, Colleen. Maybe not so funny to your mom, though. Of course, Matt Dillon couldn't sing and Festus could--and your brother Matt is a wonderful singer!

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  3. Interesting choices

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Glad you dropped in--best of luck in the drawing!

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  4. James Garner...ahh. I think he was my first TV crush, and it's lasted 50 years!

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    1. A good one. Loved how Maverick got in those dangerous situations, smiling and cracking jokes. Same in Rockford Files.

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  5. I have that George Devol book too! I used it for some reference of a gambler character I had in a story. I agree, the rural life does lend its self to many creative ideas for western books!
    Haven't had a chance to read Sleight of Heart yet. Looking forward to it!

    And your hero mix is a great one! ;)

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    1. Paty, Devol's book is great for terminology, mindset, and flavor. It's one of my favorite research books--also downright amusing in places.

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  6. I love James Garner and Clint Walker and Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele. Who compares to these men in acting today? Okay, Hugh Jackman, but who else? Okay, Hugh Jackman is enough. But still, who else?

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  7. I wouldn't even put Hugh Jackman in the Clint Walker category, although he's the best we have today. Chris Hemsworth? Any American actors? And I wonder why there are so very few, if any, that could even hold a candle in looks or brawn to the old guys. I guess macho just isn't the style anymore.

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  8. The TV heroes I liked best incorporated humor with sexiness -- James Garner in Maverick and Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele are prime examples.

    Today's cinematic heroes would have to include Jackman and Karl Urban who is utterly gorgeous. Yes to Hemsworth. Gee these 3 are all Aussies. What is it about the Aussies?

    But there are plenty of Americans. Here are just a few: Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Pine (Star Trek), John Cusack (cerebral and sexy), Aaron Eckhart, Robert Downey Jr., Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Alex O'Loughlin, Mark Wahlberg, and for the older crowd Mark Harmon and Dennis Quaid (can't beat that smile).

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