When you read, are you able to envision the characters? Do you like reading a book where the author has clearly defined a character's appearance. Does it distract you if characters, especially main characters, are left out there sort of dangling so that you have to make them up yourself?
I can tell you that for me, a character's appearance and mannerisms just might be the hardest part of the whole book. It isn't rocket science, but it's tedious and my OCD kicks in and makes it harder than it needs to be. No doubt every author has his or her own method for constructing a character. I've tried holding a character in my head as I write, but then after about 50 pages, I start to forget the eye color, the hair color, the height, body type, etc, etc.
The hero's appearance is especially important in romance novels. A long time ago, in one of the early conversations I had with one of my editors, she said to me, "Don't forget that romance novels are fantasies." ..... I've never forgotten her telling me that. I added it to the lore I collect for building a successful romance "hero."
So in an effort to make the whole process easier and more efficient, I started searching for heroes in celebrities of which there are copious pictures. Once I found the images of the hero and heroine in pictures of real people, my job became a lot easier. ..... As a side note, I should add that *all* of my heroes are good-looking, alpha and heroic. All of my heroines are beautiful. After all, if I'm creating a fantasy, isn't that how it should be?
The process is not always instant. For example, I searched for days for an image I wanted to imagine as Troy Rattigan in THE HORSEMAN. Troy's mother is half Hispanic with thick black hair and deep brown eyes. His father is blond, tall and lean and Scots-Irish. I started looking for a celebrity whose appearance might be the result of that mix.
Then I started thinking about the personality I was creating for this character. He's a friendly, fun-loving guy, so that attitude had to reflect in his appearance. Believe it or not, it wasn't that easy to find. I ended up with the actor, Adam Rodriguez. What do you think? Is he a hero you can envision in a romance novel?
The heroine, Samantha Karol, was almost impossible. I ended up buying a picture of her. She's small, with a bushel of thick black hair that hangs past her waist (of which, she's very proud). She has intriguing blue-green eyes that look at you directly and full, cherry-red lips. I have a friend who has blue-green eyes and as long as I've known her, the color of her eyes is so riveting, they're distracting when we talk. I can never tell what she's thinking.
I thought that intense characteristic would be fitting for a woman who had grown up an orphan with a no-nonsense toughness about her. She's a survivor. I don't know this model's name, but she came the closest. Can you picture Troy being so attracted to her he can't keep from falling in love?
These are the stars in THE HORSEMAN. Does their appearance make you want to read the book? Let me know what you think.