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!
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?