Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Age of Heroes

There's one part of the cover art process that always throws me for a loop, and that's when I'm supposed to say how old my hero is.

I truly hate assigning a chronological age to my characters. For one thing, no matter how old I say my hero is, they're going to use a young model for the cover. That's just the way it is. However, my heroes are not boyish, smooth-faced metrosexuals. They're mature men. After all, twenty-five would be middle aged for a lot of medieval guys. So even if I say a hero is twenty-five, I'm personally envisioning somebody more thirty-five, or even forty-five -- much more Mel Gibson than Orlando Bloom, or a New York model. They're men with some mileage, and not a little baggage.

I think that's one reason I enjoyed Richard Armitage so much in North and South; the guy's old enough to have an interesting past. I also think that's why I had such a problem buying Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy. He looked too young, and too pretty, too, even with the blood and sweat. On the other hand, Russell Crowe in Gladiator? Perfect. Old enough to be both a father and a general. Not pretty, but tough. Strong without being "ripped." Totally worked for me.

So how old did I say the hero of my current work-in-progress is? I honestly don't remember what I said when it comes to the cover art. In the book, I don't think I've gotten specific, and I'd like to keep it that way. Let the reader assign his age, and if they want Orlando Bloom, well, so be it. After all, once the book's published, he's theirs as much as he is mine. But until then? I'm thinking Gerard Butler, who'll be 37 this year.


LuvDemBrooders said...


I've just spent a happy hour reading through your website and blog. I especially enjoyed reading through your synopses evolutonary phases. I like the way your advice is encouraging and informative while being cautionary. My...that looks like such an adult sentence! LOL!

However, I was lured here by the tantalizing promise that you are a brooder tracker and have, in fact, fallen under the spell of a certain TDH BEW HCMO* with a little OBM* thrown in for good measure! LOL!

As a fervent and droogly fanRAbid (fan of Richard Armitage's), I was delighted to see how enthused you are about him as an actor and as a prototype for some of your characters.

He's been an incredible muse for me. Well, I should say, many of the on-screen characters he's seduced me (and many others) with have inspired some pretty imaginative savorings.

There is a whole world of smart, witty, creative women who first discovered the god now known worldwide as RA through his tour de force performance of John Thornton. They flooded the BBC Drama message board with their energy and enthusiam. It became a snowball of Thorntonmania and fanRAbidhood.

The result was that when RA came onto the board to thank them for their support, he crashed the whole board. Everyone was so thrilled that they all tried to post at once.

The Beeb's response? Shut down the message board and try to ignore that RA's performance had ignited a passionate response from normally sane women. Foolish Beeb! They can't buy fervor like that and still they didn't get it.

These intrepid women went off and started their own message boards devoted originally to "North & South" and "RA" himself. This was in February 2005. []

There are now 2000 worldwide members of these boards and newbies are joining every day. All have been lured by their itch for more information about the TDH BEW with the small, mysterious smiles that are almost imperceptable at times.

There are sub-boards for everything under the sun on the main board and under the "RA" board, they include each of his many recent productions; Robin Hood (which we are currently referring to as "Robin Who?", The Impressionists (He'll be Claude Monet), The Golden Hour (He was the TDHDIOJS*, Doctor Alec Track), and Sparkhouse (loosely based upon "Wuthering Heights"...You MUST order this DVD immediately...available on 24th April...his best role thus far after JT)

I can't even begin to describe the quality of the descriptive writing in the fanfics about "N&S." It takes a lot to impress inveterate devourer of all types of romantic savorings. And many of these writers have never, ever even thought of trying to write but they've been so impassioned by both the JT of the adaptation and of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel that they were so moved to put fingers to the keyboard (rather than pen to paper.) Note: I've re-read it TEN TIMES since August...I love the JT of EG's book as much as I do the one on-screen.

Yes...I confess...I have also entered the world of fanfic writing but have chosen to select some of his characters from other productions as my "TDH hunks of good lovin'." Mostly because RA has a way of making me want to know more about these enigmatic loner brooder types he portrays so well.

In radio and print interviews, he comes across as sweet, funny, smart, and very appreciative of all that his "Armitage Army" of fans have done to raise his awareness around the world.

Beeb said no DVD for "N&S". "AA" began writing letters, emails, making calls...suddenly, "N&S" DVD was released and they had RA promoting there was a special interview with him on it.

"N&S" is run over on this side of the mighty pond on BBC America. We droogle and swoon and ask for our own DVD. BBC A says no DVD. We take a page from our Britsters' "How To" manual. Voila! We get our DVD!

We band together badgering for a DVD of "Sparkhouse" so we drooglers can all watch his performance as John Standring (great name!), the shy, scruffy, never look anyone in the eyes TDH Yorkshire sheep farmer in Ep 1 transform into literally the most handsome man in the entire universe after a haircut and shave and a trip to the tailor for some better fitting clothes in Ep 3.

I have a contraband copy of a VHS converted to DVD of "SH" which has become my bedtime DVD...especially Ep 3 which is generously slathered with so many incredibly excellent camera close-ups on that brooder par excellence's meltingly blue liquid pools of soul (his eyes...LOL!) and nuanced facial expressions. I mean, I've never seen an actor who can almost smile so well on-camera. BTW, the subtly evolving expessions in his eyes during the "Look Back" scene in "N&S" made me gasp the first time I saw it.

And his eyes can go from all soft and dreamy blue heaven to hard shards of blue ice in a nano second. Wait until you see some of the shots of him as "Moan...A" in "The Impressionists." We've hooked up with the series' editor who has been feeding us with wonderful screen caps of deleted scenes and other delicious tidbits.

We also spread the word about him and his general droogleworthiosity to Meg Wood ( and she selected him for her first "Boyfriend of the Week" for 2006. She's been doing this BOTW thing for about nine years and gave RA a 99.925 on the MacGyver Scale.

I must stop blathering...I'm sure this is close to being the longest comment ever on a blog! Let me just say, that I have a whole blog just devoted to droogling on and on about RA...entitled, natch, "...a fanRAbid's thots...about the god now known worldwide as Richard Armitage."

It just feels so good when I need to wax on about him or some of his roles...with impunity! LOL!

Anyway, thanks for sharing your enthusiasm about RA and I find that I write my best stories and characters when I have a visual in mind...especially when it's a 6'2", long-legged, broad chesticled, TDH BEW like RA! Yum!

RA Rulez!


TDH = Tall Dark Handsome
BEW = Blue-Eyed Wonder
HCMO = Handsome Cotton Mill Owner
OBM = Overbearing Master
TDHDIOJS = TDH Doctor in Orange Jump Suit

droogle = drool + ogle simultaneously

Margaret Moore said...

Oh, baaaaby! Sparkhouse goes on the list along with Casanova! My daughter will be thrilled, too!!

Oh, that "look back" scene in N&S! I tell ya, I swoon just thinking about it! Talk about intense! And the little smiles at the end? Oh, baby!

What really gets me is that RA can brood and smile *at the same time*. He does that walking down an alley in N&S. Amazing!

Like you, I could go on ALL DAY about this guy. But now I must trot off to Amazon and do a little ordering! Thanks so much for the heads-up!

LuvDemBrooders said...

C'est moi! Again!

I just wanted to let you know that you might want to add "Between The Sheets" and "Cold Feet" (series 5) to your order.

In "BTS" he portrays a rather flawed but appealing character named Paul Andrews. Brenda Blethyn and Alun Armstrong are also in this 6-part production. I find PA to be RA's next best performance after his JT and JS.

However, his character lives with a sex therapist so be forewarned that you'll be forced to see RA in all of his bare loveliness..."My, Grandma, what long, muscular legs you have!" But, it's really his acting that appealed to me the first time I watched it without once hitting the "PAUSE," "REWIND" or "STOP" buttons on my remote.

Honesty forces me to admit that I was not nearly so honorable on my second viewing and did make a few scheduled stops on the RA train.

In "Cold Feet" he plays a really handsome, "Don Juan" type of a swim instructor at a health club. The first time I saw him sauntering alongside the pool in a short jacket and blue S pee dohs!, I gasped. He was obviously in tip top physical condition for this part!

I won't bother going into the jist of the story but he has some fun and looks great in his snug-fitting tee shirts and jeans...[See example in my blog cap which I informally call, "A long, tall, sexy drink of water for a very thirsty world" which is from "CF5."

Both of these are available from and other outlets on region 2 DVD format. As is the "Sparkhouse" DVD that I mentioned earlier. You should be able to reset your DVD player to "ALL" regions with ease.

Actually, I'm not sure where you are located so the above info may not be necessary.

Anyway, I'm off to check-in on my real life...I've been in RA-Land for the past 24 hours listening to his radio interview, checking out the new Monet trailer, and having fun investigating your blog and website.

RA Rulez!