I’m a movie buff, I admit. If I had heaps of money and oodles of free time, I’d go to the cinema weekly. Film visuals fascinate me, from the lighting and colors to costumes, set design, and the appealing actors and actresses who embody character roles.
When I’m writing a book, the story often unfolds in my head as if I’m watching a film. A bit like a director, I start imagining my sets, what color a character should wear in a certain scene, and how the story unfolds in a visual way. Want to see the results of all this rumination? I justify my time on Pinterest (where visual people go to get lost) by creating inspiration boards for every single one of my stories.
Maybe you’d agree with me that a great cast makes for a great movie. I have similar feelings about stories. For me, characters are key. Understanding their hearts, pasts, and goals is essential, but I also want a clear idea of physical aspects, including the sound of their voice and the way they move.
As a writer, I usually have a sense of a character’s physicality as soon as a story idea pops in my head, but that’s just the beginning of the journey. After I’ve laid out general ideas—plotting major scenes, exploring the conflict, and planning the happy ending—I often look for actors to star in the movie in my head. Sometimes I choose favorites whose work has inspired me. On other occasions, I see a face or hear a voice that fits my character well.
For my November 1st release (the start of a new series!), RULES FOR A ROGUE, I immediately thought of one tall, muscular, dark haired actor as my hero, Kit Ruthven. Canadian actress, Elyse Levesque, with her red hair and bright blue eyes, fit my heroine, Ophelia Marsden.
Shout out to the Avon art department too, who brought Ophelia to stunning life on my cover.
For further inspiration, I commissioned a fabulous artist, Jenna Paddey, to create character sketches of my hero and heroine. I sent her images of my actors as reference and told her a bit about my characters’ personalities. The art she produced is so gorgeous that I now plan to commission character sketches for all my future books.
How do you envision characters when you’re reading a book? Do you go by the cover art, insert your own favorite actor in the role, or just let the author build an image in your head with words?
EBOOK (winner’s choice of my titles) GIVEAWAY*: Comment and let me know if you recognize the identity of my hero inspiration (if you follow me on social media, you will already know!) for Rules for a Rogue’s Kit Ruthven?
*I’ll pick and announce two winners on Sunday, Aug 28*