My inspiration for Alistair, hero of Confessions of A Viscount. Can't you just see the young Regency gentleman, reluctant to put on his cravat because he'd rather pursue scientific endeavors than attend yet another social event?

In reality he's Michael Shanks, a Canadian actor the rest of the world may be more familiar with as Dr. Daniel Jackson on TV's Stargate SG-1. Playing the archeologist/linguist was Shanks's first major acting role. His physical resemblance to James Spader and ability to mimic Spader's portrayal of Daniel in the movie Stargate (watch the director's cut on DVD -- great movie!) helped the producers forget that the actor is a decade younger than the character.

I love Daniel's passion, his stubborness and tenacity. He was laughed out of academia for his beliefs, for what his research proved (Daniel can think so far out of the box he forgets the box exists), but he didn't give in, didn't give up, and boy, did he turn out to be right.

Alistair introduced himself to me several years ago, and has been patiently waiting for me to match him with the right heroine. With Charlotte, I think I got it right. And all that waiting paid off. Apparently in my first two books I worked through my need to beat up my heroes, as Alistair gets through Confessions almost unscathed. Poor Charlotte, on the other hand...
Too bad this pic doesn't do his blue eyes justice. ;-)

My inspiration for Tony, the hero of Kiss From A Rogue. He's spent the evening at a Regency ball, dancing and dallying all night long, and now he's at home in his study enjoying a glass of port, cravat untied and tossed onto the table, his waistcoat unbuttonend...

When I mentioned Tony in What An Earl Wants, I hadn't planned to do his story, but he insisted on having his own book. (He's very persuasive -- just ask Sylvia, his heroine.) Based on his description already in print, he had dark hair, dark eyes, a slim build, and is not overly tall. My editor wanted a hero who was larger than life, someone who could sweep a heroine off her feet. There was only one man who met all those requirements: Johnny Depp. Thinking of my synopsis as a movie script, I cast Johnny in the role of Tony.

JD factoid: At 22, he got his first on-screen acting job (Nightmare on Elm Street) because the director's teenage daughter found him "hypnotically good-looking and very charming," according to Wes Craven. Wes had decided against hiring JD -- he bore little resemblance to the character Glenn in the script -- but changed his mind.

His looks aside, JD is an amazingly talented actor. Who else could make us root for an amoral CIA agent (Once Upon A Time in Mexico), or play a hero who faints like a squeamish girl (Sleepy Hollow) but is still heroic?

But I digress. Ahem. In Rogue, I essentially did a twist on Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs -- my dwarves are smugglers and Snow White their leader. One of Jack Sparrow's many crimes, as mentioned at his hanging, was smuggling. I couldn't find a good reason to put Tony in beads and eyeliner, but he does wear boots like Captain Jack's. (So do I -- see my Photos page.)

I was mean to Tony in the story. He's nearly killed a couple times, beat up, shot at, almost drowns, and he differs greatly from Captain Jack in that he does not enjoy being on board a boat or ship. But Sylvia gets to tend all his injuries, so it's totally worth it, right?


My inspiration for Sinclair, hero of What An Earl Wants. The actor is Adrian Paul, shown in a screencap from "Highlander," in which he starred as Duncan MacCloud. In case you're not familiar with the TV show based on the movie, Duncan was born over 400 years ago and is one of the Immortals, beings who can't be killed unless they're beheaded. We saw Duncan's contemporary life and flashbacks to his many experiences around the world during the past four centuries. Here's a guy who frequently had to defend himself in battle, a warrior in the truest sense of the word, yet he had a lighthearted and tender side. I loved his mix of passion and playfulness. Oh, and he could cut your head off.

Sinclair doesn't behead anyone during the course of his story, though he had been a soldier and probably had to do terrible things, witnessed unspeakable horrors, during his time on the Continent fighting Napoleon's forces. But he was gentle with his mother, a loving big brother to Tony, and open-minded enough to not boot his new secretary out on his arse upon discovering he's been duped and Mr. Quincy is actually a miss.

My big, macho hero is still recovering from a life-threatening leg injury when the book opens, and halfway through the story I gave him bronchitis and a concussion, too, because it's so hard on men to not be in control, and because, well, it's fun to torture our heroes. We wouldn't care so much if we didn't love them. :-)