For all that writers are creatures of great imagination, we sometimes need an assist in the visualization department when it comes to our heroes and heroines. It’s not that we’re not clever enough to come up with a face on our own, but every once in a while, a set of guidelines (so to speak) comes in handy: We can see the scruff, but not the jawline upon which it grows.
This Objectification-of-Men Tuesday, I thought I’d do you readers a solid and show you who I studied when the hero of Love Songs, William, first started prowling the corners of my mind.
Oh, Christian Bale—how are you always so foxy?
From Love Songs:
He was tall, so tall, and wonderfully made. Long ago, when her interest in him first arose, she’d loved simply looking at him. Her gaze instinctively swept over the sturdy set of his shoulders and down powerful arms, then to his trim waist above long, leanly muscled legs. Buff trousers encased those obnoxious legs of his, and he wore a navy evening jacket over a silver-and-brown embroidered silk waistcoat, the ensemble perfectly fit to the lines of his torso. His white cravat lay crisply against his throat, snowy enough to make his fair English skin appear sun-warmed.
She wouldn’t study his face, though. She knew well enough from past experience that staring at his handsome face only made her ache. He was the only man to ever affect her so, and as long as she didn’t look above his shoulders, she could pretend she’d gotten past…whatever emotion it was she needed to get past.
But he stood there, his grip on the back of Mr. Tottle’s collar turning the other man red in the face, and calmly watched her. So she met his gaze and bit her lower lip in surprise. The years lived in his coffee-dark eyes, but looking at him, it felt as if no time at all had passed.
Oh, God, the ache. There was the ache again, digging claws into her chest until her breath came in short, uneven gasps.
She knew all the gossip about him, knew he was widely regarded as the most eligible man in London, and only half of that appeal related to his role as heir to the Stillbridge dukedom. His wide, thin-lipped mouth curved in a cool smile, setting lines into his taut cheeks. A hint of color flushed his sharp cheekbones, and the faint shadow of his night-beard darkened the strong angles of his chin and jaw. Warm chestnut hair flopped carelessly over his forehead, but it was the only imperfection to his neat, close-cropped coiffure.
Her fingertips tingled inside her gloves as she stared at that straight hank of hair, noting where it bisected one thick, dark brow. A sigh shuddered out of her, and she closed her eyes against the sight of him. She was so happy, all of a sudden, and she hated herself for feeling that way.
2011 © by Edie Harris
Really, I doubt I could’ve picked a better visual approximation for my hero. William needed to be handsome without being pretty and masculine without being overwhelmingly so—I think I did all right.
But it sure helps that there are men in the world with looks like Christian Bale.