Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Novel Inspriations by Anna J Stewart

Hello all! After a rather long hiatus (thank you to Leigh Riker, my blogging partner in crime, for shouldering our day while I dig out from under deadlines), I'm back!  Ha! I've missed you all. Let's get inspired, shall we?

photo from PinkLemonDesigns

Did it work? Are you awake?  Isn't he pretty?  Okay, confession time. I've been re-watching WHITE COLLAR and have found myself transfixed, nay, a bit obsessive, over Matt Bomer. But tell me this picture doesn't make you wonder what he's thinking? This is where all of my books start. With an image.





As I head into the first of my Butterfly Harbor books, THE BAD BOY OF BUTTERFLY HARBOR (I SO hope Heartwarming uses my title), I searched for inspiration.  As my fellow authors know, there's nothing like the rush of starting a new story. I've had a number of people ask me where I get my ideas and what gets the creative juices flowing.  While every writer has their own way of diving into the pages of their new world, I'm visual.  I need photos or items around me that keep me "in place" and remind me whose story I'm telling.  I've found it's usually my heroes that end up front and center of my writing space (my heroines--that's a different process all together and one that will probably surprise those who don't know me--but that's another blog post, LOL).

Let's face it.  We read (and write) romance because we love falling in love. For me, the idea of readers falling in love with the heroes I create makes the long hours sitting at the keyboard worth it. But before I put word one on the page, I take some time and search out the perfect image--that representation that clicks in my head and makes my hero come to life. Sometimes it takes me hours to find "the one", like it did for Lucas Saxon. As a TV and movie junkie, I tend to lean toward famous faces, but no one really "fit".  Then the Internet Goddess smiled down on me and presented me with this image:

photo courtesy of Airows.com

Bingo! There's a quiet edge to him, and something in those eyes I know Lucas is keeping to himself (can't wait to find out what!).  This is a hero with some serious baggage (despite his motorcycle). Lucas is owning up to his past, determined to right wrongs and well, of course fall in love along the way, but don't worry.  He'll keep that edge--even as the new town sheriff. Who better than to watch over Butterfly Harbor than the one time bad-boy and trouble maker?

Book two in the series (tentatively titled FLUTTERBY DREAMS) will have an entirely different tone.  Jason Corwin's out to prove himself and he's not letting anyone--not even Abby Manning--stand in his way.  Charmer to the core, he's gotten by with a wink and a smile, but Abby's not buying it. Or is she? The second I saw this image of Chris Pine <swoon>, Jason was born. 

photo from browneyedbellejulie.blogspot.com

Huh.  Apparently I have a type. Who knew?  But there's a distinct difference between the two men.  Not only in the clothes they're wearing (and each is exactly as I imagined them arriving in town), but look at their faces, their expressions and stances. There's a completely different attitude in their eyes and for me, that's when the tumbler locks into place and a hero is born.

Here's the ironic part.  I'm not a fan of people on my covers (can you see me biting my nails over upcoming cover concepts?). I don't like being told what characters look like, so while these images work for me as far as Lucas and Jason during the creative process, I'm more than happy to let the readers' minds take flight.  Once BAD BOY is released, perhaps I'll pop back into this topic and see what you all think or who you see as Lucas Saxon.  That might be fun! Let's book it.

In the meantime, is there a particular actor who comes to mind for certain stories? Here's your chance to cast some of your favorite books...and heroes because after all, that's what romance is all about!



Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head.

Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family centric romances with happy endings for her independent heroines for both Harlequin Heartwarming and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). Visit Anna online at www.authorannastewart.com.


20 comments:

  1. Thanks for the scenery today, Anna!

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    1. Hee hee. thought that would get people's attention. :) *waving*

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  2. Anna, as you know, I look forward to your posts and you never disappoint!

    You've captured my interest, and I look forward to reading Lucas Saxon's story.

    Happy reading . . . and dreaming, everyone!

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  3. Oh, yeah. You've chosen a couple of my favorites. The first time I saw Matt Bomer, I just stopped and stared, What IS behind those eyes? I love the kid from THE FLASH. Don't know his name, and there's nothing of the bad boy about him. He's such a cutie. Ioan Gruffud from FOREVER, Simon Baker is my blond hero inspiration (there aren't that many) and I think Nathan Fillion is the vulnerable hero to a T. Thank you, Anna. Men are such a nice way to start the day.

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    1. I know, Muriel, right? Sometimes he's just so pretty it hurts, LOL. Grant Gustin is The Flash--he's such a cutie! And right there with you on Ioan. The accent doesn't hurt. Glad I could give you a few smiles!

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  4. Totally inspired, Anna! And an obsession with Star Trek, Star Wars and Wonder Woman? Are you my twin? :)

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    1. Bwahaaaa! Could very well be, Rula! We'll compare notes soon. :)

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  5. This was a fun post. Sometimes I wonder if guys look at their pictures later and laugh. I mean, these are some hot, classy pictures, but it would be interesting to have a Hollywood hero who was embarrassed by even the classiest of these shots. What conflict!

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  6. OOoh, good idea, Melinda!! *starts plotting*

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  7. Swooning here. Love your photos and Pinned them. :-) Nathan Fillion is my go-to guy. (As if.) I do think Heartwarming has some of the best covers of all!

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    1. Nathan! He's such a cutie! I remember him playing Joey Buchanan on One Life To Live aaaages ago. Can't wait to see him on the Big Bang Theory in a couple of weeks, LOL. And I agree--I LOVE our covers!

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  8. Anna, as usual--fantastic post! Thank you for sharing--so fascinating to get a peek at another writer's processes. I am not a fan of people on book covers either. When I read I like to form my own pictures of the characters. So excited to visit Butterfly Harbor! Great name for a series and LOVE that title. Who doesn't love bad boys?

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    1. Hey, Carol! Glad you liked. :) And yeah...bad boys. Nothing better. Darn! Should have put up a pic of the best bad boy of all...Sawyer from LOST. I sense a new post coming!

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  9. Love your guys, Anna! I too tend to start with the hero of a new book. Once, on a boat ride in the bayou, I heard the "captain" and his cousin, a tall, dark Cajun guy exchange some banter. And voila, a hero was born. This guy escaped his poor roots to become a New Orleans detective--who started right there on that boat. Inspiration is all around.

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    1. That's what I need to do! Get on a boat in the bayou. Who's up for a field trip, er, I mean research trip?! :)

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    2. Me! Me! I speak French - it's Canuck rather than Cajun, but let's not split hairs.

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  10. Anna, what a fun and hot post. Chris Pine in anything is so fabulous. I love your title and I hope they let you keep it. I must be really out of it because I've never seen Matt Bomer before, but will look for him now!!! Wow oh wow! He's not from another planet , right?
    Is anybody that good looking?

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    1. I've got a convert!! Hi Catherine! The last time RWA was in NYC, I talked with some guys who met up with him while they were filming in town. Apparently he's one of the nicest guys ever (as if being that handsome wasn't enough). Totally drool worthy, LOL. You'll LOVE White Collar...6 whole seasons of pretty. :)

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  11. Oh Anna. Your post is filled with photos that make me smile! Can't wait to meet your bad boy in the pages. I love giving my heroes and heroines a face. I've imagined Ryan Gossling as Max in The Better Man and recently could see Captain America, Chris Evans as my latest hero in The Hardest Fight. Your Thor obsession on Facebook had me thinking Chris Hemsworth needs a story. I'm on it!

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