Thursday, 13 November 2008

Seventh Book Itch. (A.K.A... there's only so many times you can use the word 'beautiful'...)

So this is my seventh book and my seventh hero, and I feel like a change.

I've been having a little look back at the six men who have gone before (and my, what fun that's been. Top of my list for post-deadline activities was cleaning the oven, but oddly enough I haven't managed to tear myself away from the computer just yet...) Raphael di Lazaro only ever existed in my head, so for the first one you'll just have to insert your own idea of tall, dark and handsome, but let's just remind ourselves of the others shall we....

(Angelo from The Italian's Captive Virgin, whose fallen angel looks were inspired by Alex Pettyfer.)

They’ve all been pretty different...

(Orlando from Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure. James D'Arcy supplied the tortured beauty for this one)

but they do have one thing in common...

(Olivier from Taken for Revenge, Bedded for Pleasure, which comes out in the UK in January. Thanks to James Franco and his lovely mouth)
and that's that they’re all...

(Alejandro from At the Argentinean Billionaire's Bidding, who was totally based on Argentine polo ace, Nacho Figueras)
absolutely gorgeous.

(Tristan, aka Henry Cavill, from the book I've just finished.)
SO... what I'm wondering is how essential that physical gorgeousness is to the Presents promise and the success of the story in the mind of the reader? Up until now I haven’t thought twice about it, because a) I'm pitifully shallow and b) I'm a total sucker for a fine pair of cheekbones, and I’ve written heroes whose effortless good looks instantly and obviously set them apart from other men. And also, I suppose, because the perfection on the surface often contrasts nicely with the darkness and damage within.

But increasingly I'm drawn to the idea of a man who is compelling, for reasons other than his physical appeal. Who makes you notice him by sheer force of personality and who exudes a kind of magnetic charisma that goes way beyond a strong jaw and a kissable mouth. Who you look at, not because he has the face of a young Adonis, but because you can’t not look, and while I know that any hero worth his stripes (ooops... another Orlando moment...) has all those qualities, I’m kind of interested in bringing them brutally to the fore by stripping away all the pretty packaging.

And so I’m thinking... maybe someone like....

Marco Pierre White. Scary. Menacing. Brilliant in his field. Easily bored. Outrageously rude. Sexy in a way you absolutely can’t deny but also can’t quite explain either.

What do you think? Will it work?

(and will it help if you remember that he used to look like this....)

Is there anyone else you can think of who attracts pretty much by personality alone? Whose sexual chemistry is loads stronger than the sum of the parts in the equation (can you tell I was rubbish at science at school?) I want a man with strength and charisma and a grown-up bad-boy attitude. I need someone rough and battered and been-around-the-block.
I think...
(Or do I just need to take a break and clean the oven?)


Karen said...

Hi India
You so make me laugh!
Your last description of sexy, menacing, brilliant and easily bored man, is my absolute perfect man.
Pretty boys, really do nothing for me. Your first man, Raphael really did something for me.
I've said this to you before, but I was practically moving into his palazzo last summer in Venice.
To me he had a dark, menacing and brilliant mind, (with a hard, muscle packed chest, that was how I saw Raphael him in my mind), that I would go to the ends of the world for.
Physical perfection has never been top of what I want in a Modern hero. I want to be drawn to a man who is compelling and draws you to him because of his personality.
Forget the oven, I'll be forever in your debt, if you create my perfect man.
xx Karen

Trenda said...


For heaven's sake, the oven can wait!

I think this is a fabulous idea, and I totally get what you mean about that sort of man who isn't traditionally beautiful, but for some reason you simply cannot stop looking at him. The attraction to such a man is born out of his powerful personality, his confident manner, and his ability to unapologetically be himself.

As examples, I would cite Alan Rickman in "Sense and Sensibility" and Ciaran Hinds in "Persuasion."

I think your choice of a young Marco Pierre White as the inspiration for your new man is pure brilliance. BTW, how quickly do you think you can write this one? Really, India, you have such a way of inflicting a wretched case of impatience upon a person. ;-)



India said...



Karen, that's SO interesting that you say you're not interested in the physical perfection-- thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and I want to know more details of exactly what your perfect hero would be. The brilliant mind has got to be top, I think...

Trenda-- Alan Rickman. Of course! God, you're a genius, woman. Shall go and do a bit of Ciaran Hinds browsing on youtube too, so thanks for the inspiration. I only use real people as a starting point, so maybe my hero will end up being an amalgam of several men, but I do feel oddly inspired by MPW's utter arrogance. You get the feeling that he'd be almost impossible to win over, but once you did he'd be yours for life.

(hmmm... although 3 broken marriages say otherwise, I guess....)

Trenda said...


Does your new guy have a name yet?

I love the idea of man who is determined not be won over, but then once he's yours, he is yours forever. And, of course, your new guy will be just such a man.

Please name him soon! Something about a man's name, ya know? An amalgam, huh? Sounds like a scrumptious recipe to me!



Kate Hardy said...

LOL, India - you need Lakeland's oven cleaner and that gives you a couple of hours to think of men with charisma.

Alan Rickman is a wonderful suggestion. (Good excuse to watch Truly, Madly, Deeply.)

Might I also suggest Robert Lindsay? (As Richard III, he had our local theatre audience eating out of his hand. That man has huge stage presence. As for the bad boy bit - oh yeah, he has the twinkle in his eyes.)

And if we're talking of charisma + gorgeous - there's only one candidate. Mr Banderas. The voice alone does it. (In Shrek: "For you, baby, I could be..." Enough to melt anyone. And his role in Desperado makes him battered and been round the block.) ... if you need pics, ask Aunty Kate for some of her totty gallery :o)

Karen said...

I have been in love with Matthew McFadden for ages. Especially when he was in 'Spooks', I adored him.
I've just seen him reading Williams Shakespeare's Sonnet 29, on YouTube. What wouldn't I have given to be that girl who texted him? Anything, that's what!!
There is something so deep about him, and secrets buried deep, that you would ache to share with him.
xx Karen

Anonymous said...

Oooh Trenda - Ciarnan Hinds, yummy, and an Irish man. Good taste!
I would suggest David Morrissey, he was in the new TV version of Sense and Sensibility and that awful Basic Instinct 2 with Sharon Stone...but very dishy in a beaten up kind of way.
Ovens are highly over-rated India, get writing.
x Abby

Trenda said...


Am now two-thirds into my WIP and suddenly equal parts giddy and terrified. Giddy because I will be writing the Black Moment soon. Terrified because I will be writing the Black Moment soon. Does that make sense? If so, please explain it to me.

The only thing I am certain of is that the laundry is about to take over the house. Still, I have been brewing Tiramisu coffee all morning, so even though the house is a wreck, it smells divine.

xx Trenda

Anonymous said...


Marco Pierre White (sigh....) I met him at a book signing, shook his hand and talked to him for a few minutes (he really looks in your eyes when you talk to him!) Even sat down he dominated the room with his presence! Utterly charming though - was nervous at first, but he really makes you feel at ease.

He is one of those guys that the first time you see him, the first word you think of is SEX!

Trenda said...

Pardon me a moment, India, while I have a word with Abby Green...Abby, oh, my yes, David Morrissey...I loved him in the new Sense and Sensibility! Actually, once I'd got a glimpse of him, I spent the rest of the film waiting for another peek at him...and
another...and another. If you ask me, the deliciously banged-up creature didn't get nearly enough screen time. Must go watch again now!

You can have your blog back now, India. ;-)

xx Trenda

India said...

Trenda-- he doesn't have a name yet, but he's going to be Italian (because I LOVE Italian heroes and I haven't done one for a while now)As soon as he has a name I'll let you know! Good luck with the black moment, and just go ahead and let the characters you've spent so long building speak for themselves. Forget the washing and cry along with them! (Have noted the coffee tip. Good thinking!)

Kate, what I really NEED is a cleaner! Just think of the hours that would free up for 'research'. (And Antonio Banderas is definitely cheating as he's far too good looking... He even makes a sexy cat somehow!)But Robert Lindsay is one I hadn't thought of, so thanks for that.

Karen, Matthew McFadden is another really interesting example, and I just watched that clip and can't get over how expressive his eyes are. I love your comment about secrets buried deep.

Yes Abby, I'm liking your Mr Morrissey very much. Rough, and with that kind of masculine inarticulacy which I find oddly sexy. Sometimes you don't want a long, heartfelt speech, you just want a pithy words. (So much easier to write... or maybe not?)

FAFB, you're saying all the right things baby! Thanks so much for that detail about the eye contact, and the room domination! That's just how I imagined he'd be, though the charm is something I hadn't bargained for perhaps-- I think I just thought he'd be intimidating. (But sexy at the same time... Oh help, yes, definitely sexy...)

(Trenda-- be my guest, but don't encourage her too much. She has a deadline, you know. I'm sending her back to her wip immediately or they'll be smacked legs later.)

Michelle Styles said...

YOu do not have to clean Aga ovens. It is part of the joy.

As you are looking for Italian types... Ciaran Hands was brilliant in Persuasion and he was also in ROme as Julius Ceasar. Or you could try James Purefoy who was Mark Antony.
Then there is the captain from Francesco's Med Voyage. Or what about the chef Locatelli?

India said...

James Purefoy is an interesting one, Michelle. And who was that other guy in Ancient Rome, Rise and Fall of an Empire? He played Octavius I think, and was lovely in a lean and hard-planed kind of way. Ooh, must find out now.

Francesco's captain is definitely too beautiful for this hero I'm afraid. (Nods thoughtfully) His time will come...

Donna Alward said...

I don't quite know what to do with myself, I'm all a-swoon with the suggestions here.

You are SO right about MPW....that picture just BEGS story, doesn't it?

So many choices. I feel youtube and dvd watching are a must...right after I conquer the gigantic pile of parcels and wrapping paper dominating my kitchen...but once it's gone I'm out of 90% of the Christmas prezzie mess....I hate shopping in December...

Rachel said...

Coming in a bit late here but, Marco, oh yes! I've always liked him, such a bad boy. I do believe he was the one who reduced Gordon Ramsey to a sobbing wretch in the kitchen. Now THAT's got to be scary! Will the heroine be a vegetarian anti hunt type or are you thinking about toning down Marco's real life ferocity? He seems to like blood quite a lot.

Thinking of others, would Jose Mourinho be too pretty? Arrogant and difficult but utterly devoted to and protective his family (and small dog--remember that?).

Or how about our very own snooker champ Ronnie O'Sullivan-volatile, brilliant and unpredictable with a dark past but again, adores his family. He'd be a brilliant Italian too--soooo dark!

Of course there is a school of thought that considers Daniel Bond to be a little lacking on the looks front. 'Too short and stocky'was the phrase as I recall!

Lots of love (and hoping Richmond are ready for this one!),


Anonymous said...

Ahem, I stand by my -too short and stocky- comment. :-)! It's hard work isn't it? Having to sit and think of all these rough to do more searching on the internet...
x abby

Amanda Ashby said...

What about Jeffrey Dean Morgan? He was the hot dad from Supernatural and was also in Ps. I Love You (along with the equally hot Gerard Butler - talk about value for money!!!!).

Oh, there is also Alan Hansen the ex-Liverpool player who is totally gorgeous in an older guy sort of way AND he has scar as well!!!!

And of course what about John Malkovich who had no right to be as irresistable as he was in Dangerous Liasons?

Er, and by the way, can you tell that leaving messages on blogs is my version of cleaning the oven??

India said...

Donna-- I cannot BELIEVE that you have Christmas sorted! I feel that that leaves you ideally placed to nip right over and start sorting it for me because I haven't begun yet! (Partly because I'm all of a swoon with these suggestions too!!)

Rachel, he's not going to be a chef, but a film director (and I have lovely industry insider Abby Green on standby as my film advisor...) so Marco will just be providing the attitude and the smoulder, not the profession. My mum adores Ronnie O'sullivan (putting him clearly out of the running, I'm afraid), but yes-- I have a feeling that more than a soupcon of Daniel will find its way into the hero blend for this one!

(Abby-- you're such a hard woman to please...)

By George Amanda-- you've totally hit the spot with John Malkovich. Jeepers, there's something deliciously intimidating about him isn't there? Do you know-- I think it's high time I revisited Dangerous Liasons in all its glory (and not just on Youtube, which often takes the place of a full rerun in my life these days as my attention span gets shorter and shorter...)

Tried to clean the oven yesterday, but it was so filthy that I'll need to have another go at it today. There. You all wanted to know that, didn't you?

Trenda said...

Morning, India,

(Fanning self) Have you seen's "100 Sexy Men in 1 Minute" video?

Yeesh! Water. Now. Lots and lots of water. (continues fanning self)

Must go watch again...and again...


Trenda said...


Turns out the swooning I was doing yesterday whilst watching the 100 sexy men was due in part to mono. Found out this morning. Yuck!

Hope you and yours are all doing well.



India said...

Trenda-- my computer decided not to connect to the internet yesterday (which was maybe a tiny little bit my fault for accidentally turning off the wireless connection switch) so I didn't get to check out the hot guys! Is one minute enough?

Sorry that you're feeling poorly. Is mono what we'd call glandular fever over here? If so, I'm sending my very best get well wishes and ordering you to take it really, REALLY easy. In fact-- looking at gorgeous men is definitely the most strenuous thing you're allowed to do for at least a week, young lady. Take care of yourself, lovey (or better still-- get someone else to take care of you!) xxx

Trenda said...

India, yup, I think it is the same as glandular fever.

Thank goodness for the portability of laptops. Now it will be so easy to do plenty of research on hot guys while resting in bed.

Hubby is being just wonderful...taking care of the kiddos and everything else. His parents are picking up the kids today and will keep them for the weekend, God bless them!

Back to sleep, now...



Silly Me said...

I will be more than intrigued to read "about" ARgentine Men, especially Ignacio Figueras. However, may I suggest another true GENT worthy of your sublime writing? James CAVIEZEL (for short Jim like Nacho for the above) is DIVINEly charming _on_ and _off_ screen, an erudite altruist, true humanitarian. Any (American or not) Ladies who might know him, his: family, staff (even Wife!) pls. email me using
FvanMcGraham AT
I would like to work for him, his contacts, in the USA.
On YouTube, etc I was breathless at how p-e-r-f-e-c-t James is in all respects. God ...