Monday, 30 September 2013

How to use Hollywood actors in your books for free!*

Marc Blucas couldn't stop laughing when he heard he was in a romantic novel

Today I was meant to be posting a very long and meaningful post about something I’ve now completely forgotten about, because I have a COLD. The kind of cold that maroons you on the sofa in the company of a giant box of tissues and old episodes of 30 Rock. Yes, it is kind of nice in a way but after three days of it, I’m looking forward to being able to breathe through my nose again and my head returning to its usual size.

Anyway, since I’m sick I thought I’d do a brief post on the subject of hot men as visual aids to writing. When I’m imagining a male character – ie a romantic interest – it helps to have a real life pinup in mind. And the great thing about writing is: you can use the hottest, most expensive Hollywood actors and it won’t cost you a penny!

In The Out of Office Girl, I pictured Colin Farrell in the role of Luther. I kept quiet about this for a bit because I was worried that people would think this meant that the character Luther is based on Colin. (He’s not. Well, not entirely.)

Sam I pictured as Marc Blucas, aka Riley in Buffy. Early on, I had Alice, the heroine, notice the resemblance. But I took it out partly because my editor suggested the reference to Buffy was a bit dated (ouch) but also because I think it’s best to supply some description and let readers imagine the rest, rather than just telling them ‘He looked like Riley from Buffy’. (Although he does!)

For If I Could Turn Back Time, I had two roles to cast: Max, who’s a scatty scientist, and the gorgeous David, a doctor from Dublin. For Max, I was in (one-sided) talks with Eddie Redmayne for a while but then I saw the Spiderman film and knew I’d found the perfect Max in Andrew Garfield: he’s sensitive and vulnerable and intelligent and has great hair.

I considered lots of actors for the role of David including Kevin Zegers and Bradley Cooper, but in the end I decided to go with a young Christian Bale. Clean-cut with a bit of an edge; that’s David.

I should add, although David is a surgeon he is in no way involved with any American Psycho-type activities. And obviously I don’t know what any of these men are like in real life, so I haven’t based the characters on them – but appearance and general ‘air’ can go a long way in helping you (ahem) flesh out a character.

* WARNING: this method may cause procrastination


  1. Hi NIcola. Nice to see you back posting. Sorry to hear about cold. Hope evil virus leaves your life soon.

  2. Thanks Helen. Have only just recovered! Hopefully that's it for the winter now ...

  3. It's all coming out now :) Great to get the inside information. Fun.