Inspiration, And Then Some

Let’s talk covers, shall we?  As most romance readers know, writers often look to actors and actresses for inspiration when developing their characters.  It’s a fun way to bring the hero and heroine to life in our imaginations.  Typically, a writer spends months on a book, imagining the hero looks remarkably like Gerard Butler, for instance.  Said writer may have even been asked by her editor to provide detailed descriptions of her hero (and heroine), which is then passed along to the art department.  With crossed fingers, the writer then spends the intervening weeks praying the cover will at least remotely match the descriptions she provided to her editor.

Finally, the day arrives and that much-anticipated cover jpg. lands in the writer’s email box.  With pounding heart, the writer clicks on the jpg. and then…well, sometimes they get it right.  Often they don’t but it’s still a great cover, and every once in a while it can be an unmitigated disaster.

How have the cover gods treated me?  Extremely well, IMHO, thanks to the fantastic art department at Kensington Publishing.  The models didn’t always match what was in my head, though, so I thought it might be fun to look at what I imagined and what actually happened – particularly with my heroes.  So here are my covers, starting withMastering The Marquess at the top of the page.  Let’s see how they match up with the actors I used for inspiration.

For Stephen, the Marquess of Silverton, I imagined him played by the beautiful and tragic Heath Ledger.

Now glance up and compare that to the guy at the top of the page.  Not so much, although I think MTM has a great cover.  But the hero looks more like a cross between Brad Pitt and a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, which more than one person pointed out to me.  Whoever he looks like, he does have a great set of abs.

In  my next book, Sex and the Single Earl, I imagined the hero, Lord Trask, to look much like Christian Bale.

And here’s the cover.

Pretty good matchup and, again, great abs.

For my novella in An Invitation To Sin, I based the hero, Captain Christian Archer, on Sean Bean in Sharpe’s Rifles.

And, the cover…

Oh, well.  Pretty, but a distinct absence of abs.

For my last book, My Favorite Countess, I used the gorgeous Hugh Jackman to provide me with inspiration for Dr. John Blackmore.

And the cover…

I was surprised when I got the email because I was expecting another clinch cover, but I certainly wasn’t unhappy.  MFC is a gorgeous cover and since I had imagined Bathsheba played by Kate Winslet, the artist definitely got the vibe.

My next book, which will be out in 2012, has a tough and handsome former soldier as its hero.  When I pictured him in my head, this is who I saw.

Yes.  Uber-handsome Henry Cavill from The Tudors.  I won’t see my cover for some months yet, but I surely a girl can dream, can’t she?

What about you, readers?  Do you cast actors for certain characters when you read a book?  Does it bother you when the cover doesn’t match the description?