Feb 7 2013 8:02am

Real-Life People as Romance Novel Characters?

When you visit a favorite author's website, or follow them on Twitter, or like their Facebook page, you might discover the author had a particular real-life person—often an actor—in mind when writing her book.

Does knowing who the author was thinking of when writing a character change your perception of the book? Which ones have worked for you, and which did not?

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Kaye Dacus
1. kndacus
I'm one of those authors. I have a "Real World Template" for each character in each of my books. And in the month leading up to release, I always do blog posts in which I feature these templates.

As a reader, if I see an author do this before I read the book, it works for me. Being a visually oriented person, once I see the image of the person the author is describing, I can picture that person as I read (much like picturing the actor in the role as I read a book after seeing the movie). What throws me off, though, is when the image on the front cover of the book doesn't match how the character is described. Also---under-description of characters throws me off. So having an image from the author can be very helpful in that aspect.

Now, if it's an actor or actress I don't really care for, then I'll most likely just re-cast them in my own head and ignore the template the author used. ;-)
2. Tina@bookcrack
I'm with @kndacus as a reader and writer. I'm totally one of those "movie people" who experiences books visually and I'm more than happy to "recast" if it doesn't match, too.

-I create a vision board for each of my books. Have since my teen years. Where it once was a wall shrine it's now on a white board or tucked away in snippets of locations, sayings and photos in my plot journal. Don't think my hubs or the teens want my man candy taking up a wall in the living room. LOL

~Interestingly enough, I also agree that the much bigger issue for me is when the COVER model/hero doesn't look anything like the hero described in the book. That totally peeves me and even though I know not to judge a book by its cover I am so guilty of it!

I'm a bad, bad author and bad, bad reader!!
*hanging head in shame* :)
Kaye Dacus
3. kndacus
LOL, @Tina@bookcrack. I do the same thing--except I keep my images in PowerPoint and OneNote on the computer and, more recently, on Pinterest, where I have a board for each of my books. (And private boards are GREAT for this!)

While I can't think of a specific title, I have picked up books because of the image on the front cover . . . and then been a little disappointed when the character described within isn't anything like him.
Carmen Pinzon
4. bungluna
I'm an avid reader. I can honestly say that I mostly ignore the image on the cover, since most of them have absolutelly nothing to do with the characters in the book. I can also say that I cast my own reels while reading a book. Unless the author expressly makes a reference to the character looking like so-and-so, I try not to bring a famous face into my imagined 'movie'.

As an aside, it is fast becoming a pet peeve for me to have characters described as looking like someone famous instead of having an actual full description or no description at all a la Crusie!
Jasmine Ray
5. JassyBaby
Usually, for me, knowing the actor/actress an author had in mind for a certain character doesn't really bother me. If I agree, I'll probably visualize the actor when reading the book. If not, I'll visualize some imaginary person or another actor (i.e. Ian Somerhalder as Christian Grey! Can't help that one~)

When I write, I never visualize actors for my characters, until one day when I started a story and I thought "Omygawd, such-and-such actor would be PERFECT for such-and-such character! The way he looks, talks, his mannerisms, his was perfect!"
I have to admit it was kinda fun going through pictures and picking the ones that put me in mind of my characters.
Rakisha Kearns-White
6. BrooklynShoeBabe
Does knowing who the author was thinking of when writing a character change your perception of the book? Which ones have worked for you, and which did not?
Unless the person is Donald Trump or someone I find odious, than no it doesn't. Most times, when I find out who the inspiration was, I say "I totally saw that!" Most of the time, I cast romance novels in my head. It's not secret amongst my friends (and some of my online friends) that Hugh Jackman is the star of all of my romance novels hands down despite what physical attributes the author gives the hero. lol. And the heroine, is always me. :-D
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