Monday, 9 January 2012

Writers or Puppet Masters?

Writers or puppet masters?
By Karina Buchanan
Amidst all the hard work us writers do on the road to publication, we can't forget what it is we love about this profession. Personally, I enjoy it when the first seeds of an idea come to me – the bare bones of a story – and usually this starts with the image in my mind of the hero. Of course, the heroine deserves a special mention too but I have a special place in my heart for all my heroes.
            Whether it's the dashing Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice…

Or the sexy Eric Northman in Charlaine Harris's True Blood novels…

…we all love our fictional heroes. There's nothing better than reading about a handsome leading man's journey to true love. Oh wait, there is – writing about one!
            That's the fun part of being a writer, that ability to create our ideal man from scratch. We sculpt their drool worthy physique, give them the colouring of our choice and of course it gives us the perfect excuse to ogle pictures of hot men. It's research!
            Do we want the strong silent type? Or the kind of man who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to go for it? We choose. We give them the background that dictates that personality and create a whole world around them.
            Sometimes I do feel a bit guilty about lumbering them with angst-ridden pasts but it would be boring to read about a perfect man. A few flaws make them a little bit vulnerable and even easier to fall in love with.
Of course, sometimes they fight back and the character takes me off in a completely different direction from the one I intended.
Take Matt King from Daring to Love, for instance. When he first came into my head he was just a gorgeous daredevil with amazing blue eyes, who prim Andrea Macleave couldn't help falling for.
But it takes more than physical appearance to hold a reader's interest and he needed some depth. I had to find out what drove him to live such an adrenaline fuelled lifestyle. I mean what makes a good looking man want to throw himself out of planes or off buildings and call it fun?
Bit by bit, Matt revealed a deeper character through each traumatic layer of his past. Once I was done torturing him, I redeemed myself by pairing him up with Andrea, a woman who could make him love again and leave his troubled past behind.
My latest hero is proving equally as stubborn as Matt. Henri, my suave Frenchman, really does not think he has room in his life for junior doctor, Lola but I intend to prove him wrong J
So, who's your perfect hero? And what attributes do you like/dislike about your leading men?

Andrea Macleave is determined to lose her 'Miss Stuffy Knickers' nickname with a rappel down Ireland's famous Europa Hotel, for the hospital where she works. Risk taking goes against everything she believes in and it takes a kiss from her hunky instructor to send her on her way. With her wild side let loose, a one night stand with the action man seems the perfect antidote to her staid life.

Part-time charity volunteer, Matt King, hopes to put the disastrous hook-up behind him. That's easier said than done when he meets the woman in question at his workplace. There's clearly a powerful attraction between them but he's fighting his past demons by living life on the edge.

With each of them determined to let their past ruin their chance for happiness, how can an adrenaline junkie and a control freak ever make it work?


"I should have known you couldn't handle your drink." With the devil in him, Matt pushed the buttons guaranteed to re-activate his Andie.
A frown, a purse of full pink lips and she took the bait. "I'll have a whiskey if you're buying." The determination to prove him wrong blinded her to the goggled looks she garnered and the sudden quiet at the table.

He couldn't help his smile getting wider, the more irritated she became. "One whiskey, coming up. Jimmy give me a hand getting these in, will you?"

"I've a good mind to get you fired!" Matt hadn't noticed Andrea following him over to the bar. At the sound of her sexy, pissed-off voice, he slowly turned his head.

She stood, ram-rod straight, giving him clear appreciation of long, lean legs. They seemed to go on forever in those spiky black heels she had swapped for her trainers, even if she still had to look up at his six foot four frame. The figure-hugging jeans would bring a grown man to his knees but he would prefer to see her in something to better show off those pins.

The rose tint in her cheeks gave away her embarrassment at being so openly admired and coming across as a letch was not how he wished to be perceived. Nevertheless, he did enjoy throwing her off guard.
"You should be thanking me really." He wound her up and let her go.
"Thanking you?" She crossed her arms across her chest, drawing the V of her top down to give a tantalizing peek at her cleavage. "I should have you arrested for the way you behaved, never mind getting you fired."
"It got you over the edge, didn't it? You were so caught up, being ticked off at me that you didn't have time to think about what you were doing."
"In that case, turn around."
"So I can slap the gold star on your backside for a job well done! Do you seriously think that's a good enough reason for your behavior? Is that the way you carry on with all your clients?"
"Only the pretty, obstinate ones. As for having me fired, well," he backed his elbows onto the bar, "I do the charity rappels voluntarily. It's difficult to replace a trained instructor willing to work for free but if I caused you so much offense, do what you must."

Her delicious mouth opened and closed and he was assaulted with memories of tasting her. And how good it would be to do it again.

"Since it's for charity and all, I suppose I'll let the matter drop. Forget it happened." The defensive arms slackened and fell to her sides. With the thaw setting in, Matt impulsively stepped forward, to invade her personal space.
"Are you sure that's what you want, Andie?" If he could forget his rules for one night, she could stop pretending she didn't want him.

Instead of seeing the look of longing staring back at him, her pupils narrowed. "Where do you get off calling me 'Andie', anyway? My name is Andrea." She lifted the tumbler of the finest whiskey from the bar, knocked it back and stalked back to her friends.

Matt King never was one to back away from a challenge.

You can contact Karina here -


  1. Thanks for kidnapping my blog today, Karina. You can come back any time with heroes like that ;-)

    I think we all know that my ideal hero is Eric *swoons*.

    Personally I love tortured heroes. The bad boys who need the right woman to show them what love is all about and to help them heal.

  2. i love this Karin. It's so good to hear how each of us sculpt our characters and our stories. Er can I have Johhny Depp in one?

  3. You know, I had to hold myself back from posting Johnny Depp and Joe Manganiello pictures too :)

  4. Enjoyed your blog and your excerpt! I have to say Raven made a great choice in Johnny Depp..YUM!

    I enjoy a tortured hero too...but have to admit that at times I like just a tad of humor with my hero too...nothing like a man that can make you laugh in the midst of danger or a tense, high level moment!

  5. Yeah Christine, I love a bit of banter between my characters and Matt has a unique way of getting Andrea to jump off that hotel roof...