Guest blogger: Charlotte Boyett-Compo
We see something or hear something that catches our attention and we can become transfixed by the sensation. That’s what makes romance book covers so vitally important in selling. You can’t tell a book by its cover but you can darn sure become aroused by the image at which you are staring. A gorgeous, muscled, dark-haired, blue-eyed male will catch my attention every time. If he happens to have a nice, furry chest, all the better. (Unfortunately, you don’t see too many hairy-chested romance models posing for covers. Why they feel the need to wax away that virile stamp of manhood is beyond me. I’m one of those women who likes to have some grass for my girls to play in.)
What we see in our mind’s eye can also grab our attention. When we read, we begin to picture what the hero and heroine look like. We’re given the bare bones of how he looks … brown hair, brown eyes, tall, broad shoulders etc … but his facial features are put before us strictly by how we perceive the character. Maybe we see him as a favourite actor or singer. Maybe he’s a combination of several different actors and singers. When I write a hero, I always have a picture in mind of how he looks. The heroine? Not so much. She’s not nearly as important to me as the hero is. I write books for him, not her.
In the past, I’ve place Adrian Paul, Eric McCormack, Antony Starr, and Allan Hawco in the personas of my heroes. These men had the right ‘look’ for the hero in that particular novel. Paul for BloodWind; McCormack for NightWind; Starr for HardWind; and Hawco for Moonlight Rider.
Which brings me back to the sensory premise.
When I began writing Under the Mayhaw Tree, I had Hawco firmly in mind for the part of my tragic hero. Although it takes place in the Deep South and he’s from Newfoundland, he just fit the character of Drew Dunne to a T. In that book, the heroine is watching a movie starring Irish actor Colin Farrell as the highwayman of the Alfred E. Noyes poem. Later as she is dreaming, she imagines herself as Bess, the landlord’s daughter, with the highwayman. When she wakes, she realises it was not Farrell she had cast in the role of the infamous thief but rather the object of her growing affection, Drew Dunne, who looks like Farrell. That Farrell and Hawco bear a striking resemblance to one another in real life was the whole idea behind the dream sequence.
My editors didn’t want to keep the dream sequence in Under the Mayhaw Tree because she didn’t want anything fanciful to take away from the overall drama of that book, which is a tragic hero tale. What she wanted was for me to write another book using my take on the highwayman. Thus was born Moonlight Rider.
As a writer, I am more than willing to share my imagination and tales with likeminded readers. I loved the poem the moment I began reading it and it has remained my favourite poem all these years. There have been some lacklustre movies made of the tale … it really lends itself to that medium … but never one that caught and held my attention. There have also been a few books written with the poem in mind but none of them really did it for me. When I began writing my version of the poem, my fingers literally flew over the keyboard. I began putting down all the images and emotions the poem had instilled in me for … dare I admit it? … fifty years. (Yes, I am older than dirt.)
I love to put twists and turns a reader can never imagine into all of my books. Reviewers have often mentioned that it is my penchant for writing twists and turns that makes them like my work so much. There are several major twists and turns in Moonlight Rider that should keep readers on their toes. There are also some very vivid scenes that should satisfy even the most jaded appetites. I believe I painted a rich picture of the four main characters: Declan, Bess, Lady Althea and the villain well enough that a reader can see them clearly. I hope I’ve written it in such a way that the book will unfold like a movie in your mind. At least that was my intent.
If you’d like to see a book trailer of the book, you can find it up on my website at www.windlegends.org/moonlightrider.htm. If you’d like to follow me on Facebook … and I would LOVE to have you do so … the URL is www.facebook.com/windlegends. I have written over 100 novels so I hope there is something there to interest you.