When Characters Won't Cooperate... by Anna Campbell

I don't think it's any secret that I have a soft spot for big, bad alpha heroes. The Duke of Kylemore in my first Avon Romantic Treasure definitely falls into that long, proud tradition of Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester and numerous heroes of historical romance ever since.

I love seeing these moody, magnificent monsters meet the woman of their dreams and suffer a major collision with fate, a collision that leaves them better men at the end. It's a story arc I never get tired of, whether it's in an old gothic or a literary classic or a Harlequin Presents or a great Avon historical romance.

So when, still unpublished, I sat down to write the story after CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, I set out to create another dominant, alpha male. Matthew Lansdowne, Marquess of Sheene, the hero of UNTOUCHED, has every reason to be angry at life. He's unjustly imprisoned as a madman while his evil uncle plunders his estates for his own greedy pleasure. He's all on his own apart from his faithful hound Wolfram (actually, I loved writing Wolfram!) and his last escape attempt led to the people who helped him being transported to Australia as criminals. Mind you, given the English weather, perhaps a trip to Australia isn't such a bad fate.

Well, that is he's all on his own until his uncle arranges to have Grace Paget kidnapped to keep Matthew ‘amused’.

I'm sure you know where I saw this story going. A tortured and tormented man gradually overcomes his anger and bitterness as he reluctantly falls in love with the heroine. It's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with the ‘beastly’ hero transformed into a prince at the end.

Except, sadly, Matthew wouldn't cooperate with my plans for his story.

Every time I tried to make him angry and bitter and twisted, he just dug his heels in and wouldn't move, even so far as a short sentence. And I needed more than a sentence if I wanted to finish the book!

Matthew turns up at the start of UNTOUCHED as a knight in shining armor and he's still a knight in shining armor at the end. I don't know where he came from, this deeply honorable man who would do anything for the sake of the woman he falls in love with at first sight. He sure wasn't the guy I invited to this particular party!

But when I finished the book, I wasn't actually that sorry. Personally, I think he's a lovely hero. I hope you agree with me. Lovely, but stubborn, that is!

If you'd like to hear more about UNTOUCHED and the obstinate Matthew, I'm talking about both on Romance Novel TV.


13 Comments:

Blogger Tracey Devlyn said:

Hi, Anna!
I can't wait to read Untouched. The storyline sounds so unique and thrilling.

The green cover is quite eye-catching. It's mystical quality drew me from several aisles over. I would think, from a marketing standpoint, that's just the sort of reaction one would strive for.

Congrats on your release!

1:51 PM  

Blogger Christine Wells said:

Hi Anna! Once again, congratulations on the release of another brilliant Regency noir. I loved this book. Matthew is deeply honourable and sensitive but very strong with it and he has a dry as the desert sense of humour which is remarkable in a man in his circumstances. Grace is a woman who has made mistakes and paid dearly for them, but she's also someone who I really empathized with.

I think its amazing the way you handled this story. The setting is so dark, and the characters in so much pain, yet there is light and shade and the ending is marvelously uplifting. And there's a scene I know EVERY woman will identify with:) I know I can certainly identify with your pain over Matthew. That happens to me in almost every book. In my most recent one, the hero was supposed to be lethal and cold as ice. He ended up being a big, passionate man who was just a little clueless about women. Why do they do that to us? But it's part of the magic, isn't it?

3:12 PM  

Anonymous Sharon said:

Hi Anna
I'm so glad Matthew didn't cooperate with your ideas for his story. He's such a spiritually and emotionally strong hero.

And Tracey is so right about the cover of Untouched. In fact, both of your covers have been stunning.

Congratulations on your second release. I'm looking forward to reading more Anna Campbells!

:))
Sharon

3:23 PM  

Blogger Authorness said:

Congratulations, Anna!

I fell in love with your Matthew the moment I laid eyes on him. Such a strong sense of will (and yes, he's very stubborn!).

Vanessa x

3:47 PM  

Blogger Anna Campbell said:

Tracey, thank you for your comment. I 100% agree with you about that cover. It's incredible, isn't it? And so unusual.

Christine, you make me laugh. I know WHICH scene you refer to, my friend! And I love the sound of your next hero. I love it when those big alpha males come crash up against love and then find themselves totally at sea. Thanks so much for those lovely compliments on Untouched!

Thanks for popping by, Sharon. I'm delighted you loved the green monster! Anna Campbell had better get writing, hadn't she? ;-)

Vanessa, thanks to you to for dropping into the blog. Yes, I've got to agree with you - for me, Matthew definitely fell into the stubborn but gorgeous basket! Or perhaps I should say basket case!

4:11 PM  

Blogger Denise Rossetti said:

Congratulations, Anna! I can't wait to read it. A strong stubborn hero with a sense of humour? Ooooh, gimme, gimme!

As for the cover... That particular shade of green is simply stunning. I have a postcard of J. W. Waterhouse's Circe, painted 1892, that uses the same colour. Someone with more art history smarts might correct me, but I'm almost certain I've read something to the effect that he was the first to use that green because the technology to produce it had only just become available. It's a modern invention. How cool is that? I think it caused quite a stir in 1892!

Guess I could check Wikipedia, but it's too early in the morning for this little night owl.

Anyway I have no doubts whatsoever Untouched is going to cause a stir right now!

Denise

4:46 PM  

Blogger Sandra Barkevich said:

Oh, Anna, Matthew sounds soooo hot! I can't wait to read him. And, since I'm making a good dent in my current wip, hope to have it done by the end of January!, I've got Untouched at the TOP of my TBR list.

It was such fun having you present your drama workshop at Sandra's Goings On. I look forward to having you back! Oh, and I announced your winner the other day. You should be hearing from her soon, I'm sure.

You know I love you! Happy Holidays.

~Sandy :-)
Sandra Barkevich - Romance Author

11:05 AM  

Blogger Anna Campbell said:

Denise, thanks for calling round. I hope you get to know my stubborn hero soon! ;-) Interesting about the green. I know I can't use 'mauve' in a Regency because the process to produce the color hadn't been invented yet! Writing historicals you pick up all sorts of completely useless scraps of knowledge!

Sandra, as always lovely to see you. Thanks for the comment. The drama workshop went well, didn't it? Good luck with the wip!!! I hope you'll take a teeny few moments off for some Holiday cheer, my friend!

12:52 PM  

Blogger Miladysa said:

I LOVE the cover and look forward to reading the book :)

6:08 PM  

Blogger Anna Campbell said:

Thanks, miladysa. It is a GORGEOUS cover, isn't it? ;-)

5:08 AM  

Blogger Miladysa said:

Yes! :]

12:30 PM  

Blogger Anna Campbell said:

Snort!

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