Saturday, 5 November 2011

Sally's Heroes #1

Sharpe: Wondering whether to storm a castle or go to bed with the 'female of the week'. Knowing him, he'll do both!

This is the first in an occasional light-hearted weekend series where I share my favourite fictional and/or real heroes with you. You can read a pretty extensive list in this post I did for my birthday on my own blog.

This week's hero is the gorgeous Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe.

Sharpe is my kind of man. He's worked his way up through the ranks, despite resentment from his fellow officers and his own class, and he doesn't suffer fools gladly. He's got an eye for a pretty face, but always behaves as much more of a gentleman than those who were born 'gentlemen'. He's also a loyal friend and not afraid to go the front when there's trouble, unlike many of the officers. He's also a tortured hero. His first wife, Teresa, died, and his second wife, Jane, stole all his money and went off with that bloke from Buffy and Angel. Then his third wife died. If ever a man needed a cuddle...

I often use actors as a template for my heroes. I haven't published anything with Sean as the hero yet, but he is one of my Derbyshire Hunks, the three gorgeous brothers of my intended serial (yes, I know Sean is from Yorkshire, but it's near enough for me.), along with Richard Armitage and David Morrissey. Sean has inspired Jack Henderson, the eldest of the brothers, and even though it's a contemporary story I am going to try and give Jack some of Sharpe's heroism and gentlemanly conduct.

The great thing about using actors as templates is that you never forgot how you've described them. Plus, you can still give them whatever personality you want them to have. One drawback, however, is that if your reader doesn't have the same tastes as you, and they know who you've used for the template, it can spoil their reading experience.

So, who are your favourite fictional or real heroes? And do you ever use them as templates for characters?

Sharpe and the 'female of the week' after he's stormed the castle (yes, that is Liz Hurley)


  1. Excellent post Sally - thanks for brightening up my Saturday morning - may have to rummage out a couple of Sharpe DVDs later for a catch up :o)

  2. They're great, aren't they, Sarah? And luckily for me, hubby likes watching them too. Though not for the same reasons, of course ;-)

  3. Surprised hubby can see the screen through the drool! (Runs off before Sally hit her).

    He is rather lovely. Loving him in Game of Thrones (we are still waaay behind in Series 1 so no spoilers, anyone). Very entertaining (and stripping my 15 yr old daughter of any innocence she had left!). She watches it for Jason Momoa - now is he your heroic cup of tea, Sally? - my fault for getting her addicted to Stargate, but he never did THAT kind of thing on Stargate!

  4. Mmmm, Sharpe... What more is there to say?

    Well it's me, so lots more. :D He shows his gentlemanly qualities in that Liz Hurley episode. For those who don't know it, the bad guys who are holding her hostage and being gits and trying to bait Sharpe, force her to expose her breasts to him. Sharpe's reaction? A cool "My compliments, ma'am." What a man!

  5. Alison: I just googled Jason Momoa. He is certainly gorgeous but I can't be doing with the dreadlocks. But the natural long hair looks nice.

    Becky, yes, that was a great scene! And it was nice that she did it to save the more modest woman from having to.

  6. I knew Becky would be over here drooling over Sharpe. I have not seen this series and know I should!

    Sally, I'm always using other fictional characters or the actors as templates. More for looks I suppose, so I have a rough idea of how to describe the man. However, if you do it loosely, I'm sure you don't ruin it for any readers, because they'll draw up their own picture of the hero inside their head ;-)

  7. My choice for a romantic hero would be Jason Isaacs.
    Did anyone see him as the Edinburgh private eye in that recent BBC crime series Case Histories which was based on Kate Atkinson's novels? Brilliant!! Kate's books are quite good too.

  8. Hi Rena, my sister was talking about Case Histories at the weekend. I've never seen it but I will now, particularly now I know there is romantic hero potential in the detective. I always rather fancied Morse, not so much for the looks which were rather grumpy old mannish but for the tortured hero stuff. All very complicated and Freudian I guess. Yes Sally, I often use actors as templates for my heroes - with all those Google images of them you can always find inspiration. My current hero is based on a brooding Charles Dance although he turns out to have a tender heart behind all that macho scowling. My next may very well be based on Ryan Gosling. Lovely!

  9. Oooh, we are all on the same page girls. I've used Charles Dance as a template (in my True Love Ways ebook, where the young vicar looks as Charles did in Jewel in the Crown), and Jason Isaacs is absolutely gorgeous. Did anyone ever see him in that thing about Steptoe and Son, where he played Harry H Corbett? Not someone you'd automatically think of as sexy, but in Jason's hands he was!

  10. Listen to your sister, Cara. Case Histories was brilliant! The great thing about Jason Isaacs is that he's so understated. There's so much more pounding away beneath the surface - a gift for us writers of romantic fiction.
    I also loved the darkly sensual Edinburgh backdrop to this series and thought it demonstrated perfectly (for me at least) the importance of location in a story.
    You mentioned Morse, Cara. Don't you think the character's love of Oxford - it's dreaming spires and all that stuff - was a major part of the whole thing's psyche?

  11. Absolutely Rena, and it's a trick many other crime writers have used to great effect. Donna Leon does it with her Venice detective Commisario Brunetti and even Conan Doyle did it with Baker Street and London in general.