Monday, April 09, 2007

Sophie Jordan GuestBlog: Tall, Dark And...Is There Any Other Kind?

Contest!!! Sophie's offering 2 LCBs (Lucky Commenting Bellas) autographed copies of her new release, "Too Wicked to Tame!"
Sophie Jordan arrived last August with her Avon debut, followed by "Too Wicked to Tame," which slammed out of the gates hell-for-leather right onto the USA Today Bestseller List. She's part of HarperCollins' delightful coterie of historical authors, and I'm so happy she's visiting with us today. Please give your warmest-possible Monday morning buongiorno to former HS lit teacher, one-time law student, and happy mom, Sophie...

I confess a predilection for heroes of the swarthy variety … and I could think of no better group than all of you Bellas at RBtheBook to appreciate that fact.

I’m always on the look out for yummy guys to use as inspiration (yes, feel free to email me suggestions any time!). In my first book ONCE UPON A WEDDING NIGHT, I chose Raoul Bova as the inspiration for my hero. Fortunately, my hero’s mother was half-Italian, so Italian hunk Raul was perfect and even sensible as a choice.

In my newest release, TOO WICKED TO TAME, the inspiration for my hero turned out to be French actor Oliver Martinez. Nothing sensible motivated me in
choosing him. I saw him in “Unfaithful” and couldn’t get him out of my mind. I kept seeing him as my hero, Heath … kept imagining him wearing black Hessians and riding at breakneck speed across the Yorkshire moors. Dark, wild and ruthless like Heathcliff of "Wuthering Heights", my hero Heath needed to be modeled after someone very compelling. And Oliver Martinez …
well, need I say more? Gorgeous yet dangerous. So verra verra Heath.

I don’t know what it is about these swarthy types, but I can’t leave them
alone when it comes time to pick a hero. I almost think it has become a sort of trademark in a Sophie Jordan novel – a dark, brooding and somewhat exotic looking hero. Combine that – er, or rather him – with a love scene in a bold and unusual place and we have lift off. Hey, who wants the ordinary? We read to escape. A dark and sexy hero and a memorable love scene … sigh.

Recently, someone pointed out to me that my dark heroes, while yum … don’t necessarily fit with what an English gentleman would/should look like. Hmm. Maybe. Maybe not. But who cares? Don’t you want the fantasy? Isn’t that why we read romance? To get caught up in the extraordinary?

I have debated writing a hero with fair hair … just to be different. But my heart heaves a mournful sigh. If I want "different", I'll branch out with plotlines (I try to do that anyway), but my heroes??? For now, I’ll stick to what I love. Dark, sexy alpha heroes who can get away with "almost" anything. They definitely steal this author’s heart.;) Check out TOO WICKED TO TAME and see if Heath can steal your heart.

What kind of heroes do you prefer? Do you react differently to a story when
the characters don’t fit your fantasy?
Visit Sophie at !
Encore! Grazie mille, Deidre Knight for GuestBlogging Friday, and hanging around for the weekend. Looking forward to seeing you again.
Encore due! louisa edwards; kristen painter; cathy: you've won prizes from Deidre! Send me your snail mail at, please. Congrats!


Stacy~ said...

Morning Sophie! I hope you and all the Bellas had a great Easter.

I agree that the tall, dark and handsome heroes are my favorite ones. Maybe because that phrase had been around for so long that it's just burned into my pysche. To me, the blond ones seem a little too metrosexual, and I like more of a blue-collar, hands-on hero. But a dark hero seems so much more mysterious, powerful, sexual, exotic. With a blond hero, it takes me longer to get into his character and find him hero-worthy. That sounds so superficial, but there it is.

Also, I normally go for the alpha hero, the total bad boy. But every once in awhile a beta will work his way into my heart. Take Matthew Swift from Kleypas' "Scandal In Spring". He was more intellectual, less confrontational and forceful, yet he also had a soul that ran so deep and it made me catch my breath to witness his passionate confession to Daisy. In this case, the fantasy worked big time. It had the emotional edge that I crave in my books.

All righty, off to work in a bit. Have a great Monday Bellas, and I'll catch ya later.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Sophie,
I am a total tall dark and handsome hero lover. I will admit back when I dated I did date a couple of blonde men. I don't know what it is about dark haired men, but they just seem more alpha to me. LOL!

I have actually read a few books where the heor is supposed to be blonde haired blue eyed but in my mind I still picture them dark haired and dark eyed. So it doesn't really matter to me how the author tries to portray the hero. My mind always swaps the characteristics around to fit my vision of a hero.

I must find some photos to send you, I know a few photos that might give you some motivation for a new dark haired hero. :-)

Playground Monitor said...

I was a TDH-only gal until I saw "Casino Royale" and fell in lust with Daniel Craig. But I DO love Raoul Bova and Olivier Martinez. I remember the scene in the bathroom and the one in the hallway and... better stop or I'll work myself into a tizzy and it's only 8:30 in the morning.

Photos -- in my bookmarks there's a folder titled "Hunks" and it's all sorts of hunky guy websites. Hehe.


Anonymous said...

Morning, ladies!

Stacey, you said it well. It does seem almost superficial, but there it is, the dark heroes just seem more ... fierce. And like you, Kelly, I think it all boils down to the alpha male, which so many of us prefer. It's easier to imagine the alpha male dark.

I'll confess that Brad Pitt in TROY gives me ... er, pause. Yes, let's call it that. ;) My goodness, whoever knew that a blue-eyed blonde could be so fierce, so brutal, such an alpha bad-ass?!?! If I ever write a blonde I will have to model him after Achilles in TROY.

Hope you enjoy the pics, bellas. And Kelly and Marilyn, please, feel free to email me with hero inspirations photos!


Monica Burns said...

Morning {{{{{Bellas}}}}}

Hi Sophie, I just LOVE your covers!!!

Hot, Dark and Alpha have always been my ultimate favorites, for some reason dark seems to be associated with tortured, forceful and totally ALPHA! However, as a HUGE fan or The Dead Zone, and now Blood Ties, I'm finding that there are blond (albeit dark blond) Alphas that I'm quite capable of falling in love with. So I'm thinking it's got to be just the RIGHT blond hero that can snag my heart in a book.


CrystalGB said...

I usually prefer a tall, sexy alpha male. I do prefer men with darker hair but there are sexy blondes too.

Vivi Anna said...

Welcome Sophie. I go for the tall and unconventional looking. I like muscles and tattooes and scars. And yes, I admit I too prefer them dark but with blue eyes. Although Oliver Martinez is uber HAWT. I quite enjoyed him in Unfaithful as well. But then I enjoyed Viggo in the Perfect Murder...he was dangerously sexy in that movie.

I fell in lust with Daniel Craig too when watching Casino Royale. But there's not too many hawt blonde actors around. ??? Can anyone name some besides Viggo, Brad and Daniel...

Wait there's Matt Damon, he was smokin' hawt in Bourne Identity, and there's Leo, but I've never found him attractive.

Anyone else??

Playground Monitor said...

Sophie, the hunks are in the mail. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Sophie, I love those pics. Dark, handsome, mysterious...I like it!!!

Yes, I've always had a thing for dark haired heroes too. Even if the hero had light hair, my wild-fancy imagination always pictured him with hair just a bit darker. lol.

My heroes, I love the Alpha males who get put in their place, or taught what humility and kindness is by the heroine. I also like reformed rakes, (or NOT so reformed rakes).

My older son always gets confused when I'm discussing books with my hubby and say "He's a rake." He gives me this old look like huh?!?! LOL.

Keep up on your books, and what's the next book about?

Michelle the Merry

Kati said...

Hi Sophie - Welcome! Hi Bellas, hope everyone had a fab holiday.

Well, I'll join the chorus, I generally prefer my heroes dark and broody and alpha. I just think it's hard to take a cutie-patootie blond broody guy seriously. Although I love me some David Beckham, and he's blond.

But generally, I prefer heroes who are dark.

Anonymous said...

Well, let me see if this stupid site will let me post. We have been having a struggle since last week.

I like 'em TDH, short, medium, blond, red headed (my personal choice) and almost anywhere in between. As long as the eyes get me first, the rest doesn't matter.

As for ink and piercings- I'll take Dave Navarro and his nipple rings. Even Tommy Lee and his various art works.

Or Paul Crook and his dyed blond short hair. But man the way he plays that axe.

I like bad boys.


Anonymous said...

Buongiorno, Bellas!

Tall, dark and handsome/deep/tortured/alpha...? Yeah, I'll have some of that *grin*

However, the 'dark' for me doesn't have to be the hair or skin color. There can be darkness in demeanor and behaviour and, of course, in the hero's soul.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see that, with only few exceptions, dark heroes are the leading preference. And when we read a hero that isn't dark? Well, we imagine he is anyway! LOL!
Romance readers are an imaginative bunch.

Michelle, my next book, ONE NIGHT WITH YOU, hits shelves Jan 08. Yep, another dark hero. And Vivi Anna, you'll be happy to note that the hero is physically scarred. I like them unconventional, too.=)

Keep the photos coming, bellas!

angelina said...

I find I'm most intrigued by heroes who surprise me, regardless of looks. Heroes that are physically intimidating but emotionally wounded, like Laura Kinsale's men. Or heroes that are quiet geeks ... until you get them in the sack. In one of Nora Roberts' Scottish books, her hero is essentially an English dandy in looks and dress and manner. I thought I was going to hate him. But once confronted by the Scottish women he falls in love with, his force of personality and desire while wearing lace cuffs was what made him so compelling.

I think a weakness is what makes all that hunkiness shine.

Playground Monitor said...

Oh dear heavens, how could I have forgotten my man Matthew McConnaughey????? He's blonde.

Also, go to google images and search for Nacho Figueras. I have but one word for him: Yum.


Ai Yin said...

Gads, I've just realised that except for By Love Undone (by SuzieE) and a few others, most of my favourite romances feature dark-haired heroes! I suppose the colour of the hero's hair doesn't matter to me as much as the character itself. I especially love it when the heroes try to go head to head with their heroines (all that I'm-the-man trying to burst out but can't =P). Love that tension ^_^

P.S. When are you gonna update your site, Sophie? We're all eager to hear about Seth and Jane's story!

Karen Foley said...

Hi Sophie! Thanks for the eye-candy; these guys are yummy! I'll admit I'm a sucker for dark, handsome heroes. The inspiration for my Oct 07 Harlequin Blaze release was Eddie Cibrian. Gotta love those dark eyes and dimples! I also love tough-as-nails heroes who are just a little uncivilized. For these alpha heroes, I picture Russell Crowe or Gerard Butler (King Leonidas in the blockbuster hit, 300). While I don't typically go for fair-haired heroes, I'll admit I fell in love with Lisa Kleypas' hero, Sebastian, in her book, Devil in Winter. She described him as a sullen angel, and I had a distinct image of a brooding Jude Law. So I guess as long as the hero is strong and compelling, his looks are secondary. Thanks for posting such a fun topic!

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome, Sophie!!

I am a hero lover. Period. I don't care what he looks like as long as it fits his personality. I can't see Leo playing Rambo. I also can't picture Sly doing Titanic. But put in the right setting they are dynamic.
Same goes for my booky guys. I have a hard time picturing Derrick Craven yucking it up at White's discussing the lasted Fox hunt he was on. On the flip side, I don't see the Duke of Yorkshire lasting 2 minutes without his valet.

I also dig the scars and tats.

FYI- I have a real lusting thing going on for Raoul Bova. YUM-MY!!

Carol M said...

It's tall, dark, handsome and rich for me! I just love Roarke from Nora's In Death series!

Cherie said...

Tall, dark and handsome alpha males are my preferred types of heroes. However, I am open to trying to read other stories with other types of heroes. Characters don't have to necessarily have to meet my fantasy but they can't be so seriously flawed that I have no respect for them.

Cherie Japp

Anonymous said...

I can't say that I really care one way or the other about a character's looks in a book. I mean, it's not going to influence whether or not I warm up to him...that depends on how well the author's written the story.

Now in real life, I'm more drawn to the TD&H men.

Maureen said...

I also like the tall, dark and handsome hero but I have also enjoyed other types too. When they say and do the right things it doesn't matter what they look like.

Mona said...

Hi Sophie,

First of all the book cover is great... I think I'd go with tall, dark and handsome and preferably with him not aware of that.. if there's something I couldn't stand it's a man who knew he's handsome.. but if the hero is acting arrogant and confident I'd prefer it based on character more than the looks.. I'd love him to have some depth in his thinking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sophie!

Hmmm, what type of hero do I like? Well, I adore dark and tall men (like most of the women, lol). But he doesn't have to be perfect, f.e. he can have scarfs on his face, ... And I also like the books that have a totally different type of hero.
But the one thing that I do prefer, is that he hasn't been married before.

Monica Burns said...

Vivi, Your post made me think of Vin Diesel. He's outside the "norm" but totally yummy!!! LOL


Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone who has brought up the character issues. What's inside always counts for whether a hero truly wins us over. Or a heroine, for that matter. We want the hero to be someone we would gladly fall head over heels in love with. And on that note, we want to believe that the heroine is someone we would like to be.

And definitely, Mona, who can fall for a hero too aware of his own good looks?

And Ai Yin, my apologies for not having updated the website in ages. I'm usually good about that sort of thing. It's on my to do list. I should have lots of new stuff up within the month, including the scoop on Jane and Seth in ONE NIGHT WITH YOU. Everyone check back for those inspiration photos of my next hero, Seth.=)


catslady said...

I usually like some flaw in my characters - if they're too handsome, too perfect, they just donn't seem real to me. Most of the actors I like have a certain charisma to them more than just "pretty" looks.

Anonymous said...

Morning Sophie, Michelle and Bellas! I hope you all had a lovely Easter holiday. It's so nice to be back :)

Ok, Sophie, you had me at tall, dark and handsome...I don't know why but I really prefer my heroes with those characteristics (although I was completely sold on St Vincent in Lisa Kleypas' Devil in Winter...:) He's just yummy!

Like catslady, I do prefer flaws in my characters..and yes this includes the heroines. If they're too beautiful, too perfect, I actually become bored. I want to understand why the brooding, gorgeous alpha male falls for the heroine, and if it is because she is beautiful and fiesty...can't there be another reason? (It's OK, I know I'm in a minority of one on this :)


Lis said...

I'm not sure I have an actual preference for heroes lookswise, though it seems there's more TDH out there than blonde and blue eyed at least in the books I've come across lately.

Shannon said...

I like reading books that have men in them that appeal to me. It is hard to read a book that has a male figure that isn't exactly my type. If that happens I have to try and see what the heroine sees in the man. It does make it a little harder to enjoy the book in that case though.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say that i haven't read your books, yet. But, have no fear, you are definitely on my "To-Be-Read" list. And I can't wait to go to the bookstore *g*

As for hearoes, I really don't have a favorite, I love both fair and dark heroes, and I definitely like the alpha males. And unfortuanely it is hard for me to enjoy the book if the hero is just not up to snuff...but I haven't read a book were I don't like the hero...and if I have, I don't remember, but the heroines on the other hand....Ugh! She can definitely jeopordize the keeping of a book...

amy kennedy said...

Hello Sophie and all you Bellas

I'm goin with the flow I love a talldarkhandsome hero--except when he happens to be medium, blonde and cute--it all depends on the writing...

Lurve Daniel Craig too, Ev. I never thought I liked blondes--but remember Eve Silver's fallen Angel hero...ah.

And damaged. But Sophie I have read romances where I just was not attracted to the hero--don't know what it was--kind of a downer is what it was.

Sue A. said...

I prefer alpha males with dark hair, but I can be easily swayed by a well written hero with a strong likeable personality and some kind of vulnerability.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Judy. If you like the alpha hero type, I "think" you'll like my books.

You're all such an intelligent group of readers. More than one of your posts got the wheels spinning in my head.

Shannon, you got me thinking ... I realized I'm much less forgiving of heroines. Heroes, on the other hand - I can forgive them "almost" anything.;)


kerri1973 said...

Late to the party but had to stop in and say hello to Sophie and the Bellas! (That sounds like the name of a rock group or something, lol). I was just thinking how amazing it is that a great sexy hero in a book can so easily push our buttons. Why is that? I think it is because deep down all women really want the same be intensely desired and appreciated. Bottomline is that all heroes do this for their heroines. So, I think that if more men read romance books that there would be a lot more successful relationships out there. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Sophie and The Bellas!! It does sound like a 60s band. LOL!

Interesting, Kerri. Hmmm, how can we get more men to read romance??? My husband reads romance now, but only because they're my books.;)


joelle said...

I like classic good looks which means dark, good looking and charming with charisma and sex appeal. The Gary Cooper and Sir Laurence Olivier types.

KimW said...

I'm a big fan of dark, mysterious heroes. The bad guy. Yummy! If the characters don't fit my fantasy I just imagine someone different in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's getting late. In case I don't post again tonight, let me say what a treat it was to blog here with all of you bellas. You're a fun, savvy bunch. Michelle, thanks so much for the invitation - hope to visit again.


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buonanotte, Sophie! Thanks so much for joining the Bellas today. Clearly they had fun, while I got stuck in appointments, trying to catch up on stuff. I'm so sorry, because this is one of my favorite topics. d'oh!

Thanks, everyone, for being such good hostesses today. :)


Laurie said...

Hair color isn't a determining factor for me. I personally think the tall, long haired blond, athletic types are hot but I also like them dark haired long as their athletic. I'm not a fan of red (SORRY) either hero or heroine.
I don't like them drop, dead handsome or too perfect...that's just so unimportant to me. The main guy in Sandy Hill's Tall, Dark and Cajun was physically disfigured and I loved him. People in general are flawed so I like my heros to be too. I am so turned off by conceited/rude people who think they're better than you.

Stacy~ said...

Hey Michelle, thanx for posting Sophie's blog early, I appreciate it, and I hope you're feeling much better and that your family had a nice Easter. Take care QB.

Terri Garey said...

Mmm.... Raoul Bova and Oliver Martinez... Sophie, I LOVE your taste in men! And I completely agree about Brad as Achilles - he's the only blonde so far who stands a chance against my usual preference for TDHs! :) Great post!

Karen Foley said...

Um...make that Hugh Jackman. (Still on my first cup of coffee...)