Friday, October 12, 2012

Help me choose my heroine's picture, and win an Amazon certificate!

When I first started writing, I never chose character pictures. I had a certain look in mind and did my best to describe that vision throughout the book.  I never got a look at my character until my publisher sent the book cover to me. And usually, I would gasp in shock!  Even though I'd sent them a detailed list of physical characteristics, the model they chose never matched the picture in my head!  I'll use one of my books The Red Siren as an example. On the left you see the way I pictured my heroine. On the right, you see the way my publisher saw her!

Has that ever happened to you? Maybe you read an entire book, visualizing a character, and then you see somewhere online how the author thinks that character looks and it's completely different.  Or how about this? You speak with someone regularly on the phone but you've never seen that person. Then you meet them one day and you find it hard to believe it's the same person because you pictured them so differently!

The imagination is a powerful thing. Sometimes it can completely take over reality!  For instance, on the last book I wrote, I found a picture online of a certain secondary character that I thought perfectly fit that person. But as I was writing the story, my mind kept picturing him completely different. He was chunky instead of thin, older instead of younger, more serious looking than humorous. And no matter how many times I kept staring at that picture, my imagination was having none of it!

By the way, the guy on the left is how I saw Captain Rafe Dubois in The Raven Saint. Can anyone say, "Is it warm in here?"  But I digress.

So, I ask you, does it help you when an author posts pictures of characters for you to look at while you're reading? Or do you prefer to allow your imagination to have free reign?  Have you ever seen a picture of a character after you read the book and thought, Yes, that's just how I saw him?

Anyway, I'm wondering if you could help me out. I'll be starting a new book shortly (Book 3, Abandoned Memories, in my Escape to Paradise Trilogy)  and I need a character picture. I've already sort of chosen one, but I'm thinking you all may be better at it than me. So here goes. I'll give the description, both of her physical attributes and of her personality, and if you think of anyone.. an actress, model.. someone who fits the bill, grab a picture of her online and go to my Facebook page and post it there. (link below) . I'm choosing Facebook only because you can't post pictures here in your response.

The person whose picture I choose wins a $10 Amazon certificate!

Angeline Moore
Even though Angeline is only 20 years old, she's already lived a life time of pain. Orphaned at 17, she went to live with an abusive uncle and ended up back on the street doing whatever she could to survive. She has auburn hair and violet eyes (eyes don't have to match). She stands at just 5'4" and has a voluptuous figure that attracts men.
Because of what she's been through, she is insecure, untrusting, volatile, fearful, and angry.  However, she is also kind-hearted, tougher than she thinks, and persevering.  She bites her bottom lip when she is nervous and carries around a pistol, determined that no one will ever harm her again!

So, have at it!! Help!   Here's my Facebook link:  MARYLU'S FACEBOOK


  1. I don't have FaceBook, so I'm posting my comment here. I saw a picture of this actress (Meghan Ory) who plays Red Riding Hood on Once Upon a Time on the TV Guide website at this link:

    I immediately thought she looked like a character that would be in one of your books. Granted she doesn't have auburn hair as you described Angeline Moore, but maybe you could change that or use her picture for a future character.

  2. I agree, I'm often surprised at how a movie or a website picture is thought to describe what the character should look like. I often have actors pop in my head when reading a book, but sometimes, there is no face and that's okay too. I have to say, The Red Siren was the most ill-placed book cover I've seen. It seems you feel the same, you're comparison pictures above prove that much!

    Sometimes I book is so moving that I am quick to jump on the internet to see if I could find someone to match a character. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. It's almost like a game!

    I like Amy M's suggestion above. Very pretty lady!

  3. Sorry, no particular person whose photo I could find on the Internet comes to mind. I will say that I think you're right about The Red Siren cover. Faith was never quite so demure!! I also never pictured the Pirate trilogy characters much like their cover pictures...didn't really care for them. Hope on the cover of The Blue Enchantress seemed about right except it would've been better if there was actually some blue in the photo! And I always LOVED the photo you posted of Nathaniel, always thought of him just like that! It's probably a helpful thing to have pictures for the most part. If we don't like them, we can always imagine something different!

  4. Hmmmm ... this sounds like fun! I'll put my thinking cap on and see if I can find someone. I totally agree with the pictures of the Red Siren! The cover photo doesn't suit her at all!! But the picture you posted of how you see her to be is bang on. A lot more fiest and strength in that one. :)

  5. Amy, Once Upon a Time is one of my favorite TV shows.. so yes, I know that character. You're right, she has a strength about her. Thank you.

    JMB, I wish you could tell my publisher your thoughts on The Red Siren cover. They are re-releasing it and I begged them to change the cover.. No dice. I've had so many complaints about that cover!

    Diane, yes.. the pirate covers were not my favorites.. but far better than my Charleston Series. Believe it or not, an author has very little say in the cover design.

    Thanks Caroline.. if you think of anyone, let me know! I also got a ton of great suggestions on Facebook!

  6. Fri Oct 12th,
    "Evening, MaruLu."
    Well, this was just interesting to read the above remarks. You know I don't purposely try to be negative on your blog site, MaryLu ... like - being disrespectful or anything. But, I never cared for 'The Red Siren' cover either. Maybe Faith had a haughty boldness about her ... but the woman on this cover -- I just wanted to smack/wipe that cocky smerk/attitude right off her face. It brought out this mega annoying feeling within me, and I found myself disliking her (on the cover) even before I read her story.
    Please note: I loved/enjoyed the book and story ... just the model on the front cover ... I disliked immensely.
    I do not understand 'why' an author has very little say in the cover design. My goodness, it's "your story and characters to begin with" ... why on earth would they not want "your" choice/opinion ??? It only makes sense to me, that they would "welcome" your perspective.
    Okay, so ... personally ... I'd rather not have a picture of the character (namely a famous movie-star) ... and just use my own imagination on what/how that character looks. Or, if you do choose to use someone famous as one of your characters ... I like it when the picture is kind of faded in appearance, so I just get a glimpse/hint of an idea on how he/she really looks.
    Just went over to your FaceBook ... and couldn't find any picture examples. Good grief I am so computer-illiterate or something !!!
    Thanks for what you shared today. I'll even humour you, and put my 'thinking cap' on ... but as of this moment ... no one is coming to mind. Well, that's not entirely true. "Someone" did come to mind .... but you'd laugh at me if I told you 'who'.
    Have a great weekend.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  7. Thanks for dropping by, Brenda. Uggg.. everyone's comments on the Red Siren make me mad cause my publisher still won't change the cover! She says they like it just fine. Grrrr.. anyway, don't worry about finding pictures.. I've got plenty. In fact, come back next week, Everyone, and you can vote for your favorite!

  8. I was stewing over the whole cover change too a few days ago. Couldn't get it out of my mind. Brenda is right - you'd think the publisher would allow the author to choose the final cover design. It just makes sense, and then the most appropriate cover would most likely be chosen. Hmmm. Interesting.

    And Brenda - you made me curious! You can't just tell us that someone came to mind and then not share it! Hee-hee!

    I couldn't think of anyone, so I will wait till some pictures show up here this week.