I like men who swagger. When a man with an attitude enters a room, everyone knows it. Men of lesser confidence back down, and women look twice. I haven’t done an all-out outlaw for a hero yet, but I’m planning on it for the third book in the “Women of Swan’s Nest” series,” which is launching now with The Maverick Preacher.
I thought I’d pass along some of my research. Well, it’s not exactly research in the academic sense. It’s daydreaming about the story and getting a feel for the characters, particularly the hero. While pondering this man–he doesn’t have a name yet–I’ve found myself looking at rebels in fiction and real life.
No. 1 on my list is Johnny Cash. The man in black had a bad-to-the-bone swagger, and Walk the Line is one of my favorite movies. Later in life, he made a u-turn. The story of Nickajack Cave is legendary. It’s the place where he decided to give up some bad habits and become a new man. He did . . . but he didn’t stop swaggering.
No. 2 is Rhett Butler. I haven’t seen Gone With the Wind in years, but I can still recall the scene where he and Scarlett are fleeing Atlanta and he kisses her. Talk about swaggering! It’s got to be one of the most romantic scenes ever. Even in the end, after he loses his little girl and is mellowed by grief, Rhett still has an inner strength.
The No. 3 slot goes to Bruce Springsteen for his music. His “Born to Run” CD is one of my favorites. The title track is a legend, and so is “Thunder Road.” Bruce grabs life by the shoulders and shakes it. I love that! It’s the same energy that settled the American West, the same boldness that gave us heroes and outlaws and Wild West legends.
My No. 4 rebel is Joshua Blue, the hero in The Maverick Preacher. I had a blast writing this book. The title came to me in a blink. In the next blink, I saw Josh as plain as day in my mind. He’s a different kind of rebel. Unlike a man who’s always had a wayward streak, Josh was perfect to a fault. After getting knocked off his high horse, he becomes a man who’s not afraid to defy convention.
The No. 5 rebel on my list has four legs, a tail that never stops wagging and an addiction to chewing socks. His name is Hartley and part Jack Russell Terrier. We adopted him from a pet rescue program and have been smiling ever since. He’s crazy. Telling him “no” is like issuing a dare. Swagger? This dog has plenty of it! He’s adorable and we love him for it.
Who are your favorite rebels in fiction and real life?
Everyone who comments will be eligible for a drawing for a signed copy of The Maverick Preacher. I’m feeling a little rebellious myself right now. I’ll be giving a way three copies just for the fun of it!
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