Long legs and lazy grins – Donna Alward

When I begin the planning process for a new book, several things come into play. First of all I ask myself general questions. Where shall I set it, who is the heroine, and what situation is she in? I’ve known who was going to be the heroine of my next book for a while now. And I knew the basic situation. I had to come up with a new setting – done. I can flesh all these things out as I go along. But the next crucial ingredient that I’ve been missing is WHO IS GOING TO COME ALONG TO SCREW EVERYTHING UP?

That’s right. The hero. The guy that waltzes in, turns the heroine’s goals on their ear, and generally causes mayhem.

I love hero planning.

My heroine is very TOGETHER. She likes things a certain way and gets them done on time (this isn’t like me at all, no sir *rolls eyes in sarcasm*).  Her plans are even more important because other people are relying on her. Who will drive her crazy? Someone who is not as committed as she is. Someone who appears – at least on the outside – to be rather lax about certain things. She’s scrambling to balance the books; he’s got more money than he knows what to do with. She hates violence; he’s serving community service.  She believes in earning your way; he appears to have a HUGE entitlement complex.

And he’s got to be tall. With a sexy grin. That’s because as soon as I filled out certain parts of my character background one person came to mind as the perfect visual casting.

Not sure if any of you have watched JUSTIFIED with Timothy Olyphant, but he’s a US Marshal and a rather cool customer when all is said and done. He does some stupid things but he’s on the RIGHT side of the law. His ex? She could pull off the snooty/sexy librarian look all day long.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the role. Love how he rocks the hat (the hat is in EVERY episode) and the boots.  Love how he ends up looking for trouble. And the one liners? Priceless.

So that’s my casting as I work on my next proposal. There are some days that my job is a true pleasure.

In the meantime, I have two releases out this month – SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER from Samhain Publishing is out in print, and PROUD RANCHER, PRECIOUS BUNDLE hits shelves tomorrow from Harlequin Romance. You can check out excerpts from both on my website.

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21 thoughts on “Long legs and lazy grins – Donna Alward”

  1. Donna! At this moment, I am watching a rerun of the amazing first season finale of “Justified”. The first season of “Justified” ended in June of last year, and the second season starts on February 9th. It has been a very lonnng wait! Timothy Olyphant fits the character of Raylan Givens the way that Raylan’s Stetson fits his head! Perfectly! I must say that Timothy looks mighty fine in that hat, and he wears the hat, it doesn’t wear him. “Justified” is just about perfect in every way–an outstanding cast and astounding writing and overall production values. Dark, gritty, and impossible to look away from! Raylan is a dedicated lawman, a deadly crack shot, and his own worst enemy. He is genuinely fond of Ava, and he desires her and is flattered by her attention. She brings out his protective side. Winona has him by the “bahoogies”…and she always will. She was his wife, but she had an affair, divorced Raylan and married “Gary the Loser”, the guy with whom she had the affair. She really knocked Raylan for a loop and caused him to have all kinds of doubts and mixed-up thoughts. Even though he is not without blame in the break-up of his marriage, he never really understood why Winona left him. Later on, she couldn’t stand to see Raylan with Ava, so she cheated on Gary with Raylan. She really has Raylan twisted right where it hurts : ( Thanks for the pictures!

    Congrats on your two latest releases : )

  2. Virginia…ah, I can tell you’re truly hooked!

    We watched on Netflix as I don’t have the superchannels here, so we won’t get to see season 2 until it’s all over. 🙁


  3. Donna, loved your post. A reader once asked me why all my heroes are tall. She was short and so was the man she was with. I managed to get my thoughts together fast enough to say that every man is “tall” in the eyes of the woman who loves him.

    BTW: My husband stands 6’6″–or at least I think he does.

  4. Thanks for sharing your creative process, Donna. It’s funny but true – mine is the exact opposite. The hero always comes to me first, and I have to go in search of the heroine who fits him.

  5. Your blog should be required reading for every beginning romance writer, Donna. Great insight into your creative process.
    Glad I don’t have to explain mine, which is sort of Zen, for want of a better term. The hero walks onstage and there he is.
    But like you, I like ’em tall.
    Congrats on your new releases.

  6. Donna, there are certain characteristics I use almost everytime I create a hero of mine. He has to be lean, have long legs and a lazy grin. And since I love dark haired heroes that’s the hair color I give him. Other things can vary but not these.

    Congratulations on your book releases! I wish you lots of success.

  7. Linda, you’re speaking my language! Mmmm. Dontcha love long legs in faded jeans?

    And Mary – well good. You always make me laugh so I’m glad I could return the favour! 🙂


  8. Have to agree with Mary Connealy on the hero comment and laughing out loud. Its true, what or who else is more capable of messing up well laid plans than a tall, handsome hero with a lazy grin. There are worse ways to have your life scrambled.
    We don’t get premium channels either, so I wasn’t even aware of JUSTIFIED. Sounds like a show I’d like. I like Timothy Olyphant as an actor. He really does fit the tall, soft spoken, expressive face, and slow gin model. Great hero material.

    Congratulations on your two current books. Hope the releases go well.

  9. Hey Donna,

    I know what you mean about the hero. I usually just have the characteristics already in my mind when I think of the scene to start the story. My problem usually comes in finding the perfect heroine for him. LOL Hope your new releases do super–I will be buying them for sure!

    Cheryl P.

  10. Hi, Donna! I have waited what seems like forever for this show to return. It’s one of my favorites. I love the setting, the stories and the hero? Timothy Olyphant is yummy! Can’t wait until Wednesday.

    I have to cast my heroes and heroines before I start writing. I may get away from the pictures after I get to know them better, but I have to start that way.

    The first season of Justified is out on DVD.


  11. I have never heard of this show but will be trying to find it! I love a long, lean type that rocks a hat!

  12. Double good wishes on the two releases, Donna. Yay. I just saw a commercial on this show and think it looks like something with my name on it! (We usually DVR everything and spin right through cmmercials.) He looks awesome! oxoxxo

  13. I KNEW what I’d find when I saw the title. I’m absolutely a Justified fan, and Raylan in particular. That voice 🙂

    Congratulations on your releases!

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