Sunday, November 26, 2006


Inspired by friends and readers asking me about my heroes, and also by the wonderful Male on Monday slots on the Pink Heart Society's blog, (I can't wait to see who Anne McAllister has picked for her posting there tomorrow!) I thought I would share with you some pictures and thoughts relating to characters from my books. (

You have already seen a photo of Iker Cassilas, the Spanish soccer goalkeeper who was my model for Nic in The Italian Doctor's Bride - and I am very glad that he has also proved very versitile and has been an inspiration to the wonderful Kate Walker for her new hero, Guido. (Kate has kindly included a copy of my first book in her Chirstmas Stocking Contest. Do visit her blog at and take part.)

It has always fascinated me the ways in which different writers work. We are all individuals and there is no rigid right or wrong, only what works best for you. Some write a set number of words over a set amount of time each day. Others, like me, cannot "write to order", and may write nothing one day and then loads the next. If it is there and flowing, I sit until I am done. I can't stop at X number of words and hope it will be there again when I come back to the keyboard. Likewise, some writers are detailed plotters while others, myself included, fly by the seat of their pants! I am very character driven. I know what the story is about and where it is going, but it is my characters who lead me there, not a very detailed synopsis and plan. The more I get to know them as real people and live with them in my head, the easier I find it to write. It is as if they are speaking to me, dictating their stories or enacting things like a film in my head. Consequently, I am very visual ... I like to have pictures of my characters and settings and anything else relevant from which to work. I don't follow it slavishly but use the images as a reference guide from which to build my own fictional people and places.

With my second Medical Romance, A Doctor Worth Waiting For, I already knew a lot about my hero, Dr Conor Anderson. A caring GP in a rural practice in southern Scotland, (the setting for all my books), Conor is laid back, irreverent, an excellent doctor and loyal friend, a highly sought-after bachelor but one who is picky about the woman he is looking for. He is also deliciously wicked!

When I found this picture, I just knew it was Conor - it had exactly the look that I wanted.

Conor turned out to be a very special hero for me to write and he has stayed with me long afterwards. True, my characters usually do find a niche for themselves, one of the reasons I so love to write books that are loosely linked so that I can revisit them and have them pop in for little cameo roles from time to time. I don't like to say goodbye. I also enjoy building up that feeling of a wider community and, in the case of Medical Romances, the sense of interconnected colleagues working in different practices, hospitals or other specialties, whose lives intertwine.

One of my very best friends, Christina Jones, who writes spectacularly good novels which make me laugh and cry, ( paid me a huge compliment when she had a sneak preview of A Doctor Worth Waiting For. She told me that my feelings for Conor had come through in the writing of the book. She also told me that she had fallen for him, too! Sorry, girls, you will have to form an orderly queue!

My next hero, in His Very Special Nurse, is Kyle Sinclair. Conor's best friend, Kyle is also a GP but at a different practice some miles away. Nic, Conor and Kyle meet up when they can to go hillwalking, climbing and cycling. My supremely wonderful editor and I have come to call Kyle my "tortured" or "troubled" hero. And he has become Sue ( my splendid critique partner's favourite.

Kyle has had a particularly difficult time and, aside from work, he had closed himself off completely from life. He needed a very special woman to bring him out of the darkness and back into the light again, and Alexandra filled the bill perfectly. She saw inside him and past the pain, teaching him to love again and awakening all that smouldering sexuality. Lucky woman!

My fourth Medical Romance, One Special Night, sees the action move to the fictional town of Strathlochan. The hospital, and wider medical and rescue services, serve not only the town but also the surrounding villages and a large, scattered rural population over a big area - including the villages visited in the first three books. This fourth book is linked loosely to those first three stories but also sees the start of what will hopefully be a whole new series of Strathlochan books.

For One Special Night, I needed a very special hero. I had the personality and characteristics in mind for Cameron Kincaid and needed to match him to the heroine, Ginger O'Neill. Hunting through my hero folder (it's a tough job but someone has to do it!) I found an advertisment for Seiko watches from about eight or ten years ago. Sadly, I have no idea who this man is (and if anyone knows I will be forever in your debt if you can name [and kidnap if possible!!] him for me) but he was Cameron. Again the brooding sensuality, the mesmerising eyes ... Having this picture sitting on my desk sent shivers down my spine!

He is simply stunning! Excuse me while I pause for reverie ... Where was I? Oh, yes, Cameron. Well, I had some inspiration, as you can see! The sparks really fly between him and Ginger, a red hot passion and searing need - one which refuses to be extinguished when they discover the conflict of interest which lies between them. Somehow they have to walk away from each other. But that is easier said than done. Can they resolve the conflict and find a way to balance their professional and personal lives? You'll have to wait and see!

So this is my own little Sexy Guys on Sunday slot to warm you all up for Anne McAllister's revelations tomorrow on the PHS! It's such a difficult job having to sit here all day and write romantic and sexy stories about guys like these, but long live the inspirations!

Best wishes,



Anne McAllister said...

Great post. Very lovely guys, Mags. All of them. Hard to choose among them. If women start to get the notion that all the men in your part of Scotland look like these guys, I'm sure you'll see a spike in tourism to the area!

Keep us posted.

I'll have to put up my inspiration for my upcoming Theo once my syopsis is done and the Male on Monday has been dealt with!

Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Wow Mags!!! You have me in a real dilemma now. ;-)

I absolutely adored Nic but seeing Connor, Kyle and Cameron leaves me confuddled!

Hmm... I think if I had to make a choice on what I know so far, it's looking like it'd have to be Kyle, he seems to have an edge on the others. Although I have no doubt that your portrayal of all their characters will have me falling in love with all of them!!

I'll have to let you know whether I change my mind after reading all their stories.

I can't wait!!!

Thank you for a truly inspiring post.

Sue :-)

P.S. I want to move to Scotland - it's not fair that you have all four of these gorgeous doctors on your doorstep!!

Margaret McDonagh said...

Anne & Sue, thank you very much for your comments. Oh, wouldn't it be lovely if they were real and actually live here?! Sigh. If only ...

Anne, I shall look forward to seeing your inspiration for for the lovely Theo. And I am waiting very impatiently for your PHS Male on Monday tomorrow!

I don't really have a favourite, Sue. I love them all in different ways. Which is one of the reasons I can never say goodbye to them and love having them pop up from time to time in future stories!


deseng said...

They are absolutely a delight to look at, Mags! You sure have a tough job writing about guys like those! Ha, ha! What inspiration!
If I had to choose it would have to be Kyle. He is hot!

I will definitely be in line to buy your books starring these fantastic gentlemen!

Margaret McDonagh said...

It is a tough job, deseng, but someone has to do it. The sacrifices!!!! Thank you very much for your kind comments. I hope you enjoy the books.