When it comes to naming a romance hero, there are certain names that do it for me: Matt, Nick, Sam, Tom, Joe and Luke have all starred as heroes in my novels.
But one of my very favorite guy names is Jesse. I don’t know why it conjures up tall, dark and super sexy for me but it always has.
I’ve met a few Jesses in my time—and they’ve all been charming. Did their mothers have some intuition about what kind of men their infant boys would become? Or did they just like the name?
Because Jesse is such a favorite with me, I don’t know why I used it for a secondary character in my first book for Harlequin Romance The Summer They Never Forgot.
The hero of that book, Ben Morgan, had a brother Jesse. That Jesse was quite a heartbreaker became apparent both in that book and the second Dolphin Bay book The Tycoon and the Wedding Planner. Had I thrown away that wonderful name on a secondary character?
All made sense when I went to write the third book in the series, A Diamond in Her Stocking. This was going to be Jesse’s story—Jesse the handsome heartbreaker was going to fall very hard in this book.
Before writing the story I had a strong image in my of what my Jesse looked like: “Jesse Morgan. All six foot three of him—black haired, blue-eyed, movie-star handsome.”
So did I look for inspiration in gorgeous celebrities named Jesse? How about Jesse Spencer from House and Chicago Fire? I’ve always liked him, even when he was in Australia soapies and teen flicks.
Then there was Jesse Metcalf. It wasn’t just the Desperate Housewives who swooned over him in the role of John.
No. Handsome as those two are, I knew exactly who could model for my Jesse Morgan. Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) fitted the bill in every way—except of course for his name. Ian. I’m sure there are many wonderful romance heroes named Ian. It’s just not a name that does if for me.
So with an image of Ian Somerhalder (who I think is totally swoonworthy and especially because he is an animal lover) and the name of Jesse Morgan, the hero of A Diamond in Her Stocking came to life. Then, of course, as I wrote he became entirely his own person. I relished every moment of making Jesse worthy of lovely, feisty Lizzie Dumont, the heroine.
By the way, my next book for Harlequin Romance From Paradise to…Pregnant! (June 2015) has a gorgeous hero named Mitch. Mitch is another of my favorite guy names. I’ll share more about Mitch some other post...
What about you? Do you have a favorite romance hero name? Are there certain names you love/hate in a romance hero?
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Before I go, I’d like the chance to wish you all a wonderful festive season—see you in January!
Kandy’s third Dolphin Bay story for Harlequin Romance, A Diamond in Her Stocking, is a December 2014 release and is available now.
Kandy Shepherd is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She lives on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her family and a menagerie of four-legged friends.