They say that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and definitely one of the perks in writing your own books is the ability to interject that beauty whenever and wherever you wish.
So when I began the Black Swamp Mysteries series, I decided one of the characters would appear to be the perfect man. Of course, no one is perfect, even in books, so as the layers were peeled back, he becomes more than a little flawed. But it turned out, he also became downright irresistible.
His name is Dylan Maguire and he makes his first appearance in Vicki's Key. He was only meant to be in that one book but I must have done my job a little too well because the editors and advance readers convinced me this guy had to be in the entire series. And I happen to agree.
If the book was made into a movie, the perfect actor would be Russell Crowe, looking like he did in the movie Master and Commander (shown at right). Who, incidentally, was my pick for the role of Ramses the Great if Anne Rice's book, The Mummy, was ever made into a movie. Too bad it hasn't. But there's always time...
Interestingly enough, in the picture on the left, Pierce also has a five o'clock shadow. And in researching "the perfect man" I discovered a treasure trove of surveys and studies in which women overwhelmingly selected men with five o'clock shadows as the sexiest... Not clean shaven, not bearded or mustached... but just the hint that they culd grow a beard easily if they wanted to. So Dylan sports a five o'clock shadow, of course.
In Vicki's Key, Vicki Boyd arrives at a new job assisting an elderly woman only to find out Laurel Maguire had suffered a stroke and her nephew had arrived from Ireland to care for her. Dylan is quite the handyman around the house, seemingly everywhere at once. And while he can be gentle and incredibly sexy, he is also a champion kickboxer. A quick, hot temper begins to emerge and so does a ruthlessness that Vicki finds can be terrifying. And as Vicki's past begins to collide with her future and Dylan's secrets begin to emerge, they find themselves on a collision course - to murder.
As I was working on the book, I heard Dylan's Irish brogue in my head as easily as I heard my own voice. I knew it was important for the reader to hear that same voice, so I made his character so he is not well educated. He is from the working class, using words and phrases in a cadence uniquely his own. His father, he tells Vicki, left his mother and himself when he was only three years old. His mother cried every night. He asks Vicki why she is crying, and when she answers "I don't know" he responds, "Same thin' me mum used to say. 'What are you cryin' for, Mum?' I'd say. 'I don't know.' 'Well, you do it every night. Seems like you'd 'ave figured it out by now.' "
While I was writing, I had the television set on low at one point and I heard Dylan's voice popping out of the tube. Glancing up, I found the movie Leap Year was on HBO. Matthew Goode, an Englishman by birth, didn't think he did a good job with an Irish accent but I think he captured Dylan's voice, as heard in this clip below:
Dylan turns into a complex man with deeply ingrained flaws. But that is what makes him even more interesting and even intriguing. His story is so complex that you'll find it unveiled throughout the series, layer by enticing layer.
If you could create your perfect man, who would he be? What would he sound like, look like, act like?
Vicki's Key, p.m.terrell's 13th book, will be released in March 2012 in trade paperback and in eBook format. It is available now for pre-order at www.pmterrell.com. Bengal Book Reviews says it is "riveting, spellbinding...sexy, intense, stay-up-all-night until you are done thriller... terrell's best book yet!" Part ghost story, part romance, part international intrigue... and ALL p.m.terrell!