Okay, so Gerry here might not be for everyone (as loathe as I am to believe it...I mean, LOOK at him!). Some like blondes, some prefer redheads or heroes of the raven-haired variety. But no matter our preferences, a lot of writers look to the stars for inspiration. No, not the ones in the heavens. You really only have to look in the direction of Hollywood.
It's funny. Before I can really figure out my hero, I have to figure out how he looks. I usually have a general idea in mind...hair color, for instance. But after that, I need to see his face as more than just a blur. Often, since I like movies, I'll come up with an actor I like (not necessarily well-known, and really, that's better) who fits the bill. Then I hire him for some obscenely low wage (like allowing him to fan me with giant palm leaves while shirtless...hey, it's my fantasy, people!), send him into makeup, since my hero doesn't really look JUST like so-and-so, let him pick out some clothes, and voila! A totally different guy walks out of the dressing room. He might almost-kinda look a lot like somebody famous. But he's his own man, the hero of my story, and gorgeous to boot...'cause I like 'em that way.
I've got a folder on the computer called "Central Casting." It started out being called the "Carousel of Studs," actually, but my husband, somehow, didn't love it. It's full of edumacational pictures like the one above, not because they're just fun to drool on (though they are) but because sometimes if I have a visual, it's easier for me to see my hero, and consequently for the heroine to see him. Particularly in the beginning of the book, I like having a handy reference for describing hero guy. Let's see, who do I have in here? I've got Julian McMahon, again dark and delightful, and I've got Wolf from The 10th Kingdom, because he was the sweetest, most adorable hero EVER. I also have Sean Bean, my only blond, even though the man is ALWAYS cast as the bad guy...he's just too hot not to use! Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Colin Firth as Darcy, and of course, plenty of Gerry Butler. Timeline was a silly movie, but I think the premise was great and HE was wonderful as the secondary hero in it! And he, uh, takes his shirt off in it. For a minute. It was kind of great...not that I was paying sooo much attention or anything. Except for research purposes.
So what about you? When you picture your hero, who do you see, if only in part? Do you like the beefcake golden boy? Or the dark and rangy loner? Tell us all about it. Enquiring minds want to know!