Now Reading
Book Tour & Giveaway (Us/Can): Catch Blaze fever! Check out Joan’s vision for Luke, Kiera, & Mateo

Book Tour & Giveaway (Us/Can): Catch Blaze fever! Check out Joan’s vision for Luke, Kiera, & Mateo

by davincikittieSeptember 17, 2012

Please welcome Joan Swan, author of Blaze and Fever!

I’m a very visual writer. I see a scene in my head when I write it, like a little movie clip. I do quite a bit of research and often refer to images while writing about a location, items or even fight moves in an action scene. I do this with facial expressions also.

Before BLAZE, I had never used real people to represent my characters. But with every book, my writing process changes, and because I was so connected to the characters in BLAZE, I set out to find the depiction of my characters in real people.

I was thrilled when I found the perfect match. I know everyone has their own idea of what a character looks like in their own imagination, and I’m all for you all having your own version of Luke and Keira. I just wanted to share mine.

When we first meet Luke, my hero, he is described from Keira’s POV.

Same intense blue eyes. Same long legs. Same wide shoulders. Same commanding presence. Same Luke.

He hadn’t had a haircut in months, hadn’t shaved in at least two days, hadn’t been using enough sunscreen. And he looked . . . amazing. Absolutely mind-numbingly amazing.

Luke has been described by early reviewers as:

  • “…all charisma and wit, a capable agent with a big bad side of get-with-the-program-or-get-the-hell-out-of-my-way. Underneath all that swagger, though, is a man who has never gotten over the love of his life and is willing to give up just about anything to see her safe and happy… even if it means living the rest of his life in misery.” –GraveTells
  • “Luke,” *sighs* “I want to have babies with Luke.” –The Jeep Diva
  • “Luke is an amazing character in the sense that he’s completely vulnerable to Keira and the emotions she stirs in him. After awhile he doesn’t even try to fight or deny it, giving him a lovelorn aura that reminded me of the heroes in a Jane Austen novel.” –Breath of Life Reviews

I see Luke as the indisputably hot Paul Walker.

Luke’s impression of Keira comes more slowly as the initial action dies down…

Keira retreated to one side of the cargo space and pulled off her helmet as the boy scrambled into her lap. She tugged the band out of her hair and shook it free. Her long, dark strands fell around her face, giving her that soft, tousled, sexy look she’d always had after they’d made love.

Luke met her at the gurney, absorbing the sight of her now in civilian clothes. Dark blue jeans hung low at the curve of her hips. A plain white short-sleeved T-shirt clung to breasts that looked fuller than he remembered in comparison to the narrowness of her waist peeking from beneath a trim-fitting lightweight jean jacket. She’d always been healthy and fit. Perfect, in his opinion. But this little body was a compact machine of muscle.

He skimmed the fall of her shiny hair, nearly black. The way her eyes glimmered a brighter blue in contrast. That creamy, smooth skin. And the crème de la crème, her freckles. The caramel-colored dots across the bridge of her little nose, fading as they arced out over her cheekbones. Eighty-three of them. He’d counted every one. Kissed every one.

Here are a few of Keira’s feistier moments:

“I’m not going to recite my resume for this . . .” Pissant. “If he doesn’t trust me, get someone else to take me in.”

“Keira,” Angus said, “is there a problem here?”
Hell, yes. “Nope.” Two could play this game. “I don’t give a flying fuck whether he goes or not. I can handle this on my own.”

She narrowed her eyes and leaned away, as if the distance gave her a better perspective. “Who the hell are you? You sure as shit never talked to me like that before, and you have even less right to talk to me like that now. So curb your attitude, Agent, unless you want a big fat harassment write-up in your personnel file.”

Keira has been described by early reviewers as:

  • “…a firecracker of a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it, before going after it like a guided missile. She’s a smart, take-no-shit, expert markswoman with a shattered heart and traumatic childhood enfortressed behind a wall of emotional steel, packed muscles, and intense S.W.A.T. training, and the only one who can get past that shell is ATF agent and fire cop Luke Ransom.” –GraveTells
  • “Keira is an amazing heroine to read. She is one tough chick. Her life has forced her to become this resilient woman.” –The Jeep Diva

And finally, a quippy conversation between Luke and Mitch about Keira:

“Yeah, she looks like a pixie.” He picked up an object from a shelf and fiddled with it. “You know, like one of those things with wings in Kat’s books.”

“You mean a fairy,” Luke said. “Hence the term fairy tale.”

“Should have known you’d be a fairy expert.” Mitch lifted his chin at Keira. “Look at her. That little nose, the angle of her eyes, those freckles. She looks like a pixie.”

Luke shot her a scowl. “Too bad she doesn’t have their sugar plum personality.”

This is an actress I found while looking for images of women who fit Keira in my mind, and thought she was a perfect match. But, it’s been a while since I pulled these images and I can’t remember her name. Does anyone recognize her? I think her name starts with a J – Jessica? Jenna?

And I can’t resist putting in a photo of Mateo. Mateo is the boy Keira is rescuing at the beginning of the book and is an intrinsic element in the plot.

This is my inspiration for Mateo, a real anonymous Greek boy from a photo I found on the internet.

I am in love with this kid!

What about you? Do you fully visualize characters when you’re reading (or writing)? Do you associate characters with someone you’ve seen before or do you create someone totally unique in your imagination?

More about the books

August 2012 Book of the Month! The hotter they come, the harder they fall… 

With a man like him, every mission becomes personal…
Ever since FBI agent Keira O’Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she’s felt a connection even her empathic abilities can’t explain. Sheneeds to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that—not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she’s regretted walking out on for three long years.

Losing Keira left Luke vulnerable—in every way. When they were together, the powers each possesses were mysteriously enhanced. But it’s the sexy, surprising woman beneath the tough exterior that Luke’s really missed. Even if she betrayed him utterly. And even if agreeing to help her uncover a government conspiracy means watching his life and his heart go up in flames again…

Blaze was chosen as the GraveTells Book of the Month for August 2012 AND as a Reviewer Top Pick! It is the first book to receive a perfect, 5-Heart, rating on GraveTells in over 8 months.

Read our review here! Want your own copy? check out the buy links below!

Amazon (Paperback, Kindle) / Amazon Canada / Barnes & Noble / B-A-M / Book Depository
Chapters / IndieBound / Powell’s

Add to your Goodreads Shelf

Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish…
But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with a ripped body, a determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she’s in deep trouble…. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more. 

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose…
Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.

Fever was chosen as the GraveTells Book of the Month for March 2012 AND as a Reviewer Top Pick.  It also received a review score of 4.5/5 Hearts and a “must read!” recommendation.

Read our review here! Want your own copy?  Check out the buy links below…

Kensington / Amazon (Paperback, Kindle) / Amazon Canada / Barnes & Noble / B-A-M
Book Depository / Chapters / IndieBound / Powell’s

Add to your Goodreads Shelf

About the author

Joan Swan is an award-winning author of sexy romantic suspense and occasionally throws in a paranormal twist or two for some extra spark. In her day job, Joan works as a sonographer at UCSF Medical Center. She lives on the central coast of California in beautiful wine country with her husband and two daughters.

Giveaway (US/Can)

Joan is giving away one paperback copy of Blaze to a commenter on today’s post! To enter to win, leave a comment answering Joan’s question above, then fill out the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is only open to readers with US or Canadian mailing address.
Note: If you are viewing this from our main Feed page and cannot see the Comments section, click the title of the post then scroll down to the bottom. Be sure to leave your comment in the Comments area at the bottom of the post, not the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the rest of the tour!

What's your reaction?
Love it, have it!
Sounds fun
Thinkin' 'bout it
Bleh, no.
About The Author
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
  • Andrea
    September 17, 2012 at 4:11 am

    I don’t visualize most characters. I usually will try to picture parts of a character (hands, hair, tattoos, etc) but rarely do I try to do the entire person. On the few rare occasions I do, I’ll usually start from movie stars or people I know in real life and make slight alterations until I get to where I’m comfortable.

  • Crystal Young
    September 17, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I do visual the characters when I am reading most of the time. Exprctally when I really enjoy a book.

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Crystal, Yes, enjoying the book is key, because if you don’t care about the characters or what happens to them, there’s no point in making that extra effort to visualize them. Good point!

  • Melanie Rovak
    September 17, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I think unless I have seen pictures of what the author says they should look like I come up with my own image of what the characters look like. I don’t usually think of them as real actor, actress, or model.

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Yep, Melanie, That’s me. And I prefer not to be lead toward an image of someone else’s idea of what a character looks like, which is why I prefer covers w/o faces. I like to put my own idea of a face on. 🙂 I thought twice about sharing my images…and I might not have for other characters, like for FEVER, my visions aren’t as strong. I couldn’t find the perfect people to match the images I had in my mind for Teague and Alyssa. But BLAZE has always been different. And I also know that some people do like to envision characters as certain actors they have crushes on….so…. 🙂

  • Veronica De Luna
    September 17, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I usually visualize characters while I’m reading and I tend to make them up in my own mind. 😉

  • Joy F
    September 17, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Yes, I always visualize my characters. I would have to say they are unique as far as I know.

  • Julie
    September 17, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I always visualize my characters, they are not always an actor/actress. It’s always fun to see who the author picks for their vision – sometimes, I’ve pictured the same people. The actress chosen for Keira (above) is Jessica Stroup. She is one of the girls on the current 90210 series. Don’t know what else she has done. I loved Fever and Intimate Enemies – can’t wait to read Blaze. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Yes! Jessica Stroup! Thank you Julie!! I had the J part right :).

      I’m thrilled you’ve enjoyed FEVER and INTIMATE ENEMIES! I have no doubt you’ll love BLAZE. It’s not necessarily better, it’s just…*sigh*…I love this book :).

  • Raonaid Luckwell
    September 17, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Does anime pictures count? LOL. There is one character mostly her hair and her aloof attitude that inspired my paladin. The rest is so different. But yes, I do use visuals to help me in my writing.

    Really hard to find the right fit most of the times. But I am like you the scene plays like a video inside my head.

    Blaze was awesome! Here to support Joan!

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Hey Rachel!! YES, anime counts! Anything that makes you visualize your character works. You and I are definitely on the same writing page, Rach! Thanks for coming by! xo

  • September 17, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Somehow I turn all the character into people I know. Like even though the hunky guy is blond, he always looks like the love of my life who has brown hair.

  • September 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I try to visualize my own perfect hero/heroine when reading. Although with Joan’s books hard to do with the very good looking guys for Teague and Luke showing off… 😉

    Thanks for the giveaway! Loved Fever!

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Poison, (okay, it’s odd to call someone Poison, but also pretty cool! Might have to give one of my characters that nickname!)…

      Those boys of mine are just out there! I can’t keep them under control … sorry!! 🙂

  • Amy R
    September 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I do like to fully visualize the characters which is why I love it if both the hero and the heroine are on the cover. If not that, I love it if an author posts their images on their website or here like in a blog post. I haven’t read Fever yet, so I would love to see who Alyssa and Teague look like to you, Joan! Jill Shalvis puts her character inspirations on her Pinterest page which is fun to look at and get an idea of how she sees her characters. Thanks for the post, Joan! Looking forward to both Fever and Blaze.

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Amy!

      I do have a pinterest with images of heroes and heroines…FEVER is the only one I can’t quite nail down. All the others I have and feel right on about. Teague for some reason eludes me.

      During a blog post on the FEVER tour a host asked for input on Teague’s character look alike in hollywood. Joe came out the winner, so I have him on the pinterest board, but he still isn’t quite right.

      I’m not sure yet if I’ll need to take the boards down due to possible copyright infringement risks, so I haven’t been updating them and hence, have not found any closer replica of Teague…the poor man. 🙁

      The other hero I don’t have 100% nailed yet (oops, that might be another Freudian slip) is Quaid.

      **sigh** I’m sure I’ll find them eventually.

  • Viki S.
    September 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I never fully visualize the characters while reading. It’s funny but sometimes I’ll only see hair :). And no, I don’t associate actors or whomever as the characters.
    I have been dying for BLAZE since FEVER. I cannot wait to read it!
    Best Wishes Joan on the release next week!


    • September 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Hey Viki!!

      xo! I’m like that–I see er, um, parts of a character as they’re being highlighted by the author. And the only time I associate characters with celebrities, is when I’m trying to find photos of someone who look like what I have in my own head for my characters…because, well, lets face it, those celebrities are HOT!

  • books4me
    September 17, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I do visualize characters based off of the author’s description but I don’t usually associate them with a celebrity!

    LOVED Fever and I bet Blaze is just as good!!!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Sophia Rose
    September 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

    While I do enjoy seeing photos of what someone visualizes that a character looks like, I personally whether reading or writing prefer to go with what my imagination shows me. I suspect that I’m influenced by those that I’ve seen around me, but many times I can’t place any specific traits that match a specific person.

    Thanks for the fun post! Kiera sounds feisty.

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Sophia! (Love your name…one of my heroines soon will be a Sophia 🙂 )

      Yes, Keira is one feisty little thing. I was pulling her back during BLAZE quite a bit. Good thing she’s got a strong hero to keep her in line. 🙂

      Thanks for coming by!

  • September 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I always have a unique picture in my mind of the characters I read, they don’t look like movies stars or anything like that.Carin mawmom at gmail dot com

  • Allison Motherway
    September 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I like to create the characters in my mind based on their descriptions in the books. They really seem to come to life that way.

  • Michele S.
    September 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I do visualize characters in my head but they are unique images not images of celebrities or real people.

  • September 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I don’t tend to picture a specific person when I’m reading. I sort of take the description that I’m given and formulate my own people in my head.

  • RachaelM
    September 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I always visualize characters in the books I am reading. Sometimes I compare them to real actors, actresses, or models and sometimes I have a unique vision in my head. Sometimes its really hard for me to watch a movie based on a book I have read because the actors don’t match what I see in my head. My husband bands me from complaining or he won’t watch it with me.

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Rachael,

      Oh, good point on the movies! That is almost always a problem for me because the actors in the movies just about never fit what I had in my head while reading the book.

      You made me think — I don’t think about a character as a celebrity unless the author refers to a celebrity in comparison…then I can’t imagine the character as anyone OTHER than the actor they’ve compared him to! ugh!!

  • bn100
    September 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I imagine the characters as I read about them.

  • September 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks so much to Joan for being our guest today and having GraveTells on the tour!

    Glad you guys enjoyed Fever – you’re going to LOOOOOOVE Blaze! <3

  • Diane
    September 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    No, I don’t visualize characters though I do try to see the situation with no actual faces for the characters.

    diane dot sadler at gmail dot com

  • Lisa Cox
    September 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    It depends on what I am reading and how into it I am as to whether I visualize characters or not.
    If I do visualize them, they are usually unique and not celebrities.

  • June
    September 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I don’t really visualize characters as much as most people seem to. I do visualize the hero to an extent (but he almost always just looks like I guess my “dream” man, who I don’t think exists, lol) But for most of the time while I am reading, I don’t really visualize, at least not like a movie or anything.

    • September 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Hi June! Now, you must imagine the story in your head as you read. But you’re saying you pretty much mostly imagine the same man for the hero. That I can see.

  • Karin Anderson
    September 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    The only time I have ever “seen” a character in my mind, it was Kat Martin’s Dev Raines as Matthew Bomer. Gorgeous blue eyes, dark hair…perfect.

    AquarianDancer at gmail dot com

  • Cris
    September 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Hair colour? Check. Eye colour? Check. Height & build? Check. That’s about as far as I go with my visualisations of characters– no really defined facial features, and no celebrity lookalike… even if the author mentions one by name! You definitely don’t want me on your team when playing the “Lets cast [your favourite book]” game! 😛

    Stoked for BLAZE!!

    • September 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Yep, Cris, that’s reasonable. I only go for the details when the details are offered in a memorable way or if there are distinguishing marks, like a scar, tattoo, etc.

  • holly
    September 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I visualize characters to a certain extent and they are totally original. I can very rarely look at a picture of someone and say “yep that’s exactly how I expect so and so to look”.

    • September 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Holly, LOVE your profile picture! Yes, it’s difficult to pin a real face to a fictional character you’ve created in your head. And I can only do it when they’re my own.

  • Beth
    September 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    finally made it! great interview!

    • Beth
      September 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      I don’t visualize characters much while reading.. maybe when I finish reading.

      • September 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

        Thanks for coming by Beth! That’s very interesting…that you visualize after you’ve finished reading. Is that because the characters have stuck with you and you’re thinking about them after you’ve closed the book? Those are some good characters to hang on that long! Every author’s dream!

  • Shannon G.
    September 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I definitely visualize the character and setting in my mind as I am reading. If the author has done a thorough job of describing everything then I go with that. If that isn’t given, then I’ll let my imagination wander a little bit and make up my own.

    • September 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Shannon, You make a good point there — as to whether or not the author gives you much to go on. Some people can make something out of nothing. Some people can’t “see” things unless there is an actual visual creation in front of them. Our minds all work differently.

      I can read either way, like you, given a lot or a little description. And depending on the author and how they frame it, both can be equally satisfying. Or equally frustrating 🙂

  • Diane Sallans
    September 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I get kind of a vague mental picture of the characters. not very clear on a specific face. It helps if there is a good cover picture with physical characteristics that match the descriptions in the book.

  • Anna
    September 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I’ll definitely form a picture in my mind of a character but rarely do I put an actual person (actor, etc) in as that image. Every once in a while though one will pop up in my mind because of the visual created in the book.

  • Julianne
    September 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    The characters aren’t the only thing I see in my head when I read. I see what they are doing as described by the author. I don’t put other people’s faces with the characters of the book. It’s my own imagination from the description in the book as to what they look like.

    • September 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Hi Julianne,

      You made me think of all the other things described in books and how I visualize (or don’t visualize) them.

      I tend to visualize character body, dress, mannerisms in more detail than faces.

      How well I visualize action scenes depend on how well they’re written. If the writer is experienced and the style is clear and smooth and sharp, I can see everything happening. If their style is jerky and complex, it’s more like a dust storm.

      Some other things I can recall visualizing very clearly are weather, animals and animal behavior, and setting like exterior and interior spaces (I majored in interior design so that’s probably why),

      Great food for thought!

  • September 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I do fully visualize characters when I’m reading and often do associate them with someone usually famous that I’ve seen before. Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

    • September 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Yadira!

      I love how we’re all different! Some people fully visualize, some don’t visualize at all.

      This topic as been far more fascinating than I anticipated!!

      Thank you!

  • Cheryl Sanders
    September 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I really like the cover models to represent the characters in the books I read but unfortunately that is not always the case. I don’t usually put famous faces in the place of book characters. I guess because they are famous for already playing a character.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

    • September 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Cheryl, this is a common reader sentiment. Unfortunately, the cover designers are usually freelance artists and while they are good at what they do, they usually don’t know a lot about the book and are at the mercy of pleasing the publisher.

  • Damaris
    September 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Joan! Loved Fever!

    I create someone unique while I’m reading – visualize everything. Very rarely do I think of a model or actor as the hero/heroine.

    Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

  • Phyllis Marshall
    September 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I do visualize my characters, but more in the general sense, rather than specific….it is really hard to find a face to put on them for me because no one is going to fit it exactly. So, I just take the descriptions and generally come up with a compilation in my head based loosely on mainly male models I have seen here and there, but not celebs.

  • Elizabeth H.
    September 19, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I visualize the characters in my head. I don’t think I’ve ever matched a book character to a celebrity or model. I think if I did, it would ruin a little of the magic for me. I like to see the characters from my eyes, it makes the story more intimate to me. Thanks for this wonderful post and awesome giveaweay!
    ehaney578 at aol dot com

  • Joanne B
    September 19, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I always try to visualize characters in my head when I’m reading I listen to the author’s description of the characters, then try to picture them in my head. I usually end up seeing only some hair on a blank face.

  • Lisa Brown
    September 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I always visualize characters. I will create them with the help of the author, if they give a good description, or I will create them and use characteristics that I think fit the character of the story.

  • Emma
    September 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    When reading, I usually create a person from my imagination according to what the author writes/describes. That’s unless that book is going to be a movie and they picked the actors who will play those characters, then I picture the characters like the actors. Since I saw the pics Joan posted of who she pictures her characters to look like, most likely I’ll be seeing them in my mind once I read BLAZE. Joan, who do you picture for Alyssa and Teague from FEVER?

    • September 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Emma, Alyssa and Teague were the most difficult couple to visualize for me. For Alyssa I ended up finding a woman who is Hawaiian and Japanese I think, she’s a pro surfer…Teague, well, I haven’t found the perfect Teague yet.

Leave a Response