I’ve been pretty obsessed with finding a man to be my inspiration for Josh Bailey, the main character of The Hijacked Holiday. Airport guy could have been it, but I haven’t heard back from him. Pretty bummed about that, a story within a story makes for a great story but alas, I had to seek and find someone else.
I’m due to start writing in 10 days and maybe it’s weird, but I want to be able to look at him as I write the story. Ava, the main female character is based so much on me; I don’t need anything to feel a connection with her. However, I need to be able to look at him – especially to help me relate to how Ava will interact with him. I didn’t realize until I started my search how easy it would be to find an abundance of good looking men online, and how much time I would waste checking them out.
In case you want to start your own obsession or need to do research, it’s easy to start by finding male physique competitors or WBFF male models. Just about all of them have a Facebook page and/or Instagram account with plenty of pictures to admire. My Facebook newsfeed already had a fair share of handsome guys from the years I competed (in Women’s Physique). A click here and there led me to some great finds. Instagram gives you other recommendations based on those you follow, so once again, a click here, a click there and your screen is soon filled with gorgeous men. Unfortunately, none of them were him. I got to a point where I had checked-out close to 50 different men, and still hadn’t found him.
I wasn’t looking for someone who looked like the actual guy I ran into. I was looking for the man for Ava. The man who will challenge and humble her – the man who will make her fall in love.
Facebook eventually recommended I check-out Michael Stokes Photography –I’m not sure where the time went after that! I’d hit the jackpot. Michael Stokes photographs a lot of veterans, and since my character is a Navy Seal, his models were more of what I was looking for.
I began to notice after checking-out the plethora of good looking men, that military men and veterans have a lot more going on in their eyes, smiles, and faces. May be it’s just me, may be they have something I relate to, a familiarity I know, but there’s something about them that makes them more attractive to me. It took some looking around Michael’s portfolio, which admittedly I enjoyed – he’s a gifted photographer, but eventually I found him.
His name is Kyle Clarke (actually great name for a character). He’s a veteran, served 5 years on active duty. He was a Captain in the Army, combat engineer. Not sure what my deal is lately with Army guys, but at least this Army guy was raised by a Marine. From his bio on his Facebook page, he’s been quite successful serving as inspiration and more much: “…he booked covers of over a dozen national and international magazines, including Muscle & Fitness and Iron Man. Kyle was featured in the feature film, Transformers 3, landed a co-star role in Mansion of Blood, and starred in a short film titled Victor’s Way. He is the face of the video game RAGE, released in 2011, and was featured on billboards across every major city in the U.S.”
But that’s not why I chose him. As soon as I look into his eyes, in these selfies, I knew he was the one.
I was looking for a handsome, regular guy, that has something unspoken, deep, unresolved in his eyes, and expression. Josh is a complex character who is struggling with his identity, his potential, his future, and his feelings for Ava. I can see my character Josh when I look into Kyle’s eyes. I have absolutely no idea if he’s wrestling with some of the same questions and dilemmas, but there’s something deep in his stare.
I feel relief to have found him and I can’t wait to start writing! November 1st, can’t get here quick enough.