Fangirl Love and Writing

- by Tawny Weber

I’m an avowed and quite possibly obsessed Johnny Depp fangirl. I’ve had a deep and abiding lust for the man since his slick-haired 21 Jump Street days. I’m sure I’d have been a fan of his earlier work – Nightmare on Elm Street, but I covered my face about the time he was gobbled up by that bed.

But I’m not just in deep lust with the guy’s look – bad-boy-fashion-grunge – and his amazingly gorgeous eyes, his knife-edge cheekbones and that smile… OMG that smile!!!! Um, where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not all about the looks (although I could go on for awhile if I didn’t have a word count to stick to. Somehow, that’s always a challenge for me. Sticking with word count, I mean. Not babbling on and on and… Well, see what I mean?). A huge part of my fangirl adoration of Johnny Depp is his sense of humor, his ability to laugh and enjoy life. From all accounts, he’s an amazing father, the kind of guy who wears a beaded bracelet on the red carpet because his little girl made it for him. But he’s got enough of that wild bad boy thing still going on to keep him from being too sweet.

I also admire how he’s true to his beliefs. He takes roles that mean something to him – often roles that would be ignored by other stars because they don’t have enough ‘upward mobility’  –then he brings his own magic to them, and shoots right on up anyway. Looking gorgeous and sexy all the way.

So it’s not a surprise, given my well-documented fangirl adoration of all things Johnny (it’s even mentioned in my Harlequin bio) that I’ve been asked quite often how I’ve based one of my heroes on Johnny.

The answer? Never. I can’t base characters on real people. I know so many people who write bits and pieces of people in their lives into their characters. Or they use movie stars or roles as inspirations. Or even cut out models or photos of actors to use in character sketches.

I’d love to do that. I wish I could turn all those people who irritated me in real life into characters who ‘got theirs’ in my stories. That certain snotty in-law who always turns up her nose and insults my kids? She’d make a great villain. That obnoxious realtor who dropped the ball and made my July a living hell? Oh yeah, he’d be such a great character to get revenge on. The list goes on and on. So as much as I admire Johnny Depp, why can’t I write him into a hero in one of my books?

He just doesn’t mind that way. Real people never do.

Real people have their own motivations. Their own worlds and quite often, their own foibles and relationships. I can’t make them do what I want without taking all that into account – not even in my own imagination. If I tried to write Johnny into a hero, in the back of my head I’d always be thinking he’s cheating on my heroine (and me LOL) with Vanessa in real life. I think I’m too literal, but I just can’t find a way to combine my fangirl love of Johnny Depp and my writing.

The only exception to my not using real people? I do put some characteristic of my husband’s into every hero. It could be one of his cars, his hobbies, a song he loves. Some little thing so I don’t feel quite so much like I’m cheating when I write those hot love scenes with another man LOL

How about you? Do you like picturing real life people when you read, putting them in the role of whatever hero you’re imagining? And if you write, do you use real people as templates for your characters?

And if you could star in a romance with any hottie hunk, which one would it be?


  1. I often mock up a character as being played by a certain actor/actress. I back-stabbing SOB might be Gary Oldman.

    A sweet young thang might be Molly R from 16 candles.

    The mocking up of how the actor/actress might play the character in the writing often helps shape the character.

    I’ve had a couple emails about my novels (when published free on asking if I were male or female. Lots of the characterizations came from imagining a specifice actor/actress being the character.

  2. Bruce, that’s such an fascinating take on character creation. I’ve talked to a lot of authors who after the book is complete, dream about which actor or actress will play their character, but you’re creating the character as specifically played by certain actors or actresses? Or as you see specific characters already on the screen?