BTS: Callaghan Inspiration

March 5, 2023

So, if you’ve been with me for a while, you probably know that I worked nights and weekends at a local Irish pub, and that’s where a lot of the details of the bar, it’s history, and its layout come from.

But what about the Callaghans themselves?

Sadly, unlike the pub, my Callaghan boys are 99% fictional products of my romantic (and overactive) imagination.

Another thing you might know about me – especially if you are a member of my awesome FB reader group, the Zanders Clan – is that I’m a straight up sucker for beautiful eyes. It doesn’t really matter what color they are, as long as they’re expressive and framed by thick, dark, envy-inducing lashes.

That being said, I do think that light blue eyes and dark hair make for an incredibly stunning visual (hello, Ian Somerhalder). It’s no happy accident that the gorgeous combo also fits in with my heroes’ Irish ancestry.

But did you know, I was only thinking of ONE hero when I first began?

I embellished my hero accordingly, as a romance writer should. I made him muscular. Strong and fit. Golden hearted. Maybe a little caveman-like, but essentially, a good man who embodied the traits that would ultimately make him a good mate.

His personality was a little harder to nail down. My hero couldn’t be perfect. He needed to be good at some things, but not every thing. He needed strengths and weaknesses to make him relatable. After all, no one wants to read about a perfect hero, if even if he is drool-worthy. If he’s already flawless, where’s the personal development? What’s left for the heroine to do?

I had so many ideas. But one guy simply couldn’t be great at computers and mechanics. He couldn’t be both a hardass and empathetic. Nor could he be a mischievous sex god incarnate and harbor white knight tendencies. Yet he had to have access to all of those strengths to get the job(s) done.

So what’s an author to do?

The answer: don’t create a single, hot Irish hero. Create a whole family of them.

Their familial ties give them the same overall appearance, general beliefs, and sense of honor, yet allows each one to be a unique individual with his own strengths and weaknesses. 

Win x 7-plus.

Once I did that, the heroines became necessarily unique as well. I mean, if a croie is a perfect soul mate, then the women couldn’t be flawless either, and they had to balance the men.

And that also meant only certain story lines could work with those couples. For example, could you imagine Nicki’s story with Shane instead of Sean? Or Kane’s with Maggie?

Recipes for disaster, I’d say. By creating multiple heroes from one ideal, I was able to satisfy all my muses. And spoiler alert – I’m not done yet 😏