Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fantasizing In Fiction

Whether you’re a Dean fan or a Sammy girl, there’s one thing we can all agree on…the Winchesters are first rate heroes. They’re gorgeous, courageous, funny, sensitive, damaged, loyal and they kick ass. They’re fuel for fantasies and when you’re a writer sometimes that fantasy takes place right in your fiction. I’m not talking fanfic here, that’s a whole other creature. I’m talking about visualizing the boys as the heroes in our own books.

In my first YA book, SLEEPLESS, I referenced Jensen Ackles and the Winchester Boys. It was a nod to my fave show, an inside joke to my fam and friends. Then I went a step further. My newest YA book HOLLYWEIRD, which is coming out with Flux in the Spring of 2010 under the name Tess Clark, was inspired by my daydreaming about visiting the set of Supernatural. Seriously, how freakin’ cool would that be? But what if I learned that things were just as paranormal on set, in real life, as the stories they tell on the show? It was that little bit of fantasizing that led to my new book. HOLLYWEIRD is about two girls who win a trip to L.A. to meet the star of their favorite show, Supernatural Seekers, only to learn the show’s hunky hero is actually the son of Satan and the only person who can save them is a fallen angel working undercover as the actor’s personal assistant. (Side note: weirdly I sold this before season 4 and the whole angel arc.) BTW, I know Supernatural is filmed in Canada, but Hollywood was more commercial and suited my purposes better.

Here’s how Jensen and Jared came into play. This is where the girls first encounter Jameson Dagon, fallen angel:

My vision narrowed to a bubble of focus on his gorgeous, stubbled face, sound faded away to a buzzing hum and my cheeks grew prickly hot, while my tummy did the Macarena.

He had trim light brown hair with sideburns and just a tease of spikes on top. His chiseled cheek bones and piercing olive eyes made my hands tremble, but it was his voluptuous lips and adorable cleft chin that made my body turn to molten lava.

Suddenly his gaze caught mine. He tilted his head and gave me an appraising look. Still I couldn’t move. When his lips lifted in the barest of smiles, I heard myself give a soft sigh.

And this introduces Dakota Danvers, the son of Satan:

Dakota Danvers had the kind of charisma that made skirts hit the floor and machismo men question their sexuality. Brown curls swept the back of his neck and he had this endearing way of flicking his head to the side to get his wave of bangs out of his eyes. And those eyes…mocha brown and deeply soulful. He was known as the brooding, sensitive brother on the show and he did most of his acting with those incredible eyes. But on the rare occasion when his character was allowed to crack a smile it was if Heaven opened up and shone its every ray of sunshine. Hokey sounding, sure, but his boyish grin would actually elicit a matching smile from anyone watching.

Hopefully, you can figure out which character was inspired by Jensen and which was Jared. Admittedly I played up Dakota’s charms so it’s quickly understood that while he’s sexy as hell, and has the disarming charm of the boy next door, he’s really the antithesis of both.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to finish this book and pour all my Supernatural geek love into it. But I KNOW I’m not the only one who’s used the Winchesters as models.

Trish has already said that Jared was the inspiration for her hero in her 2007 YA Golden Heart winner, Coven, and Kathryn Smith (another Supernatural fan and writer) made Jensen a vampire in her short story 'The Wedding Knight' in the Weddings From Hell anthology with Maggie Shayne, Jeaniene Frost and Terri Garey. She’s also working on a YA project tentatively titled, Harming Prince Charming, with Jared as the hero.

With inspiration like J2, we can fantasize and reinvent all we want. What about you? Have you fictionalized the Winchesters?


MJFredrick said...

Jared is the hero in my vampire hunter story and my western historical. Jensen is the hero in my haunted island story, where he leads ghost tours but doesn't believe in ghosts, until they prove otherwise.

All three books are in various stages of being done, though, while I slog through revisions on another book ;)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Oh boy, yes, I have! :)

My current WIP, the one killing me in revisions, features characters inspired by both Sam and Dean, even though they are most definitely not them. Only the most dedicated SPN fans would be able to tell, and even then, probably not if I didn't tell them in advance. :)

I also have a novella, Renegade, that features two guys who are a bit psychic and use their abilities to track down abducted children. Again, very much not Sam and Dean, but totally inspired by them.

My daughter and I can't WAIT for Hollyweird!

Trish Milburn said...

How fun! Can't wait to read Hollyweird, Terri. I often do this, basing characters on actors and actresses, though not always our Winchester boys. For instance, for the book I'm writing right now for Harlequin American, the hero is modeled after Eric Dane (McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy).

I think this is a fun way to craft a character as long as it's not taken wholesale. Even when I can figure out who a writer has based a character on, they've made significant changes too so that their character is a different person altogether.

AuthorM said...

Sort of. Not exactly. But I did dedicate a book to Jared (STRANGER) because I'd named the hero Sam and his Season Two Sammy grew on me so much...Oh, and I named a character Jared in that same book, but the character is nothing like him. At least I don't think he is.

But I did use a fictional Jared and Jensen pair of dudes in my novella in the Red Hot Valentine's Day anthology because of a fictional TV show I created that appears in a bunch of my work. It's called Runner. :) And I dedicated the novella to them both because yes, they are so awesome.

But...a Dean/Sam thing? Hmm...I don't think so. I can't think of anything now anyway, though in an unsold book about angels, of all things, I had a character who looked a lot like Jensen, at least in my head.


MJFredrick said...

I bought Instant Gratification partly because I read somewhere that Jill Shalvis had based her hero on Sawyer. I can hear him in the character's voice.

Anonymous said...

I love how we're populating the world with Jareds and Jensens. Now if only we could actually get our pick of one in real life. ;)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I won't get to pick one, exactly, but I will get to TOUCH one!

So can you if you go to the Cherry Hill, NJ, Salute to Supernatural in March! :)

Anonymous said...

God, Nat. I wish I could! I just had to pass on a writing conference because money is too tight. Please squeeze them for me and take lots of pics. I'll be waiting with bated breath to hear all about it.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I understand! I never thought I'd be able to do one, either, but things just lined up right. The announcement came out just as my husband got a bonus, which was right before my birthday, so it's my birthday present!

I shall pat and pinch Jared enough for all of you. :)