Liv MacKenzie 
THE CHARACTERS
Every reader builds up their own images of the characters in a book, so yours may be very different to mine but I thought it would be fun to let you know what image I had in mind while writing a character. Interested? Read on....

For the main characters (the Belgraves) the visual inspirations came from the custom-made  covers my artist gave me, which in turn were based on me specifying a type "like so-and-so", usually an actor. ("I want Ken to look like Wash from Firefly," to give an example.)  

For the supporting characters, it was likewise usually an actor/actress embodying a certain character that hit the nail on the head.

But that's just the trigger. The personalities are a mix of everything--plot, setting, role in story, character arc, informed by classic story archetypes.

Here's a list of the characters, the images that inspired them, and their main characteristics ( I could go into pages of detail but we're all busy, right?) to refresh them in your mind as you read through the series, or after you've finished.  


Alex
Belgrave 
The playboy lover
Axex (26) is the second eldest brother who had the dukedom thrust upon him unexpectedly as it was revealed that he would inherit the title and not his older brother, Seb. Impulsive, but weirdly diplomatic and polite when it suits him, he's got a charm that women can't resist and that would make him a great leader if only he'd put his mind to it.

Keywords: Heir, helicopter pilot, statesman, womanizer.
The serious, responsible workaholic leader
Seb
Belgrave 
Seb(28) is the  eldest brother who was passed over for inheriting the dukedom. A widely respected businessman and farmer, workaholic and natural born leader, he has a melancholy air that hides his dryly humorous and deeply romantic side.

Keywords: Control freak, farmer, dog lover, dark knight
Ken
Belgrave 
The "bad boy" warrior
Ken(24) is the  youngest brother whom nobody expects much of. A keen horseman and gambler, he got into debt soon after the old duke died. Ken is a worrier and it's his deep integrity that keeps the family together.

Keywords: passionate, colorblind, warrior for good.
Letty
Belgrave 
The outrageous, fun-loving daredevil princess
Letty(23) is the  youngest Belgrave sibling and the only girl. She is an extrovert, (outrageous taste in clothing sometimes) fun-loving, talented pianist who is bored with her life and seeks adventure and a misison in life. 

Keywords: passionate, musical, caring.
Hayley Cochrane 
The practical, fun-loving sweetheart.
Hayley(21) is a college student in final year art studies, from Laxby Oregon. She's technically savvy as well as a free-thinking artist. Ambitious and level-headed, she sets Alex on the course of self-realization and responsibility while his love sets her guarded, over-protected heart free. (And yeah, okay she's totally like Kaylee from Firefly.)

Keywords: free-spirited, practical, optimistic.
Stig Lawson 
The calculating politician.
Stig Lawson (58) is Hayley's maternal uncle. His father was a scoundrel of a newspaper mogul so it's no wonder Stig picked up some of his business tactics. Unscrupulous in general, but protective of Hayley, he's a somewhat shades-of-gray character. He gets Hayley into all kinds of trouble but it has the happy result that she meets Alex again. (This is Swedish actor, Micheal Nyqvist and his character in Om Stig Petré's Hemlighet inspired this character and gave him the name "Stig".)

Keywords: opportunistic, US ambassador, ruthless.
The feisty, independent architect.
Mara Myers 
Hayley's best friend Mara (23) had no intention of falling in love but after seeing Seb on a Skype call, she got obsessed with the brooding lord. Her razor sharp wit and capable attitude make her a great match for Seb. She's an architect and she's going to build her dream home with Seb. (Molly Ringwald's looks and sassiness totally inspired this character. Think of her in The Breakfast Club and maybe add a few years of maturity.)

Keywords: snarky, architect, ambitious.
David Cochrane 
The over-protective dad (Hayley's father)
Hayley's dad's greatest worry is that something bad will happen to his daughter, Hayley. He and Uncle Stig often argue over the best way to bring her up. A widower, David lives a lonely life in Laxby. He befriends Mara while Hayley is in Fernborough. Often underestimated, by the end of the book we learn of his heroic sacrifices in life. ( I only know this actor from Smallville where he played the protective dad to young Clark Kent but that's exactly the kind of character I was going for. Salt of the earth type character.)

Keywords: great dad, fisherman, underestimated.
The intense MI6 agent (Letty's lover).
Martin Spelling 
Martin's (26) presence is felt in all 4 books but he comes to the fore in Letty's story. He's Alex's friend, a vital ally for the duke when navigating the tricky waters of internaltional politics. Martin is intense, ultra fit, utterly driven, and desperate to belong to something bigger than himself and only the larger-than-life Letty Belgrave can stop him in his tracks. (I am simply indulging my Rupert Friend crush here, go figure. Wouldn't he make the perfect Bond though?)

Keywords: secret agent, borderline depressed, snarky, loyal.
Lady Amelia Belgrave 
The cool, distant mother.
The dowager duchess has not been the same since her husband the duke died suddenly aged 58 (a year prior to start of "Cocky Duke"). She copes by being even more distant with her offspring, interfering in their choice of lovers, online gambling and knitting scarves nobody wants. She has a heart of gold underneath, adopting Seb (another woman's child) as her own without hesitation, and he's now her favorite.

Keywords: aloof, sharp-witted, caring-underneath.
Liv MacKenzie 
The warrior queen (Ken's lover)
Liv (19) is a bona fide countess, one of the rare female heirs in Britain. Her estate Strathcairn is actually Scottish but they lost the lands there 200 years ago and are now based solely in Suffolk. Suffering the aftermath of a verbally abusive marriage and unprepared for her father's death, she rises to the challenge of running her estate while also guiding Ken onto the path of self-belief.

Keywords: strong, a survivor, a queen
To be continued..?. 
So, did I get it right? Did you see them this way too, or as someone else entiurely? I would love to know! Drop me an email at sara@saraforbes.com telling me whom you'd have "cast" for each character. 

Who is your favorite? 


...And of course, I could go on and on. What about the old duke, Mara's parents, Seb's biological mum and his half sister? Liv's parents? Well, I didn't want to make this page too long or nobody would get to the end!

If you did get this far, woo hoo.