I think that in order for a reader to fall in love with a hero of a romance book, the writer must love him as well.
As a writer I rely on various things to spark my muse. The one thing that I never ever digress from is my vision of my hero's. Now, I try to give my hero's a sense of "individual" through various characters traits...but in the end regardless of the eye color, length of hair, or personality...my hero's all end up resembling Cherif Fortin. Why is he my muse? Couldn't tell you. Haven't met him (although I've been told he is one of the nicest men in the world) perhaps it is his look, the feel I get from the paintings. There is something undeniably romantic about the above picture, one of my favorites by the way. And yes, one of many that use when I try to get a feel for my next hero. Regardless of the time period I pen, I always come back to this picture, this man.
Years ago he was a cover model that graced many different covers, a few authors that were lucky enough to have the Fortin & Sander artwork grace their books were Virginia Henley and Teresa Medrios. He no longer appears on covers, instead he paints along with his partner Lynn Sanders.
These two extremely talented artist have also written an illustrated medieval romance titled "Passion's Blood." If you are interested in purchasing one of these one of a kind books, visit my website http://www.kristiahlers.com/ Click on the Passion's Blood link. This is a beautiful book, one that all romance readers should have.