It's always hard to express a character, whether hero, heroine or villain. A writer has a picture in her own mind, but readers have their own ideas. Whose is valid? Whoever is expressing the picture, of course.
I wrote some quasi-heroic fantasy years ago that involved a group of people who looked rather like Thor in the Marvel Comics. Tall, blond, bright blue eyes... I had a hero that some folks (not me) considered a heart throb. So, out of idle curiosity, I asked who he looked like.
'Bjorn Borg!' sighed one friend.
Oh...kay... I said. Others had other notions, leaning toward the tall and stringy.
And so it goes.
I've been working on the covers for The Orphan's Tale, a trilogy set in 1830's Paris. Book I is out. Book II will be out, God willing, around Christmas. Book III will be next year. They have developed simultaneously.
The covers have the same theme: a scene of Paris with a portrait of a main character inset in the upper left. The Heroine, Elise, graces Book I. The heroic young boy, Larouche, is on Book III. So... Who is on Book II?
...but I needed a cover, and soon.
So I went through the portraits of the era, sifted through the works that are in the public domain. Two seemed to work, partially. I combined them, adjusted the coloring and the uniform, and now am happy to present, for the cover of the book, Paul V. Malet, the hero. I was not able to capture the sardonic lift of the eyebrows when he encounters stupidity, but the tolerant smile is there. It'll do.
...and now I have the three covers:
Here's the page on my website: http://www.dianawilderauthor.com/the-orphans-tale.html