On January 26th 2016 my new series, Secrets of a Rock Star, will launch. Each book in the series will feature a different member of the band The Rough, starting with Axel Hawke, the lead singer. As a preview to the series, I thought I’d share my visual references for Axel.
Axel was an “army brat” (Air Force, actually) who used music as a way to make friends (or as a refuge when all he made was enemies) while his family moved around not only the United States but Japan, Germany, and England. When he was 10, during the stint in England, he met Mal Kenneally, a guitarist, and they dreamed of starting a band. Axel’s parents divorced when he was 12-13 and he and his mother settled in Massachusetts.
At age 16, Axel ran away from home when his mother discovered he was singing in a band and all his bandmates were over 18. When none of his bandmates would take him in for long, his band broke up and Axel ended up in England with Mal again, where they got up to much trouble. His mother eventually convinced him to return to the US, he finished high school, and was in his sophomore year in college when it became his turn to take Mal in. They started The Rough and the band’s popularity soon took off.
In fact, when TAKING THE LEAD begins, it’s the night of the Grammy Awards and The Rough are nominees for Best New Artist.
Here are some of the visual references I used for Axel while writing TAKING THE LEAD. I was quite taken with Mig Ayesa but I wanted my lead singer to have bleach-blond highlights, so here are a couple of rough photoshop versions, blond-izing him, mixed in with Jared Leto in his blond rock star phase and a blond model whose name I didn’t find:
Axel also has a dragon tattoo. Actually he and Mal have matching dragon tattoos. Axel’s dragon wraps around his upper arm and onto his chest where it has his nipple held in its teeth.
The actual cover design has a model with blond highlights, but then they gave him the “wet look” which made his hair dark again! But you all know what he looks like now. ;-)
TAKING THE LEAD can be pre-ordered right now from all your favorite places, including your favorite local bookstore: Taking the Lead at Indiebound • Amazon: paperback or ebook • Barnes & Noble: paperback or ebook • Kobo: ebook only • iTunes: ebook only • Google Play: ebook only