Thursday, March 31, 2011

Who is Spencer Pierce?

When I set out to create my characters, I usually have a pretty good idea of the type of person they are and what they look like. Backstory and quirks and that sort of thing are where the real work comes in. But the basics usually fall into my head fully formed. That was definitely the case with Spencer Pierce, captain of the Dark Hawk in Badlands.

The first thing about Spence is that he isn’t a big guy: muscular and strong sure, but more on the skinny side (wiry is the nice way of putting it). And then there are his eyes. Spencer’s eyes are one of his most telling features. No matter what kind of front he puts on for anyone, his eyes are haunted and speak of a past he’d rather forget. Right around the time I was “casting” Spencer, White Collar came on TV. Matt Bomer fit in a lot of ways, but he just didn’t have that dark edge I wanted for Spencer—he was too “cute”. It didn’t take long to realize the guy I kept seeing when I pictured Spencer wasn’t playing a nice guy on TV. He was playing one of the most deliciously sarcastic and bloodthirsty vampires on TV. Ian Somerhalder is very much the physical embodiment of Spencer Pierce. Of course, if they ever made a movie of Badlands, he’d have to bring a haunted past to the character of a really nice guy. Is he that good of an actor? Hmm…

But as for the character, that’s all Spencer. The closest thing in most of my TV/movie watching to a dirigible captain are from science fiction, in particular spaceship captains give the best parallel. But if you look at most of them, you’ll see some trends.

-       Star Trek

  • Kirk is a devil-may-care ladies’ man. (So very not Spencer)

  • Picard is straight-arrow, proper and…yeah (Love him, but not Spencer)

  • Janeway’s uh…a girl (honestly, this is when I got bored with Star Trek and stopped watching)

-       Star Wars

  • Han Solo is a smuggler and a cad. Sure he turns into a great guy, but he starts out as kind of a jerk (Not Spencer)

  • Lando Calrissian takes us right back to Kirk.

Sigh. Spencer’s his own breed of guy. But then I thought, what about someone who’s close? Surely one of those captains would be able to sit down and have a drink with Spence without trying to rob him, kill him, or take his woman. Not really. The only ones who wouldn’t probably wouldn’t have a drink with him in the first place.

I could think of one guy who would though. Sure, he’s a smuggler and he’s got attitude to spare. However, he’s not the kind to start off with aggression nor is he the kind to shit on a fair deal. So, if you recognize a little bit of Malcolm Reynolds in Spencer, there’s a reason for it. They aren’t the same character by a long stretch, but I like to think they’d get each other and maybe even be friends.

In addition to the contest that is going on with this post as part of the treasure hunt for The Romance Studio, I'm also offering a digital copy of either of my Blood Kissed stories to a random commenter here (winner's choice of Of Course I Try or The Ghost of Vampire Present).


  1. I love the sound of this! What's even better, while I was reading the description, I thought to myself, "Mal!! He and my favorite brown-coat would definitely bend elbows together!" I felt absurdly gratified when I got to the end of your post *g*.

  2. Ah, Captain Mal. *fans self* I do love me a brown-coat :)

  3. This sounds awesome! Great post!

  4. Really like the sound of this story and enjoyed reading the post and all the descriptions.

  5. Firefly's my favorite Sci/Fi series.I hated to see it cancelled.I'll definitely have to check out Spencer Pierce.

  6. Loved the er, non, comparisons. ;)

  7. Spencer sounds lovely!

  8. Sounds like you put a lot of thought into this. He sounds like a very interesting character.

  9. I"m new to steampunk and am quite interesting reading some novels featuring it.

    I look forward in reading Badlands and meeting this Spencer Pierce.

  10. Sorry about the delay in choosing a winner. RT ate my brain. Random # generator gave me a 5, which discounting my comment means... CDNWMN, you won the book from my backlist! Congrats :) I'll get in touch with you via email to find out which one you'd like.


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