Posted Aug 16 2015
So a few weeks ago, my friend Sue posted this ad from our local newspaper on my Facebook wall: Thank you, Sue!! <3
I had NO idea my favorite celebrity, Gilles Marini, would be appearing in my area and decided I had to buy tickets. My husband had no interest in ballroom dance, so I had to go by myself. I did have a moment of panic when the Patchogue Theater’s website kept hanging when I tried to complete my purchase, but a quick call to the phone number printed on the ad resolved that…
Tickets purchased, I then counted the hours until GILLES DAY. (And may have compulsively posted a few dozen tweets to this effect…)
Glad you asked.
For authors — especially authors of romance novels — building the perfect hero is a favorite past-time. Some years ago, I’d written a novel called Borderlines that was never published. It was my first serious project. I’d written a few practice novels but this one was The One. It was romantic suspense about a doctor (Sheridan Devine) trying to save her free clinic from closure by begging Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Thomas Clarke for publicity.
Thomas, like all romance heroes, is intelligent. Sexy. Loyal and devoted. And, of course, hot enough to singe the fingers holding the book.
I wrote this book before there was a Sex in the City movie — which is where most people know Gilles Marini from. (He played the oh-so-sexy naked shower neighbor to Samantha Jones.)
Building the perfect romance novel hero is much like baking… you take a little of this, a little of that and mix well. Thomas was tall — over six feet.
(Gilles is 6’1″.)
Thomas speaks with a sexy accent that practically melts hard-headed Dr. Devine. His is British. Gilles’ is French.
Thomas has intense eyes that are light brown.
Just look at these eyes, will you?
Thomas has long dark hair he wears in a pony-tail. Gilles had hair like that once:
So I created this character right down to the cleft in his chin and the dimples on his butt… (sadly, I did not get to see Gilles’ butt…but I imagine those dimples are there…)
And then, my mom called me one night and said, “Turn on Dancing With the Stars.”
And there he was — the character I THOUGHT I’d created out of bits and pieces — living and breathing and dancing!
I have been not just a fan of Gilles Marini’s ever since that moment, but an admirer. He has a very active social media presence and not only is this a beautiful man, but a beautiful person. He absolutely worships his family, volunteers his time for charity, and is never too busy for crazy fans (*coughs* like me?).
So yes, when I heard he’d be in town, I had to see him.
The show is called Ballroom With a Twist, and featured stars from Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol. There was an absolutely amazing hip-hop dancer called Legacy who just about defied gravity. Beautiful performances — each and every one of them.
At the end of the show, I was escorted back stage for a meet & greet session. There was wine, cheese… and this:
We got to meet the cast!
And I got to hug and even talk to Gilles himself. I introduced myself and he said, “Oh, I know who you are, crazy lady.” (LOL!)
We chatted for a while about our children and families. He asked about my writing and said his teenage son may get the opportunity to portray him as a kid in a movie role — can’t wait to see if this happens! He asked about my husband and if he was okay with me being there alone and I told him the truth… except for worrying about me having to walk alone, he was fine with this. So Gilles took my hand, walked me back stage and all the way to my car, where he left me with a wave and a smile and one last joke that I’ll not share here
I grinned all the way home.
Borderlines may never get published, but if it does, I am SO damn happy to tell you that Gilles Marini is every bit the romance hero I’d always imagined him to be.