You are in for a treat today! Several of my fellow Astraea Press authors decided to pick one of the Fridays off the Wall questions and all share their answers.
Their question: Who would you cast as the leading man in your most recent book?
I have to say I’m feeling a bit old on the younger actors, but I will be adding some to my To Be Watched List. (Of course some of these guys are probably my age, but since they aren’t in Bob the Builder, I don’t recognize them. ;-))
Proceed with caution! Handsome men pictured below.
First up, Stephy, author of Rescued from the River:
Who would you like to see play Kale Tucker, the hero in Rescued From the River or Emma Donley the heroine?
I’m going with Michael Weatherly. Several reason’s pop into my head as to why he would be good for the part. One being he is adaptable in his roles, yet I have never seen him in a raw environment role set on the side of a mountain as a fur trader in the 1870’s. His skirt-chasing persona on NCIS is the total opposite of Kale Tucker. This challenge brings me to believe he would be perfect for the part as a man who is concerned more about the feelings of others than his own, which is in line with Kale’s reasoning. Weatherly’s ability to ‘speak’ with his eyes is, without a doubt, one of his greatest assets.
For the heroine, Emma Donley, I would have to say Cote de Pablo. Pitted together with Weatherly in NCIS they have a strong connection to play off one another and enhance their roles. Pablo also has a wide range of abilities to explore. Her ability to portray a school teacher in the west, being kidnapped by a mean, cruel man and her strong will adds to the difficult survival of the women of the 1800’s.
Good actors/actresses seem to put on the clothes and automatically turn into the person they are portraying, although I’m sure it’s not that simple. I like the idea of Weatherly and Pablo together in Rescued From the River.
I’m one of those authors who has the entire book finished in her head even before sitting down to write it. As I move through each chapter, the story plays in my mind and I basically transcribe what I see. I know where the story starts, what ups and downs will occur, what surprises will pop up and how it will all be brought together in the end. The most important part is I know exactly what my characters look like from facial features to physical attributes to they way their voices sound up to how they interact with the world I’ve put them in as well as to the people I’ve put them together with. In fact, I see them so vividly it can often be difficult to decide who’d play each of them on the big screen.
Take the main male character in my new YA novel Blackbird Flies for example. Payton is over six feet tall, lanky but not skinny by any means. He has short, dark hair, deep blue eyes and pale skin. He wears wire-rimmed ‘John Lennon’ styled glasses and is almost never without his MP3 player. He doesn’t seem concerned with what label is on his clothes as long as what he wears is big, baggy and dark. You’ll find him wearing hooded sweatshirts a lot—with the hood pulled over his head.
Payton is a ‘gifted’ student which means that he is academically several years ahead of his peers. Perhaps his greatest gift—both to himself as well as to others—is his gift of music. Payton is a musical prodigy and wise enough to turn to his gifts rather than to the negative influences he’s surrounded with. With all of his talents, though, he isn’t the least bit arrogant. He does have, what my female lead character, Lily, calls a “James Dean Brooding Thing”. Being raised by a mother who had untreated bipolar, using alcohol to cope with her illness, has made Payton bitter. His heart is full of love (which we catch a glimpse of whenever he’s playing the piano or listening to his favorite music) but he is fearful to let it flow freely. Love hurts too much so he keeps people at an arm’s length.
With this vivid image of the wonderful Payton, I had difficulty choosing an actor who could pull off Payton’s ‘brooding’ personality but also make his passion for music believable (and look good in John Lennon glasses!) After researching Daren Kagasoff, I felt he’d be a great fit for the role of Payton. Daren’s current role on The Secret Life of the American Teenager shows that he can portray that brooding element brilliantly but that he could also handle allowing the audience to see that passionate vulnerability peek through as well.
Heartsight and Camp Wedding (in Matrimonial Mayhem) leading man:
Captain Daniel Conway, of the United States Marine Corps, grew up knowing he had one destiny: to become a warrior who would lead other warriors. Growing up in a Marine family, there was no other direction he even considered for his life. But an encounter with an IED in Afghanistan left Dan permanently blind, unable to lead the life he was born to.
I developed a character in Dan who would be frustrated because he feels he is no longer able to fulfill his destiny. To understand aspects of his personality, I spoke to a friend who is former military, about what it’s like to return from deployment to a battle zone. I then looked at characters in movies and on TV, and examined aspects of the personalities they portrayed. Some noteworthy emotions included anger (at the change in his life), sorrow (for losing his purpose in life), anxiety (over an uncertain future), and happiness (at finding hope). Characteristics these emotions would generate included irritation and edginess, brooding and moodiness, and finally lightheartedness and humor. One review called Dan “the world’s most patient man” because he’s so sweet with the little girl in the story. Well, as an officer and a leader, and someone who’s been in battle situations, he’d have developed patience to a degree – battle is often more of a waiting game than actual fighting. For the confidence aspect, I watched a movie my children enjoyed from the 1990s, Quest for Camelot. The hero in that (yes, it’s a cartoon) was blind. But he had extreme self-confidence. For the warrior aspect of Dan, I took from Avatar, the main character, Jake Sully. A U.S. Marine who had been paralyzed from the waist down in a battle injury. His acceptance of his fate didn’t mean he was happy with it, so he had brooding down pat. When he was operating the Avatar, though, he was able to walk and run. He could feel—he was living again. I gave Dan all of these things, and had them happen for him when he fell in love with Trish. Ironically, the actor who is most physically like Dan is also the one from whom I drew many of his characteristics, Australian actor, Sam Worthington, AKA Jake Sully from Avatar.
EXCERPT from Camp Wedding (in Matrimonial Mayhem)
Trish checked the rearview mirror and saw Bella had fallen asleep. She’d polished off two slices of pizza as well as her hand-dipped ice cream before drifting off, and her mouth sported the ring of chocolate to prove the latter.
Dan, on the other hand, stirred restlessly in his seat, and though she couldn’t see his eyes behind his glasses, Trish knew he was awake and something was on his mind. Actually, she had something on her own mind.
“You know, Chaplain Higgins had a point.”
Dan rolled his head lazily in Trish’s direction. “Oh? What would that be?”
Dan sat up straight. “What about children?” His voice sounded panicked. “Are you pregnant? Geez, Trish, we only did it . . . um, correct me if I’m wrong, but we never did it.”
Trish risked a glance in Dan’s direction and laughed outright at his cheeky grin. “Yet,” she felt compelled to remind him. “And you know what I mean. Do you want kids?”
“Ah, maybe I’m pointing out the obvious here, but I seem to have acquired one.” He gestured behind them. “She’s riding in the back seat. If I don’t want kids, things are gonna get pretty awkward.”ʺ
Trish giggled. “Is it the sugar from your milkshake or what? You are impossible to have a serious conversation with! Do you want more children?”
He didn’t say anything and Trish stole another glance. He was listening to something.
“Where are we?” he asked suddenly.
“Coming up on Willis Landing, why?”
“Thought so. The road sounds different here.”
Trish frowned. He was right. The tires were making a kind of high-pitched whine. Was he changing the subject?
“Just the other side of Willis Landing, there’s a little pullout near the water. Do you know the one I’m talking about?”
“Yeah, I think I’ve seen it. Kind of overlooks a wildlife wetland area.”
Dan nodded. “That’s the one. Can you stop there?”
He refused to explain further, so they drove in silence for another five minutes before Trish brought the van to a stop. She turned off the ignition and then turned to Dan.
“So, what’s here?”
A slow smile spread over his face and Dan held out his hand, waiting for Trish to take it. When she did, he tugged her toward him. It was a little awkward but she managed to cross the center space between the seats and ended up in his lap with a giggle.
“It’s not a matter of what is here,” he murmured against her lips. “But of what is not here. We’re off base, so there are no MPs to interrupt us.”ʺ
Trish lost herself in his embrace. It was exactly what she needed, and how he knew it—how he always knew what she needed—she no longer questioned.
“I want you,” he whispered, drawing circular motions on the sensitive spot below her ear with his thumb. “I want you to be my wife. I want Bella to be my daughter. And if you want more children and God gives them to us—then I want them, too. But,
first things first, I love you. I think I have from the second I heard your voice for the first time.”
“But you know—now that I’ve had a baby with a chromosome abnormality, there’s a risk I’ll have another—only a little higher than general population, but—higher. You understand that, right?”
Dan kissed her left cheek. “I want you.” He kissed her right cheek. “I want Bella.” He kissed her forehead. “I want whatever family we end up making together.” Sliding his arms around to her back, he gathered her more tightly to him. “I love you. What do you
say we get married this Saturday?”
Trish tried to laugh at his levity but the sound was more of a strangled cry. A tear slipped from beneath Trish’s lashes, followed by another. “ʺNow you’ve made me cry,” she murmured. “How am I supposed to drive like this?”
“Hmm.” He brushed his thumb along the top of her cheek. “I don’t know, but I’m guessing a fair sight better than I would if I give it a shot.”
Although I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted Owen to look like, his personality is based a lot on my husband (shhhhh….don’t tell him that). The love Owen has for his son is the driving force behind a couple of things that happen in Wayward Soul. That’s exactly how my husband is. His whole life centers around making sure his kids are happy and cared for. Always putting them first, no matter what. I wanted Owen to have that kind of passion. Picking a movie star to play him was a little more difficult. I’ve been asked the question several times in the past few months. If your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play Owen?
Blank. Nada. No one came to mind. I picked a few actors to answer the question, but no one that I really saw as the one. When I had trouble with this question again, Kay offered to help. She wanted the description of Owen. I found it and the thought that popped into my head was, “Oh yeah, I gave him auburn hair and named him Owen after the character of Owen Hunt from Grey’s Anatomy”. *Kim thunks herself in the head with her hand*
I wanted a character like the one Kevin McKidd played. Strong, emotional, driven, haunted, but a good listener. And, not bad to look at. I’ve been a fan of the show since it aired. This is exactly how I see Owen. Hands down.
Thanks to Stephy, Chynna, Kay, and Kim for sharing their visions for their characters. You can find out more about them and their books by visiting our publisher, Astraea Press, at http://astraeapress.com.
Have a happy and safe holiday weekend.