Monday, June 01, 2015

It's Hard Work, But Somebody's Gotta Do It

One of the really fun things about starting a new series (besides building a whole world, of course) is auditioning models and actors to represent your main characters. After all, an author has to have SOME fun amid the agonizing task of churning out a hundred thousand brilliant, er, inspired, er, functional words.

I'm in the throes stage of my new work-in-progress, WILD MAN'S BLUFF.

"The throes" is defined as the hair-pulling stage that occurs somewhere about the midpoint of a new manuscript at which point you're convinced:

a) it's all crap and will never work itself out,
b) it was a stupid idea for a book to begin with,
c) your plot has more holes than swiss cheese, and
d) you're not an author at all, but a sham, a fraud, and DESERVE to be exposed as such. Which is what will happen when this pile of crap is unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

So when one is wallowing in the throes, it is helpful to have eye candy upon which to gaze.

Confession time: I collect eye candy.

There's an innocent little folder on my Dropbox account called "Auditions," and inside it are "Heroes" and "Heroines" folders. People who've caught my attention or struck me as drool-worthy or had interesting features. (Funny how the interesting features are mostly in the "heroines" folder while the drooling happens while looking in the "heroes" folder.)

Anyway, while procrastinating brainstorming this week, I spent some time drooling agonizing over my folders to cast Gentry Broussard and Celestine Savoie, the hero and heroine of the book currently in the throes.

I knew Cele as soon as I saw her. She's curvy but petite, a spitfire, 28 years old, an artistic type who's trying to make it as a singer/songwriter. Like many of those deep in the wilds of southern Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, where the book is set, she and Gentry are both somewhat racially androgynous--Cajun and Creole and Native American have mingled greatly down in America's great swampland. Cele has many of the physical traits of her Chitimacha family members, though (the Chitimacha are the only tribe who are still in their aboriginal homeland in the Atchafalaya Basin). I knew she had black hair and olive skin, but striking blue eyes.

So you can see why actress Denise Vasi was perfect for her.

Then we have Gentry Broussard, a senior enforcement agent with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He's 6-2, with curly brown hair and dark brown eyes. The LDWF enforcement agents are the most highly trained law enforcement officers in the state--they go through regular police training, marine law enforcement training, state game and wildlife training, advanced weapons training, and paramilitary extreme-conditions training. They're the state's lead search-and-rescue agency. So Gentry has to be ripped, in other words.

What a pity.

It was an arduous task, but I finally settled on Walter Savage to play Gentry. He has a kind of masculine ruggedness that I felt fit the character.

Did I mention he's even sexy with a bad case of bedhead?

Being an author is hard, hard work. Yes, indeed. But somebody's gotta do it.


Roger Simmons said...

I read yesterday that Wild Man's Bluff will be published under Suzanne's, Alter Ego, Susannah Sandlin. How wonderful to look forward to a new series by this very talented author.

Jillian said...

Oooh La la. He's def drool worthy and she's amazing. Great choices and looking froward to seeing how they interact and grow.

Suzanne Johnson said...

@Roger--Yes, Suzanne is a slacker, so Susannah has to do all the work!

@Jillian...aren't they a great couple? I usually have trouble. I've done five books in my Sentinels series and still haven't found my Alex :-)

Carla Swafford said...

My hero folder has dozens and dozens of "work-related" pictures. I don't even have an heroine one. Besides, they're all based on me. . . well, how I wished I looked at that given moment. HA!

Ali Hubbard said...

Holy bedhead! I love your choices. And yes, you are right that it helps to visualize the characters (and it gives me much-needed "mulling them over" time). I became more in tune with my characters after creating a Southern Brothers pinterest board. I've even got the dogs, Smith and Wesson!

I love how you break down the writing stages too. Wait...I thought most writers just wrote something out and hit publish. You mean other people have to edit too? Whew! I admit to spending too much time in the "i'm a fraud" space....

Suzanne Johnson said...

@Carla...Yes, I have to admit my "work-related" (ha) photos are WAY heavier on the heroes folder. I find heroines harder to write for some reason... :-)

@Ali...I stay in the "what the hell was I thinking--this was the stupidest idea for a book ever" stage the most. As a book gets closer to release I go into the "well, this is the one that's going to expose me as a fraud and an idiot" phase. :-)