FOLLOW THE HEART: Meet Andrew, Christopher, and Stephen
Because I enjoyed being able to explore other characters’ relationships in the Ransome series, I set out to do something a little different with the Great Exhibition series . . .
TWO romances for the price of one!
Yep, each of the three books (though in a round-about way in Book 2) features two romantic storylines. While this did make it a little harder to write/plot, I’m really happy with the outcome, with the way the characters’ stories weave together.
But let’s get on to why you’re really here today.
To try to keep spoilers to a minimum, I’m going to break the character casting into a few posts—introducing the main men first, then the heroines, then secondary characters. If, at any time, you have any questions about any of them, feel free to ask. Oh, and check my Follow the Heart board on Pinterest today, as I will be posting images of these guys as I have a chance.
Now, on to the character introductions.
Philadelphia born-and-bred Christopher Dearing seems to be on the cusp of the American dream—a law degree from Yale, a prestigious apprenticeship with one of the largest railroad companies in New York, and his family’s wealth and social standing to help him rise quickly in the fastest-growing industry in the country. That is, until his father loses all the family wealth in a land speculation and Christopher is called home. Once there, he learns that, along with his older sister, he must go to England to live with his mother’s brother, a baronet, and do whatever it takes to find and marry a wealthy woman—or else his father, stepmother, and three young half-sisters will be destitute.
While upset over the circumstances, Christopher is excited to be traveling to England. He’s read everything he can get his hands on about Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition and it had been almost beyond hope that he might be able to see it. Now he can—and if he can’t find a wealthy wife, maybe he can find a lucrative position with one of the many successful railway companies in England.
Why Lee Pace? While I enjoyed the first season of Pushing Daisies back when it was on, I had to stop watching because Anna Friel (Chuck) was the template for Julia in the Ransome series, and the character she played on that show was far too different and it was messing my mental image of Julia up to see her physical template behaving so differently. But then I saw Lee Pace in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and I realized just how much more range he had than what I’d seen in PD. I filed him away—and when I started thinking about Christopher: tall, gangly, good-humored, optimistic, and slightly goofy while also having a romantic side, I knew Lee Pace would be the perfect template.
Stephen Brightwell never expected to become Viscount Thynne (pronounced tine, like the tine of a fork)—a second son, he’d been perfectly content living on and managing his father’s properties in Argentina for the past ten years. But with the deaths of his father and older brother within six months of each other, Stephen has returned to England to take up his place as head of the family. And at almost forty-one years old with his brother having died childless, Stephen feels the pressure to marry and produce an heir. But many years ago, he had his heart broken by the woman he loved, so falling in love again is not on his agenda. He’s invited to Wakesdown Manor to attend the house party thrown by Christopher’s uncle, thinking he’ll most likely settle on one of the baronet’s daughters. That is, until he meets someone else . . .
Why Daniel Craig? Uh, why not? I’d been looking for a role in which I could use the current 007, and what better role than a dashing though somewhat taciturn Victorian aristocrat?
Andrew Lawton had the kind of hard-scrabble life common to the urchins in Dickens’s novels. His father died when Andrew was very young. Because of this, Andrew and his mother ended up in the poorhouse, where his mother died of “lung rot.” Andrew found work at the estate at Chatsworth and worked his way up—from general laborer to and undergardener. Then he caught the eye of the man who would change his life: Joseph Paxton. He was fascinated by Paxton’s designs for the greenhouses at Chatsworth and spent his spare time studying every book he could get his hands on about both architecture and agriculture. Paxton took notice of the lad and decided to apprentice him.
Just before the opening of Follow the Heart, Andrew has been hired on at Wakesdown Manor to redesign the gardens and grounds and to build new hothouses—his first job completely on his own as a professional.
Why Henry Cavill? Well, when I first started developing this idea three years ago not a whole lot of people had heard of this British mega-hunk. I’d fallen in love with him as Charles Brandon in The Tudors—especially in seasons 3 and 4, in which he really comes into his own as an actor—and so I’d been thinking about him quite a bit. Really, the whole idea for the story started with wanting to use him as a hero but wanting to make him more of an “every-man” character instead of an aristocrat, like he played in The Tudors. I then saw this image of him:
and suddenly “gardener” popped into my head. And, apparently, the cover designer agreed with me.
On May 1, I will be giving away FIVE signed copies of Follow the Heart.
Beginning Monday, April 15, 2013, and ending Tuesday, April 30, 2013, I’ll be doing a series of blog posts on the background and inspiration for the Great Exhibition series and Follow the Heart. Each comment you leave on every post between 4/15/13 and 4/30/13 will earn you a name in the “hat” for the drawing. (Posts will be closed to new comments after 24 hours, so be sure to check in daily—subscribe via email above, or check my Twitter or Facebook page, as each new post gets announced there, too—for the latest post to comment on.)
Comment early, comment often!