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RANSOME’S CROSSING: Character Introductions

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh, my goodness! I can’t believe I let time slip away from me—do you realize that Ransome’s Crossing releases less than two weeks from now sometime in June?

Last year, when I explained the character-casting process for Ransome’s Honor, you met many of the characters who continue on into Ransome’s Crossing: William Ransome, Julia Witherington, Charlotte Ransome, Collin & Susan Yates, Admiral Sir Edward Witherington, Dawling, Creighton, and Elton.

In Ransome’s Crossing we leave Portsmouth behind, meaning we leave several key characters from Ransome’s Honor behind: Sir Drake, Lady Pembroke, and Admiral Sir Edward Witherington. But in Ransome’s Crossing, we get a new point of view, that of William’s first officer.

Lieutenant Ned Cochrane

Charlotte’s fingertips tingled when they came in contact with Ned’s—even though they both wore gloves. A few steps into the allemande, Charlotte had trouble catching her breath. Every time they separated, she felt cold and abandoned. And she could look nowhere but at Ned. His hair was too dark to be blond and too light to be brown. He had a scar in the middle of his forehead that broke up the lines when he raised his brows, the way a rock broke the flow of a stream. And though he was not as tall and lithe as Percy Fairfax, he seemed lighter on his feet, more graceful, no doubt from years of developing a keen sense of balance aboard ships.

When I first started writing Ransome’s Honor, I knew Ned would be an important secondary character, but I never realized just how important—until Charlotte burst onto the scene as a POV character and I wrote the scene in which Ned and Charlotte first meet—when Ned tackles Charlotte on the quay to keep her from being crushed by a piece of furniture falling from an ill-secured crane overhead. And in that moment, the entire plot for Ransome’s Crossing bloomed in my imagination. Sure, it altered the course I’d originally thought Charlotte’s story was going, but for the better, I believe. Because I’d fallen in love with Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode III and in Miss Potter, he seemed a natural for Ned Cochrane—a man who’s a walking dichotomy: a mature, assured officer who easily commands others, and a young man who’s still figuring out his place in the world. And the man who’s going to wreak havoc with Charlotte’s heart.

The Ships’ Crews
Because in the initial draft of Ransome’s Honor there were several more scenes that took place aboard Alexandra which I ended up cutting, I already had quite a few of the key crew members cast—drawing mostly from the Hornblower movies, and some from Master & Commander, and others from…well, you’ll figure out where! So in this first partial crew listing, if you’ve read (or are reading) Ransome’s Honor, you should recognize most of these names.

Crew of HMS Alexandra
Captain William Ransome (Paul McGann)
First Lieutenant Ned Cochrane (Ewan McGregor)
Second Lieutenant Patrick O’Rourke (James d’Arcy)
Third Lieutenant Angus Campbell (Jamie Bamber)
Fourth Lieutenant Horatio Eastwick (Ioan Gruffudd)
Fifth Lieutenant Eamon “Jack” Jackson (Orlando Bloom)
Sixth Lieutenant Robert Blakeley (Heath Ledger)
Steward Archibald Dawling (Sean Gilder)
Midshipman Josiah Gibson (Josh Groban)
Midshipman Walter Kennedy (Max Benitz)
Boatswain Allerdyce Matthews (Paul Copley)
Marine Sergeant Ryken (Samuel West)

Bringing up the rear of the supply ships William is leading to Jamaica is HMS Audacious, a smaller ship, at 64 guns, which means one less officer and a slightly smaller crew. In writing Ned Cochrane’s opening scene in the first chapter of Ransome’s Crossing, I learned that he and the first lieutenant of Audacious came up as midshipmen together, so are about the same age. And because the newly assigned captain of this ship needs to be someone who won’t resent coming under William’s command, I decided he needed to be a little younger than William’s thirty-four.

Crew of HMS Audacious

Captain Alban Parker

1st Lt. Montgomery Howe

2nd Lt. Griffith Crump

3rd Lt. Lewis Gardner

4th Lt. Millington Wallis

5th Lt. Richard Duncan

Midshipman Thomas Hamilton

Midshipman Cornelius Martin

Midshipman Harry Kent

Midshipman Charles Lott

  1. Monday, May 17, 2010 8:07 am

    OK, I want to get shipwrecked in the Caribbean and get rescued by THAT crew. 😀 Can’t wait for RANSOME’S CROSSING!


  2. Monday, May 17, 2010 9:30 am

    Great casting! Can’t wait to get that book in my hands.


  3. Traci Myers permalink
    Monday, May 17, 2010 3:05 pm

    I have not read the first one yet, I am behind. I can’t wait to read them both! It would be fun to be able to match celebrities to your characters. Makes me wish I had the gift of storytelling too.


  4. Sylvia M. permalink
    Monday, May 17, 2010 6:06 pm

    I can’t wait to read this book! With all these handsome crew members I’m surprised Charlotte doesn’t have friends jumping at the chance to join her. I’ve read the first chapter online and am excited!


  5. Monday, May 17, 2010 6:26 pm

    I always enjoy seeing your castings. I know a lot of writers don’t like this sort of thing, but I like to have a visual template for my characters too… if I can find one. I’m having the dickens of a time trying to find a man who looks like my male MC this time around. He’s kind of a Josh Groban type, with the near black curly hair (longer and tailed… this is 18C), but with blue eyes and a bit more bone to his face, you know? A slightly more chiseled jawline and cheekbones. Maybe Josh G with a dash of Ioan Gruffudd? Or the other way around.

    You have a great cast. That 3rd Lt. Lewis Gardner might need to be the hero of his own story though. Just going on superficials of course. Might be a baddie lurking under that handsome face. 🙂


    • Tuesday, May 18, 2010 11:57 pm

      The template for Third Lieutenant Lewis Gardner is the actor Henry Cavill who plays Charles Brandon, the king’s closest friend and confidante in The Tudors. I know most people go gaga over Jonathan Rhys Myers in that program, but you know me—I’m all about the secondary characters! (Oh, and Fourth Lieutenant Millington Wallis is also a pickup from The Tudors—he played Anne Boleyn’s court musician in the first or second season.)


      • Thursday, May 20, 2010 3:02 pm

        I know Henry best from The Count of Monte Cristo, where he played Jim Caviezel’s son. Great casting for the son of those two actors playing Edmond and Mercedes. I haven’t seen the Tudors, but have seen stills of Henry from that. 🙂 He has the perfect coloring for my MC, Neil, but Neil is really more of a Josh Groban type. Sort of. Oh, I wish I could find him somewhere!! Another actor with the right coloring/eyes is Matt Bomer on White Collar, but he’s too pretty for Neil.


  6. Jennifer Elerick permalink
    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 8:35 am

    Harry Kent reminds me of Dakota Fanning …lol


  7. Ruth Poiles permalink
    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 8:36 am

    OOoo..Can’t wait to read this one! And oh your castings are great! *swoons* I love your books, and as church librarian, enjoy introducing new/different authors to my readers. With you writing both current and time period books, many will like your books! 🙂 Love Jane Austen, and this series is right on track to join her in my favorite books. 😀


  8. Monday, May 24, 2010 10:09 am

    Love the way you chose your characters.

    And I’d really like to win the movies. I’ve not seen those.


  9. Monday, May 24, 2010 11:11 am

    Love who you picked, especially Ewan McGregor! I love him as an actor too!


  10. Monday, May 31, 2010 8:40 pm

    I enjoy learning about your casting process. What fun! I’m always surprised to see celebs with your new names.


  11. Jennifer permalink
    Tuesday, June 1, 2010 2:10 pm

    I went to the store today to get it and found out that it wasn’t going to be in for a couple week and almost cried. The first was sssssssssoooooooooooooo good. I’ve even got my sister reading it.


    • Tuesday, June 1, 2010 2:12 pm

      Yes, unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be closer to June 15 before it actually comes out. 😦



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