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Fun Friday: Who’s on My Mind

Friday, August 13, 2010

If you’ve been following my intermittent Twitter/Facebook updates, you know that I’ve been working on a new historical series proposal for the last ten or twelve days. I wrote a proposal for “next generation” Ransome series, but then realized just how hard marketing a continuing-story series like that is and decided I would focus on a series more like the contemporaries—where each of the books can stand alone and they don’t have to be read in a particular order.

So I’ve come up with new characters and new story ideas. And as you well know, I can’t come up with new characters and story ideas without doing something very important . . .

Character casting!

So here are some of the templates/characters who’ve been on my mind over the past week or so. (And as I’m writing this late Thursday night/early Friday morning, I’m still working on the idea for the third book. Oh, and I’m having issues coming up with titles, so the titles listed are working titles and apt to change…multiple times.)

Book 1: Follow the Heart
An American woman is sent to England to marry wealth, but finds herself torn between the poor man she loves and the viscount who offers the wealth and stability that can save her family.

Henry Cavill as Andrew Lawton, a garden designer from Devonshire who has been engaged to redesign and rebuild the gardens at Wakesdown Manor, just outside of Oxford.

Holley Fain as Margaret “Meg” Dearing, an American sent from her home in Philadelphia to live with her mother’s cousin, a baronet, in Oxford to find a wealthy husband who finds herself torn between the poor man she loves and the viscount who offers the wealth and stability that can save her family.

Lee Pace as Christopher Dearing, Meg’s younger brother, also sent to Oxford to marry money.

Olivia Hallinan as Honora Woodriff, the Buchanan governess who catches Christopher’s eye.

Anthony Head as Sir Robert Buchanan, Meg and Christopher’s mother’s cousin; his daughters Edith (Natalie Dormer), Dorcas (Michelle Ryan), and Florie (Georgie Henley).

Book 2: An Honest Heart
A physician with a secret past falls in love with the daughter of one of his patients. He must choose between revealing his past and risk losing everything or keeping his secret and watching her marry another man.

Chris Hemsworth as Dr. Neal Stradbroke, a physician with a secret past that could destroy everything he’s worked since childhood to build.

Emily Blunt as Cadence “Caddy” Bainbridge, a seamstress working hard to support herself and her ailing mother.

Hugh Dancy as Oliver Carmichael, a wealthy young man who has never been denied anything—except the attentions of a certain seamstress.

Natalie Dormer as Edith Buchanan, thwarted in her plans for an advantageous marriage when Lord Thynne fell in love with her American cousin; Edith now has her sights set on Oliver Carmichael—and isn’t about to lose him to the village dressmaker.

Alice Krige as Mrs. Bainbridge, Caddy’s ailing mother.

Book 3—The Heart That Waits
Lord Brightwell wants to be loved for himself, not his money or title. Mercy Timperleigh has never married because of the shame of her family’s past. When the aristocrat and the schoolmistress fall in love, is it a love that has been worth waiting for?

Daniel Craig as Stephen Brightwell, Viscount Thynne. With the recent death of his brother and his inheritance of the title and estates—and his brother’s young son and daughter—Stephen has turned his mind to marriage.

Rosamund Pike as Mercy Timperleigh, proprietress and headmistress of Miss Timperleigh’s Seminary for Young Ladies in Oxford.

Kimberly Nixon as Frances “Frannie” Grey, a teacher at Miss Temperleigh’s Seminary for Young Ladies.

Simon Woods as Benedict Norton-Conyers, a scholar and former schoolmaster who’s come to Oxford looking for a position as a private tutor.


So, there they are. That’s who’s been on my mind the last several days.

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  1. Friday, August 13, 2010 7:54 am

    You’ve been busy! New series sounds great!


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 1:45 pm

      Not as busy as I should be—I’ve only managed about 1,400 words on The Art of Romance in a week when I need to be writing about 2,000 words per day!


      • Friday, August 13, 2010 4:05 pm

        You’ll get there. I have confidence in you!


  2. Friday, August 13, 2010 8:50 am

    Absolutely LOVE where you’re going with this series of books. Especially #3, but really, knowing me, that should be no shock. *wink* I’m tossing around title ideas for #3 just for kicks…but I need more story insight…keep me posted!!! πŸ™‚


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 1:46 pm

      I hope to get the summary written today—I’ll send you all three as soon as I get it finished and maybe we can chat this weekend and kick around ideas.


      • Friday, August 13, 2010 2:02 pm

        Sounds like a good plan to me. πŸ™‚


  3. Sylvia M. permalink
    Friday, August 13, 2010 9:28 am

    Oh, these look very interesting! I hope I can keep all the people straight. With the Ransome series I ended up printing out the pictures of the cast of characters and kept looking back at it to get all those friends and ships’ crews straight.

    I take it you decided to not use Richard Armitage?


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 1:48 pm

      I’ll save Richard Armitage for another time. His image was so tied in with the character from the Pembroke series that I couldn’t just randomly reassign it to another character so soon.

      And there won’t be nearly as many characters in these books—no ships’ crews—so there shouldn’t be as much trouble for all of us to keep the characters straight in our heads (it was a problem for me, too, with the Ransome series!).


  4. Kav permalink
    Friday, August 13, 2010 11:08 am

    This series sounds great. I love that gardener at the top of the page. I do so love a man who feels at one with nature. Sigh! So this is how many years before we see them on the shelves? Speaking of which, I just got a call from my Christian bookstore to say that my copy of Love Remains has come in. Now I just have to get down there and pick it up. πŸ™‚ And my copy of Ransome’s Crossing has been doing the tour of the lake district close by. I let a friend borrow it to bring to the cottage and she passed it on to her sister-in-law who passed it on to her mother who passed it on…Anyway looks like I won’t be seeing it until the end of August…and I haven’t even read it yet! Aaaargh!


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 1:51 pm

      If the proposal is accepted soon (I plan to have it finished this weekend and to my agent by Monday), hopefully the first book will be out in the summer/fall of 2012. But there’s no guarantee this one will sell.

      Henry Cavill, the template for Andrew (the gardener), is an actor I’ve really enjoyed watching on The Tudors—more than any other actor on that show (and other than the actor playing Henry VIII, he’s the only one who’s lasted throughout the entire series), I’ve enjoyed watching his growth not just in his character but as an actor. It’ll be very interesting to see what he goes on to do now that The Tudors is coming to the end of its run.


  5. Friday, August 13, 2010 11:11 am

    You’ve distracted me with all the beautiful men, thanks for that πŸ˜›

    Oh yeah, I love historicals so I’m all for a new series set in the 1850s!


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 1:54 pm

      Hey, you know me and beautiful men!

      I’m hoping that the publishing houses won’t be so caught up in this new Regency-everything trend that they won’t take a chance on something set in another era. I personally am getting tired of all historicals in Christian fiction being set during the Regency period or the Old West. I’ve seen glimmers of hope with all of the turn-of-the-20th-century/Gilded Age books that have come out recently, so hopefully this means they’ll be willing to expand into early Victorian settings as well.


      • Sylvia M. permalink
        Friday, August 13, 2010 4:05 pm

        Have you read the Cheney Duvall, M.D. series by Gilbert and Lynn Morris? They are set in the post civil war era. Absolutely fantastic books. I think they would make a wonderful movies. We need more American period dramas imo. Anyway, each book gets better and better as the series progresses. The covers, though, leave quite alot to be desired. If you don’t like Gilbert Morris’ writing style you will be interested to know that he only helped on the first couple of books. It’s my understanding that Lynn wrote most of the series and they just have her dad’s name on the covers.


      • Traci Myers permalink
        Friday, August 13, 2010 4:21 pm

        While I love the Old West, I agree, it is getting Old.


  6. Friday, August 13, 2010 11:29 am

    You come up with the best character photos!! And I love how you gave us a glimpse of just who they are in the stories to come. While I’m sad the Ransom offspring won’t continue, this looks so promising. Prayers with you as you plot and plan:) I’ll be first in line for these!


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 2:08 pm

      I’ve used so many of my young, good looking British actors in the Ransome series, it was hard to come up with a bunch who don’t already call to mind other characters for me (for instance, Henry Cavill—Andrew in the first book idea—is also the template for Lieutenant Gardiner on HMS Audacious in the Ransome books).

      I had even more trouble coming up with the actresses. Since there aren’t a lot of costume dramas being produced any more, there aren’t a lot of new British actresses (in their twenties and early thirties) being introduced right now. And as far as regular movies go, most studios are more likely to cast an American (with a really bad fake accent) in the role of the twenty- or thirtysomething British character (like Maggie Gyllenhaal in the new Nanny McPhee movie). There are only so many roles I can picture Danela Denby-Ashe, Anna Maxwell Martin, Justine Waddell, Anna Friel, Carey Mulligan, and Rosamund Pike in before all of my character ideas start running together.


  7. Friday, August 13, 2010 2:00 pm

    I’m a little disappointed about the Ransome continuation. I tend to love a continuing series, but that’s just me. However, I love these ideas and cannot wait to see how it all develops!!


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 2:14 pm

      I love a continuing series, too, but from a reader’s standpoint I do understand that it can be frustrating to pick up a book, start reading it and discover it’s part of a series and that I really needed to start with the first book to really understand everything that’s happening—only to find that the bookstore doesn’t have the first (however many) book(s) in the series. Then, also, from a marketing standpoint, it’s a lot harder to market a book in the middle of a continuing story series. People are less likely to pick up the middle book if they haven’t read the first book—and many times, they’d rather wait to pick up any of them until the final book in the series is out.

      I’ve talked with a few people over the last week or so and learned that most publishing houses are putting the brakes on looking at continuing-story series, that most of them want books that are stand-alones that are tied together by setting/theme alone—like Julie Klassen’s and Laura Frantz’s books—or which, if they are tied together by characters, are still each stand-alone stories, even if secondary characters do recur or become main characters in the next book—like my contemporaries. Since I’ve already built a brand based on the second type of series (recurring characters), I decided to try that with this proposal. But the recurring characters can easily be changed if the publisher decides they don’t want them connected that way.


      • Friday, August 13, 2010 4:10 pm

        I’m liking this new trend. Besides yours, Lisa Wingate’s “Daily, Texas” series is a good example of contemporaries that are tied together by location and a few recurring characters. And it does make it an easier sell (from a librarian’s standpoint!) for the reader if they have to wait for one to come back in!


  8. Friday, August 13, 2010 3:11 pm

    WOW! This looks fantastic. You’ve got some YUMMY guys there, Kaye. *grins*


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 3:21 pm

      Thanks, girl! Of course, you know that if this series gets picked up, it’s highly unlikely that whoever ends up on the covers of the books will look anything like these people!


      • Friday, August 13, 2010 3:23 pm

        Oh man. Don’t I know it. I was just provided two different guys for Canyon (Discarded Heroes #3), and they both paled compared to what I had.

        It’s such a shame… LOL

        And what do you mean IF this series gets picked up? Of course it will! πŸ˜€


        • Sylvia M. permalink
          Saturday, August 14, 2010 10:12 am

          Ronie, I just read Nightshade and loved it! I’m not normally a suspense type person, but this book was the exception.


  9. Friday, August 13, 2010 3:11 pm

    I love it when you do this. The “look” of characters fascinates me! I’m sometimes surprised when someone tells me how one of my characters looked in their head. Even when we say someone is a blond, the reader can still conjure a redhead! πŸ™‚


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 3:25 pm

      This is a tool I’ve been using for years and years because it’s what helps me when it comes to figuring out how to describe the character so each of my characters don’t look like all the others. It’s one thing to say a woman has long black hair and blue eyes. But what is it that’s unique about Natalie Dormer’s face that differentiates her from Michelle Ryan or Emily Blunt? Is it the way she squints her eyes and purses her lips in a petulant expression? The slight upward angle of her eyes at the corners? Or the narrow point her chin comes to? It’s my way of continuity tracking—from before I ever knew what continuity tracking was!


  10. Friday, August 13, 2010 3:27 pm

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, even though I’d come up with the story and character ideas for the first book before I started casting, it was the template for Lord Stephen Brightwell—Daniel Craig—that I came up with first. He’s the main reason I decided to go with tying the books together with secondary characters . . . that image of him, as a secondary character in the first story just wouldn’t leave me alone!


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 4:10 pm

      Wonder why………. πŸ™‚


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 8:47 pm

      I think it’s got something to do with his mesmerizing eyes…HA!!


  11. Traci Myers permalink
    Friday, August 13, 2010 4:17 pm

    these sound wonderful. it is fun to feel like we are getting the inside scoop. I also love stories with Lords, and Earl, etc…..that time period was so unique and fun to read about. Have fun writing these stories and I will look forward to buying and reading them.


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 6:14 pm

      While I don’t mind reading the British-set historicals in which the main characters are part of the aristocracy, I’ve tried to stay away from that myself. It’s been (is being) done by others—and there’s so much more scope for conflict/drama outside of the highest echelons of the aristocracy. Plus, frankly, there really weren’t/aren’t as many barons, viscounts, marquesses, earls, and dukes in real life as there are in fiction.

      When I watch costume dramas like The Young Victoria, I sit there thinking about how the story would be told from the point of view of the footman standing in the hallway listening to Victoria and Albert arguing about how he’s overstepped his role.

      Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell, who both lived during that era, brought the middle and lower classes to life in their fiction. Catherine Cookson did it a hundred years later with her books almost all set in the lower classes of society. I don’t know that I’d ever go from the stratus of the gentry into the lower class, but those are the people whose lives/histories interest me more than the aristocracy.


  12. Friday, August 13, 2010 5:02 pm

    Handsome cast. And I’m particularly glad to see what Stephen looks like. πŸ™‚


    • Friday, August 13, 2010 6:18 pm

      Well, the name has been re-used. Originally, Stephen was Stephen Grayson Pembroke, eldest son of Sir Drake Pembroke and looking like this:


      • Friday, August 13, 2010 8:48 pm

        Richard will get his day in the spotlight sometime, I suspect. πŸ™‚


      • Friday, August 13, 2010 11:01 pm

        Is that the Stephen I named? That’s the one I was hoping to see. But you won’t be using him now? Too bad…. 😦


  13. Audrey permalink
    Friday, August 13, 2010 8:25 pm

    Hugh Dancy and Emily Blunt need to be in a movie together. They would be outstanding! (Plus, Hugh needs a good romantic comedy, i’d prefer a period one, so I can just stare at him and ignore the rest of the movie, as i do when I watch Ella Enchanted, lol).

    They do sound like good choices for the characters you described. I really like it when authors like you post pictures of their insperations for their characters. It gives you a good mental picture for some characters you may have a hard time picturing (and for some, gives you a better and more handsome mental image than the one in your head!)


  14. Sunday, August 15, 2010 11:01 am

    Very interesting I never really thought of doing this for my writing. Thanks for the idea.


  15. Monday, March 14, 2011 4:49 pm

    I’m so looking forward to this series, Kaye!!



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