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RANSOME’S QUEST–Character Introductions

Friday, July 8, 2011

Don’t forget your comments—but only comments related to today’s post!!!—earn you entries in the drawing for one of two signed copies of Ransome’s Quest. (So no “please enter me!” types of posts. Please make your comment relevant to what’s being discussed today—I’ve even given some suggestions with questions at the end of the post. Also, please do not put your e-mail address in your comment. Just make sure it’s correct when you sign in to post your comment.)

If you’ve been keeping up with this series, and with the posts about the previous two books, you’ve already met most of the main characters. Here they are as a reminder:

Julia Witherington Ransome Commodore William Ransome Charlotte Ransome Acting-Captain Ned Cochrane
Julia Witherington Ransome (Anna Friel); Commodore William Ransome (Paul McGann); Charlotte Ransome (Natalie Portman); Acting-Captain Ned Cochrane (Ewan McGregor)

Character-casting from Ransome’s Honor
The Crews of HMS Alexandra and HMS Audacious (both of which do undergo a bit of change in both Ransome’s Crossing and Ransome’s Quest, but the important ones are still there)

New Characters
There are a few characters mentioned in Book 1 who show up near the end of Book 2—but I never got around to introducing them . . .

Jeremiah and Jerusha Goodland

Jeremiah Goodland (Tony Todd) Jerusha Goodland (Margaret Avery)
Jeremiah Goodland (Tony Todd) and Jerusha Goodland (Margaret Avery)

Jeremiah and Jerusha were slaves at Tierra Dulce before Julia’s father purchased the plantation. Julia was instrumental in convincing her father to free their slaves, and the Goodlands stayed on at TD as the Foreman and Housekeeper—and in more ways than one, they’ve been more of a father and mother figure to Julia than her own biological parents.

Henry Winchester

Henry Winchester (Philip Winchester)
Henry Winchester (Philip Winchester)

The irony of this little piece of casting is that I’d already chosen the surname Winchester for Charlotte’s secret fiancΓ© before I ever set about casting him. But this casting worked out perfectly, in more ways than one! (But you’ll have to read the book to figure that part out!)

In Ransome’s Quest there are two new and very important characters who come on the scene—our pirates!—and a third character who’d been mentioned in the past but surprised even me when he showed up.

Captain El Slavador de los Esclavos

Captain Salvador (Rand Gamble)
Captain Salvador (Rand Gamble)

This is the first time in my life I ever cast a character from someone I’d never seen in motion—in other words, I’d only ever seen a few photos of him. But the first time I saw him (um . . . I can’t even remember how I found him, it’s been so long ago), I knew he would be perfect for Salvador. Salvador has been at sea since he was a child, and pirating since he was fifteen years old. At the age of twenty, he broke with the pirate who’d taught him everything because he didn’t agree with his methods. So he struck out on his own—liberating slave ships, either before they’d dropped off their cargo (then turning the ship over to the slaves to take it wherever they wanted) or after they’d been paid for their cargo (confiscating the gold). He’s also been known to raid ships from Tierra Dulce from time to time.

    Crew of Salvador’s Ship, the frigate Vengeance
    Because Salvador has a small ship, he has fewer crew than William or Ned. And, as is fitting for the Robin Hood of the Caribbean, he has surrounded himself with a band of “Merry Men”:

    Declan, First Mate (Kevin Durand) Picaro, Second Mate (Simon Baker) Lau, Boatswain (Tony Lee) Jean Baptiste, Sailing Master (Lance Riddick) Suresh, Salvador's Steward (Sendhil Ramamurthy)
    Declan, First Mate (Kevin Durand); Picaro, Second Mate (Simon Baker); Lau, Boatswain (Tony Lee);
    Jean Baptiste, Sailing Master (Lance Riddick); Suresh, Salvador’s Steward (Sendhil Ramamurthy)

    Declan, who hails from from Philadelphia, is Salvador’s best friend, and the person he trusts most in the world. Picaro is something of a question mark for Salvador. The Irishman (Simon Donnelly) took on a Spanish name (Picaro, which translates to rogue in English) when he was ousted from the Royal Navy and turned pirate. Salvador isn’t certain he trusts him—and he and Declan don’t really get along very well. Lau, the bosun (that’s the naval shorthand for boatswain, the man in charge of managing the crew of the ship), is from “the Orient.” He’s quiet and observant, and deadly when he needs to be. Jean Baptiste, the sailing master, grew up in New Orleans as a freeman, but had to flee the city—the country—when slavers threatened to abduct him and sell him into slavery. And last, but not least, is Suresh, Salvador’s steward. (Yes, I borrowed the name Suresh from the character Sendhil Ramamurthy played on Heroes.) Suresh is from India. I’ll let you find out how he came to be in the Caribbean and on a pirate ship as he reveals his story in the book.

Captain James Ransome

Captain James Ransome (Dominic Keating)
Captain James Ransome (Dominic Keating)

We get to meet another one of William’s family members in RQ: James, the middle brother, who happens to be captain of a ship assigned to the Caribbean under a different commodore. And when William and James meet . . . well, I’ll let you experience that firsthand when you read the book.

And now, for the most important new character of all . . .

We’ve been hearing about him for two books, but now we finally get to meet him.

Shaw (Josh Holloway)
Shaw (Josh Holloway)

Since I don’t want to give away anything about the book or about this character, I’ll explain a little about the casting. When I first came up with the idea of Shaw, I’d just started watching LOST; and in the first couple of seasons of that show, Sawyer—the character played by Josh Holloway—was still a jerk. He hadn’t yet turned around to become one of my favorite characters. Of course, by the time I wrote Ransome’s Quest, LOST had ended and Sawyer had turned into a likable, sympathetic character. So I had to pull out seasons 1 through 3 to re-watch Sawyer’s scenes to get that appropriate pirate attitude back in line with this character. I think it worked. You’ll have to tell me what you think of Shaw after you finish reading the book.

So, there they are—the important new characters in Ransome’s Quest.

What questions do you have about the characters—or about the casting process—that I can try to answer for you? (I won’t give any spoilers!) What are you hoping to find out about characters from the previous books? Who’s your favorite character so far?

  1. Friday, July 8, 2011 5:30 am

    I love the idea of Captain El Slavador de los Esclavos and his crew saving the slaves. its an amazing thing they are trying to do. My great grandfather was in the merchant marines for England. We dont know much more than that cos his wife died in childbirth and my grand father was brought up by her family and they never saw him again. (My dad was 55 when I was born) I guess he would have been in the waters around the 1870’s or a bit later but I often wonder if he helped stop some of the slave boats.


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 10:46 am

      Even though slaving still happens today, by 1814, when this book is set, transatlantic transportation of slaves had been banned by both Britain and America. So by 1870, I would imagine it would be rare to find—but they might have!


      • Friday, July 8, 2011 6:23 pm

        I wasn’t sure about the timeline I figured they still were transporting slaves around the civil war era. I am not really sure of his age just guessing it was the 1860 – 1870s. But I can see now he probably didn’t. We didn’t know anymore than he was a merchant marine in the British navy. He married my great grandmother and when she died they never saw or heard from him again. Or so the story goes.


  2. Amy Smelser permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 6:28 am

    My favorite character so far is Julia. That’s because I haven’t read the second book yet. I have it and I was saving it for closer to this book. It will probably be getting read here in a week or two. All these new characters sound so wonderful. I am most interested in getting to know the pirates. I am also curious in Charlotte’s secret fiance and his story. This story sounds epic.


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 10:44 am

      I just heard from a friend who works at a major Christian retailer that the books have arrived in their distribution center and should be out in stores in about a week or so . . . so you might want to go ahead and start reading the second book!


  3. Friday, July 8, 2011 7:37 am

    Just found out about your blog and am loving it!! In the Ransome series so far I’d say Julia also. Great story, wonderful characters!

    In my novels I also use actors and actresses as models, but I am in no way as in depth as you. I have maybe the five main characters and that’s it. It must take you a long time to do all that!



    • Friday, July 8, 2011 10:42 am

      It does take time, but it’s one of the ways I build the world of my story—it keeps me from getting bored with the secondary characters, and makes sure that I’m not describing everyone as looking the same.


  4. Friday, July 8, 2011 8:35 am

    After reading your descriptions, I’m finding Captain El Salvador and his crew very interesting. I have my own little suspicions about Shaw, can’t wait to see if I’m right. I’m probably not, but it’s a lot of fun speculating. πŸ˜‰


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 10:43 am

      Fun! I can’t wait to hear from you after you’ve read the book to find out what your suspicions are and if that’s what actually happens or not! πŸ™‚


  5. Gina Arnold permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 9:03 am

    I had never heard of writers “casting” for their books before I noticed some pictures of your characters from the Ransome’s Honor/ Ransome’s Crossing books. My one question is – do you cast mainly to help you write descriptions of characters or just so you have a mental picture of what they should look like ( or both)? Or do you do it more for the benefit or readers who look at your website?


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 10:40 am

      Gina, I’ve been casting my characters since long before I ever considered publication. It’s something I do for myself, mainly, because I’m a visually oriented person and it’s so much easier for me to come up with a character and that character’s description if I have a Real World Template to go from—and usually, the story actually comes to me because I was inspired to create a character by an actor or actress I’ve seen in a role that speaks to me.

      You can read more about the process on the page linked above to the character casting process for Ransome’s Honor.


      • Friday, July 8, 2011 12:12 pm

        Kaye, I’ve been casting characters since the get-go too, back before there was internet or I knew another writer. I used magazines. It just seemed the perfectly natural thing to do, to try and find a real world face that came close to my vision of my characters. I rarely match them perfectly, but I love the hunt for “close.”

        Can’t wait to meet Shaw. I have a soft spot for Sawyer so anyone cast as JH I’m bound to enjoy reading. Even if he is a jerk. Can’t wait for this new book!


        • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:10 pm

          I used magazines and catalogs when I first started. But it was always actors/actresses who inspired me more—so I even tried pausing the VCR and taking photos of the TV screen! Needless to say, celebrity mags were helpful—but so many of the templates I fall in love with aren’t the big-name celebrity types, so it was hard to find images of them. Thank goodness for the Internet, Google Images search, and a computer DVD player that allows me to pause, move frame by frame, and do a screen capture of images that perfectly capture my characters!


  6. Debbie Mitchell permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 11:09 am

    Yea, I was able to come over her quickly to post and enter the giveaway before picking up my grandson!
    Wow. So much information to process on the new book! This one sounds like an amazing adventure. And pirates! I love pirates! (redeemed ones, of course) I really need to go back and reread the other two books to get caught up again. I am soooo glad that I found yours and MaryLu’s books. They are a nice change from Ted Dekker’s dark novels.


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:11 pm

      I like Ted Dekker’s books . . . because when I find them on the shelf at the bookstore, all I have to do is look slightly left and there are my books! πŸ˜‰


  7. Friday, July 8, 2011 11:10 am

    I definitely have to have a template to deepen my characters. Love your choices, Kaye!


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:15 pm

      Thanks, Debra! When I first started doing this as a young teen, I kept it secret and well hidden, because I felt so strange doing it. I remember the first time I was in college, when I was about twenty or so and majoring in Creative Writing, I happened to mention to one of my fellow CW students about doing this and they looked at me like I’d just shot green snot ten feet out of my nose. So, again, I kept it secret/hidden.

      But then I went to my first Christian writers’ conference (Blue Ridge) when I was 30 years old—and one of the workshop instructors brought out her storyboard . . . a poster board with cutouts from magazines representing her characters, their homes, their cars, etc. And finally, I realized I wasn’t the only person who did this. And it’s been fun for me to have young/new authors contact me to let me know how liberating it was to see my character-casting pictures on the blog because it’s something they’ve always done in secret.

      For me, it’s one of the most fun parts of the character development process.


  8. Stephanie Wilson permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 11:23 am

    I have ALWAYS loved the characters William and Julia but I am really starting to like the story behind Captain El Salvador. My brain in going crazy with questions about El Salvador and his past life – but I know I am just going to have to read the book.
    I also love the way you do “castings” for your books. I am also a visual person and really helps to put a name with a face. Although I think in the end everyone has different faces to their characters!!


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:17 pm

      I have a feeling that most people have the same questions about Salvador. My mom asked me point-blank after reading the first book. And since it’s my mom, I had to tell her the truth. πŸ˜‰


  9. Lissie permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 11:29 am

    I ❀ Ned Cochrane and Charlotte! I also like the pirates for this book!


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:18 pm

      Hopefully, you’ll like where the third book takes Ned and Charlotte!

      I was so looking forward to writing this book because of the pirates. I have to say, they did surprise me a little with some of the things they revealed to me as I started writing, but in good ways, I think.


  10. D Ritz permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 12:08 pm

    Love how detailed you get with everything, especially characters! Thank you so much for taking the time to do that! Favorite character so far is Julia, or maybe Charlotte, or . . .


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:20 pm

      I know . . . asking readers who their favorite characters are isn’t any more fair than asking an author who her favorite characters in her own books are. πŸ˜‰


  11. Friday, July 8, 2011 12:42 pm

    I love the casting of El Salvador and his crew. That’ll definitely help me picture them when I read the book!

    I can’t wait to see how Shaw turns out since Sawyer was one of my favorite characters on LOST and it will be interesting to see how your casting plays into the character.

    I think so far my favorite character is Charlotte…


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:21 pm

      Just remember what I said . . . Shaw is based mostly on Sawyer from seasons 1 and 2 (and part of 3—though he started turning around in that season), not the Sawyer who fell in love with Juliet.


  12. Audry permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 1:01 pm

    I have some suspicions about the pirates too! I can’t wait to see if I’m right…. or have sort of the right idea πŸ˜€


  13. CarolM permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 1:02 pm

    Oooo SAWYER! Nice!!! And he did become one of my faves!

    I’ve not read the other two – yet. But I’m interested :D.

    The one guy you haven’t seen ‘in motion’ reminds me of the guy from LOST with all the eyeliner. What was his name?

    Okay – gotta put these on the list… πŸ˜€


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:22 pm

      He does look a little like Nestor Carbonell. I hadn’t noticed that before!


  14. Friday, July 8, 2011 1:22 pm

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!!!! πŸ˜€ The grand finale!!! YAYAY! I can’t believe it–the whole series came to life. WOW! AMAZING!!


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 1:24 pm

      And to think, the year I started writing this series, all the editors at the ACFW conference panel said, “We’re not acquiring historicals. Historicals are dead, dead, dead, dead.” And the next year: “We’re acquiring historicals, but only American settings. No Regencies. Regencies are dead, dead, dead, dead.”

      Just goes to show that writing our passion and not to market trends does pay off, eventually.


  15. Lin permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 2:22 pm

    I like the idea of casting characters but Jeremiah is now ruined for me. Candyman!!! C’mon. Now all I’m going to hear when reading about him is the theme song to the horror movies.

    I just started watching Lost (yay Netflix) on the recommendation of a friend. I am excited that Shaw is based off of Sawyer. I’m only on Season 2. I like the jerky Sawyer.


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 9:15 pm

      And the only thing I’ve ever seen Tony Todd in are the Star Trek series (in which he was usually a Klingon). πŸ™‚


  16. Friday, July 8, 2011 3:10 pm

    Okay (or should that be OKaye?) . . . you’re more than welcome to BORROW Sawyer . . . however, you should know he’s making several cameo appearances in my current series. So if you find that he’s M.I.A. when you’re needing him, just let me know. He’ll be the one flirting with my Lucy. Just so you know.

    LOVE your casting calls! Now I’ve gotta get caught up on your books. Heavens, woman, you’re a writing machine!!!


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 9:17 pm

      I’m finished borrowing him, so you can have him back now. πŸ˜€


  17. Friday, July 8, 2011 8:01 pm

    Kaye, I can’t wait to get this book! It will go to the top of my stack. Your characters are much like I imagined them to be. I love this idea of finding pictures of your characters. I haven’t done it yet, but tonight I’m going to. Thanks a bunch.


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 9:17 pm

      Do it! Not only is it fun, but it’s a great way to go deeper with your characters.


  18. Jackie Layton permalink
    Friday, July 8, 2011 9:11 pm

    I just learned this week that it’s a good idea to have a physical picture of your characters. You sure put the exclamation point on that lesson. Did you know Suresh was in a TV show, Heroes, on Mon nights on NBC and his character’s name was Suresh also?
    I’m sorry to say I’ve not read your previous books, but from this post Shaw would have to be my favorite. I liked Sawyer even when he was mean. He made me laugh, I don’t know what that says about me, but I’m sure it’s not good.
    Anyway, you have me intrigued with your series, and I ususally don’t read historicals.
    Hope you sell lots of books!


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 9:19 pm

      “And last, but not least, is Suresh, Salvador’s steward. (Yes, I borrowed the name Suresh from the character Sendhil Ramamurthy played on Heroes.)”



  19. Friday, July 8, 2011 9:54 pm

    I’m looking forward to this grand adventure! You mentioned that your character inspiration for Capt. El Salvador was chosen as by the picture but you usually choose them from people you’ve seen in motion. That is interesting as for some reason I thought you might have just picked the look, but it seems like you are interested in the persona as well. Is that so? Are sometimes the character’s looks based on one celebrity and their personality based on another?


    • Friday, July 8, 2011 9:58 pm

      Yes . . . and no. For example, Natalie Portman is the template for Charlotte in looks only (so I’ve only used static images of her, purposely avoiding watching her in anything, so that her wooden acting and baby-talk pitched voice won’t mess me up).

      I like seeing different facial expressions and body language. I like to see how people move, walk, stand, sit, react, which is why I don’t usually choose just static images.


  20. Lady DragonKeeper permalink
    Saturday, July 9, 2011 1:16 am

    I can’t wait for this one! Capt. Salvador’s been pirating since he was 15 and seems to have a conscience … hmm, I wonder if he could be … ? I guess we’ll find out soon. =) I love Julia and William, but Ned is growing to be my favorite (or at least, one of my favorites). I was sort of indifferent to Charlotte at first, but I came to admire her spunk.

    Other than Salvador, one of the new characters I’m intrigued by is Lau from the Vengeance’s crew. I’ve rarely seen Asians in inspirational fiction. It’s kind of shallow, but since I’m Asian American, I’m sort of interested/excited to see how he fits in to the story (even though he’s probably a minor character). I love reading historicals and often wish I could write one set in my favorite time periods (e.g. medieval or colonial) with an Asian character, but it seems like it would be historically inaccurate. =)


    • Sunday, July 10, 2011 3:18 am

      I didn’t get to do as much with Lau as I’d hoped to. But choosing this particular crew made me very aware of trying to find ways to incorporate diversity into historical character casts—and not in a stereotypical way. Who knows, one of these days, I might get around to revisiting the men from Salvador’s crew!


  21. Saturday, July 9, 2011 9:14 am

    You know that I’m dying to read this book. Already ordered my copy from Amazon and hoping that it gets here before I head out on a trip this coming week! πŸ™‚ I’m excited to see how you tie up several stories in the series…and can’t wait to read more with the pirates!


    • Sunday, July 10, 2011 3:18 am

      My copy from Amazon arrived Friday, so I’d be surprised if yours doesn’t arrive in the next couple of days. Hope you enjoy it!


  22. Leigha permalink
    Saturday, July 9, 2011 11:52 am

    Loving the series! So, I do have a character question about Henry, How did he and Charlotte meet?


    • Lady DragonKeeper permalink
      Sunday, July 10, 2011 2:05 am

      I’m reading through “Ransome’s Crossing” again, so I can answer this. He came to the Ransomes’ hometown visiting relatives. I don’t remember how they met exactly, but Eliza (Charlotte’s friend?) helped Charlotte and Henry spend time together by having them over at her home (without the family’s knowledge) … Mrs. Ransome didn’t approve of Henry (with good reason). =)


      • Sunday, July 10, 2011 3:19 am

        That’s correct . . . and a little more information and a few more details are given in Ransome’s Quest as well.


        • Leigha permalink
          Monday, July 11, 2011 5:45 pm

          Awesome! I’m super excited to read it! I havent read the other two recently so I forgot that detail. Thanks!


  23. Saturday, July 9, 2011 4:13 pm

    Hmmm… I loved that picture of Henry Winchester. It gave me the chills. πŸ™‚ I haven’t read any of the series yet. It’s been recommended and I plan to read it, but I’m the type who waits for all books of a series to release so I can read them together and in a short amount of time.

    I’ve never dug up pictures for my minor characters before. It’s interesting that you do. I wouldn’t have thought to find pics for the entire ship crew. πŸ™‚


    • Sunday, July 10, 2011 3:20 am

      Well, there’s no time like the present—the third book is shipping even now. Amazon already has it in stock, and it should be on bookstore shelves soon!


  24. Sunday, July 10, 2011 3:30 pm

    Ummmm, I’ll take Salvador!!!! Hi Kaye, I’ve been so busy that I am only now reading the first book of the trilogy. I can’t find enough time to sit down and devour it, but it keeps calling to me from the bedside table! :0) I would LOVE to win book number 3!


  25. Sunday, July 10, 2011 4:10 pm

    I’ve always loved that you do this … and congrats once again for getting to see this whole series in print!!! I cannot wait to see what happened to Julia’s brother … and to see that meeting between him and William!

    Wrap-ups can be so bittersweet, though … partly because even though we get to finally see the promise of everything fulfilled, we have to say goodbye to the characters. πŸ™‚

    Blessings, Kaye, on all your endeavors!


    • Sunday, July 10, 2011 4:12 pm

      James is William’s brother, not Julia’s!


      • Monday, July 11, 2011 7:05 pm

        So sorry … ! :::blushing::: I guess it’s been too long since I read them …


  26. Deonna permalink
    Sunday, July 10, 2011 7:37 pm

    It is so exciting to meet these new characters, & I love seeing pictures! It helps to visualize them when I read. I’m really excited about James Ransome entering the story!! And, now I KNOW that I KNOW about Salvadore!!! I was suspicious at the end of Crossing, but every tidbit you share about Quest makes me sure. I hope all ends well….& happy! Right!?!

    I found Ransome’s Honor right after it came out & have read it at least a dozen times. I feel like I know those characters personally. I spent one LONG year waiting for Crossing, & now Quest likewise, & am SOO excited the time is FINALLY almost here! It’s about time to start my daily call to the bookstore to see when it arrives. Thanks so much for the chapters you have shared. It made the wait a little more bearable!

    I would LOVE to meet you at a book signing someday! [Actually, I’d love to sit down for a chat & a cup of tea! πŸ™‚ ] Thanks so much for sharing with us!!


    • Sunday, July 10, 2011 10:49 pm

      Welcome, Deonna! Shoot me an e-mail and let me know what city you live in/near. I’m probably not going to be able to do much more traveling this year, but I’m hoping to start getting my travel schedule set up for 2012. I don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not on a road trip at least once a month!



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