Whenever I read, I tend to ignore entirely the author's character descriptions and, instead, cast the characters myself. They can be based on actors, singers, politicians, workmates, school chums, whoever. Harry Bosch is played by Bradley Walsh in my head and Simon Baker is Mickey Haller. James Nesbitt and and John Goodman are Rayford Steele and Nicolae Carpathia, Matthew Fox is Thomas Hunter, Matt Smith is Ford Prefect to my friend Matthew's Arthur Dent and my friend James is Adrian Mole.
Frankly, any author who bothers to offer any character description which is contrary to the one in my head is wrong. For that reason, I generally skip the descriptions altogether. There's nothing more annoying than being told repeatedly that the brunette in your head is blonde.
I fall into the same habit when I write. One or more aspects of a character's personality and appearance is often based on somebody else - real or fictitious, living or dead. In fact, every edition of Monday: Impossible included a cast listing which identified the guest stars that inspired each week's episode. (Didn't Rihanna do a swell turn as Veronica James?)
Normally, I imagine who I would like to cast in the movie adaptation. And I have free reign, no matter how unlikely or outlandish my choices are.
Some may accuse me of a lack of imagination, or personality appropriation. Maybe I could swing it as an overactive creativeness that can't help imagining just what my neighbour three doors down would do in the event that seventeen spies jumped into his living room armed with bananas. (Bet you're wondering how yours would react now, too)
I've decided, this time, to share my "casting" with you in advance. It can take me weeks to decide, to try the characters out in their skin and to see how the various choices interact with the others. Sometimes I'll choose someone who seems right for the part, but doesn't fit with the other personalities.
For Book 3, the two lead characters will be inspired by the immaculate performances of Peter Capaldi and Lana Parrilla. They are the faces behind a couple with a complex relationship and troubled pasts. Both characters are multi-layered in the truest sense. There's a lot going on under the surface for both. They think one thing and say another. Everything has a subtext, and they both hold some dark secrets. It will be a key task for the reader to determine if the darkness within either character is beyond redemption.
They will be supported by other key characters who are inspired by Giancarlo Esposito, Alexandra Roach and Dame Maggie Smith. Fleshing out the characters of Austen, Selina and Mrs Em, respectively, with these faces might make their voices speak louder from the page. Each provides the right interpretation of the characters sketched out in draft form and brings them to life.
Perhaps I should say something inspiring about the demographics. I'm not a big fan of positive discrimination actually. I prefer, in all areas of life, to choose the best person for the job. And so, there was no deliberate decision for the lead female character to be in her 40s. Actually, none of the lead cast are under 30 and the average age of the above five is 55. If you include the other characters I've "cast", the average is over 60. But I'm more than happy to have an older cast. Some of the other options I dabbled with lacked the gravity of final line-up and perhaps it is their maturity that makes them so fascinating to unravel.
I really can't wait to delve into Capaldi and Parrilla's characters. Their names are carefully chosen and can't be revealed yet so you don't have too much time to ponder them before you meet. I can't wait until you are introduced to them properly, get to know them, and I hope you are as fascinated by them as I am. Book 3 is not about the crazy things that happens to people, but the people crazy things happen to. They're in for quite a ride.