Introducing Author Dee Garretson

Who would you cast as a young 19th century spy?

I like to cast the characters in my books as if I’m casting a movie. It helps me imagine them in the story and makes it much easier to write. To come up with the right images, I look at photos of movie casts to try to find actors whose features are similar to the images I have in my head. It’s fun to do (and I’m really not procrastinating with this task, really), and when I’m stuck on a scene, if I can get a picture of an actual person in mind, I can better visualize what they would be doing and saying. Sometimes, though, it’s tough to find just the right person.

For my latest book, I thought I’d ask for some opinions. THE GARGOYLE IN THE SEINE is about a young female art student in Paris in 1878, a time when it was scandalous for girls of “respectable” families to want to study painting in studios with actual male models, who just might be naked.

Here’s a description of the story: Art student Clary Ashton can’t imagine a more perfect spot to study painting than Paris in the spring of 1878, until she witnesses a body thrown into the Seine, the body of Liam Heaton, another art student whose claims to be without money or family never rang true. What Clary thinks is murder becomes much more as Liam’s secrets come to light. When Clary’s own brother falls under suspicion for Liam's death, she is desperate to clear him, but as she delves deeper into the murky underworld and the glittering salons of the city, she finds caught between two dangerous men- a political extremist days away from a royal assassination, and the young intrepid British secret agent, Reese Tretheway, who is determined to stop him.

Clary, brought up like a gypsy in the wilds of America, finds her skills at roasting lizards and hunting rabbits little use in seeing behind the treacherous sophistication of both Reese and of those who hold the key to Liam’s death. Reese manages to hunt revolutionaries without ever wrinkling his evening clothes or revealing his own secrets, all of which Clary finds maddening. When Clary realizes she knows too much and has become a target of the revolutionaries, she and Reese have to find a way to tolerate each other long enough to try to save Clary's brother and stop the assassination, or face the possibility of losing their own lives.

The art student, Clary, has been fairly easy for me to picture, but I’ve had a hard time getting just the right image for Reese. Even though the book is already written, I plan to make it a series ans would love to pin down someone whose face I can picture when I’m writing a scene. The three shown above each have potential, but I just can’t settle on one, which may mean there is someone else who would be a better fit. So if anyone out there has an opinion of which one of these looks like a young 19th century spy, or know of another actor they’d recommend, I’d love to hear it.

And in case you are curious about the names of the actors in the picture, they are, from left to right: Ben Barnes, Matthew Lewis, and Henry Caville.

Apryl Baker

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