Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Heather Webber, Casting Director



Hosted by Donna MacMeans


Back in February, I was participating in a book signing in Cincinnati and discovered the lovely Heather Webber sitting beside me. Heather grew up in a suburb of Boston, where she learned early on how to ride the T, skip rocks in the ocean, and root for the Red Sox. As a young mother, she tried her hand at writing novels and hasn’t looked back. These days she lives in southwestern Ohio with her high school sweetheart and their three children. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.
Join me in welcoming Heather to the lair.

I think every author at some point is asked who they would like to see playing their characters in a movie. This question is so popular that there’s even a website dedicated to it. http://www.storycasting.com/browseauthors.aspx

Yet, for nine books I’ve avoided this question, passed it off, or pleaded the fifth. Not so much because I didn’t have actors in mind, but because as a reader I always like to form my own vision of a character and didn’t want to ruin that experience for others out there who like to do the same. There’s no one more perfect than the characters I create in my own mind. I can see the exact color blue of an eye, the slight wave to their hair, the smooth, sculpted muscles of a stomach… And no matter how much an actor may come close to what I envision, in my mind, no one compares.

The question of who I’d cast, however, persists. And I’ve come to realize that readers are just curious. No matter what I say, they’ll still have that perfect vision they created in their mind. So I’ve decided to play along this time, with my new series.

The black sheep of her matchmaking family, psychic Lucy Valentine uses her abilities to reunite long lost loves and solve cold cases for the state police. She’s tall, blond, brown-eyed. There are hundreds of actresses that fit that bill, but not so many that have that je ne sais quoi, that special something that makes a character come alive on a big screen (or a small screen—hey, I’m not picky). The actress needs to have the magic to express why Lucy would take in handicapped animals (a three-legged cat and one-eyed hamster), put up with her matchmaking grandmother, consider Twinkies a part of a balanced diet, and live with the knowledge that thanks to a family curse she can never find true love.

Then there’s sexy PI Sean Donahue who becomes Lucy’s business partner and falls hard for her. He has secrets of his own—big ones—and the actor playing him needs to convey more than dark hair, pearl gray eyes, and superhero jaw. This actor needs to express Sean’s inner pain—the knowledge that a physical ailment may cause his death at any moment, and that because of his illness his whole life has had to change. He has had to change.

Remember, no one can live up to the characters in my mind, but if I were to choose actors to play Lucy and Sean, I’d pick:

Piper Perabo from USA’s Covert Affairs and Matt Bomer, from USA’s White Collar. They are closest I’ve seen to match the images in my mind. Now I just need someone to offer me a movie deal…

Do you cast characters in your mind as you read? Or choose to create your own images? One person posting a comment will win a copy of Deeply, Desperately. You can find more info at www.heatherwebber.com

45 comments:

barb said...

woohoo looks like mine again ... welcome GR

barb said...

Welcome to the lair Heather, thanks for asking her Donna. I am afraid I always imagine my own leading players as I am not really up with all the latest actors.I find the ones I imagine are perfect LOL

Helen said...

Well done Barbara get the jug on and I will bring the Tim Tams I am sure he is going to misbehave if he doesn't get any LOL

Hi Heather

The book sounds really good and I am with Barbara on who I choose to be the characters in a book I am reading I always have a picture in my mind as I read but way out of date with all the new actors and actresses but I do like to get a description of the hero and heroine and then the picture just seems to form in my mind LOL.

Have Fun
Helen

Donna MacMeans said...

Woohoo Barb! THe rooster is heading your way.

I'm not up on the latest actors or actresses myself, but I have a friend who sends me yummy pictures of hot guys daily. I love the inspiration - who needs names (grin)?

Donna MacMeans said...

Helen - I'm liable to misbehave if I don't get any Tim-tams (grin). Didn't manage to get any at National - how did I miss that?

Morning Glow from Novel Addiction said...

Hello Heather!

I would definitely say I create images in my mind of what the characters look like. Unless the author has mentioned several times that they picture a certain actor when thinking of a certain character.. then I can't get it out of my head. But for the most part, it's all my crazy imagination.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I just picture them myself Heather, I am not much of a tv or movie watcher so there is no one I could come up with. If someone mentions a name for a character and I go look then I can go oh yeah, I could see that. Most of the time I just have them pictured in my mind and there they stay.

Laurie said...

Hi

When I read I do not do any casting. I really don't keep up with stars /celebrities. I prefer to spend my free time reading not watching TY or going to the movies.

I create a picture in my mind from the author's detailed description!

Heather Webber said...

Hi Barb, I have to admit, I'm not up to date with all the latest actors, either, but my daughter and I do watch a lot of repeats of House on USA and commercials for White Collar and Covert Affairs are *always* on. I couldn't help but notice.

Heather Webber said...

Hi Helen, how do you feel when authors don't give a lot of physical description? Does your mind just fill in the blanks or do you wish for more info?

Heather Webber said...

Donna you obviously have good friends. :)

Missed you at RWA--not sure how!

Heather Webber said...

Hi Morning Glow! Good to see you over here. And how do you feel when an author plants an image in your head--like it or no?

Heather Webber said...

Hi Dianna, I really like to form my own images, too. This causes me all kinds of grief when movies are made and the characters are nothing like I pictured them!

Heather Webber said...

Hi there, Laurie. I really need to devote more time to reading. Doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day!

Donna MacMeans said...

Heather - it used to annoy me when the book cover didn't suit the image of the hero/heroine that I formed in my head - i.e. in the book, she's a redhead but on the cover she's brunette. I suppose that's why there's so many headless covers these days (grin).

But yeah - It may take me some time to warm up to some movies based on books I've read if the characters just don't nail it. Is it Katherine Heigel (not sure I spelled that right) the one doing Stephanie Plum? Or Sandra Bullock? Either way, they have their work cut out for them.

Dru said...

Hi Heather,

I definitely read with an image of the characters and sometimes it's hard to pick an actor because no one fits exactly as my vision.

I can see Matt Bomer as Sean.

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Heather & Donna!

Heather, your story sounds really fresh & interesting! And I love the actors you chose as inspiration!

I often keep my People Magazines (along with This Old House) for this very reason--I like to tear out pictures of faces & places when I'm brainstorming a new book. Plus, I have house envy. I love This Old House. sigh.

Nancy said...

Barb, congrats on the bird!

Heather, welcome! I love the actors you've chosen. Of course, I'm biased. I watch both Covert Affairs and White Collar faithfully.

I don't pick images for my characters. They would feel less "mine" if I did. If I had to pick, I'd say the hero I'm currently working on bears a vague resemblance to Christopher Reeve, in that he's tall, clean-cut, with dark hair and blue eyes (though darker blue than Reeve's), but the details aren't the same. I'm sitting here trying to think of someone for the heroine, who's tall, tawny-blonde, and hazel-eyed, and I'm drawing a blank.

Your book sounds terrific.

MsHellion said...

When I'm reading, I tend to create my own characters, even if I know the actor in mind that the author had. (One author admitted to using Bill Murray as her inspiration. What? Okay, he was kinda cute in Stripes, but as a romantic lead? No.)

However, when I write, there are some actors who fit my characters. One of my characters has a startling resemblance to Johnny Depp, which I don't mind. *grins*

Donna MacMeans said...

MsHellion - Why am I not surprised at Johnny Depp (grin).

I remember reading a book where the hero was described exactly like Sean Connery - even the character's name was John Conners. Talk about thinnly veiled. It is helpful, though, to have an actor in mind when trying to nail a particular expression - at least it's helpful to me.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Barb! You got the bird! Go you! :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ooops, a bit fast on the trigger finger there. Sorry!

Hi Heather! Welcome to the Lair! What a fab set of characters. I love it! And anything with characters that look like two of my new, favorite actors is for me. :> I think Piper Perabo is wonderful in Covert Affairs. And Matt Bomer? Don't EVEN get me started. YUMMMM!!!

This book sounds great. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I love it when an author "plants" a character so firmly for me that I can't pick out an actor to play them. Donna, I'm with you on the annoyance factor of the cover not matching the inside description. There was a recent Nathan Kemp - dark hair! - cover and the hero was a fair skinned, strapping blond Lord. That one was a pisser. Grins. I'll be the author wants to chuck it, for sure.

But like you, Heather, I try not to form a picture of anyone but the "person" about whom I'm writing. THEN I go back later, when the book is done and decide who would play them. Grins. THat's fun!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Donna, I got TimTams. Whoooohoooo! I'm guarding them jealously, trying to make sure my boys don't know I have them....

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Susan Sey! Grins. I love that you have This Old House. I generally have House Envy too. I adore the big bright kitchens and the clutter free perfection of those pictures. Grins. I'd have to reorient my house on it's lot for the kind of sunlight most of those kitchens get and decluttering will just never happen in my house. Ha!

gigi said...

Those are two of my favorite shows right now.
I usually try and make mine up in my head from the description the authors present to the reader. Piper and Matt are both two good choices. Definitely Matt.

donnas said...

Usually I make up my own image. But I have noticed a few characteristics I have pulled from other sources.

Kate Carlisle said...

Welcome to the Lair, Heather!! It was great to see you in Orlando and it's wonderful to see you here! Let's get some of the cabana boys to make you comfy ... much better! :-)

Hey, my new fave show is Covert Affairs! And of course I love White Collar more than anything. Mmm, yummy! So I'm completely on board with your two choices for hero and heroine.

Ooh, did somebody say Johnny Depp? A moment of silence, please. Ahhhh. Sigh. :-)

Heather, I also loved your first book in the series and can't wait to read your latest!

Heather Webber said...

Thank you all for the warm welcome! The cabana boy was a nice touch. I can really get used to that kind of treatment.

On another loop, we just had a big talk about covers not matching what was inside the book and how much readers care about that sort of thing--they care! A lot. Unfortunately the marketing and art departments are hard to sway. The black dog in my Nina Quinn mystery series had to be light brown on the cover because the black was too dark and didn't show up well. I've been really lucky with my current covers--love them!

Helen said...

I don't like it either when the colour of the hero or heroines hair is different on the cover than described in the story and there usually is enough of a description of the hero and heroine for me to form my own picture and if there isn't much of a description then I just still form my own LOL.

Have Fun
Helen

Bingo said...

Hi, Heather...found my way here from your newsletter to your blog to here for the first time. I love the thought provoking question and brings to mind how careful J. K. Rowling was about casting the Harry Potter cast. She was so afraid that children who were loving reading had them set a certain way in their head and then would see someone different on the screen and be unhappy. As a retired teacher,now blogger, I understand.

I get a mental image of the character from the author and if I see them portrayed other than that, it just ruins it for me. I know that is why I love the kind of books where characters are fleshed out for the reader to get to know and fall in love with. On that note, all that is left to say, is I am off to investigate a way to get hold of your books as they look really good( you are right about your super covers). Thanks for the newsletter!

Bingo said...

Hi, Heather...found my way here from your newsletter to your blog to here for the first time. I love the thought provoking question and brings to mind how careful J. K. Rowling was about casting the Harry Potter cast. She was so afraid that children who were loving reading had them set a certain way in their head and then would see someone different on the screen and be unhappy. As a retired teacher,now blogger, I understand.

I get a mental image of the character from the author and if I see them portrayed other than that, it just ruins it for me. I know that is why I love the kind of books where characters are fleshed out for the reader to get to know and fall in love with. On that note, all that is left to say, is I am off to investigate a way to get hold of your books as they look really good( you are right about your super covers). Thanks for the newsletter!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Bingo - Welcome to the lair! Hope you come back to visit often.

I didn't know that about the Harry Potter movies - but it makes sense. Someday I hope I'll be able to discuss such decisions with my casting director. Yeah - some day...a girl's gotta dream (grin).

catslady said...

I never make them people I know or movie stars. I like to picture them in my mind as the author describes them. That way every character is unique and afterall it's the author's original vision that I make into my own.

allaboutthewriting.com said...

I think you picked two perfect representatives for your characters! I love both of those people.

When I'm writing my characters, I don't usually have someone in mind -- for one thing, I'm so fickle with my "celebrity crushes". I've usually moved on to someone else before I finish writing my book. LOL If only I could create a 3-D version of my characters! :)

Donna Cummings

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hello, Heather and welcome to the Lair! I'm so glad to meet you and your book sounds like a very fun read!

I have to confess I love Piper Pearbo in Covert Affairs, too. It's one of my favorite summer shows to DVR!

The only time I've actually cast a character in my head, other than the time I was asked here in the Lair to cast the characters for my book, was in one of my small-town stories, Close To Home. The hero reminds the heroine of that "cute, dark-haired actor from JAG", David James Elliott. If I had to cast the heroine, I would have to pick Robin Tunney.

chey said...

I just imagine the characters after reading about them. If there's a movie, and I watch it, I'm usually disappointed in the casting.

lynnb said...

I like Piper but I've never heard of Matt Bomer- will have to check him out.
By the way- I'm so excited it's release day!!!

Linda Henderson said...

I won't say that I've never done it, I just don't usually. For one thing, all the heroes need to be Gerard Butler. I really like him. I have to agree with your Covert Affairs and White Collar choices. These are two shows that I really enjoy. I like the sounds of your book and I'll look forward to reading it.

Heather Webber said...

A big thank you to Donna for hosting me today--I loved reading everyone's comments. It was especially great to see so many friends come by (waving). Thank you!

Someone (Donna?) mentioned headless covers--they're some of my favorites. I really do like filling in my own images. Then I try to ignore the step-backs inside! LOL.

Heather Webber said...

And LOL--not sure why Sleeping with Anemone is showing up in the blog post now. I can't claim that book--it was written by good friend Kate Collins, and I can highly recommend it!

Heather Webber said...

By the way, did anyone see the post on FB from Mystery Lovers Bookshop? They posted that Janet Evanovich's One for the Money is being filmed around the corner from them. I can't imagine the movie will compare to the book, but I definitely want to see it. Janet E once said she wanted Sandra Bullock for Stephanie, but I think Katherine Heigl will do a decent job.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Heather! Welcome to the Lair. You won me over the minute you mentioned Matt Bomer for your hero Sean. He's delicious!

Donna MacMeans said...

Linda -

I like the way you think. All heros SHOULD be Gerald Butler (grin).

Heather Webber said...

Jo, I can't take full credit--a reader on Goodreads suggested I take a peek at him. I googled and saw his photo from a People magazine (sexiest people, maybe?) and I thought, yep, he works! LOL.

Donna and Linda, my daughter would also agree with Gerard Butler. She's a huge fan, ever since she saw Phantom.