Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guest Authors: American Title V Finalists

Eight aspiring romance authors, five rounds of voting, and one prize – a book deal with Dorchester Publishing ...

American Title V is the ultimate reality contest for romance readers played out on the pages of the Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine. Just like American Idol, the public decides who will move on to the next round of the competition. Two rounds have played out and six contestants remain.

Today we ask each of them a question.If your novel was turned into a Hollywood movie, who would you cast as the leads?Let’s hear what they had to say…

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Marie-Claude Bourque – ANCIENT WHISPERS

When I was asked to find actors to cast in the roles of ANCIENT WHISPERS’ characters, I was puzzled for a moment. It’s not easy to put a real person into what came straight out of my imagination.Who could really measure up? Natalie Portman would be perfect in the role of my heroine Lily Bellefontaine. With her quiet strength and classical beauty, Portman would play well Lily’s depth and toughness.

And when my writer partners suggested Ryan Reynolds as the casting of immortal sorcerer Gabriel Callan, I knew they were onto something. With his powerful presence and strength, his bad boy look, Reynolds is the perfect actor to play bold Gabriel.His dangerous air even gives us that glimpse of a tortured soul so present in my enticing and doomed Gabriel. And you have to admit, he looks pretty good without his shirt on!

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Jessica Darago – THE SERPENT’S TOOTH

When I write a character with an accent very different from mine, I like to have a voice reference. For Nate, I chose David Tennant, best known as the estuary-accented Doctor in “Doctor Who”, but in fact a Scot. (You can hear his real accent in interviews and in the BBC's bizarre not-quite-musical, “Blackpool”.) As I absorbed the voice, not only did Nate begin to resemble Tennant physically, growing lean and lithe and puckish, but he developed a distinct tendency—like more than one Tennant character—to babble.

Katee Sackhoff might seem like an odd choice for my heroine, since unlike Sackhoff's usual characters, Reba is a 19th-century country lass, not a borderline-psychotic military-trained fembot from the future. But Reba and Sackhoff's Kara Thrace share three characteristics: a quick temper, a mischievous spark in their eyes, and—most importantly—a facade that seems impenetrable but is actually eggshell thin.

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Hugh Jackman is the perfect fit for my hero Christopher Black. Christopher is a self-made man caught between his duty to find his friend’s killer and Rebecca, a woman he’s insanely attracted to, a woman who has ties to the murder.He’s intelligent, perceptive, and highly protective, although a past relationship has put a mighty big chip on his shoulder.

Kate Winslet is the only actress that came to mind who could pull off my vision of Rebecca Bailey. Rebecca is a sensible housemaid whose life spirals out of control.When her father comes to owe hundreds of dollars to dangerous men, she does the unthinkable.She impersonates an heiress to attract a wealthy suitor only to fall in love with a man who believes she’s capable of murder. And all the while, Rebecca is human – clumsy, a horrible liar, a woman doing the best she can.

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chelle Lauren – HOW TO TAME A HARPY

My novel is about a feisty harpy whose sentient temper gets her in lots of trouble, and the only man strong enough to tame them both, a jaded hero searching for his mate.

Jada Pinkett Smith as Siren Jones.
Siren isn't the traditional heroine: she's a kick butt harpy with a temper that has a mind of its own. She's intelligent, feisty and beautiful. Who better to play her than Jada Pinkett Smith, who embodies all those qualities?

Gerard Butler as Daniel Smith.
Daniel is a genetically-enhanced human with the ability to shape shift into stone form in direct sunlight. His Irish heritage, exotic looks and jaded past make him a gamma hero: dangerous and oh so sexy! No one epitomizes hunky bad boy better than Gerard Butler. Although he’s Scottish, his brogue gets me every time.

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My story, TRUE TO THE HIGHLANDER, has a heroine who is mixed--Native American, and white. I have a very specific image of her in my mind, and finding someone to play her was a challenge. I searched and searched and came up with Andi Muise. She is perfect, except her hair should be longer.

Malcolm was a lot easier. Yes, I know Gerard Butler has already been chosen, but what can I say. My favorite line in TRUE TO THE HIGHLANDER is, "Alethia awoke to find herself draped in hot, naked Scot." Who else could I have chosen? Can you blame me?

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Edie Ramer – DEAD PEOPLE

Brooding songwriter Luke Rivers wants to give his newly found eleven-year old daughter a happy, secure and normal home. Hard to do when he finds out his new house is haunted. And did I mention that Luke is hot? After giving this a lot of thought and looking at many pictures, I went with a young Bruce Springsteen. Bruce is a physical match for Luke. But more than that, he has the same intense energy and passion. You can hear it in Bruce's songs, and you can hear it in Luke's songs.

Cassie Taylor, ghost whisperer, was harder because she's 5'3 and curvaceous. Not a common sight in Hollywood. In the end, I chose Minnie Driver. Though she's not a physical match, she has Cassie's inner qualities. The movie viewer will see her vulnerabilities beneath her tough exterior. She has layers. Just like Cassie.

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Thank you to the finalists for joining us today. Voting for Round 3 began this week, Monday, Jan. 19 and runs until Sunday, Feb. 1st. This round focuses on story summaries for the novels left. Visit Romantic Times to view summaries and contestant bios, then send an email to with the title you'd like to vote for in the subject heading.

And stay tuned. Dates for the remaining rounds are:
Round 4: Feb. 16-Mar. 1
Final Round: Mar. 16-29

Also visit the ATV finalists on their blog

Any questions or comments have at it.


Tamara Hughes said...

Thank you so much for inviting us to Riding with the Top Down today. It's so cool to see the actors everyone has chosen. I love it!

Thanks again,

Tamara Hughes
Once Upon a Masquerade

Michelle said...


Thanks for letting us commandeer your blog for a day. I'm so thrilled by how it turned out; it was wonderful seeing the actors everyone chose. Just fantastic! Also, I didn't mention in my piece, but Gerard Butler can do double duty as Scottish & Irish since although he was born in Scotland, his grandparents were Irish. What a hottie!

Michelle Lauren
How to Tame a Harpy

barbara longley said...

What fun! I love seeing how each of us envisions our hero and heroine. Thanks so much for allowing us this opportunity1
Barbara Longley

Jessica said...

Thank you, Helen and all the TopDowners, for having us here today! An interesting tendency toward Scotsmen, don't you think? There's a reason they're a perennial romance favorite.

Edie said...

Helen, thanks for having us here! It was great fun seeing everyone's casting choices.

Edie Ramer
Dead People

Helen Brenna said...

Woo hoo! Fun having you guys here today and I love the variety of actors and actresses you guys have chosen to represent your heroes and heroines!

For the last several books I've printed out pictures of people, not always actors, who look like my characters as well as setting details and the visuals have made a difference for me.

So does RT give you guys any clues as to how many people are voting? And like American Idol, do they give you any indication of your placement each round?

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Hi Helen :)
Thank you so much for having us today ! It's really fun. Everyone's hero and heroine looks so good, especially all put together on the same page.

And to answer your question, no we have no idea about the votes and it will remain a secret to all even way after the contest is over!

Cheers :)

Christie Ridgway said...

Congratulations, ladies! And thanks for joining us here today. I love seeing the actors you've chosen to portray your characters.

I don't always have a photo in my head of my story people (find it hard like some of you did to get just the right look) but when I do, I think it helps so much. I can just glance over at the cute guy or pretty woman and get inspired.

Anonymous said...

How fun to see each author's interpretation of her character.

I'll let you guys in on a secret...

Edie asked a few friends for suggestions...a battle raged for DAYS with suggestions, rebuttals, new suggestions, arguments about whether so-and-so would be right. It was a blast! No blood shed (luckily) but until today, I had no idea who Edie choose. I like your choices!

And Barbara - the line "Alethia woke to find herself draped in hot, naked Scot"..OMG, I had to fan myself. I LOVE IT!

Great character (actor) choices. This is a tough competition. Congrats to all of you for making this far.

Tamara Hughes said...

We also never find out how we rank in the voting. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Not sure if I'd want to know if just a handful of votes separates me from someone else. This vote gathering business is already stressful without adding that kind of pressure.

Qwillia Rain said...

Wow, those are some awesome celebs for your character inspiration. I have to admit, Hugh Jackman is my fave, but the others are hard to turn down as well. As for the heroines, I'm torn between Jada and Minnie, they embody the characters they represent, as far as I'm concerned.


Helen Brenna said...

I have to say, Edie, I'll take Bruce young, old, clothed. Or not. I'll just take him!

lois greiman said...

Hi Guys, great to have you with us today, and congrats to all of you for making it this far. How exciting!
One of you will win a contract, but I think you should keep in mind that you are all very close to publication. Hang in there. And best of luck.

And good job on picking characters. They're all inspiring to look at.

Liz Kreger said...

Excellent choices for your characters, everyone.

Edie said...

Christy, I don't usually have pictures of mine either. I had to look at a lot of pictures before I made up my mind.

Cyndi, it did turn into a battle. lol The strong opinions amazed me! But it was fun. And I loved Barbara's line, too!

Helen, I'll take Bruce any way I could get him, too. Even if it's just on the TV screen.

Thanks, Lois, for your encouragement.

Liz, thanks for stopping by.

Evonne Wareham said...

Facinating to see everyone's choices. I have to say that I'm with Qaey - Hugh does it for me.

Keri Ford said...

Very cool, ladies! And Congrats! What I found interesting is that I'm not familiar with some of these actors/actresses, but with your great descriptions, I feel like I know them now!

Debra Dixon said...

Great job, writers! I enjoyed this new "take" on getting to know a book. I found the choices and reasons behind the choices enlightening.

Best of luck to all of you!

Michele Hauf said...

This is my favorite thing to do. I always 'cast' my characters for my stories before even writing them. I can't get the character in my brain unless I have a picture.

Great, sexy choices, ladies!

Michelle said...

@ Michele: This is actually my first time casting my characters. I was surprised by how fun it turned out to be. I'm a big fan of Gerard: his accent, his, I lost my train of thought. :D

Michelle Lauren
How to Tame a Harpy

Cindy Gerard said...

Congrats to all of you for making the finals and I think you've made EXCELLENT choices for your H/H.
Good luck to all!!

LaDonna said...

Loved this blog! It's really fun to see who everyone chose for their stories. Some really stunning photos.

And Edie, love your choices. Minnie Diver does have layers, and she's a great choice. And what can I say about Bruce that hasn't already been said? lol.

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks, ladies, for coming today! Good luck to all of you.

Now - everyone - go vote!!!