A Real-Life Tilly Appears!

Afra Parsons – perfect for the role of Tilly Greenway!

When I write, I walk through each scene from the perspective of every character, like a movie-director walking around a set. I find this helps to get a picture of what they all experience. On top of that, I’ll often have in mind a real actor or actress as I build their history and create their dialogue.

The exception to this rule was with both Tilly and Zack, the main protagonists of our tale. At twelve and thirteen respectively, I didn’t know any particular actress/actor who would fit the bill. I guess I just haven’t seen many movies with children of their age and description in. All this changed, so far as Tilly goes, a week ago.

In my penultimate post I spoke of a young girl with long red hair who approached my table when I was doing a book-signing at the Cribbs Causeway Waterstones. I couldn’t say more about her at the time, but thanks to the tenacity of my publisher Katy Press, I now have her parents’ permission to do so.

Her name is Afra Parsons, she’s eleven years old and she is just how I imagined Tilly when I was creating the character! The only difference being that Tilly has green eyes, whereas Afra’s are a rich brown.

The long red hair is important, by the way, because the series is as much a delving into our real past as it is a fiction. As a backdrop to the mystery in the plot, I’ve created a history of the world that travels back beyond our currently-accepted timelines and traces our ancestry over some 250,000 years. You’ll find out more about that – and about the significance of the red hair – in the coming books, so I won’t spoil the surprise here…

Back to Afra: chatting with her, she told me that acting is one of her favourite hobbies and that she hopes to become an actress one day. Of course, I was hugely excited to hear this. She really is perfect for the role of Tilly. She has what it takes, too: that special glint in the eye, combined with a quiet but assured air that translates into “presence” on screen.

You can see an article that appeared in the press about our meeting here: http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Stranger-fiction-Bristol-girl-turns-heads/story-15590954-detail/story.html?984748629=865984634

It would be wonderful if a film of Tilly’s adventures was made soon, whilst Afra is still at the right age to play her. So, if you happen know anyone – preferably a mega-Hollywood producer! – who might be able to help, please drop my publisher a line at katypress@eircom.net  🙂

Seeing Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys on the big screen would be a dream come true not just for me, but for Afra too!

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18 thoughts on “A Real-Life Tilly Appears!

  1. How wonderful to find your character off the page! She really is perfect. Afra also reminds me of my best friend’s daughter when she was that age. The article was great publicity for you, too. Congratulations!

  2. hades says:

    I am afra’s friend, and (although she doesn’t want me to do this as she is sitting next to me right now) she is the perfect role! Afra is a great actress and would be amazing if there is a movie!

    • essitolling says:

      Hi Cara! I’m sure Afra IS a really great actress. Some people have the “x” factor (the real x-factor) and she definitely does. Pass this post on to as many people as you can…you just never know who might pick up on it and before you blink Afra will be up there on a big screen near you! Let me know if you have a chance to read Tilly and have a great Easter Holiday!

      • Cara says:

        Yep, all Afra’s friends are so glad that everyone loves her beautiful hair! I’m definitely going to buy the book, as i’ve already read an extract! It would be wonderful to see her in a film, so we are spreading the word!

  3. Afra says:

    Hi guys it is Afra here thanks loads for all my comments i owe it to my friend Cara who is hades on the comments. thx cara!!

    • essitolling says:

      Hey there, great to hear from you again! You see, you have a growing fan base already…and rightly so by the sounds of things. I hope your book has arrived safely. Have a wonderful Easter holiday – will you be painting eggs? We’ll probably hard-boil some, paint them, and then see who can roll them furthest downhill before they explode!

  4. Gaye Abbott says:

    When can I get my advanced ticket to see Tilly and Zack on the BIG screen?? As within the books, magic has its way when something is destined to happen. No accidents here! Congrats Abra and Essi!

  5. essitolling says:

    Hi Gaye, We’ll let you know when the premiere is 🙂 I agree – there’s no such thing as coincidence, so it will be interesting to see what happens from here. Have a wonderful day!

  6. Sandy says:

    Afra is beautiful. I am LOVING her lush red hair, and will be her number one fan if she is in the film. You see, i have red hair too, and (though im not as pretty as her) i love my hair! Keep it up afra! Don’t be afraid to show everyone your beauty!

  7. Cara says:

    Wow… for some reason i like commenting on things. You wont get rid of me for a LONG time! Mwahahaha!

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