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 firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
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!