What do my characters look like?
I’m well known for scanning the internet for interesting faces for my novels. I then scour that face for expression and detail.
If it’s an actor, I’ll seek out a couple of Youtube clips/movies/TV appearances and watch their movement, the way they express themselves, the way they vocalise.
Passage has been no different.
So, let’s start at the top. All my characters are approaching or are in their seventies, most have grey hair, or lack thereof.
I typed grey haired women into Pinterest and came up with some interesting options.
I decided on Annie pretty quickly. I needed a soft face that opened when she smiled, but with eyes that held something way back. I could imagine her hiding pain with a tilt of the lips.
Then there is the gorgeous Lisette Pelletier. Lisette modelled for Hubert Givenchy in her youth. She is immensely tall and very slim with a waterfall of grey hair that she rarely ties up. She’s Parisian chic personified. She reminded me of a French model I met when my husband and I first married and to an extent, her mannerisms, her accent, her aplomb, was based on that woman.
I then typed grey haired men into Pinterest and came up with a plethora of rather too good-looking men. I wanted rugged but it was very hard to find.
At any rate, for Alex, I found a strong face emanating humour and affection.
Alex Tremayne, Annie’s late husband
Finding Richard. Hmm. I really didn’t want classic good looks and I needed thick hair and a swagger, as if he was blatantly aware he had a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. Finally, and against my better judgement, I chose Pierce Brosnan. He represents all that Richard is in this one picture. Although he would need more salt and pepper colour in his hair. All that said, I’ve always seen the actor as a perfectly charming man.
Richard, it seems, is not.
Finding Rowena has been superhard. I had such a vision in my head, one that just couldn’t be met by any image I saw on the internet and so I’ve chosen to write her straight from my imagination. I love her and wonder if she has a book inside her.
Her husband, Joffrey, however, wasn’t so hard. He is the most delightful man. A rugged man when he was well, I found him by typing Aussie farmers into Google. This is the man I finally chose but I needed to add a few years to his life.
Annie’s twin sons, Charlie and Harry, were perhaps the hardest of all. Online, all I found were buffed young men, impossibly shiny and with rippled abs that were so unreal as to be laughable. Ultimately it became me putting together a composite. Charlie and Harry have wheat coloured hair, stubble and blue eyes and they are forty-year old representations of their mum and dad.
Then there was Blighty, Annie’s Jack Russell. I went no further than my own little terrier who is mad, bad, funny and an absolute delight…
And finally, the wonderful coast of Orford, looking toward Maria Island. The island develops its own personality in this novel. It’s how I’ve always seen it and writing a book in which it became a dowager, has just cemented it in my mind.
So they were my go-to visuals for Passage.
There were other images of course that helped with settings, boats, moods and they can all be found on Pinterest.
Have a good weekend. Cheers!