Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jennie Bentley's "Spackled and Spooked"

A career as a REALTOR® and professional renovator has given author Jennie Bentley plenty of fodder for her series of Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation Mysteries.

The first book in the series, Fatal Fixer-Upper, was published in November 2008. The follow-up, Spackled and Spooked, has just been released.

Here Bentley shares some ideas for several of the principal cast members should the series be adapted for the big screen:
My offer of a three book contract to write an in-house series of home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime came with a two page outline for what my editor envisioned the books would be like. That included the names and thumbnail sketches of the major and secondary characters, the setting, and the basic set-up for the first book as well as the series.

The only character that had an actual description attached was the love interest and hot handyman, Mike Ellis. He was supposed to look like Bill Pullman, I remember.

Nothing against Bill Pullman, but the image wasn’t working for me. Nor was the name, which hit too close to home for comfort. Literally. My husband’s name is Mike. So when Mike’s name changed to Derek, Bill Pullman changed to... something more like Aaron Eckhart, I think. Six feet tall, give or take, with streaky blondish-brown hair, and dreamy blue eyes with crinkles at the corners.

True confession: I haven’t actually gazed deeply into Aaron Eckhart’s eyes, so I don’t know if they’re dreamy blue or some other color. Derek’s are dreamy blue, though. In case of a movie, Aaron will just have to wear contacts if his eyes are the wrong shade.

Derek’s nickname for Avery, his girlfriend and the main character in the books, is Tink, short for Tinkerbell. That should give you a pretty good idea of what she looks like. Short—about 5’2” or so—with lots of kinky Mello-Yello hair she sometimes keeps piled on top of her head so it won’t get into the paint or wallpaper glue she’s using. Like Peter Pan’s Tink, she often folds her arms across her chest and sticks her lower lip out, obstinately. I think Kate Hudson might do for Avery. She has that slightly daffy, naive quality I think Avery needs.

As far as the supporting cast, we have Kate McGillicutty, Avery’s new best friend, who’s a statuesque copper-curled redhead in her late thirties, with a figure to rival Jane Russell’s and an open and friendly, freckled face. Figures like that are hard to come by, and I’m certainly open to suggestions. Same for Chief of Police Wayne Rasmussen, Kate’s fiancé: 6’3” and lanky, mid-forties, with curly salt-and-pepper hair and a friendly, informal demeanor (except when he’s arresting the bad guys). I’m sure I could find someone who fit the bill, but no one comes to mind, particularly.

To round out the top five, we have a character that is totally my own invention: the snake in the grass, lovely Melissa James, AKA the former Mrs. Derek Ellis. Melissa is gorgeous and elegant: at least five inches taller than Avery, with longer legs, bigger boobs, and straight, moonlight-pale hair cut in a razor-sharp wedge. Perfection incarnate, and she was married to Derek for five years, while Avery’s only known him a few months. I’m thinking Leslie Bibb might do. In this picture she certainly fits the bill.

So there you have it. The characters of the DIY series according to me, the person whose head they inhabit. If a movie was made, these actors would be able to play the parts. Doesn’t mean they’re an exact match to the pictures in my head, but they’re close enough. I’m always open to suggestions, though, so if you know someone who might make a great Kate or Wayne, or for that matter a better Avery, Derek or Melissa, drop me a line at my Facebook page!
Read more about the books and author at Jennie Bentley's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue