Monday, October 5, 2015

Julia Buckley's "The Big Chili"

Julia Buckley is the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries, the Teddy Thurber Mysteries, and the Madeline Mann Mysteries. She’s a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America, as well as the Chicago Writers Association. Buckley has taught high school English for over twenty years.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest novel, The Big Chili:
I think authors often dream of their characters coming to life, and I certainly have wondered what a casting director might do with these people of my imagination.

If I had my druthers, here’s who I might choose.

My main character, Lilah Drake, is smart but sweet—honest and loyal. She also feels unlucky in love, despite the interest of two very handsome men. So here’s an attempt to capture the personalities of that love triangle.

For Lilah, I’m thinking Greta Gerwig. She’s twenty-ish and very pretty without looking overly made up. She has a natural look, and she projects friendliness, which I think Lilah does, as well.

Lilah falls pretty quickly for a handsome dark-haired police detective. In fact, she is often almost confused by how good-looking he is. For the character of the enigmatic Jay Parker, I think the closest match is Henry Cavill, the actor from Superman. Cavill has the dark-haired mystery, but also the slightly aloof look that Jay tends to project.

Lilah also has an ex-boyfriend. He too is extremely good looking: a dark-haired Italian who has all the charisma that Jay keeps to himself. Lilah soon tired of Angelo Cardini’s easy charm, though, which is why she is currently unattached.

For Angelo, l like the actor Alessio Boni (though I would need a younger version of him). Boni looks ruggedly handsome and eye-catching. Angelo, who owns a restaurant on the main drag of Pine Haven, is always catching the attention of local women, much to Lilah’s chagrin.

Finally, for Perpetua Grandy, a local woman and a devoted parishioner of St. Bart’s Church (for whom Lilah makes a pot of ill-fated chili), I would cast the amazing Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy would bring out the earnestness of Pet, as Lilah calls her, and convey the homey quality of this character.

It’s fun to try to put a face on something that is, in essence, just a little fume of the imagination. These concrete images make the story more real, and pay tribute to the creative intentions of the author.
Learn more about the book and author at Julia Buckley's website and her blog, Mysterious Musings.

--Marshal Zeringue