Themes, casting for Pride’s Children, 2007

Some background

In the summer of 2007, while Pride’s Children was under development, and I had an initial rough draft based on the original Dramatica storyform, life handed me an opportunity, and I grabbed it.

My daughter and three of her friends had been offered an internship at LaSalle University after they won, as homeschoolers, an important science competition. The prize was offered and supposedly won (the university probably expected it to be won by some high school group at an actual school), but the four of us mothers who were the homeschooling parents had to do a lot of pushing and prodding to get the internship to happen.

Finally we came to an agreement: the school would let us live in the dorms during the summer (they were empty), and arrange some daily time at one of their science labs, and there would eventually be a paper presented by the professor and having the girls’ names on it, at the American Chemical Society meeting. I leave off the ACS details and the prof’s name because they never fulfilled that part, despite all our phone calls and emails after the internship ended.

Three weeks were chosen for this internship, and I claimed the right to be the parent chaperone. We would drive down to Philadelphia on Sunday night (one Monday because of the 4th holiday), settle into the dorm, the girls would have their internship during the week, and I’d drive us home Friday afternoon.

They had a ball.

What did you do with YOUR time, Alicia?

I had unbroken time to think. And I used it to do the Grand Reorganization of the plot for all three volumes of the story.

Structure, structure, structure.

Every impossible plot step and twist to turn the implausible story of Andrew and Kary and Bianca into an inevitable and utterly believable end was locked down during those three weeks, in as tangible a form as I was capable of.

Everything that had to happen was examined with a microscope, prodded, probed, and declared viable – or eliminated.

Pride’s Children, the full trilogy, runs on a business management principle: the critical path, which I have modified for my own purposes to mean that each plot step must be the shortest and tightest way to the next, in an unbroken chain from beginning to end. Nothing happens without it being an absolute necessity (in my mind and my story).

Theme and casting notes, please.

From notebook post-LaSalle:

My book is my statement, my mission to the world:

Family matters
Love is based on trust
Children matter – and must be protected
Beliefs are important
Beliefs lead to action
Right beliefs lead to right action
Dignity matters
Good will prevail
Life throws stuff at you
How you handle it is who you are
You can’t stay married to someone who doesn’t want you
Some people are objectively better than others
Evil exists – and can’t be excused
Love transcends age

But at least Firefly reminded me of my capacity for intense love: of a character. Of an actor. Of a story. [read more]

Andrew: a young Rutger Hauer
Kary: Michelle Pfeiffer
Bianca: a young Demi Moore
Michael: Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb – big, tall, smarter than he looks, not as smart by far as he thinks he is.

Comparison to Laura Hillenbrand there, too – if she can do Seabiscuit, I can do PC.

That’s it. The short list – though there are many other themes I could and did add. Loyalty, integrity, the meaning and importance of work, what is unforgivable, what we owe our adult children and the memory of the children we have lost, friendship, Catholic guilt and what it means to accept your responsibilities…

Even hummingbirds.

Everything I love.



14 thoughts on “Themes, casting for Pride’s Children, 2007

  1. It’s always interesting to get background from an author about the creation of a story. I loved “Pride’s Children” and enjoyed this peek behind the scenes. The casting was interesting. I never would have picked Rutger Hauer for Andrew, but the other three were right in line with how I imagined them.


    • One of my favorite movies of all time, which I’ve seen ten times, is LadyHawk. Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer are the doomed young lovers (all very chaste) who can never meet because she’s been cursed to be a hawk by day, and he a wolf by night. A VERY young, and amazing, Matthrew Broderick plays Mouse, their friend and sidekick. The chemistry is amazing.

      I don’t like the soundtrack as much as the rest of the movie – electric guitars don’t strike me as medieval – but in the scenes with any of these three actors, the movie is pretty near flawless. Things like that stick with you.

      It’s the Hauer quality – the brooding intensity – which was also seen in Blade Runner – that I like.

      I have at least a million words of notes for this story – every once in a while I pull out a piece for reexamination. Don’t get me started – but ask any question you like, and I will answer it here.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I watch it once a year for my birthday.

          You may be noticing the theme of love being hard earned, though the lovers in LadyHawke were young and healthy and beautiful when this all happened to them – and somewhat innocent.

          What I like is that there are principles involved, and external opposition, and despair, and quirky solutions (the old priest, played so interestingly by Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey) and the eclipse – pretty wonderful).

          Plus I just realized Alfred Molina was Cezar – he did an amazing Diego Rivera in the Frieda Kahlo movie Salma Hayek did so perfectly.


        • Always enjoy seeing him.It must be galling to good actors who don’t ‘look’ like leads to know they could do a part but won’t be considered because the Casting Director knows what society wants.

          Many have steady work – but don’t get the chance to star.


    • They are not necessarily available or the right age any more, but it helps to have an image when I write. I have several others in each slot, so the real image of a character is a composite – of what is publicly available – but even writing is a very visual exercise, and these actors have kindly left us a record we can tap into.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. oh, what a post to check back in with you on! I love it! I’ve done the stay at dorms over the summer, too! for a reading conference even! not sure I knew you homeschooled! so did I and what a wonderful opportunity for your daughter and her friends, especially back in the day when there were fewer and blew the powers that be minds; glad you pushed for her to actually get it!

    but question, didn’t you say you had to get permission for your Bible quotes in your book; that somebody over in England actually has the copyright? that it’s not just public domain? thanks


    • The British crown owns, forever, the copyright to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.

      Cambridge University administers this copyright, and can technically sue anyone who uses quotes from it without permission. Worldwide. Though whether they would find out, and then sue, might not be worth their while.

      Many people, I’d say even MOST people, don’t know this or believe it when you tell them.

      Other translations, by other groups, are copyrighted for the regular period, when they are created.

      I like this version; I asked for permission. They graciously granted me permission. I don’t use that much – mostly a few quotations from the Book of Job, some chapter titles, and an epitaph. And I’m using it for a purpose that is okay with them.

      I hope Pride’s Children will be very successful, if not now, then when the trilogy – and the story – are complete. I don’t want to run into any problems then!

      It’s simpler to do things correctly from the beginning.

      Didn’t know you’d homeschooled. It was a great opportunity – I wish the girls had gotten the full prize which was offered, and had had their names on a paper which they contributed to, but there was only so far we were able to push. If you want to see the whole stack of emails…!


      • understand; homeschooling was a lot different then; wish could have too but you probably did well to get what you got then

        but, yes, this was a question posed in a writer’s group I’m a part of (although no, still just trying to edit – think it’s Word’s my problem – ugh) they could hardly believe it; somebody even posted a site evidently that’s been set up for that very think along the lines of – What do you mean the KJV Bible’s copyrighted?! what?! but they did go ahead to explain – guess see what happens, hm…thanks a bunch; hope you’re doing well!

        Liked by 1 person

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