A huge thanks to Sooz for allowing me to invade her blog with my new novel, Power Play, and for letting me talk about one aspect of any novelist's private fantasy (no, not that, you naughty reader!) - who would play your main characters if your pride and joy manuscript somehow amazingly found itself in the hands of a Hollywood director.
'This is fascinating, incredible, just what my career has been screaming out for!' they would cry, immediately Skypeing (is that now a noun? I should ask my proofreader...) Channing Tatum and Anne Hathaway or That Famous Actor From Game of Thrones over lunch at The Ivy....
Ok, perhaps I've got a bit carried away here. My fantasy is a bit more BBC4, to be honest, as Power Play would only suit a US audience if it received a House of Cards-type make-over, so I'll leave that particular fantasy 'who's who' for another time.
Power Play continues the theme of corrupting power and infighting at the heart of Party Games. As leader Rodney Richmond lies in a coma, his malevolent and ambitious deputy Colin Scott vows to force unquestioning loyalty to himself on a party which is at breaking point. Dubbed 'the Fuhrer' by Labour MPs, his core supporters - including a morally conflicted colleague and an obsessed, ruthless advisor - will do anything to get their man - and themselves - to the top. But there is a threat from within, one so determined they will resort to murder before they see Scott fail, and soon civil war erupts among Scott’s most senior lieutenants. While the true leader of the so-called 'resistance' remains unconscious, their female rising star emerges to challenge Scott's seemingly unbreakable and brutal authority.
The politics is incidental - my novels are about people; slightly eccentric people, granted, but people existing in a high-pressure environment and their jealousies, grudges, love, friendships and ambitions. I always say that you don't watch Mad Men because you want to learn about advertising, it's for the human interaction, but in this case there is probably a bit more megalomania and perhaps even the odd murder...
Anyway, now I've obviously got you hooked, I've got a fair number of characters in Power Play, some of whom aren't in Party Games, but below I've whittled them down to my top five, a mix of personalities which honestly don't reflect any real-life politicians (no, not at all), and who could play them in a TV series.
Aww, poor guy, I've been such a bitch to my hero. Stuck in a coma at the beginning following the fall-out (dramatic fall out, I may add) from Party Games, my party leader's languishing horizontally for quite some time. Pretty good-looking when not stuck in a coma, Rodders has always been Matthew Macfadyen. Sooz may not agree! But really Sooz if it gets him on TV for you again...!
Rodney's mortal enemy, a man with an agenda, despotic tendencies and an explosive temper, I'd need a bloody good actor to do my acting leader the justice he deserves. Although he's clearly morphing into Hitler as the book progresses, destroying everyone and everything he touches, it's not any sort of caricature I'm after but the image I've had in my head all along. OK, I'm bringing in a Game of Thrones actor, but not because of GoT but because I've seen him act brilliantly in other things besides. Stephen Dillane is perfect, and although older than Colin, he has 'the look'.
Rodney's unrequited love and one of his closest colleagues, it would be only natural for her to be played by Keeley Hawes, Macfadyen's real-life wife. Anthea's 38 (as is Hawes) and in the prime of her career, but Rodney's incapacitation tests her loyalty to its limit until she finds herself at the sharp end of Colin Scott's wrath. Her time will come, and soon. She is a brainy, shrewd superwoman, fantastic heels and with impeccable dress sense. I adore her.
My favourite character. A complex yet decent man drawn into Colin Scott's world and warped. He just feels real to me in so many ways and for all his faults (there are many!) I have rather a crush on him. Can you have a crush on your own characters?! There's probably something deeply psychological there! Anyhoo...Matthew's the oldest of the bunch here (just pipping his wife) at 57, but he's a 'young' 57 physically (yes, with all his hair!) and I couldn't resist James Purefoy (who is 50) in the role. I think the photo above does Matthew no end of justice! Some minor ageing, the odd fleck of grey here and there to go with that brooding expression, and he would be perfect.
Far more than just the politician's wife, Sasha Gaines is sophisticated and longing for the life she never had. As disillusionment with her marriage grows, Sasha's head is turned by Matthew's daring and attractive new colleague Marcus, while her suppressed ambition comes to the fore. There has always been one actor in my mind ever since I saw her playing Moira Queen in Arrow, another character forced to put her family before herself. The only actor from across the pond in my list, the wonderfully elegant Susanna Thompson is just the ticket.
Ahh, Marcus. A rebel, a ladies' man (whore), gorgeous, vain, clever, cunning and daringly ambitious. He's Colin but with shed-loads of style and serious sex appeal. No wonder Sasha struggles to control herself. Marcus is the 'new boy', both as a character and in Parliament, so I need someone who will turn heads (just as much as Macfadyen will, yes Sooz, but he's laid up remember!). Who better than the dark, wavy-haired Ben Aldridge? Admittedly he needs to age 10 years, but what are makeup artists for? And there are some scenes in the book I'd pay more than the licence fee to see him in...
Well, that's about it. I could keep going (Jeremy, now he would HAVE to be played by Julian Rhind-Tutt...) but it is here I will stop and hand Sooz back her blog.
Thank you for allowing me here as your guest (and for the tea and Scottish shortbread), it's been a pleasure!
Well, you can check out both books and keep in touch with Emma's progress via the following means:
Power Play - http://amzn.to/1qfUFiK
and if you somehow haven't read Party Games yet... http://amzn.to/1D5fLYY
Emma is to be found at @emsie1979 on Twitter and
on her blog http://emmajgray.blogspot.co.uk/