Posted by Ing on 17 February, 2012 // ★★ 21 Comments ★★

Cast of Born to Darkness

So ummmm…yea ATPT peeps I have “THE” Suzanne Brockmann visiting the blog today.  If you haven’t read her books before then you are missing out. Suz is the beloved author of one of my favorite series, Troubleshooters.  I’m so happy to welcome here this morning and to be a part of her countdown to her new Fighting Destiny series.  

Suz is here this morning to give us the 411 on her upcoming book Born to Darkness the first book of the Fighting Destiny series.  I hope you all enjoy learning about this upcoming book and new series from Suz. Take it away Suz…

I’m doing something fun and new to promote the release of BORN TO DARKNESS, my next book, which hits the stores on March 20th. (link to book: Born to Darkness Page)

See, BtoD isn’t just my next hardcover romance novel, it’s also the very first book in a brand new series called “Fighting Destiny.” And even though this new series contains many of the same elements of my reader-favorite Troubleshooters series (the hero is a former Navy SEAL!), BORN TO DARKNESS is a parnormal, with urban fantasy and SF elements, which makes it a little bit different than my other fifty-something books.

So I wanted to go big with my promotional efforts!

I always do a countdown where I post a new page on my website, every Monday through Friday, in the month leading up to my latest hardcover’s release. Blogs, interviews, Facebook chats, links to cool websites (like this one!), recommended reads, contests, quizzes, excerpts from the book. . . These are all things I’ve done in the past. (link to countdown main page: Countdown to Born to Darkness Page)

But for BORN TO DARKNESS, it occurred to me that the question, “How would you cast your book?” is so frequently asked by readers for a very good reason – because try as we might to describe the characters in our books, a picture is worth a thousand words. Isn’t that how that old saying goes?

With that in mind, I set out on something that I’ve called my “Born to Darkness Project,” where I actually, literally “cast” the book. With this cast of actors, I held a photo shoot, where I got hundreds of terrific photos and even some video footage, too. I’ve been making a series of amateur book-trailer-videos, as well as releasing the photos on my website during my BtoD countdown. I’ve also made this really fun 9-piece set of BORN TO DARKNESS trading cards. Check it out at my website at Born to Darkness Trading Cards

Anyway, I have some experience in producing plays and movies, so I used those skills to set up auditions and find actors who looked like the characters who appear in the movie-version of BtoD that plays endlessly in my head! (Or TV series. I think it’s probably more accurate to describe what goes on inside of my head as a “Fighting Destiny” TV series. )

Last fall, I held auditions to cast two of the main characters in the book: the former Navy SEAL hero Shane Laughlin, and the kickass but petite heroine Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie. The other four major supporting roles of Dr. Elliot Zerkowski, Stephen Diaz, Dr. Joseph Bach, and Anna Taylor are all played by actors I’ve worked with in the past, including my very talented son, Jason.

I held the auditions in New York City, just a few days in advance of my scheduled photo shoot with Shirin Tinati, ( who is one of New York’s most talented and creative professional photographers.

Several weeks in advance of my NYC trip, I reserved a rehearsal space over at Theatre Row Studios, and sent out a casting notice to a website called “Actor’s Access.”

Here’s the “character breakdown” that was sent out to the tens of thousands of actors who use Actor’s Access to find auditions:

Breakdown of roles:

Shane Laughlin (age 25 – 30), former Navy SEAL officer; romantic lead; romance novel hero type, honorable and true, alpha male; blond, light brown or red hair; muscular with a youthful face. Must be willing to be photographed in a tank top or shirtless. Dresses in cargo pants and snug-fitting T-shirts, clunky boots.

Dr. Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie (age 22 – 30), the second-in-command of a rescue team run by a scientific R&F facility called the Obermeyer Institute; romantic lead; tough, muscular Lt.-Starbuck type; a petite (under 5’6″) but strong and confident woman, possesses telekinetic powers and a don’t mess-with-me attitude; short hair; pretty but quirky; a real warrior. Dresses in cargo pants, clunky boots, a sports bra and tank top.

After this notice went out, I then received, via the Actor’s Access website, hundreds of headshots and resumes from a wide variety of actors.

And it was kinda amazing how often my character descriptions were ignored. I got headshots from actors who were much too old or much too bald or much too tall, in the case of the women. Mac had to be shorter than the actor I’d already cast to play Anna. She just had to be. (I was less fussy about the length of her hair. True, in the book, Mac has short hair, but long hair is “in,” particularly in NYC. I decided early on that I was not going to ask any actor to cut her hair. I didn’t think that would be very nice of me. )

So I waded through the hundreds of submissions, not just looking at the headshots and other photos, but also checking resumes for height.

One actor, Briana Pozner, stood out to me, right from the start. For me, it was all about her eyes. She was fierce, and to me, she had the perfect intensity for Mac. But she didn’t list her height anywhere on her resume! Which meant that she was probably 6’2”, right?

My husband Ed was acting as my producer for this project, so he was in charge of emailing or calling the actors who had the “right look,” and scheduling an audition for them, and making sure they were available on our already scheduled shoot date.

So he emailed Briana to ask, “Hey, how tall are you?”

Well, when Briana got that question, she was sure it was because we were looking for someone tall, and it was with great resignation that she let us know that she was, in fact, quite petite! We quickly scheduled her, she came in, knocked the audition out of the park, and we hired her, close to on the spot, to be our Mac.

The young man who plays Shane is an actor named Aubrey Grant who also came to our New York audition. He was wearing cargo pants, a T-shirt, and clunky boots when he showed up – and he walked into the room in full-on former Navy SEAL mode. That was impressive!

So Aubrey and Briana joined a cast that already included Eric Aragon, Apolonia Davalos, Jason T. Gaffney and David Singletary, and together those six actors brought the characters in BORN TO DARKNESS to life.

You can see some of the pictures already on my website at Suz’s Website (surf around, you’ll find them!) and you’ll see more if you drop as my countdown continues. And don’t forget to send in an SASE to get some of those trading cards – they’re shiny and gorgeous, and they make great book marks!

Thank you, Ing, for letting me blog here today! I’ll be dropping by throughout the day in case anyone has any questions!


P.S. I’ve got a few book signing in the New York City area in March and April, and I’ve persuaded Aubrey (Shane), Briana (Mac), and Diaz (David) to come to these events to schmooze with readers. And Jason (Elliot) will be with me at my California event! Check out my complete schedule of book signings at Suz’s appearances page!

Dishonorably discharged, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin is down to his last ten bucks when he finally finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, a little-known and believed-to-be-fringe scientific research facility. When he enters the OI compound, he is plunged into a strange world where seemingly mild-mannered scientists—including women half his size—can kick his highly skilled ass.
Shane soon discovers that there are certain individuals who possess the unique ability to access untapped regions of the brain with extraordinary results—including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process. Known as “Greater-Thans,” this rare breed is recruited by OI, where they are rigorously trained using ancient techniques to cultivate their powers and wield them responsibly.
But in the depths of America’s second Great Depression, where the divide between the haves and the have-nots has grown even wider, those who are rich—and reckless—enough have a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that can make anyone a Greater-Than, with the power of eternal youth. The sinister cartel known as The Organization has begun mass-producing Destiny, and the demand is epidemic. But few realize the drug’s true danger, and fewer still know the dirty secret of Destiny’s crucial ingredient.
Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie knows the ugly truth. And as one of the Obermeyer Institute’s crack team of operatives, she’s determined to end the scourge of Destiny. But her kick-ass attitude gets knocked for a loop when she finds that one of the new test subjects is none other than Shane, the same smoldering stranger who just rocked her world in a one-night stand. Although Shane isn’t a Greater-Than like Mac, as an ex-SEAL, he’s got talents of his own. But Mac’s got powerful reasons to keep her distance from him—and reasons that are just as strong to want him close. She’s used to risking her life, but now, in the midst of the ultimate war on drugs, she must face sacrificing her heart.
Click HERE to read an excerpt of Born to Darkness
Pre-order links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Wanna signed copy of Born to Darkness then click HERE
Giveaway Details:
  • Open to US/INT residents
  • THREE copies of When Tony Met Adam (e-short story from Troubleshooters series) up for grabs
  • MUST answer this question: If you could cast your favorite book who are some actors/actress do you have in mind?  Also be sure to leave questions for Suz that you have about her upcoming book and series.  
  • MUST leave e-mail address in comment
  • Giveaway ends Feb 22nd
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  1. Jen C

    Thank you, Suz, for answering our questions and thank you “As the Pages Turn” for connecting us with our favorite authors!

    luv2readrom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  2. Autumn

    Hi Suz!!

    Let’s take a Peep plane to visit Bev in Australia 🙂

    You do such an amazing job describing your characters that it is hard for me to look at real people and think “oh that would work”, especially given the number of times that I read all about the boys 🙂

    That said I do have a few (and am bad with actors names so sorry!!)… The guy who plays Jason Morgan on General Hospital has been my Cosmo for years, the eyes aren’t right but EVERYTHING else is… yum!! The girl who plays his love interest Sam McCall is also amazing and though she is the wrong color always reminds me of PJ from TDD or even Tess or Lyndsey from TS Inc… Beyond that I would have to say most the cast from Angel makes my they could be a SEAL list (Gunn as Harvard or Jazz!! Wesley as Wildcard!! Angel as Mike Muldoon), again yuuummmm!! Honestly though, David Boreanz is just so yummy I can make him star in just about any book I’m reading…ggg 😉


  3. Elizabeth

    Hi Suz,

    WOW I have another place to talk to you now

    I like alot of different books and ‘Don’t Look Down’ by Jennifer Cruisie and Bob Meyer is one of my favorites … I have listened to it a bunch of times (Patrick and Rene read it – enough said there).

    It is about a dog food commercial director, Lucy, who is brought in to finish the last 3 days of shooting on a motion picture and of course high jinx ensue. I’m not sure who I would cast as the female lead Lucy only because she is described as tall (5’10+, with long hair in a braid down her back) … maybe someone like Sandra Bullock who could do the comedy part of it justice tho I wonder how she would fair in the “Wonder Wear” (if you read the book you know what I mean).

    As for JT the male lead, he is described as a handsome but rough special forces military guy who is on set as a stunt double for the male lead in the movie. I picture him to be in his late 30s and while not movie star handsome definatley someone who would knock my socks off atleast …. maybe someone like Matt Passmore from ‘The Glades’ (A & E) or Domenick Lombardozzi from ‘Breakout Kings’ also on (A & E).

    As for one of your books, I have the perfect Jay Lopez … Jon Huertas who plays Javier Esposito on “Castle”. Every time I see him, he screams JAY LOPEZ !!!! Check him out and see what you think!

  4. I can never pick actors to cast in a book role. I have tried and tried, but no one ever really fits well with what I envision when reading the book. At least no one that I know of. Im sure there is someone out there that will fit my vision perfectly but I dont know who they are.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  5. I bet you had so much fun casting actors for your book. When I read books I don’t imagine famous people as the characters in the book, unless the author compares them to an actor, like Julie James describing the main character in A lot like love as the guy from lost (he gets his own book this April).

  6. Hi, Bev from Oz! I want to visit you! I really do!

    And hey, Marcia! Nice to see you here!

    Timitra, I’m with you. I’ve been trying to see all of the Oscar noms and Brad Pitt is in a heck of a lot of them!! (For good reason!)

    Hey, Beki! Dexter and Little Joe say hi to you and your schnauzer gang!

    Stella, you asked how I got the idea to introduce paranormal elements into a SEAL story… Well, actually, when I first outlined the book, the hero wasn’t a SEAL. But then, as I was delving into his backstory, he kinda looked at me and said, “Oh, by the way? I’m a former SEAL officer.” (And I said, “Of course, you are.” )

    I’d really wanted to write something different for quite some time — and I have a large love for SF, so I was looking to bring those elements into the story!

    Hi, Filia! Thank you so much for dropping by!

    Hugs to all,

  7. Congratulations on your new release.
    Can’t wait to have this book, an i love cover to.

    I prefer not to cast characters since I like seeing them in my head.
    Thanks for giveaway.

    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  8. Hi Suz! Congratulations on your new release, Born to Darkness sounds exciting and unique. I can’t wait to read your mix of Navy SEAl and UF/paranormal blend and see what it’s like 🙂

    And thank you for the interesting post, wow you went to great length to cast your characters and I can’t wait to see the final cast and shoot!

    I really like Henry Cavill in everything, he oozes charisma, but maybe he is too “soft” and refined to play a Navy SEAL, he looks rather like a billionaire businessman or aristocrat.

    I love the cover of Born to Darkness! Can I ask how you got the idea to introduce some paranormal elements into a Navy SEAL story? I’m curious 🙂

    Thank you!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. Hi Suz!

    I’m really looking forward to the new series since I love SF, Paranormals, Urban Fantasy and military men!

    I prefer not to cast characters in a favorite book since I like seeing them in my head only as written and not as actors and actresses from real life. However, I think it is great fun to see how others would cast them.

  10. I have already ordered Shane’s Last Stand. I look forward to reading it.

    I feel as if I already read When Tony Met Adam but I’m not sure where I could have read it. Where was it published or was it at the back of another story?


  11. Bev from Oz

    Hi Suz,

    I enjoyed Shane’s Last Stand and am looking forward to reading the Fighting Destiny series although I probably won’t take part in the virtual signing this time since my pocket says I should wait for the paperback 🙁

    By the way, Australia is a nice place to visit too!



  12. Hi, Jen C!

    I think you qualify for the contest! LOL!

    As for your questions, yes, I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing more in the TS series. Hard to stay away from Jules and Robin in particular. And I *do* have at least one more book in mind for them. And of course, there’s Lopez…

    Signing Gainesville: Actually, I’ve never been invited to speak or sign books in Gainesville. (At least not recently…) I’m at the point now where nearly all of my booksignings (certainly those connected to the release of a new book) go through my publisher, Random House. They tend to send me to book stores who have specifically requested a visit from me! (The Vero Beach Bookstore put in a request, as did Books & Co in Dayton Ohio!)

    So you might approach your local bookstore and see if they won’t put in a request for me to visit during my next tour!


  13. Hi, Erika!

    you asked: My question for you Suz is what inspired you to write a paranormal series?

    I’ve wanted to stretch a bit for a while. While I’ve loved writing the TS series, I’ve been doing it pretty much nonstop since 1999. I’ve always been fascinated by the potential powers of the human mind, so when I came up with the idea for the Fighting Destiny series, it seemed like a really good fit!

    — Suz

  14. Allison O

    Hi Suz,

    I have never posted any any of your guest blogs before but I am really excited about this new series. I loved Shane’s Last Stand and I am intrigued by the politics I see emerging in this new series.

    I (along with so many other fans) hope that you do return to the Troubleshooters or, more specifically, Jay Lopez (hint, hint, beg, beg).

    I usually have a hard time casting characters from books but Daniel Sunjata would be my Jay Lopez. I don’t know if it’s having seen him in Grey’s Anatomy so comfortable with the medical side of things and now in “One for the Money” with a bit more attitude but he just seems like a really great fit.

    Enjoy the book signings. Being a Canadian fan I am always jealous of those in the United States who can make it out to see you. The virtual signing is the next best thing though.

    All the very best,

  15. Jen C

    This is a pretty tough contest. I’m an avid romance reader, but for the life of me I cannot connect the characters to real people. Sometimes not even to the people on the covers.

    I adore your TDD and Troubleshooters series and have read them both at least twice, so when trying to answer your question, I started thinking about which characters I could associate with actors and actresses. Nope. Nada. Nothing comes to mind. I even looked at some pictures of current celebs online. So, I thought I’d at least let you know which characters I’d love to see. Three pairs off the top of my head, all from Troubleshooters:
    Jules and Robin (of course! This has to be one of the top romance couples of all time), Sam and Alyssa (they have to be one of the top couples, too, actually), and Savannah and Wild Card (I think Out of Control would make a great movie!). Okay, so I got to the bottom of the post when realized I want to see Izzy and Eden too, so I’m adding it now (obviously).

    Well, this isn’t exactly what you asked for, but it’s all I’ve got (I’d love to win a copy of When Tony Met Adam!)

    As for questions for you, I have two: are you going to write anymore Troubleshooters books (or maybe a spinoff from Jules and Robin’s life in Boston — hey, with all the legislation going through lately, maybe they’ll be moving sometime. Ah, but that’s an awesome house they have. Oh, wait! They can probably still keep it since Robin is such a star. Maybe they should move away, at least temporarily, and whomever they rent it to could be the next hero or heroine…)?

    And for question 2, why don’t you come to Gainesville for a book signing or talk? The university is very sensitive to GLBTQ issues and it’d be great to hear you speak about your experiences including gay characters in such a traditional (and sometimes conservative) genre.

    Well, I really enjoy your books and I look forward to the new series. I wish you great success!

    luv2readrom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  16. Erika

    The series that I’m currently reading is the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honer by Lori Foster. I don’t cast characters when I’m reading books so this project that you’ve started with casting the characters is really cool! I love to read about Military men. I also love to read paranormal books so this series that combines both of my fav’s is awesome!! My question for you Suz is what inspired you to write a paranormal series?


  17. Lee Brockmann (Suz's Mom)

    Hey Suz! I didn’t see how to sign up for the “Giveaway.” Not that I’m going to do it.(You already gave me all the giveaways!) But, did I miss something? I don’t see any instructions, or any place to “click.” Love, Mom

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