My personal Visual Cast of The Dante Chronicles: Zacharias Neason
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My personal Visual Cast of The Dante Chronicles: Zacharias Neason

As I write, I envision certain actors in the parts to give voice to the dialogues. Zacharias or Zach, is a very special case because he is part fantasy character and part real life heavy metal hero.
As a single woman in the dating world, I must say…it’s fugly out there. We live in a disposable society where it is very easy to become cynical about romance, but on the written page, and in the hands of a fantasy writer, love and all its benefits becomes a dream come true.
Zach Neason is in all honesty, my dream man. He is a romantic, a musician, a caring individual who jumps at the chance of helping people. He is damaged, but he has learned to channel that damage into his passions. He loves with reckless abandon, good natured, funny, and he sees the good in everyone. Able to admit when he’s wrong, this family oriented young man is grounded and stable. Sure, he has secrets…but hey, who doesn’t? As far as looks go, I could have gone in several directions since there are so many different aspects of a man’s appearance that I appreciate, but bottom line the one person who came to mind first and never left…was Jason Newsted, former bassist for Metallica.
Introducing Zach in The Kindred, I recalled two images of Newsted that were the most revealing to me. One, was the first time I saw him in concert at a Day on the Green at the Oakland Coliseum. The band was playing “Seek and Destroy” and Newsted was “in the moment” with the song, and started flinging his hair in time with the rhythm line. Under the stage lights, his reddish-brown hair looked like flames shooting from his head to the sky. I was transfixed and couldn’t take my eyes off of him, even when my then boyfriend said, “I’m bored. Let’s go.” Well, I didn’t go. I stayed. Boyfriend hit the road on BART (local rapid transit) and kept going. I’d already been a fan of Metallica, but this just made me like them even more.
The second image was the last time the band performed together publicly on television. They were part of an MTV show and Newsted appeared more somber and subdued; quietly playing, still enthusiastic but more controlled. He was dressed all in black with a knitted cap. I knew from the performance that something was wrong. It wasn’t until a few days later that I learned he was leaving the band.
While Newsted helped me to create Zach, this blog is about casting and imagery. While those images gave me the fodder to move forward, as the character was fleshed out, I needed more to work with…that’s when I remembered a young Canadian actor named Kyle Schmid.
I first found Schmid in a Canadian television show called “Blood Ties” from The Blood Books novels by Tanya Huff (great series, fun reads). He played Henry Fitzroy, Vampire, descendant of Henry the eighth and now a graphic novelist. Seems campy, but Schmid made him fun by keeping the Royal air about him without being snobby and loving every bit of being a Vampire. One trait that makes me pick him for Zach…when he is eating up a scene with his fellow actors, which he does a lot, he gets a twinkle in his eye. You must trust when I say that this is not lost on me!
I am certain that you, the reader, saw someone else when you first read Zach…I encourage you to share your “vision” here and why. I am always interested to hear what images my writing brings to mind in my readers.

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