Taking a little break from the We Go Together launch things to do this! The romanceclass authors are always coming up with new ways to promote our self-published books. The Backlist Revival Project is a little thing we came up with to bring up old books. This month, the gorgeous Bianca Mori's One Night At The Palace Hotel hits the spotlight. I agreed to play casting director and find characters for this book, and Bianca gave me her own list. Let us know what you think in the comments!
It's the night before The Palace Hotel opens, and the entire city is abuzz with what everyone is calling a throwback to the Gilded Age. Everyone, that is, except Consuelo De la Red. Faced with a destiny picked out for her and a dream she just can't forget, she confronts the choices she has made and the man she was forced to reject. When the past comes crashing into the present, will she listen to her duty, or give in to the urging of her heart?
I have always loved Bianca Mori's approach to writing--the way she doesn't shy away from the lush, old world glamour of her characters, and creates worlds that I always want to be a part of (that's the lola in me talking). It always feels like I'm reading right off the screens of my TV, but has such rich heart and detail to it that I don't feel too alienated from her characters. Anyway, on to the dream cast!
Sam Jose - The love interest, the underdog and the guy we root for. While Bianca and I had different ideas of him, the thing that was constant between us was that he must have a pretty smokin' body. Read the book and you'll realize why.
"So I actually wrote ONATPH way before ANTM Cycle 22 and I had a very specific guy in my head when writing Sam. Sam is a Filipino who migrated to the US, breaks prissy Consuelo from her conyo shell, gets his heart broken and becomes this successful self-made man. I pictured an Asian guy with a lot of that "amboy" swagger, and of course, a lot of alpha male sex appeal. It wasn't until I saw ANTM that I finally found the peg for this guy who's been in my head for so long!"
Meanwhile, I had this guy go straight to my head the moment Sam appears in the book. Everyone say hello to Conrad Ricamora, who appears in How to Get Away With Murder and the off-Broadway show To Write Love on Her Arms. He plays a shy character on the show, but look at that face! Those eyebrows (that bod)! There's something mysterious but warm about him that I think really complements Sam, the character. Did I mention that he's Filipino, and he sings, too? Consuelo dela Red - Ah, Consuelo, Consuelo. I have to admit, I didn't like her at all in the beginning--but I think that was the point. But the end of the book was enough to make me want to root for her all the way. As with most prissy girls, she doesn't let herself get weighed down by anything except her family's expectations, so we needed a character who reeked alta sociedad.
"If I had to cast a real person, it'd be Bianca King. Because she's just the perfect-looking specimen of the spoiled mestiza, and I think she plays "thwarted" very well because it works so nicely against her haughty features." Bianca also shared with me the original peg for Consuelo--a character from Neil Gaiman's Sandman Vol. 8, "A Tale of Two Cities."
Call me a classist, but I can't imagine an ultimate high society girl without thinking that she should be part-something. Solenn fits the Consuelo dela Red bill for me, because I imagined her as this long, tall and elegant woman, standing out from the crowd because she's been raised that way. And she has that resting bitchface that I think fits the character, not that they don't know how to smile and have fun, of course!
Benjo Yu - Now we come to the one that rounds out our little love triangle. Benjo is the story's 'villain', the kind of character that serves as the foil to Sam's hardworking, almost quiet nature. He's the kind of guy "your family wants you to be with."
"From the first time a beta reader of an early version of this draft asked me who I pictured while writing Consuelo's handsome but cold Chinese real estate developer fiance, there was only one guy for me: Xian effin' Lim. I think he would be such an awesome villain."
No offense to Bianca (and I realize this is odd, since she did write the book), but I pictured someone completely different for Benjo. I do this thing sometimes where I ignore the author's description and imagine a character based purely on their name, the way they speak and the things they do. So for Benjo, I imagined...
I realize he's not exactly Chinese, but look at Derek Ramsay! He's got that face that's out to steal you from your boyfriend. Plus he's got the 'perfect boy' accent down, pat. He's the kind of villain you want in a love triangle, discounting the fact that he's been in so many already, because he's got a distant, but handsome. I think Derek can match Solenn in terms of the way they're 'supposed to look', which makes him the perfect villain for the story.
So we've cast our leads, but this is a travel blog (sort of), I've decided on a perfect place to set as the Palace Hotel. This place oozes luxe and charm, and has the Jazz age feel that they wanted the hotel to have.
Say hello to the Shanghai Waldorf Astoria. The building is as legendary as the Bund it is on, and has been a staple in Shanghai since its Golden Age in the 1900s. People flock to the hotel for the legendary Long Bar, but the hallway alone gave me all the Palace Hotel feels! It's the kind of place you could film a whole movie in.
That's it for One Night at the Palace Hotel! I'll be sure to post more once I get my hands on a laptop (mine died!). I can't wait to share more photos!
In the meantime, entertain yourself with what happens behind closed doors at the Palace Hotel. (Mature readers only, please!)
Get it on Amazon and Smashwords!
About the Author
Bianca Mori is the author of the Takedown Series and “Tame The Kitten.” She is interested in exploring power in romance and enjoys reading about demimondaines, pin-up girls and Jazz Age personalities and hopes to reinterpret these in her stories. She lives with her family and a hyperactive pug.