Casting the Novel: The End Begins: The Nine

A warm welcome is due today to Jeffrey Zweig II who joins us again on the blog for a fun guest post that plays off of both his career as a novelist and his film making experience. Today, Jeff is going to give us the scoop on his dream cast for The End Begins: The Nine, available now on Amazon in both print and kindle editions. Thanks for joining us, Jeff!

Hello Readers!

Before we get started, let me thank Gwen for letting me post on her blog today. It’s an honor and I’m happy to oblige.

Before becoming a writer, I was a film maker. I took it seriously in high school and throughout college leading into getting my major in 2008 from Indiana State University. Throughout that time I’ve directed, acted, produced, wrote, been a production assistant, and been an extra. One of my dreams during that time was to have one of my screenplays be a Major Motion Picture, That still holds true today.

I’m always on the lookout for actors who could play the roles of the characters I create. I like to at least know what my characters would look like in the real world given the choice.

Not being so heavily involved with film making these days, I have to go off of stuff I’ve seen that I’ve liked, has made the news, or become popular so most of my choices will be known to an American audience. I’ve no qualms going another direction if an actor can perform the roll.

Cassarah Telmar, our young Alchemist of the Nine, was a hard decision. Cass is young, but has a maturity and discipline going beyond her years. She shows this through her words and her natural demeanor. The role requires the ability to play off an awkwardness from other characters that are “in the know” to the norms of the world she’s experiencing for the first time. The role would also require actress to be heavily involved in the action aspect of the film.

My choice for Cassarah Telmar would be Emma Stone.

I’ve familiar with Emma Stone from her roles in ZombieLand and Crazy Stupid Love. I feel she has that potential for a role like Cass. Her face is so expressive – emotion comes through so subtly, I feel she has the chops to deliver the right kind of characteristic-atmosphere – a know it all like Bones (from the TV series of the same name), pulling off the oblivious super nerd while going through some growing pains. Though one might question her in the physical portion of the role, I think if given some training she could pull it off.

James Kesumare has the look of a young guy but shows hints that he’s anything but. At the beginning of the book he’s a very typical teenager who’s thrown into this parallel world with a magic sword and is the center of the villains plot. But by the end of the movie he’s in the thick of the action spouting stuff about wibbly wobbily, out-of-this-world sciencey stuff while blasting bad guys with laser powers. The actor has to showcase that change and be able to be physically capable of the role.

The role of James, for me, would go to Anton Yelchin.

I first saw him in 2009 when Star Trek and Terminator 4 came out. It wasn’t until I saw him in the remake of Fright Night that I was convinced that he could do the job. Evidence from The Beaver and Law and Order helps me to solidify that decision.

Just on appearance he looks young (he’s only twenty three), but he’s shown an immense amount of talent from portraying a vast amount of young men’s roles with such variety and believability – this role would fit him since James makes such a dramatic change on his adventure. Anton had had very physical roles in action movies as well that plays in his favor, having done stunts and seems to like actions, paranormal, scifi films.

Caleb Knight is a mess all his own even being older and more experienced than the rest of the trinity. He is divorced, lost a child, he’s been battling one war or another for half of his life. And now he’s on this crazy adventure that continues to bend backwards almost everything he knows about the world. Yet he remains a rock of stability whereas Cass and James are anything but.

Also the choices I have are American actors, where someone like Caleb is obviously going to be from Europe and might have an accent, I’ve chosen a person who has the ability to change himself for a role, and one who could slip right in.

My choice for Caleb would be Christian Bale.

Bale’s known for gems like American Psycho, the recent Batman franchise, among other things I like such as 3:10 to Yuma, the Fighter, and Terminator 4. He’s got the chops for a role like Caleb who is a war vet having to deal with a complex mission and his own feeling towards the crew he’s raveling with. Bale is able to put himself into many different roles, have different accents, change his appearance. He also has the physical capability and the presence that the role requires. He would help add some weight and experience to a group who are rather young.

Thanks again for Gwen hosting me! She’ll be posting something for my blog very soon. In the meantime, please check out my book on Amazon right now!


Author Interview with Jeffrey Zweig II

Jeffrey Zweig II

Jeffrey Zweig II

My special guest to today’s blog is fantasy author Jeffrey Zweig II. Jeffrey is the author of the brand-new novel, The End Begins: The Nine, and also runs the blog “Stories of a Sleepless Mind” where he spotlights excerpts from his works-in-progress. The End Begins is a great story with such a dramatic twist that I’ll have to work hard to restrain myself from spoiling you!

And so with no further ado, I bring you an interview with Jeffrey Zweig II.

Gwen: Hi, Jeffrey, I’m excited to have you here. First, let’s start by having you tell the readers a little about your book.

Jeffrey: Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about me and my work, Gwen.

The End Begins: The Nine is a science fiction, fantasy story about Cassarah Telmar, a sorceress who finds out the students of her Academy, The Nine, are being used in experiments to pilot a war for a group known as The Coalition. She escapes their program and sets off to bring them down. However, her actions could devastate the people she’s trying to save.

Gwen: One of the things that I found particularly interesting was how this novel mixes real-world events and history as part of a broader alternate universe beginning with World War II. How did you decide at what point to alter history, so to speak?

Jeffrey: One reason I think I chose World War II (WWII) is because people know about it. So many movies, video games, TV shows are based on it – it’s familiar, and since I had so many strange elements going, I wanted that familiar base to draw from. I did some research on “what if” scenarios during the war – as in what if a battle went this way or that, and in turn a much different outcome could have happened. So I toyed with who was involved, how long it went, and tried incorporating some relevant issues one could see today. WWII always has a lot of potential to work with, and making those changes opens up many more things I can work with to make it my own.

Gwen: During The End Begins: The Nine, the reader is taken on a journey that shifts focus to a number of different characters. Changing perspective from one character to the next really gives us, as the readers, a much broader sense of the world that you’ve created. Of your main characters, who was the most challenging for you to write and why? How did you get into their head?

Jeffrey: The hardest to write for was James. First, he’s like Cass where he’s foreign to the world he’s journeying through because he’s dealing with a form of amnesia. But at the same time, he’s coming from a world that is similar to our modern day. So I had to resist the urge to constantly compare one to the next as a running commentary.

Second, because he initially starts as a mini-macguffin and has so little to do with the start of the story, he was a risk to have. I had to make him relevant but not be obtrusive. That was also hard to do. Whereas most of the characters had a clear objective at the start of the novel, James did not. He was kind of a wild card, and that can be dangerous for an author if the reader doesn’t want to go along with it.

Gwen: I know that in my own writing, minor characters often end up being some of the characters that I like the best. Was there any character that you’d like to focus on more in future stories?

Jeffrey: Kevin Barone – the group’s mechanic, tech guy, and the outsider of the independent nation of Arcovia. I think because he is so rooted in the world being a kind of drifter, that through him I could explore the world in more detail. Having known people like that, I have fun writing someone who is a little more relaxed/reckless than Cass. But in my story he evolves from that drifter, to becoming heavily relevant to many people, and I would be interested to see how his actions affect those around him trying to keep that independence.

Gwen: Another big part of your story is culture. One of my favorite scenes was when Cass ended up going into the world and had to learn how to interact among people and ideas with which she wasn’t familiar. How do you prepare to write a scene like that?

Jeffrey: First I had to decide while building the world for my novel how different things were on that personable level. Once I had that, I had to think of Cass, more or less, as a foreigner as if she visited another country entirely (Which you could argue is the case here). How would I (or Cass) react when dealing with food, social norms, or science. I did my best to make things different, but not too different in that respect. I’m reminded of an exercise you would do in a creative writing course, if you were an alien exploring another world – that’s basically what I had to do.

Gwen: Tell us about something that you think makes the Nine particularly unique.

Jeffrey: This is a hard one, truth be told. Because I could say a lot of things that appear to make it unique, but you can insert that answer for many other books, games, movies, etc. which are great.

“Her actions could devastate the people she’s trying to save.”

So instead I’ll get down to the core of the human element for Cass, our main protagonist – it’s a story with a very straightforward question – what is your choice? Cass’s choice – to live a slave or die with freedom is a choice many people are faced with in one way or another. Maybe its being tied to a job, an abusive relationship, or maybe its on your death bed living on life support. Very different situations, but that choice is a choice people may live with every day. Some stories are caught up in the grand scheme of the major plot. Really, in the end, the book is about Cass’s choice in her own self worth when she learns everything she has too. That is one of the things I think make this book unique – the boldness of that one choice amidst a epic sci-fi plot.

Gwen: Where else do you see yourself going with future novels? Will you be continuing in this universe or do you have other stories ahead? Tell us a little bit about your future projects.

Jeffrey: I will be continuing this universe in a sequel but it will follow a different character this time around. I hope to have it ready by the end of the year, maybe 2013. Right now, it’s still in the outline, rough draft stages so I don’t want to get into that right now, other than its coming.

My future projects are two Novelettes called Lost in a Dream-scape (tentative title) which is a high epic fantasy about a man who discovers their dreams may not have been dreams at all. And I also have The Tales of Captain Force, which follows a journalist as he discovers the secret of the heroic urban legend of his city.

Other than that, working on short stories I hope to have done before the summer rolls around.

The End Begins: The Nine

The End Begins: The Nine

Gwen: Last but certainly not least, what’s the best way for readers to find out more about you and the book?

Jeffrey: My blog, Stories of the Sleepless Mind, is updated most frequently with information about what I have going on which has not only has bi-weekly updates with prototype material of new stuff I’m working on, but interviews and nuggets of advice to my readers. There’s a link to a Wiki I’ve established giving more in depth information about ongoing projects and stuff I’ve published in the past. You can also find me on facebook and twitter, which is the best way outside my own e-mail to chat me up. I’m always interested with connecting with authors and readers!

The End Begins: The Nine is currently available at in both Kindle and print editions.