Friday, December 31, 2010

Irene's Characters

I keep the faces of my characters posted on a bulletin board in front of my computer while I work on my books. For Irene Fleming's silent movie series, these are often the faces of actual silent film stars that I find on the 'net. It struck me that you might like to meet some of them.

Here's Emily, the protagonist of The Edge of Ruin and The Brink of Fame. She is portrayed here by Billie Burke, even though the real (more or less) Billie Burke makes a cameo appearance early in the second book. Emily wears hats with great flair, as does Miss Burke.

Here is he husband, the handsome, feckless Adam Weiss, portrayed by the divine John Gilbert. Emily loves her husband dearly, although he is unworthy of her. They are in business together in Fort Lee, New Jersey, producing silent movies.
Their archenemy, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison (played by himself) never appears in the book, but hovers over the couple as an eminence grise who seeks to put them out of business. Their silent partner, Howie Kazanow, hovers over them as well. Vultures, vultures everywhere. As if things weren't bad enough, a murder occurs on the set. Is Adam the killer? One of the actors? Or someone else altogether? Can our Emily find out in time to save her husband? Can she finish the four movies in time to fulfill the contract with Kazanow?

Here are a few of the actors in the Weiss's little company:

Faye Winningly
(Olive Thomas)

Erno Berg
(Gosta Eckman) 

Vera Zinovia
(Theda Bara)

Robert Montmorency/Chalmers
(John Barrymore)

There are others that I kept pictures of while I was working: the chief of police, the labor agitator, the two Mohawk Indians. But you should read the book and see them in your own mind's eye. The Edge of Ruin. Later I'll show you pictures of the characters in The Brink of Fame, where Emily goes to Hollywood.

--Kate Gallison/Irene Fleming


  1. Kate, I love seeing these faces. Some of them look quite similar to how I imagined them. Except for Thomas Edison. I thought I knew what he looked like, but I didn't. And isn't it great that your wit comes so elegantly off the page that it seems effortless, as Stephanie said. GOOD WORK!

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Maybe you're used to pictures of Edison as a younger man.