Casting the Characters

Readers have asked me what I think my characters look like. They’ve also asked what actors and actresses would play the characters in my books, so I decided to add this page to my website to satisfy my readers’ curiosity. I’m sure that your mental image of my characters is quite different than mine (in fact, these movie stars merely resemble my own mental images of my characters.)


Penny could be played by actress Charlize Theron

Thanks to a reader named Lollie, I have finally found the perfect movie star to play Joe Montgomery. This is Eric Martsolf, who portrays Ethan Winthrop on NBC’s Passions. He’s currently a soap star, yes, but he’s is most widely known for his critically hailed comic portrayal of the Pharaoh in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which he toured nationally with for four consecutive years. Since he graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle Pennsylvania with a BA in political science with honors, emphasizing in mass media politics and constitutional law, Lollie and I figured he’s probably smart enough to play Joe. There isn’t any question that he looks good enough to be a Navy SEAL, not to mention a former Playboy.
An older version of Joe could be played by actor David Keith.

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Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Learn more about your favorite characters: 


Here are the Myers-Briggs Personality Types of my lead characters. I use the Myers Briggs Typology Inventory to help me define my characters, so that they come alive! To discover your own personality type, take the free personality test here.

Penelope Price “Penny”

Penny is an ISFJ, Guardian Nurturer. This personality type lives in a world that is concrete and kind. They are truly warm and kind-hearted, and want to believe the best of people and are likely to be very sensitive to other people’s feelings. This is why Penny notices Joe’s distress almost immediately.

Quick to lend a hand, ISFJ’s like to keep things in good order and running smoothly, which is just one reason why Penny cares for Joe’s cat and his yard when he’s gone, without being asked to. She keeps her own feelings for Joe buried deep inside as she suffers a sense of inadequacy that is innate to her personality. Doing for others, no matter how thankless the chore, is a hallmark trait of the ISFJ, which is why Penny scrubs the blood from Joe’s carpet without being asked.

People value the ISFJ for their consideration and awareness, and their ability to bring out the best in others by their firm desire to believe the best. It will take Joe a little while to recognize these traits in Penny, but when he does, he turns to her again and again, using her faith in him to rebuild his self-assurance.

The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. The ISFJ has a difficult time saying “no” when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. This is most evident in Penny’s relationship to her younger sister Ophelia, whose addiction years before required much diligence and devotion on Penny’s part, so much so that she lost her fiancée in the process and eventually became a bit of a spinster.

The ISFJ has an extremely well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal, which is why Penny keeps an aesthetically pleasing and functional home, a trait that will keep her husband-to-be quite happy in the future.

Penny and Joe (ISTJ) are a look-a-like pair, according to the Socionics chart, which means that they will share an equal relationship and good collaboration in the course of their marriage, supporting each other’s endeavors without strife.


Joe Montgomery “Monty” – ISTJ Guardian Inspector

Joe Montgomery is, at the start of NEXT TO DIE, an ISTJ gone bad. Now, ISTJs are your most upstanding, dutiful and diligent people, but like any other personality type they can be corrupted. In Joe’s case, he was born too smart, too handsome, and too lucky. All these forces conspired to distort his innate diligent perseverance, so that Joe became Hedonic, displaying traits unnatural to his temperament. He glutted himself on women and whisky (both of which came too easily), and being a low introvert, he behaved more like a gregarious ESTJ, throwing parties that lasted well into dawn.

But that was all before the tragedy that brought him up short.

The death of Joe’s closest comrades changes everything. First Joe gets depressed. U nder stress, ISTJs tend to fall into “catastrophe mode,” berating themselves for things they should have done differently. Thus, Joe blames himself as early as the shower scene in Chapter Two. It will take Penny’s quiet interference and her insistence on putting Joe back together that heads him in the right direction. Her steady nurturing will eventually turn Joe back into the diligent and persevering ISTJ he was meant to be.

By nature, ISTJs are quiet and reserved individuals who are interested in security and peaceful living. Joe almost immediately outgrows his craving for wild parties, and he cuts his party short in Chapter Fifteen.

By nature, ISTJs are “good citizens” who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. This is why Joe agrees to keep an eye on his next door neighbors, Penny and Lia, who are receiving disturbing threats as they work with the FBI to find their father’s killer.

ISTJs also tend to believe in laws and traditions, and expect the same from others. This is what makes Joe a good commander and an excellent watch-dog for Penny and Lia. He will work for long periods of time and put tremendous amounts of energy into doing any task he sees as important to fulfilling a goal. He enjoys being in positions of authority.

ISTJs have tremendous respect for facts. They hold a huge store of facts within themselves, a trait that will save Penny’s life at the end of the book!

They have an appreciation for art and functionality, which is why Joe feels so at home in Penny’s house, where her own gift of interior design appeals to him.

ISTJs are not naturally in tune with their own feelings and the feelings of others, however. This may be why it takes Joe so long to realize his growing affection for Penny. They are uncomfortable with expressing affection and emotion to others, but their sense of duty can override their reserve. Still, ISTJs are likely to express their affection through actions, rather than through words, which is why Joe goes through the trouble of creating a huge banner for Penny, asking her to marry him, rather than having to actually say the words out loud.

Faithful and loyal, ISTJ are extremely traditional and family-minded. They will put forth great amounts of effort at making their homes and family-life run smoothly. Joe and Penny will indeed live happily ever after, become loving and responsible parents.


Penny’s Pumpkin Spice Bread


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs


Grease and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin and oil.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Cook Time : 1hr


Original Title: Too Far to Fall

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