There’s a children’s book and kiddie camp song that my son used to love when he was a preschooler called We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. (Anyone familiar with it?) I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately because I’m doing an Austenesque version of it this month…except, in my case, it would be called: I’m Going on a Bingley Hunt!
Well, because I’ve gotten a significant number of emails, tweets and even some Facebook requests from readers this year requesting a sequel to my latest ebook romantic comedy Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match and asking if I’d consider writing Jane and Bingley’s story this time.
Special requests from awesome and supportive readers like these are ones I take very seriously and, in pondering the possibilities, I realized I did have a few ideas already about what might happen between these characters… So, I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking and some plotting and even several pages of draft writing.
But, I ran into a little snag and I’d love the help of the Austen experts, i.e. All of YOU!!
Here’s the thing, I need to find an image of an actor or male model to fit my Bingley. The Bingley that I described in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match doesn’t look like either of the two famous Bingleys from the most well known Pride and Prejudice movie adaptations. In fact, for a number of narrative reasons, I’d set out to make him resemble my Darcy character. One major reason is because — in my novel — “Will Darcy” and “Bingley McNamara” are first cousins. So, my Bingley needs to be tall and lean and dark haired and, of course, rather handsome. He, along with his heroine Jane, are also not quite so obviously nice at first glance as they were in Austen’s original (!!), so he doesn’t necessarily need to have the same look of innocence as was portrayed so well by Crispin Bonham-Carter in 1995 or Simon Woods in 2005.
To give you a sense of his personality, this is a segment from the first scene in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match that introduces my particular incarnation of Bingley:
In the Regents General Hospital cafeteria, Dr. William Darcy gulped his last swallow of the Mocha-Cappuccino De-latte Delight he’d gotten at the gourmet coffee shop nearby. Then he glared at his cousin. “No, I don’t want to bet a hundred bucks on whether or not you can catch a fish stick between your teeth.”
Bingley McNamara grinned, crossed his long legs at the ankles and propped them up on the metal chair to Will’s left. “Face it, Cuz. You’re intimidated by my varied and remarkable skills.” He tossed his last greasy fish stick in the air and caught it neatly between his incisors. He chomped down. “I’d have won,” he said around a mouthful of deep-fried pseudo-fish. “My talent frightens you.”
“The only thing about you that frightens me is your insatiable gambling habit.” Will leveled his most disapproving stare at the guy but, as usual, his cousin ignored him.
“Aw, c’mon. Everyone makes a wager now and then.”
“Only if ‘now and then’ means every fifteen minutes.” Will scanned his watch. “Go. Get out of here. Although this may be a foreign concept to you, I’ve actually got a job.”
“I’ve got a job,” Bingley said, sounding indignant. “It’s just a little less, oh, how should I put it? Obvious.”
“Overseeing your trust fund is not a bona fide career. It’s a sick obsession. Although how it manages to grow profits, despite your wagering addiction, is a mystery.”
Bingley snorted, guzzled his short Colombian espresso then sent Will a semi-serious look. “Listen up. Did you give any more thought to my proposition last month? Any bites online?”
Will turned his back on his favorite and only cousin, whom — at present — he wanted to strangle to within a millimeter of the rich party boy’s life. He pitched the remains of their lunch in the trash then loosened his tie.
“And what if I have?” Will said finally, knowing he’d regret even considering Bingley’s latest ludicrous bet. But, dammit, he needed the help and he needed it now. “Are you prepared to follow through if I can get the lady to materialize?”
“Not just any lady,” Bingley reminded him. “A girlfriend who could take an active role in your precious clinic.” He sniffed. “That’ll give you a shot at wanting to be with her long term. I expect a five-date minimum, and I need to meet her before the second Sunday in May.”
“I know you don’t believe me, but I’m looking out for your best interests here, Cuz. Before I plunk my money into some do-good operation, I want proof that you’ve finally gotten a life outside of this, this…morgue.” He waved the arm with the Rolex attached to it in a wild loopy arc. “Evidence that you’ve scored a little balance in your daily life — among other things.” He waggled his brows suggestively.
Will marveled at how a guy who resembled him physically could act with all the subtlety of a Saturday-morning cartoon character.
“So keep the movie-ticket stubs from your dates,” Bingley said. “Learn how to use the camera app on your phone, or even grab your old Polaroid, and snap some pretty pictures of the two of you. Save her emails and make sure she shows up happy and talkative by my birthday. It’s on Mother’s Day, this year.” He tilted his head as if in deep contemplation. “Whoever this chick is, I wanna see her hanging on your arm with lovely-dovey eyes only for you.”
So, I’m on a Bingley hunt, and I want to find a great one! I’d love to have a strong mental snapshot of him as I write his story… If you were a Hollywood casting director and could audition an actor or two for this role, who is somebody (tall, lean, dark and yummy!) that you’d want to see play the part? He could be British, American or Australian or any nationality, I’m just looking for a few names of actors that I can search for online that some of you think might fit that description – or, if you have a link to one of his pictures on the web, I’d enjoy seeing that, too. I love blending characteristics when I write, so the more Bingley-ish men I can find, the better!!
And, finally, for anyone interested, the paperback copies of Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match are available now on both Barnes & Noble and Amazon!! So, if you’d prefer to read the story in print, please check them out :).