Inspiration boards: Characters from Death’s Dancer

Pinterest is one of my favorite places to spend time when I’m percolating a novel. I love pulling together boards that help me visualize characters, places, and even the atmosphere or mood of a story. I’m reluctant to reveal my visual character inspiration because I want them to live in your brains as you (the readers) imagine them. If you are the kind of reader who likes to make up visuals for the characters in your head, feel free to skip this post altogether!

Just a note that these images don’t belong to me and all are used solely for visual reference.


I knew Isela would have to be a match for Azrael, if not literally in terms of power, in terms of competence in her own sphere. Professional dancers are incredible athletes as well as artists, and so when I went looking for the physical inspiration for Isela, I started there. Ballerina Misty Copeland was the first of many dancers of color that inspired Isela’s physical, including Tai Jiminez, Alicia J. Graf, and Aesha Ash. That said, when I saw the mockups for the Dancer’s Flame cover, the image of the woman made me gasp aloud. Unfortunately, it’s a stock photograph that I’ve since seen all over the place, but I have to say it really got her right.

Dream Casting: Gugu Mbatha Raw (Beyond the Lights, Belle)


Azrael was one of the hardest to find visual inspiration for–I mean the guy is two thousand years old. I had such a strong image of him in my head, no single real person would do. More than any of the others, he’s an amalgam–Atesh Salih’s eyes, Mads Mikkelson’s refined otherworldiness and the ability to throw big green balls of power at demons. See what I mean.

Dream Casting: Oscar Isaacs (Ex-Machina, Star Wars)


Visually, it’s a toss-up between Tom Hiddleston and Michael Fassbender. Just go with me for a minute. There’s something about the way Hiddleston moves as well as his ability to be sardonic (especially as Loki in that black suit) that just feels like Gregor for me. He’s very tall and lean, but graceful. I feel like Hiddleston is the guy that never trips over his own feet, and knows where his body is in space at all times. That said, Michael Fassbender as Magneto is not only the best part of the X-Men reboots, it’s also a great Gregor audition. 😉

Dream Casting: Michael Fassbender (X-Men, Centurion)


The Queen of Diamonds (aka: Evil Elsa) was so much fun to write, though very little of those sections made it onto the page. I often think of Charlize Theron and also Portia De Rossi (Ally McBeal and Scandal) also has great sarcasm and levity–her characters always seem to enjoy a level of calculated ruthlessness. If Cate Blanchett’s Hella was around when I was writing, I would have pinned her to the board as well.

Dream Casting: Charlize Theron (Snow White and the Huntsman)


The inspiration for godsdancing started with my background in dance and yoga. From there, I tumbled down a rabbit hole of research after googling ‘dance as communication.’ Traditions all over the world recognize dance and movement as a form of language, from storytelling to celebration, often including a spiritual element. Like language, dance is an expression of culture, and it evolves, changing and growing with the people that use it.

That’s all for now (I have to save a little something for Dancer’s Flame and The Talon & the Blade, you know) Next time I’ll take on Rory and Dory, Lysippe, and (some of) the Vogels.

If you’re looking for more, check out my Pinterest boards.