Casting a Novel: Soldier of Fortune’s Mia the Dodger

Finding the perfect dodger, a foil for Gideon and a vibrant character in her own right,  was tough. I don’t watch a lot of shows with 12-to-14 year-olds in them–Mia, like most dodgers, has at best a rough idea of her birthdate–so mostly I was creating from scratch.

It didn’t take long to form a picture in my head, but by publishing date I had pretty much

finding perfect dodger
“… it ain’t Gideon’s bein’ here that caused the troubles,” Mia said, her eyes glimmering with determination. “The troubles was already there, hidin’ like, until he come in and turned on the lights.” Soldier of Fortune, Chapter 39

despaired of finding a real-life analogue. Looking back at the writing, I was mostly fascinated by her hair, the way it curled or sparkled in the mist, or the way Elvis could hide in it.

That said, a few days ago it hit me quite suddenly there was one actress who, when she was younger, perfectly embodied Mia. She’s grown up a lot since but, luckily for me, the book has no ‘use by’ date, so for now and forever, the Mia in my head (I don’t dare cast for the reader’s imagination), is Amandla Stenberg, AKA Rue from The Hunger Games, AKA Mia the Dodger, friend of Elvis and Gideon and all around firecracker, who made her first appearance in Soldier of Fortune.

And best of all, in the meta that is my head, Mia has now saved Rue’s life, which means I can sleep better.

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