Monday, June 16, 2008

Characters Waiting in the Wings

Have you ever read a book and become so intrigued by a secondary character that you wanted to have that character's story in hand Right Now? Have you ever then emailed the author to see if that character gets to be the hero or heroine of her next book?

I can't tell you how often a secondary character intrigues a writer. Sometimes it's darn hard to keep that character from playing too big a part in the book, and long after the book is done that character's own story pesters, nags, nudges, and sometimes finally gets a book of his or her own. That's how series are born!

Such was the case in the Magic trilogy. In Midnight Magic, Gwendolyn had two sisters. As part of the plot, both of those sisters were sent away from home. I kept wondering what happened to them! So Emma's story became reality in Twilight Magic, and Nicole's story is told in Magic In His Kiss (which will be on the shelves in a couple of weeks!).

Confession time. It should come as no surprise that authors are also readers, and we easily get caught up in other authors' stories.

As soon as I finished reading Scream For Me by Karen Rose, I sent her an email telling her I loved the book – then asked her for the stories of two of her secondary characters. She tells me I'll get my way with at least one of them. Made my day!!

So back to my original questions. What's your experience with secondary characters? Is there one in particular whose story you're just dying to read (or write)?

Shari Anton


Carolyn said...

If the secondary character is compelling, then I expect -- if not demand -- that his or her story will be coming. And soon.

I wrote a book (Lord Ruin) that came out in 2002, and I probably get an email at least every couple of months asking me to please write the stories of the secondary characters. I hope to some day, depending on some contractual issues.

As a reader, I love following secondary characters into their stories. I get to revisit a world I enjoyed. I confess though, I like this best when the hero and heroine of the previous story keep as low a profile as possible. I don't mind at all if they don't even show up.

Shari Anton said...

Great points, Carolyn! Hope you get to write those follow up books someday.

mec said...

Keep hoping that Gennita Low will be able to write Alex and Tess' story.

Barbara said...

I love reading series, seeing how the secondary characters get their own stories. I enjoy reading about the main characters from previous stories interacting with them, to hear that they are doing well, etc. I can't think of any characters right now that I'd like to see have their own stories, I have so many now to catch up on.

Joyce Ann said...

Seems to me the sexier guy is always the one that's just been pushed off the page while the hero and heroine get it on. Is that, do you suppose, because he's still available? Anyway, I too have so many characters I want to know more about that I can't begin to mention them. I think an author does herself a good service when she creates a secondary character worthy of following.

Shari Anton said...

Mec -- I know several people agree with you.

Barbara - It's an old story -- too many books, not enough time! And I really love your avatar :).

Joyce Ann -- Any sexy male who gets pushed off the page certainly deserves his own story! That goes for any intriguing female, too!

Caffey said...

I'd always ask for another characters story!! If not as a reader, I always wonder what happened with that characters life, if s/he found their stories. I remember that one told me they'd have their story but then the publisher changed their mind. :( I probably ask the author to put a short story on them so there is some closure. I guess thats the word, I like to have 'closure' and with most romance books, the character has their story but still conflicts in there about other characters and I so want to see their story!
I'm reading THE LEOPARD PRINCE by Eizabeth Hoyt right now and within the story is a character of Violet, the sister of the Heroine. I'm only half way through, so I don't know her outcome too, but I do want to see her to have a story! Its early to say but there's something about her that makes me want to know if she gets more joy in her life.
I'm glad to be here! I love alot of the books here and LOVE your medievals Shari, A joy to meet you!
tbranxiety @ yahoo . com

Shari Anton said...

Hi Cathie,
It's wonderful to meet you, too!

Unfortunately, we aren't always able to write some of the stories we'd like to. Fortunately, some of us are able to do Most of them. And I agree that Elizabeth writes fascinating characters!!

Caffey said...

Hi Shari!

Oh I sure understand Shari. Both in the way in that maybe the publisher wants you to go in another direction with other books or you do. So I have to make up the story in my head that they all had the HEA because I know from reading the other books of that author that they would have done that if they did the story. Anyways, you can just call me obsessed. LOL. Really I love reading romance and especially love historical romances, they bring so much good for me. I'm still stuck here on bedrest but hope to find your book soon too. I don't think I missed any of them yet. Its really great to finally meet you!

Caffey said...

Hi Carolyn! Oh I remember Lord Horny (Sorry, I'm a reader who wrote to you that I loved this book and thats what I called him and you laughed, I think!) This was a fab book! I hope you can write the secondary characters some day. I am looking forward to your new one too, what a beautiful cover and I read the blurb of MY WICKED ENEMY and it sounds like a winner. So great to hear you having a new book out. Congrats! I'm among some authors here that I love to read and so glad to have found the blog. I'll try not to hog it up posting alot, but sometimes hard when I get excited about new books out and the like.

Georgie said...

I love it when good secondary characters get their own stories. Sometimes reading another character's story is better than reading a sequel. It keeps the fictional world fresh while allowing me to dive back in to the lives of characters I've come to enjoy.

Shari Anton said...

Hugs, Cathie! Bed rest can be a real bummer. You can come back and talk to us any time!!

Georgie -- I remember some romances (way back) when the same hero/heroine appeared in book after book. IMHO, I'm rather glad that those aren't the norm anymore. Like you, I like the fresh story in a familiar world. Thanks for commenting!

Carolyn said...


Thanks so much for your kind comments! Lord Horney: yes, I laughed. And I'm laughing again, too. That's funny! I just found out Lord Ruin has been reprinted, too, so it's available once again.

I'm pretty stoked about My Wicked Enemy and I'm glad you're looking forward to it.

And Georgie: I totally agree with you. That's exactly why I love reading books like that.

Elizabeth Hoyt said...

Wait! Wait! Lord HORNY?! Which book is this, Carolyn? I'm going to have to pick it up!

Glad you're enjoying THE LEOPARD PRINCE, Caffy! I don't have plans to write a book about Violet (boy, do I ever get a lot of requests for her!) but you never know . . . ;-)