Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strong Secondary Characters Rock

Tawny Weber is my guest today. She tells fun stories with lots of little extras that make the story feel real. One of the things I enjoy in any book is good secondary characters. Tawny discusses her view of secondary characters and why they are important to a story.

Writing a new book always means getting to know a lot of characters.  Not only the hero and heroine, but all the rest of the cast that creates their world.  In my February Blaze, A SEAL’s Seduction, Blake and Alexia are clearly the stars.   They were two characters who came, fully formed, into my head.  Both with distinct emotional baggage, with strong personalities and even stronger opinions.  But oftentimes I think it’s the secondary characters who provide the most interesting contrasts for our stars.

Secondary characters are the means to which readers get to know our stars.  Through those friendships, family relationships, adversarial jousts, etc, the reader sees first hand who this person is and how they handle life.  Which is one reason I often include pets in my stories.  I think how a person reacts and interacts with animals, small children and the elderly shows more about their character than pages of introspection.
A SEAL’s Seduction is peppered with strong secondary characters.  Michael, Alexia’s brother is so fun. The only son of an Admiral, he’s the headliner of a gay burlesque show and male model.  And he’s a sweetie.  Cute and upbeat, he’s faced the similar emotional challenges as his sister, but he has a very different way of dealing with them.  He is a wonderful contrast for Alexia, and works really well to show her soft side and help the reader understand why she’d make the decisions she did growing up.

 And then there are the Admiral and Mrs. Pierce.  They were SO fun to write.  Uptight and rigid on the surface, with a deep love of their children that both the reader, and their children, don’t see at first.  As is often the case with parents, it’s their behavior, both past and present, which define the heroine’s beliefs.  Her rules, her fears and her standards come from the history she has with her parents.
But my absolute favorite of all the secondary characters in A SEAL’s Seduction is Lieutenant Commander Cade Sullivan, Call sign: Slick.  Cade’s hot.  He’s sexy and sweet, he’s a leader.  He’s the high school football quarterback, prom king, class president and sweetie who tutored young kids on the downlow.  Like most SEALs, he’s driven.  Powerful and strong, with a clear view of his purpose in life and a devotion to duty that’s unbeatable.  And did I mention that he’s hot?  Whew!  So hot.
Cade is technically Blake’s boss.  He, Blake and Phil were best friends since their BUDs training days, nicknamed the Three Amigos because they were always together.  They even ended up a part of the same SEAL team.   It was while Cade was leading a standard mission that Phil was killed.  Like Blake, the loss of his best friend hits Cade hard.  And like Blake, that loss becomes a major driving force in how Cade views his career, his life and his choices.
There was such a wonderful contrast between these two heroes, yet they are so much alike.  Both are emotionally wounded from their childhood, both are gorgeous and sexy and both are SEALs.  Powerful, strong and determined.
So while I really did love so many of the other secondary characters in A SEAL’s Seduction, Cade is definitely my favorite.  Which comes in handy, as I wrote him his very own love story as soon as I finished A SEAL’s Seduction.  Titled A SEAL’s Surrender, is out in just about a week (March, 2013). 
  • How often do you read a story and fall for one of the secondary characters?  Are there some that you just HAVE to read their story?

Subject: Navy SEAL Lieutenant Blake Landon
Current Status: Two weeks of enforced leave
Mission: Distract himself in any way possible
Obstacle: A woman who tempts him to break the rules…
including his own! 
Navy SEAL Blake Landon (a.k.a. “Boy Scout”) knows the rulebook inside and out. Checked. Rechecked. But when a mission ends badly, his entire team is ordered on leave. And that’s when Blake sees the tall redhead whose dark eyes suggest that the rules— especially those in bed—are made to be broken. 
Scientist Alexia Lane has sex on the brain—partly for work, but mostly because she needs a man who makes her girly parts do the happy dance. Her only no-no? No military dudes. But Blake’s rockin’ bod promises delicious pleasures, and Alexia is halfway to sexual Nirvana before she can find out he’s actually a Navy SEAL. 
And where one rule is broken, more are sure to follow…. Excerpt 
Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first Harlequin Blaze hit the shelves in 2007.  A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she spends a lot of her time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking, and hanging out on Facebook.
Readers can check out Tawny’s books at her website or join her Red Hot Readers Club for goodies like free reads, first chapter excerpts, recipes, insider story info and much more.  And for a limited time, she has a few open spots on her Street Team!  


Helen said...


I have to agree with you about secondary characters they really help make a story lots of fun and of course it they end up with their own story I have to read it

I loved a SEAL'S Seduction it gave me hours of reading pleasure

Have Fun

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I loved the secondary characters so much in my first book, I wrote four sequels following those characters!

L.G. Smith said...

I have great fun with secondary characters. They sometimes get the best lines just to put my main character in her place.

Nice write up, and cool that your secondary character got a love story of his own. It's great when they get a life of their own. :))

Ciara said...

I love secondary characters. They can really make a story. Sometimes I hope the author will write their story in a later book.

jo robertson said...

Great post, Tawny. I do love interesting and quirky secondary characters, like those that Charles Dickens wrote in his books. They add so much color to the stories.

I'm reading Elizabeth Hoyt's Maidenland series and I've noticed that she gives secondary characters very strong roles in books that are not their own, even their own POV. It's interesting and makes reading the next book in the series seamless.

Congrats on your hunky, lovely heroes and the release of your latest book!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Sia! Hi Tawny! Tawny, congrats on the forthcoming release of A SEAL'S SURRENDER. I've got A SEAL'S SEDUCTION on my TBR pile screaming at me not to do any work but "Read me, read me!" It's a very noisy little book, that one! LOL! It's fun setting up great heroes in a current story, isn't it?

Tawny said...

Helen, thank you so much for reading A SEAL's Seduction! I'm so happy you enjoyed it that much :-)

Secondaries are really wonderful, aren't they :-) I've gotten hooked on secondaries so often, I'm practically bouncing on my toes waiting for the author to put out their story LOL.

Tawny said...

LOL Diane, now that is definitely a love of secondary characters!! And as an author, isn't that when you know it's working -when those other people insist their story gets told.

Tawny said...

LOL - I love the idea of a secondary getting the best lines- especially when those lines bring the main character into better focus and put them on the spot, L.G.

Tawny said...

Ciara, I hope you let the authors know you love those characters and want their story. I wrote a series last year - Undercover Operatives - that had an FBI Special Agent who had so much reader email asking for his story that, yes, he got one :-) I loved him, but it wasn't until the readers showed so much interest that I was able to give him his own book. It'll be out in May *g*

Tawny said...

HI Jo and yay - Bandita company always rocks!!!

I adore stories that build that strong, ongoing sense of community through secondaries. Like you say, when a character has enough weight in one story (dialogue, insights, pov) there is such a seamless feel to the entire series.

And thank you so much for the sweet congrats *g*

Tawny said...

Fo!!! Hi :-) Another awesome Bandit whom I adore! Thank you - I am giggling over A SEAL's Seduction being noisy. Now I want to put cartoon legs and arms on it and show it jumping up and down, yelling "Read Me."

I adore writing secondary characters into their own story. In part, because I already know them so well by the time their friends' story is finished *g* but also because there is always a sense of rightness when its finished.

Hugs and thanks for stopping by!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What's the level after secondary? Those are the ones I really need to work on.
My second and third books both have a secondary character I really liked and it would be cool to follow their stories.

Mark Koopmans said...


This was a fun interview - and not because me and Harlequin don't often meet:)

When I start WIP#2, I *can't* wait to work on the secondary folks...think it may be more fun than the leads... perhaps :)

PS... thanks for the kind words Wednesday :)