Creating Secondary Characters

In every book I write there is a secondary character who’s tried to take over the story. In OFF THE GRID it was Sophie’s sister. I could have written a whole series based around Marnie’s character as a Finder in the infamous Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. In BACKLASH it was Jason, Lily’s student, a teenage boy who was targeted by gang members. In EXPOSED, Sunni, the mistress of Kate’s father, Bill Logan, drew me in and she could have had her own story, too. Ian Connelly in GONE stole my heart from the beginning with his silence and his gruffness.

They are essential in helping tell the story of the protagonists by either supporting or resisting them. They are a great way to drop hints, reveal information the reader needs to know but the protagonist might not, and to foreshadow events. They also represent the state of the world being created in the story. They have essential knowledge of the inner workings of your world, be it contemporary, paranormal, or historical. They have secrets, their own lives, and their own motivations but remain in the background. They are the stalwart mentor, the quirky best friend, the loyal confident, the cynical co-worker, or the jealous family member.  

If you’re a Harry Potter fan and I mention Dolores Umbridge, her snickering laugh and pink outfits will instantly come to mind and make you shudder. Large Marge in Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a strong, resilient big-city transplant who represents the landscape of Alaska and what is needed to survive there. Often in romance, secondary characters are way to introduce the protagonists of the next book in the trilogy or series. They are a way to carry the theme or premise of the series to the next book and give us a delicious insight to what will happen next.

And, ultimately, they exist to help keep us entertained!

Until next time…

Who are some of your favourite secondary characters?

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Fictional Small Towns

I grew up in a small town. Or, to be exact, on a farm outside a small town. And I’m talking small. Not city small. But with a population that numbered in the hundreds. Like under five hundred, if you counted dogs and cats. And I couldn’t wait to leave. I’m a city girl at heart. It’s where I feel the most comfortable and relaxed. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love small towns or appreciate the people who live in them. Because, I do! 

As a writer, I think the fascinating thing about small towns is the sense they are small and big at the same time. Small because they take up less geographical space and have far fewer inhabitants than their urban counterparts. Big because that small space hosts people with the same big hopes and dreams as city dwellers. And they go about creating opportunity without the resources a more urban centre provides.

Creating a fictional town gave me the opportunity to explore the romantic notion of small towns with their famous unlocked door policy and their famed resilience. In my fictional town of Aspen Lake, everyone is looking to make a fair living wage, to fit in, and to protect those they love. A rural setting is also an opportunity to delve into the less than ideal aspects of living in a fishbowl. Because no place is exempt from struggle. There is no prefect paradise. No one’s life is devoid of conflict. 

I hope in Aspen Lake you’ll find both the ideal and the unsavoury. Big city violence invades the quiet steadfastness of Aspen Lake in Backlash. Exposed has more of a snake in the garden vibe. And Gone is all about secrets.

Until next time…

What are some of your favourite fictional small town settings?

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Battling The Winter Blues and a Giveaway!

FYI: the following maybe too much information, but here I go, anyway. I can’t think when I’m in my pyjamas. I know some writers spend the day in their sleep clothes and are productive and go about slaying the universe, fictionally speaking, of course. But, me? Not so much. I put my pyjamas on when I go to bed, or possibly at some point during the evening, like if I’ve worked out and I need to shed my sweaty workout gear.

Right now I’m sitting at my desk, in front of my computer, in my pyjamas. And it just feels…wrong.

It might be that I need new pyjamas, but, I think for me, day clothes signal productivity. Although lately, some days I’m not exactly setting fire to my to-do list, even when wearing my day clothes. I blame winter!

frosty mornings and toasty mugs
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I’ve read all the lists on how to ease a winter malaise. I know I’m supposed to eat healthier, exercise, take Vitamin D. And those things work! But the cold winter still makes me want to hibernate in a pile blankets with a good book. Luckily, there is an endless number of good books out there to choose from.

I’m eagerly awaiting the release date of GONE, Aspen Lake Series, Book 3!

I’m open to suggestions on how to survive the rest of the winter! Or your opinion on pyjamas! Comment below on some of the ways you battle the winter blues, or any kind of blues, to be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Comment to win $25 gift card. Closes February 27, 2019.

Until next time…

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn. ~ Hal Borland

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