Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Where the 'heck' is he?
What is it about secondary characters that makes you think…I could give this one his/ her own story next? Is it just a word or two, or is it because you’ve written your manuscript in such a way that you just KNOW you’ve got your next piece of work in the pipeline? 

Back in September 2011, I was asked an embarrassing question about my debut novel MONOGAMY TWIST, which had released in Aug 2011. A friend of a friend who’d read the novel enthused over the story, but had a few points to make. OKAY…I thought. This might be interesting (For that read maybe a criticism? Can I take it?) She mildly complained that at 76 thousand words she wished it had been longer…but also asked ‘When is the next in the series coming out?’

Wow! Egg on the face...That floored me since I had no intentions of making a series out of it. Truth to tell, the concept hadn’t even entered my head! I immediately re-read the synopsis, and some of the novel, and realised I had NO strong secondary characters left at all. The novel had at one time been around 110 thousand words, and had been slashed and burned so many times during edits to get it to what was an acceptable quota. I’d been so concerned about paring it down to the concentrated romance between the hero and the heroine that ALL the possible secondary action had GONE.

It now seems unlikely I could conceive another novel from that debut history mystery, except by devious intent, and a very convoluted method (ie of taking a very peripheral character and doing a lead-in back-story perhaps? in the second of the series?) I’m not so sure about how that would work, though…

Let’s get back to my embarrassing issue of having NO secondary characters. If I wasn’t going to do anything to develop further work from MONOGAMY TWIST what about work I’d done since then? Or even before MONOGAMY TWIST?
Slow as a snail, I am...
That was a much easier task. *big smiles* now.

MONOGAMY TWIST wasn’t actually the first manuscript that I had written, though it was the first that was published.

My very first manuscript was a historical romance, THE BELTANE CHOICE, (being published by Crooked {Cat} during the summer of 2012). I looked at that with a critical eye back in September 2011, and breathed a sigh of relief. I definitely knew what I could do, there, since I have a host of secondary characters who could easily have a book all of their own…

The next completed manuscript was a novel for children aged 9-12yrs. I wouldn’t make a next in the series from a secondary character there, BUT I would be able to easily take the three lead characters on to further adventures since it is a time-travel history/contemporary. Smiley faces? Definitely!

Imagine I’m still back in September 2011 and that BIG  question is STILL bugging me very badly! My next contemporary romance, TAKE ME NOW, was going through my own first edits stages. Yipee, I thought! There’s at least one strong secondary character, I like a lot, who could have his own story developed. More smiley faces!!! TAKE ME NOW is due to be released by The Wild Rose Press on 3rd Aug 2012.

I wonder if you know what might be coming next? TOPAZ EYES, another of my contemporary history mysteries had been plotted back in September 2011 but hadn’t got beyond the 3rd chapter. YEP! You got it! I made darn sure there are plenty of possibilities for developing a secondary character in that one.

The moral of my story today? New authors beware, and for the sluggish and clueless like me LOOK TO THE FUTURE!

But what about you? I’d love to know how you tackle the issue of developing second, or subsequent books using secondary characters? Drop me a line, please, since I’d love to know if anyone else was as naive as I was.



  1. Hi Nancy....good post and good points.

    You had visited Maeve Greyson's blog yesterday and won the Honky Tonk Hearts prize envelope. This was the only contact info I had for you and I didn't want you to miss out so email me at stacy at thewildrosepress.com for your info.


  2. Thanks, Stacey! It's always good to be a winner!

  3. Hi Nancy, my first book came out in August 2011 too and I hadn't given a thought about writing another book off of it until a friend raved over a secondary male character. She kept saying how much she wanted to know why he'd said and did certain things. Soon after I received an invitation to write a novella for the Love Letters line released through The Wild Rose Press. Well, there was the answer to my friend's question - that secondary character she loved so much is now the hero of The Muse coming out at the end of the month.

  4. Glad to hear that secondary character was a good thing for you, Katherine! Look forward to hearing more about The Muse.


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