Jilly: I’d Love to Read His Story

In her post last Saturday, Michaeline talked about subplots and secondary characters. We chatted in the comments about the movie version of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, and Michaeline said she wished the whole story could have been about the master swordsman sidekick, Inigo Montoya.

Which got me wondering: which secondary character(s) would you like to see in a starring role?

In this era of series, especially in romance, many (most?) significant secondary characters are written and signaled as sequel bait. Usually I’m excited about that. I love the promise of more stories in a world I’m enjoying, and if I’m already invested in the characters, there’s a delicious frisson of anticipation whenever they do something that could come back to bite them later.

Sometimes the author dangles the treat but keeps the reader waiting through multiple books. Maybe even through an entire series, like Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green books, where it was always clear that the resolution of Lyon and Olivia’s romance arc would wrap up the series. That’s OK. I’m comfortable with deferred gratification. I know the story will come, eventually. If I care enough, all I have to do is stick with the author and series until it arrives.

Here, I’m thinking more about the cast of supporting players who people a fictional world but who are not set up to step into the limelight in due course. Take Christopher and Barabas, two characters from Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels urban fantasy series. Ilona put up a blog post a few days ago in response to a reader’s question about whether she would ever write their romance. Click here to read the post in full. In short, Ilona said the decision would not be a question of popularity, but one of inspiration.

If I had my way, I’d beg the story gods to Continue reading

Jilly: Would You Let This Woman Invade Your Story?

Would You Let This Woman Invade Your StoryDo you enjoy strong secondary characters in romance novels, or do they distract you from the love story between the hero and heroine?

I reported last week that the most thought-provoking feedback I got from the judges in the Fool For Love contest was about scary Sasha, who has plans for my hero, Ian. Sasha is a powerhouse who will stop at nothing to get at what she wants, which means a whole heap of trouble for Rose, my heroine. All my judges enjoyed reading about Sasha and wanted to know more, but the general consensus was that she was hogging limelight that would otherwise have belonged to Ian and Rose’s romance.

The judges’ reaction to Sasha seems to have been stronger because I gave her a point of view, which means the reader gets a glimpse inside her head rather than simply judging her by her actions. I thought long and hard before I did that – I even wrote this post about it in October last year – because Sasha is Continue reading