Tracey Devlyn | The Power of a Wee Secondary Character
February 21, 2013
Almost every author has one—a secondary character that continually nudges
the main characters aside in order to monopolize the spotlight for a few pages.
Unfortunately, some secondary characters aren't happy with a few pages. They
I struggled with this particular phenomenon in my debut novel, A LADY'S REVENGE, and in my
current release, CHECKMATE,
MY LORD. In REVENGE,
the heroine's lady's maid, Dinks, was insanely loyal, yet she always gave the
heroine a good verbal smack of reality when she needed it most. I added an extra
layer of depth to Dinks's character by giving her a love interest—Bingham,
the heroine's coachman. Writing their interplay provided me with hours of fun!
In CHECKMATE, MY LORD,
the heroine's seven-year old castle-building, horse-mad, full-of-life daughter
tried to steal the show. She definitely stole my heart—and the hero's. Her
enthusiasm is infectious and she has absolutely no care for one's personal
space. Oh, and she's in love with the stable boy. I won't tell you how he
managed to secure her affections. :-)
I love writing secondary characters almost as much as I love writing the main
characters. Secondary characters not only have depth themselves, but they help
reveal extraordinary sides of the main characters. They sneakily slide in bits
about the hero's or heroine's past, especially if it puts them in a better light
than their present circumstance, or if the H/H needs a small reminder of the
good things they've done or can do.
In my humble opinion, secondary characters bring an added richness to the story
and have become an essential ingredient in each of my books.
What secondary character has slipped into your thoughts long after you
finished the book? One commenter will win CHECKMATE, MY LORD
53 comments posted.
Re: Tracey Devlyn | The Power of a Wee Secondary Character
Love to read
(Ava Curtis 12:05pm February 21)
I love the small characters in a story they add so much to the story, especially if they are children for some reason.
(Jane Thompson 12:14pm February 21)
I think the secondary characters which appeal to me a great deal are the little girl and the stable boy who took care to not break a heart.
(Annette Naish 12:34pm February 21)
Lots of my favorite characters are secondary. I love Snape in the HP series. And Luna Lovegood is another favorite there. And then Finnick is my favorite character in the Hunger Games. Those are the ones that i can think of right now. I think it shows the talents of an author when I can love the minor characters as much as the major ones.
(Pam Howell 1:05pm February 21)
Connor from Kerrelyn Sparks' series...I still to this day
think of him...and she even gave him his own book. It just
doesn't seem to matter...he was and is the "BomB"
(Bj Gaskill 1:31pm February 21)
RANGER IN the evanovich books,lol, thanks
(Debbi Shaw 1:37pm February 21)
I love secondary characters and can't wait until they get their own stories. There are so many authors that I just follow series after series loving those secondary as much as the main characters. Beverley, Quinn are just a couple.
(Carla Carlson 1:55pm February 21)
Secondary characters are great... they add a bit more to the story... love seeing them have their own book later...
(Colleen Conklin 1:56pm February 21)
(Kent Cook 2:24pm February 21)
Secondary characters with a life of their own add to the depth of the story.
When reading Christine Feehan's Dark series I could hardly wait to hear
more about Gregori - a secondary character in the early novels. I finally got
my wish in book 4 - Dark Magic.
(Chris Coulson 3:31pm February 21)
I have read Checkmate, My Lord and Sophie Ashcroft is a delight! Secondary characters keep the main ones focused and grounded. My favorite one is Kitty Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Through her recklessness, she keeps Darcy close to Elizabeth.
(Kathy Sullivan 3:54pm February 21)
I like the cover of the book.
(Michelle Fidler 4:14pm February 21)
LOVE YOUR BOOKS THEY ARE MARVELOUS. YOUR MY FAVORITE AUTHOR OF
ALL TIME. I LOVE TO WIN THIS CONTEST. I NEVER WON ANYTHING IN
MY LIFE AND I REALLY WANT TO WIN THIS CONTEST!!!!!!!!!
(Shelly Caggiano 4:43pm February 21)
I liked Lord Roxely from, "Along Came A Duke" by Elizabeth Boyle. He was a charming, playful
character. Always getting into trouble while trying to hide from his stern Aunt. Hahah. I
would love to have a chance to read, "Checkmate My lord". Thank you for the giveaway.
(Xoun J. Phetchamphone 5:29pm February 21)
My favorite secondary character is Prim from the Hunger Games - she is definately the impetus for the main character!
(Janis Milford 6:31pm February 21)
I love the secondary characters that lead to other stories. I've been left hanging in the past but can't bring anyone specific that hasn't been given a story (I'm sure I'll think of it next week though!!) A fan said it best way back when (around 2002, I believe) so I'll copy and paste it next. From this letter came "Where's My Hero?" and for that, I thank you Romance Fan!
(Rosie Grindstaff 7:38pm February 21)
Dear Avon Books,
Where are my heroes? Whenever I'm reading a book by one of my favorite authors I find I'm falling for the wrong guy -- not the hero, but the other man -- and what I really want is for him to have his own story.
Like Jake Linley, from Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas…that doctor could sit by my bedside if I ever got sick. And Ned Blydon in Splendid by Julia Quinn...he makes me want to learn to waltz! I never thought living in a drafty castle would be much fun until Simon of Ravenswood in Master of Desire by Kinley MacGregor came along.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that these are my men -- when do they get their stories?
A Romance Fan
(Rosie Grindstaff 7:38pm February 21)
Lady Catherine de Bourgh is the secondary character that has always stuck with me from Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen created such a wonderful matronly aristocratic character.
(Joanne McGillivray 8:11pm February 21)
one of my favorite background characters are the village people in cozy mysteries.
(Lisa Fitzgibbons 8:26pm February 21)
Wow, thanks for all the great comments on secondary characters. Many I'm
familiar with - Gregori, deBourgh, Jake, Prim, and Kitty, to name a few. As for
the others--I'm going to have to check them out!
Good luck with the draw!
(Tracey Devlyn 9:58pm February 21)
I will say Wilhemina from Some Girls Do by Leanne Banks. She was a problem for her dad. She met all of her problems by overeating. He tried hard to find her a husband, but was unsuccessful.
(Gladys Paradowski 10:19pm February 21)
My favorite secondary character is Constantine Xenakis in the Bullet Catchers series by Roxanne St. Claire. I was estatics when he got his own story in Make Her Pay.
(Kai Wong 10:41pm February 21)
Yes, good secondary characters like the stable boy and the
little girl can add a lot of character and also make or break
a good book too. Checkmate, My Lord sounds like a fantastic
book to read and I would love to become a winner. Thank You
and God Bless Everyone! Thanks, Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 11:22pm February 21)
Eduardo in The Shoemaker's Wife. He deserves his own book!
(Diana Kaye 1:05am February 22)
Every reader always have a character that they like and they cheer for and
hope the writer will make it so interesting as to keep our interest thank you
for giving us so much pleasure in our lives
(Ava Curtis 1:42am February 22)
Book sounds great. Would love to win.
(Amy Milne 2:30am February 22)
Good strong secondary characters with their own lives fill out a book and make it more real for us. They also show us that life doesn't revolve around ourselves any more than it does around the heroine!
In The Merchant of Venice I liked Nerissa who was the friend of Portia the heroine. She dresses up as a lawyer's clerk to help her friend, and in Shakespeare's day this would have been a young man dressing as a woman dressing as a man.
In The Lord of the Rings, the choice has to be Eowyn, the real hero/heroine. She dons armour and sword and goes out to battle, facing up to the lord of the Ringwraiths.
In Black Beauty, look at the only pony mentioned, Merrylegs. The grey pony opens bolts with his teeth and lets the other horses out of their stables for fun.
These stories would all have been a lot poorer without the characters.
(Clare O'Beara 6:38am February 22)
Dallas' Lt., Delia, in the J. D. Robb series.
(Marjorie Carmony 6:43am February 22)
I LOVE just about all secondary characters, they keep the hero and heroine on their toes. I'd have to say Chris from Lori Foster's Men Who Walk The Edge Of Danger Series is my favorite though.
(Mina Gerhart 9:01am February 22)
I can never come up with specific answers on the spur of the moment. I like to dwell on the question first. I love it when a book has an entire host of secondary characters - like a group of best friends, or the townspeople, or customers in a store. And it's great when certain characters later get their own story. This book sounds like a real winner. Thanks for the chance to win.
(Nancy Reynolds 9:22am February 22)
Gosh of all the books I've read...I think it would be Ranger from Janet Evanovich's books...MY Ranger did not look like the one in the movie...HA MIne was sexier!!
(Bonnie Capuano 9:58am February 22)
I've always had a thing for secondary characters. It's
actually why I started reading romances - a lot of them use
secondary characters from previous books as the hero/heroine
in the next one.
My favorites are Kyle and Warren from Patricia Briggs's
Mercy Thompson series. I absolutely love the interactions
(Karin Anderson 10:15am February 22)
Secondary characters make a story so much more than just one
tale, they even develop their own stories in later books by
the same authors. I like that when that happens. Thanks for
the chance to win.
(Mary Hay 10:42am February 22)
This is going back a long time but.... Cat from The Windflower by Laura London.
Acutally, I love all the secondary characters in that book but would have loved
to know Cat's story.
(Jane Limback 10:56am February 22)
melanie from gone with the wind, tahnks
(Debbi Shaw 11:07am February 22)
Peabody from J.D.Robb's In Death series is one of my favorite supporting characters.
(G S Moch 11:16am February 22)
the monkey in Janet Evanovichs wicked series
(Julie Parrish 12:32pm February 22)
I enjoy the Grandmas. Like the Alex Cross and Stephanie Plum's Grannies. Enjoyed your blog. Book sounds like a great read.
(Sheila True 2:59pm February 22)
Some of the secondary characters have left me wanting to know more and more. That's when I start searching to see if the author felt as I did and gave them the lead in a second in a series.
(Anna Speed 3:12pm February 22)
I don't have a favorite secondary character that hasn't gotten his/her own book so far. Secondary characters lend so much to the book and cry out for their own story. Checkmate, My Lord sounds wonderful.
(Cathy Phillips 3:30pm February 22)
Most of Kerrelyn Sparks' secondary characters! Lucky for me, she usually writes their stories ;-)
(Chelsea Brooks 4:26pm February 22)
Any time I read a book by Janet Evanovich, I think about her secondary characters - not just her love interests, but her family, who have bit parts in her books, as well as the other people who work in the office. They pop up periodically, and depending on the plot of the book, there are times when one or more of these characters have more of a roll in the story. After reading the book, it makes you think about them in endearing ways, and her love interests in MORE than endearing ways!! LOL Anyway, that was one author who comes to mind, because I tend to read her books, and read her latest one just recently. I am looking forward to reading your latest book. I love the cover, and find myself a bit more drawn to it, since I can't recall seeing a woman dressed in such a lovely dress, holding a pistol like that before!! At least not from that era!! It should make a good read for me, since I need a little something that has some spice in it to warm me up a little. All I need is a cup of hot chocolate and your book. I may look up occasionally and watch the snow fly outside my window, but I doubt it, since I'll be keeping my nose buried in the book instead!!
(Peggy Roberson 4:33pm February 22)
I love reading a book and then the secondary characters
attract your attention and get their own books to continue a
series... A author who is perfect at this is Sherrilyn
Kenyon... Each book you read of hers you find someone new or
an additional character you want to know more about.
(Jeannie Platt 4:38pm February 22)
usually children or a sibling n the background - one who has been hurt and turned off love. You just know they're next!!
(Michelle Schafer 5:33pm February 22)
I think about several of Kieran Kramer's Impossible Bachelors.
(Molly Wilsbacher 6:37pm February 22)
No slipping in characters come to mind - I like it when they seem to have real lives and the happily ever after includes them, too.
(Beth Elder 6:52pm February 22)
Looks and sounds so interesting
(Ava Curtis 6:56pm February 22)
I wanna read it! I hope I win! ^^
(Melissa Roma 7:42pm February 22)
Secondary characters make a story more interesting and they can develop into main characters in future books in a series. For example Nick in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. I'd love to win a copy of Checkmate, My Lord. Thanks for the giveaway!
(Bonnie Hometchko 10:16pm February 22)
Jeremy was a secondary character who was just so nice you
couldn't decide if you wanted him to get the girl. lol
(Dianne McVetty 10:43pm February 22)
I would love to read this book, sounds great...love the cover...
(Kimberly Hoefs 11:56pm February 22)
I love secondary characters. I'm currently reading Larissa
Ione's Demonica/Lords of Deliverance Series and it's loaded
with secondary characters. I've loved Kynan, Reaver and so
many others. Some of them will get their own books later and
some she tells their story within other's books. It's been a
delightful run! I can't wait to start yours that I've
discovered through Discover A New Love!
(Lenna Hendershott 9:36pm February 23)
Hi Tracey -
I'd love to tell you all the secondary characters I've
fallen in love with but the list would be too long! I must
admit that sometimes I'm side tracked by them like Bingham
in A Lady's Revenge because of having a grandmother with the
last name of Bingham (even if it was her second husband).
Of course as soon as I met your Bingham I had to stop and
remember my grandmother teaching me how to bake in her old
coal stove when I was in grade school!
Of course there also the times that I read a book and want
the secondary character to have a book of their own and am
disappointed when it doesn't happen!
Have you ever gotten an email for one of your readers asking
why you haven't written a story for a secondary character
that they've fallen in love with?
(Jeanne Miro 8:54pm February 24)
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