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Alexis Morgan | Just who is in the driver's seat?


Here's a little secret about me and my writing:  when it comes to how my stories unfold, I'm not always the one with my hands firmly on the steering wheel. What's more, I like it that way. Yes, I know just how crazy that sounds, but that doesn't make it any less true.

When I sit down to start a book, at the most all I've written is a short summary of how I envision the story unfolding. This synopsis is only about seven or eight double-spaced pages long. Considering my final manuscript will top out at around 380 pages, there's a lot of room for new ideas and even new characters to pop into the flow of the story. While true for all of my books, it was definitely true when I wrote HER KNIGHT'S QUEST.

I knew Duncan, the hero, would be travelling alone to a distant abbey. I knew the heroine, Lady Lavinia, would be there. But starting out, I didn't know anything about the sisters who lived there--not even their names. I was aware there was a young girl living at the abbey, but I didn't know why and certainly never expected to have Sarra play such a major role in both this book and the next.

As memorable as the hero and heroine need to be in a story, the secondary characters are equally important. Certainly, their interactions with the hero and heroine help to reveal character and move the plot along. Seeing how Duncan acts around the heroine is crucial to the development of a romance.  However, seeing him interact with a frightened child or earning the respect of other trained fighters gives us glimpses of Duncan we wouldn't have had otherwise.

It's also important to me both as a reader and as a storyteller to see at least some secondary characters become fully developed with their own agendas because it makes for a much richer world and reading experience. However, there's another reason I like to see these other people come to life on the page. As an author, I like to write series of connected books, which means today's secondary character might very well be the hero or heroine in tomorrow's book.

For sure, one of the secondary characters in the Warriors of the Mist has that potential. Known only as Sigil, he started off to be a nameless captain in the service of Duke Keirthan, the villain in the story. However, at the last second in the battle, Sigil did the unexpected and saved Murdoch's life along with Lady Alina's.

Did I expect that to happen? No. Did I know why he acted out of character? Definitely not, but I loved how his actions have impacted the other characters and the storyline from that point forward.

So the bottom line is that rather than doing all the driving when it comes to writing a new story, sometimes it's a lot more fun to settle into the passenger seat and see where my characters want to take me. So, yes, sometimes it feels as if the story is out of my control, but that's part of what keeps me planted in front of the computer day after day!

Warriors of the Mist series

My Lady Mage
Warriors of the Mist
July 2012

Her Knight's Quest
Warriors of the Mist
March 2013


Contest Prize

Comment to be entered

Two winners today! Just tell us what you love about secondary characters getting their own book, or, tell us YOUR favorite secondary character and WHY they deserve a book! Prizes are a copy of one of the Warriors of the Mist books and a book thong. International winners okay!




61 comments posted.

Re: Alexis Morgan | Just who is in the driver's seat?

There have been a few stories I have read that concentrate on only the hero
and heroine and do very little development of secondary characters. These
books were always meant to be stand alone books and the difficulties facing
the main characters was as major a focus as the couple's relationship. These
were short books and it worked well for the type of story they were. That
being said, I like books that are rich in place and characters. Good secondary
characters make a book/story richer. They make you want to spend more
time with them and find out more about them. I like series both for the
opportunity to learn more about secondary characters I have come to like and
to follow up with characters who have already had their story told.

Keep letting them speak to you and lead your story on. It will help make your
books richer experiences for all of us.
(Patricia Barraclough 12:45pm March 15, 2013)

I really enjoy intertwined stories. I think it allows you to
really get a more evolved world and the characters get a
chance to grow. No one exists in a vacuum why should a hero
and heroine do so? It's also almost a game to figure out who
the net book is about while reading the first. Keep writing!
I'll keep buying ;)
(Serena Polheber 8:40am March 15, 2013)

Haymitch from The Hunger Games is fascinating and should have
his won book since he is unique and special in everyway.
(Sharon Berger 10:28am March 15, 2013)

I love when second characters get their own books - It makes
the story arc in the series so much more interesting.
(Rebecca Whitehead-Schwarz 10:28am March 15, 2013)

I think books revolve around secondary characters. Some
authors give those characters new life in their own stories,
others let them continue to set the main characters on their

My favorite secondary characters are Warren and Kyle from
the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Their
relationship is solid and they have a fun sense of humor
that helps lighten the stories.
(Karin Anderson 10:35am March 15, 2013)

yes,,looks good
(Kent Cook 10:51am March 15, 2013)

I'm glad all of you love secondary characters as much as I do! I love reading a book and wondering if any of them will get their own story. I think you can also tell a lot about a hero and heroine by the kind of people they surround themselves with.

Karin: I love warren and Kyle, but I also really love Stefan and Ben in that series!
(Alexis Morgan 11:04am March 15, 2013)

My favourite secondary character is Kitty Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. I would love to see a book wrote about her and Wickham. I think it would be interesting to read more about their story and if they had children, what their married life was like, etc...
(Aimee Robison 11:04am March 15, 2013)

I think I have always loved secondary characters - they have the ability to draw out the situation, draw out the main character characteristics, provide insight and humor. I can't say that I have a favorite, although I waited for Rothgar to have his story for what seemed 4 or 5 books into Jo Beverley's series. I do find that once I love a story, I will follow the secondaries once they receive their books.
(Carla Carlson 11:06am March 15, 2013)

Joanne, I think it's a compliment to the writer when the secondary characters hang on in the reader's memory and leave them wondering just how those folks are doing long after they've read the book.

Carla, I agree that the secondary characters bring out so much more in the hero and heroine.
(Alexis Morgan 11:28am March 15, 2013)

I like secondary characters in a book because they usually portend a follow-up story to come. I like to read a series so that the story lasts longer than a single book. I'm a greedy reader, I guess you could say. :-) [email protected]
(Janice Hougland 11:29am March 15, 2013)

I like when a secondary character gets their own book because it's fun to find out more about a character I liked in the first book.
(Sandy Giden 11:30am March 15, 2013)

I enjoy when a secondary character gets their own book because I am already interested in them and now I get to see things from their perspective and find out where life is taking them.

I also like when the main characters from the first book are included and I can see where life has taken them since I last read about them,

When I read a book written by a good author, I become invested in the characters and they are "real" people to me.
(Carrie Bourlier 11:54am March 15, 2013)

As a reader, I love a good strong series where you can follow the characters from one book to the next and see how their lives develop.

As a writer, I love it when I hear from readers demanding to know when a particular character is going to get his/her story. 8-D
(Alexis Morgan 11:59am March 15, 2013)

One of my favorite things in romance series is trying to
spot those secondary characters that will feature in their
own books. It's like an extra puzzle guessing game to try to
pair them off -- and then see later if I'm right! (I'm also
a sucker for villains who turn over a new leaf, so I'm eager
to find out what you discover about Sigil!)
(Alana Abbott 12:24pm March 15, 2013)

Well I for one love when a secondary character gets there own book, this is why. If they don't get there own book you always wonder what happened to them??? Or you get to the second book in a series and someone is in a relationship and you wonder how there romance started. Always love the secondary!!! Can't wait to read the new Warrior book, it is on my list of books to read next week!!!
(Casandra Sonnenburg 12:30pm March 15, 2013)

Alana--I'm glad you're enjoying Sigil! He's definitely one of those characters who has demanded to be more than I originally intended! Nothing like a tortured hero to capture my heart!

Casandra--I hope you enjoy the book!
(Alexis Morgan 12:40pm March 15, 2013)

I love to see secondary characters get their own books because it seems to mean that in the first book their presence was strong enough to catch attention. I'm sure the author is thrilled when readers ask for the characters to get their own book (as I have done a number of times) because that means they are on the right path with the stories!
(Annetta Sweetko 12:47pm March 15, 2013)

I like series about families---with each family member developing in his or her own book---sometimes spanning generations.
(Sue Farrell 12:56pm March 15, 2013)

I always enjoy when secondary characters get to tell their story. I like to know what makes them tick and what happens to them after the initial introduction to them.
(Jean Patton 1:18pm March 15, 2013)

Annetta--you're right about authors loving it when readers demand a character have his story told!

Sue--I like stories about families, too--seeing where past events ripple through following generations.

Jean--I love the feeling of satisfaction I get when I finally find out what happens when a favorite secondary character moves into the spotlight!
(Alexis Morgan 2:12pm March 15, 2013)

I love secondary characters, they add richness to the story and when they get their stories either as a book or threads within the series. I just finished Larissa Ione's Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series and she did both. It was a treat to see Kynan get so much page time without his own book. Then other characters grew into their own books. Series romance is so rich.
(Lenna Hendershott 2:55pm March 15, 2013)

When secondary characters get their own book, it gives the readers a chance to learn a little more about their character - about what makes them tick, and about their lives in general. It also gives them legs, so to speak. Sometimes that secondary character turns out to be more exciting in the actual story than the main character, so when a new book comes out, featuring this secondary character, it's a book well worth waiting for!! I wanted to say that I find the cover of your book not only enchanting, but breathtaking, and I can't wait to read your book. The cover alone has drawn me in, and after reading your posting, I want to read it more than ever!! Congratulations!!
(Peggy Roberson 3:05pm March 15, 2013)

I enjoy seeing secondary characters develop in a story. It makes the book so much more interesting. However, I always wonder what happened to them while I wait for the next book in the series.
(Kathleen Yohanna 3:07pm March 15, 2013)

I think one of the most powerful secondary character I've read was Sam in Suzanne Brockmann's Navy Seal series. By the time he finally got his own book, I was SO ready for him to get a little bit of happy in his life! Another one was Zsadist in JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. He about broke my heart!
(Alexis Morgan 3:25pm March 15, 2013)

I love to see secondary characters get their turn to tell their story...
(Colleen Conklin 3:59pm March 15, 2013)

I love stories that continue. You already know some of the characters.
(Debbie Rudder 4:05pm March 15, 2013)

It is sort of like getting to spend a cozy evening with cloe friends, isn't it?
(Alexis Morgan 4:24pm March 15, 2013)

I find that secondary character books don't do as well as spin offs, but if a secondary character is a cont of a series, I tend to enjoy them more. I noticed Black Dagger Brotherhood was mentioned and I agree that series tends to be my fav expression of secondary characters. Thanks for the chance to win.
(Sally Hannoush 5:51pm March 15, 2013)

My favorite secondary character is Eli from the book Dublin Street by Samatha Young. He was Joss' room mate, who is sexy and things get very hectic. A great read and keeps your interested and turning pages
(Shirley Younger 6:24pm March 15, 2013)

I think secondary characters deserve their own story because sometimes they stand out
more than the primary leads.
(Lazydrag0n Puff 6:45pm March 15, 2013)

Constantine Xenakis show up in Hunt Her Down in the Bullet Catchers series by Roxanne St. Clarie. He was just a secondary character. I was so happy when he got his own story in Make Her Pay.
(Kai Wong 8:51pm March 15, 2013)

I like finding out more about the former secondary characters lives.
(Cheryl McEwen 9:27pm March 15, 2013)

I love your book covers and I also love the fact that you
have secondary characters that can become a Hero or Heroine
in other books too. Thanks for the fantastic contest and God
bless You with lots of success too. Thanks, Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 9:50pm March 15, 2013)

Secondary characters often pique your interest and curiosity. I love satisfying that.
(Debra Guyette 10:23pm March 15, 2013)

I love having secondary characters get their own books,
because you don't really realize how much there is to the
person, until you get in their head. They aren't always what
they come across as in the original book. Thanks for the
(Sara Doyle 10:29pm March 15, 2013)

Sometimes a secondary character is so compelling that you want to know more about the person and have him/her get a HEA.
(Janie McGaugh 12:04pm March 16, 2013)

I think it's especially important to have strong secondary characters or else the interactions and story will fall flat and I will lose all interest. I especially love a story that makes me want to come back and visit the secondary characters in primary roles.
(Tracie Travis 12:47pm March 16, 2013)

Some times it is because of/ with the help of the secondary characters
that the principal characters find love.
Hence I feel that it is only befitting that they have their own stories and
find their HEA through their own books.I just love to see that they too
have found happiness and love like the primary characters.
Thank you for the giveaway
Sydney W
(Sydney W 2:10am March 16, 2013)

secondary character become a like of their own and when that happens a story of their own can be developed. I Always like this.
(Lisa Fitzgibbons 5:50am March 16, 2013)

Some secondary characters just beg to be heard.
(Mary Preston 7:08am March 16, 2013)

The characters make up the book. The more involved in the book they are the more in depth we get to getting to know them through out the series. Every character should be heard and have their own story because it makes a great profound series of stories of their own. I love romance and magic books, even more so i love the adventures that come from on quests to find yourself and love in the process.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:20am March 16, 2013)

Secondary characters are not, in their opinion, secondary! They are living their own lives and are the primary people in their lives! So if they do anything interesting- why not give them a book to tell their tale?
When writing I have an endpoint in mind like you and how the characters get there is often up to them.
(Clare O'Beara 11:08am March 16, 2013)

secondary characters are very vip. sounds good
(Debbi Shaw 11:11am March 16, 2013)

I like to see the growth of the character and the next series always brings in another secondary character. I do like to see books stand alone in case I have not the first of the series.
(Leona Olson 11:12am March 16, 2013)

I want to thank everyone at Fresh Fiction for letting me stop by! And a special thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and share their love of secondary characters with me. Thanks to you all, I've added a few books to my TBR list!

(Alexis Morgan 11:53am March 16, 2013)

Secondary characters really add color to the books. Plus sometimes they provide a different viewpoint.
(Pam Howell 12:27pm March 16, 2013)

LOVE your work!!! would LOVE to win & read! PICK ME!!!
(Pamela Faye Howell 2:10pm March 16, 2013)

I just love a good book. I never think about whether a character was a secondary character in a previous book. Would love to win this contest.
(Carol Woodruff 6:59pm March 16, 2013)

My favorite secondary charachter is "Jenks" from Kim Harrison's "Hollows" series. I nearly spit my drink out of my nose laughing when Jenks said "Tink is a Disney *hore." This is a paranormal series, and I really like paranormal romances. :)
(Donna Holmberg 7:53pm March 16, 2013)

Control is over rated somedays. Suprising turns are often very fun.
(Laura Gullickson 7:53pm March 16, 2013)

Secondary characters help the book "breath", it makes it more alive. Stories that only concentrate on the lead are very one dimensional and can be very hard to stay with. I love that you give your characters a "little rope" just to see what they will do with it! We need more writers like you.
(Janis Milford 8:40pm March 16, 2013)

I love reading about the knights and the times that you are
writing about!
(Charlene Fraley 9:19pm March 16, 2013)

i would love to read one of your books ..would be a great your cover...very cool
(Kimberly Hoefs 9:22pm March 16, 2013)

Secondary characters make a story more interesting. I enjoy when an author develops these characters in more detail in a second book. The Hollows series by Kim Harrison has many fascinating secondary characters.
(Bonnie H 9:31pm March 16, 2013)

Your books sound really good. I'd love to read one.
My favorite secondary character is Peabody from the JD Robb "in Death" books.
(MaryAnne Banks 9:46pm March 16, 2013)

I love the cover!
(Callie Stuck 11:06pm March 16, 2013)

Love the cover of your book. Sounds interesting, would love to win.
(Amy Milne 11:53pm March 16, 2013)

I love when the second characters get their own books. Love the covers.
(Linda Hall 12:00pm March 17, 2013)

Whenever I finish a story I always wonder what happens next -
when a secondary character gets their own story, I get to find
(Diane Sallans 7:50pm March 17, 2013)

I enjoy when secondary characters from a previous book get their own book. I'm currently reading one right now that did just that. In the first book, the secondary character was a single hardworking guy that was left in the dust by the heroine while she moved on with someone else. In the next book, he is meeting a new single female neighbor which happens to live on the neighboring ranch and the story unfolds (she is independent and stubborn). Your book covers are beautiful. Love good books and yours do sound good!
(Linda Luinstra 5:55pm April 3, 2013)

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