I love secondary characters! Why? Because to me they’re nearly as important as the hero and heroine.
I honestly don’t think two people can run the whole book. It takes far more than two people to tell a story. Plus, as I said in an earlier post, I’m one who’s always curious as to what happened with Hunky Hank’s friend, Joe Blow.
Now don’t get me wrong, not everybody can have a HEA or a writer would never be able to get around from their original cast of characters. So since some characters are not going to get their HEA, it’s still nice when an author takes time to describe them, their personalities, and more important, their relationship with the hero/heroine.
Since my first book not only told the tale of an impoverished earl looking for a way to make his way in this world, and an overtrusting, rule flouting young lady who unsuspectingly falls into his trap, but was also used to set up the framework for my first series, I made sure to focus on secondary characters since several (mostly family members) will also be in the next books.
Carolina Banks, oft referred to as “Mama”, at times comes off just as scandalous as the heroine. Mrs. Banks frequently says the first thing that pops into her head, heedless to just how inappropriate it is! For example, when she first meets Andrew, she lets her excitement at the idea an earl has come to pay court to one of her daughters that her reaction is:
“Oh,” Mrs. Banks cried excitedly, “how wonderful, an earl has come to call on my daughters!” Then, so caught up in the excitement, she abandoned the rules of society, polite or otherwise, and asked, “Which one of my lovely girls have you set your striking eyes upon?”
As fun as might have been (for a while anyway) to have Carolina Banks act like a fortysomething debutante the whole time, I couldn’t leave her that way. There was more to her than just her silly and spontaneous actions. She’s compassionate and loving, too. I think discovering her other attributes and bringing them to light, helped take her from just a one dimension character used as fluff to an important role in her daughter’s lasting happiness.
John Banks (Papa), was a bit tougher to write. He needed to be the sterner parent, yet also come off as a confidante for others, and someone the girls admired, which was one of the reasons I made him a minister. Well that, and the fact he was a younger son. John is much more even-tempered and reserved when he speaks. Which not only makes him opposite his wife, it makes the other characters (and hopefully the reader) take notice when he speaks, and pay attention to what he says.
Though I obviously cannot give these two a HEA, because they’re already living it, I realized very early on it was important to the story for these to be likable and involved secondary characters.