Characters, Reader Questions

Madison from To Win His Wayard Wife, Answers Readers’ Questions

Good nearly afternoon, everyone. Today I have Madison Banks soon-to-be—

Don’t you dare say it.

All right, I won’t. Today Madison has graciously agreed to come help me answer some questions that some of the readers have asked. It seems you have become quite a popular person though you haven’t said much, Madison, and people want to know more about you.

Well, they can ask, but I may not tell. I do tend to drift of, you know?

Oh, would you let that rest already. All right, here we are, “In Intentions of the Earl, Liberty, who is always so proper uses the word ballocks. How in the world did she learn such a word? And, use it in the right context?” You know, I sometimes wonder if I should have left that tidbit of information out. I seem to get a lot of enquiring minds want to know type e-mails about this one. But, instead of me writing a boring response, Madison, would you like to tell them?

And why do you think I would know such a thing?


Oh, all right. She probably heard it from me.

Did she now? And why on Earth would you say such a word?

*Shrugs* It was part of a jest I heard once. She must have heard me repeating it. Would you like to hear it?

Not particularly.

Oh, why not?

Because this isn’t the time, nor the place, that’s why not. Next question. “What is Madison daydreaming about all the time?”

That’s enough. I did not come all this way for you to make sport of me.

I’m not. See, *showing her the paper* someone wonders what’s going on in your head, what you’re thinking all the time. Would you care to tell us?

No. There are some things not meant to be shared. This is one of them. Next question, please.

Sorry, everyone, you’ll just have to wait on that one. There will come a time–about the 15th of April or so—when she can no longer deny your request to enter her head. All right, next up, “After the third book, will there be a fourth?”

Don’t look at me, I have no idea what’s going on in that scheming head of yours.

You’re right. I’ll answer this one. Yes and no. There will be more books, but not right away and not part of this particular series. My fourth book will start a new series but will have some familiar characters playing a small roll, however.

Do you already have this fourth book written?

Yes. Why?

Just thinking, if it’s already written, why not skip my story and move whoever is up next to the fifteenth.

Not a chance.

It was worth a shot. All right. I guess I’ll be walking down the aisle and exposing my deepest secrets on the fifteenth.

Oh, don’t sound so distraught. You make it sound as if marriage is a terrible thing.

It is when you have to marry a man who—

Would you stop that already, we have one more question to answer, “Will you be interviewing Robbie so we get his side of things?”

I won’t be, but perhaps Rose will.

Actually, yes, I will. Hopefully on Friday. If not, then Monday. That’s all the questions today, if you have something you’d like to know, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. Now about that jest…


Answer to an “Urgent” Reader Question

With the permission of the sender, of course, I’m going to repost part of an e-mail from a reader and answer it in case anyone else was curious.

Subject: URGENT! URGENT!!!! I need to know!!! Is this your husband???

(Intrigued, and slightly uncomfortable, I cautiously click on the message)

So…if your husband isn’t the earl, is he Paul Grimes?

(After blinking a few times at the screen, giggles–yes, giggles–overtook me)

The answer once again is no. However, as much as my parents want to argue with me that Andrew’s character was written after my husband, my husband argues that with the exclusion of Paul’s looks, Paul is him. But he’s not.

I get the impression that authors really do write their characters about people in their lives–sometimes as the hero/heroine, but usually as the villan or scapegrace. I, however, have not done this. Yet. There’s really only a few people I’ve encountered in my life I disliked enough to want them to suffer…

Same goes for “good” people. As much as I love my husband, and I really do, I promise it, there are other personalities I like and I see no need to model my heroes after my husband for now. But you never know, one of my future heroes just might be my husband–if I could get over the jealousy of writing him falling in love with another woman, that is.

Thanks to this reader for reading my books and taking the time to write me. Thanks to all the others who have done the same.

*It should be noted, I don’t post all questions from my readers, and only with their prior permission. I do write a personal response to each, but typically do not post them. You’re welcome to write me with your own questions at or by leaving a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Books, Characters, Intentions of the Earl, Scandalous Sisters Series

Secondary Characters, Filler and Fluff or Active and Involved?

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.

Books, Characters, Intentions of the Earl, Scandalous Sisters Series

Andrew, the Hero

Surprisingly enough, dreaming up the hero was actually much harder than thinking up the heroine. Andrew had to have a strong presence, but not come off overpowering. If he came off too strong, it wouldn’t work.

Breaking away from the usual description of a regency hero: handsome, titled and wealthy, I tried to go the other way and let his personality be his redemption, instead of his physical (or monetary) attributes. While he was tall and broad, his skin was darker than most and his nose was crooked from being broken. To most at that time he probably wouldn’t be considered handsome. However, to some he would be. And our heroine was one who of those who found him attractive. Which, quite frankly, is all that’s important. In addition to not drop-dead handsome, our hero had no money–he couldn’t or they weren’t be any reason he’d be cast into the role of ruining a young woman to regain his fortune.

Andrew is a rather complex character in several regards. When the book first starts, he comes off as rather jaded and unhappy. He doesn’t openly laugh and smile (unless feigning politeness), but as the story progresses, his demeanor changes drastically.

One aspect about Andrew that should be easy to pick up on is despite his size and reputation, he’s actually rather tender and sweet. If he truly were the brute his appearance made him to be, he’d have no guilt about his goal, nor would he wish to protect her the best he could. Not only does he wish to protect her, it seems at every turn he is taking her feelings and desires into consideration.

At the same time,  Andrew had a mission. He had to ruin Brooke’s reputation and send her fleeing in order to gain his fortune. Therefore, he did have to possess a bit of a ruthlessness and determination. He might wish to protect Brooke. However, he still had to carry out his task and ruin her reputation.

When I first started writing this book, I honestly thought I’d struggle combining ruthless and tender into the same person.  But actually I didn’t. Instead, at some point in the novel, he realizes the only reason he’s even going to go through with his dastardly plan is because if he doesn’t, she’ll be hurt far worse when the villain hires another to do the job.

Books, Characters, Intentions of the Earl, Scandalous Sisters Series

Brooke, the Heroine

Before I pressed the first key on my laptop I knew Brooke had to have a personality that would lend itself to falling into the hero’s trap. She had to be so many other things in addition to being dismissive of the rules in order for the plot to work.

Several times before publishing I considered dropping the first chapter and starting where the men strike up their deal. However, when I read it (and had others read it) that way, it became obvious that the first chapter was necessary because it laid down the groundwork for the personalities of the family, and not just for this novel, but for all three. Therefore, it was necessary to leave it in there.

The book starts with Brooke being alone with a man in a dark garden, declaring for all and sundry, she doesn’t give a fig for the rules. Once she goes back in and her sister lists off her sins, so to speak, it becomes obvious just how much Brooke likes to flout the rules. And not only does she flout them, she doesn’t care, nor is she embarrassed. In fact, she’s rather bold about it.

Brooke’s boldness came to the forefront several times during the book. She had several moments where she knew she should be embarrassed or ashamed, yet didn’t. Another way her bold personality came to light in a way that moved the plot along was how she so easily talked about scandalous topics and willingly went off alone with him.

Why would she so willingly go off alone with a man she hardly knew? Because she’s too trusting. Brooke is so trusting, she sees no problem going off alone with a man, nor does she suspect his intentions are anything but honorable, which was another way that helped move the plot. Unlike Liberty, who is skeptical of everyone, or Madison, who dislikes men in general, Brooke easily gives her trust, which became crucial to her downfall.

Books, Characters, Intentions of the Earl, Scandalous Sisters Series


A plot cannot move and a story cannot be told if the characters lack the personality to pull it off. (Unless, they don’t stay true to character, that is.) However, it’s not just the leading characters that make up the book. The secondary characters are just as important.

I’m the kind of person who finishes a book and wonders that happened with so-and-so. Some authors will later use that character again in another book (and with any luck, make them the hero or heroine). I’m one of those authors. Not all characters are redeemable or in a position to show up as the hero/heroine of another book. However, I feel if a character is likeable, single, and/or has a past that presents a good story front, there’s likelihood they’ll show up again. Hence, why I made a series. I could NOT leave Brooke’s two sisters without a HEA. I just couldn’t. Even if neither of them possessed a personality that lent itself to writing their book, I just couldn’t leave them off.

When I wrote the first book, I  knew it would be a series, and I decided to include several scenes that not only focused on the hero/heroine’s relationship but a family relationship, too.

Over the next few days, I’ll try to go over the main characters in my first book, and how their personality made it easy for me to stick with my original plot idea as well as briefly cover the secondary characters and how it took all of them working together to pull off the plot.