I’m inspired by flawed characters who are basically noble, who heal each other through falling in love. This is why I love reading romance, and why I write it, too.My process when I create a story, typically, has been to think quite a bit about the hero and heroine. I research their occupations and their settings before making a rough plot of the story and their potential character and romance growth.
But in order to keep the writing fresh, I don’t think about secondary characters. Superromances are long stories, sometimes encompassing whole communities, and secondary characters can play a huge role in the story. I delight in watching them appear on the page, on “hearing” their voices in my imagination, in watching them interact with the main characters.
|The Sweetest Hours|
Every now and then, a secondary character appears and he or she really strikes a chord. Rhiannon MacDowall appeared as a sister to the hero in my Scotland-set Superromance, The Sweetest Hours. Rhiannon is an agoraphobic recluse, and she is the “perfect” agoraphobic recluse, because she has no problem with it. She’s organized her life to stay in seclusion on her estate, and everyone in her family accommodates her. At heart, she’s a sweet person, loving and generous, and her small sacrifice for her brother and his happiness at the end of The Sweetest Hours is one that surprised and touched me. I didn’t see it happening until it appeared on the page, but it tied the story together.
|Scotland for Christmas|
My editor suggested I write a connecting story with another minor character from The Sweetest Hours as heroine (Isabel Sage), and that story was published as Scotland for Christmas. Again, Rhiannon was a secondary character, but she had a critical role in the hero’s ability to come to peace and gain closure from his father’s death.With Secret Garden, my August Superromance, it’s finally time for Rhiannon’s story as heroine. Colin Walker is her hero. In childhood, he was her best friend, and he never knew her as a recluse. In fact, he refuses to come to terms with her this way. He challenges her in a way no one else has. Falling in love with him brings her closer to what she really wants, but it also challenges everything she’s ever assumed about herself.
From the back cover copy:Hidden from the world…
A reclusive artist in the Scottish Highlands, Rhiannon MacDowall is an enigma. Few people know about her carefully structured life, or why she hides within the protection of her family’s estate. Until an errant golf ball changes everything…Colin Walker was once Rhiannon’s best friend. Now he’s a pro golfer on the verge of ruin who’s returned to Scotland on family business. But as much as Rhiannon tries to keep Colin out, their connection remains—and turns into something both exhilarating and terrifying. Something that threatens the foundations of Rhiannon’s safe little world.
I’m giving away paperback copies of The Sweetest Hours and Scotland for Christmas. Recipients will be chosen randomly from the comments to this post between now and Saturday, August 12. Thank you for reading!And now, I’m curious about you. Do you prefer to read romances in paperback or on your e-reader?
|Secret Garden poster from the RWA conference|
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Thank you for reading!