Help, my secondary character is taking over the book! #amwriting #Romance #mgtab



Have you ever started to write a book and had a secondary character try to take over the story? It doesn’t matter how hard you work at putting them on the sidelines, they keep popping up at the most inopportune times.

I’ve found it’s better to go with the flow and see where it takes me– usually into another book and thereby creating a series I hadn’t actually planned on writing!

When I was working on The Rebel’s Redemption, book two in the Wounded Hearts series, the hero’s best friend stepped up and insisted I do his story at the same time! I had a lot of fun with those two and the side benefit was interlocking stories that practically wrote themselves. I wish it was always that easy, but truthfully, most books take a lot of blood, sweat and lots of CHOCOLATE before they begin to take shape.


Maybe it’s because I’m a pantser. I never know what’s going to happen until it does, and then I say, “That’s brilliant!” lol. Sometimes, it’s a great first line. One of my favorites is from The Beast WithinHer skin was tender as the belly of a kitten. And just as fragile.
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And other times, it comes from a picture I’ve seen:




Like this one I used as inspiration for Missing: TheLady Said No, a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby.


And then there’s the ones that emerge from a cover you fall in love with. This one was made by Michele Hauf.


HappyBirthdayMy Love


This is Sophia Shaughnessy’s book. She first showed up as the cute sister of Matthew Shaughnessy in Hold ‘Em, but her character became important to the story and readers connected with the young woman desperate to prove herself in a man’s world.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Sophia lightly flirted with Rico—as they’d done all their lives—and pretended not to watch every move Tony made. She absolutely didn’t notice his tough farm hands closing into fists when Rico grasped her waist, or sense the tension emanating from his powerful body as he watched the two of them acting like frisky colts. She’d feel guilty, except the big jerk should know there hadn’t been anyone but him for her since she’d reached puberty.

Damn him.

“I thought I’d take Cleopatra out for a ride,” she said to Rico, making a conscious effort to ignore Tony’s glower. “Do you have time to join me?”

“Sure.” Rico nodded. “Just give me a few minutes to finish these stalls, bueno?”

“Weren’t you supposed to exercise the yearlings today?” Tony growled. “Just because the princess deigned to visit, doesn’t mean the ranch is on holiday. Get to work, Juarez.”

Rico bristled. “I can do that later, they aren’t going anywhere.”

Tony took an aggressive step forward and Sophia hurried to step between the two men. “Stop it,” she hissed. “It’s my fault, I wasn’t thinking.”

She turned and forced a smile for Rico. “I’ll meet you later and we’ll catch up. It’s been too long.” She squeezed his arm in reassurance. “See you at dinner?”

Rico glared at his boss, then gave a slow shrug and dragged his attention back to her. “Yeah, sure. It’ll be like old times, ?”

Sophia saw his intentions in the mischievous glint of his eyes. She braced herself for the fallout as he leaned in and gave her a big, smacking kiss on the lips before jauntily wandering away with a tip of his hat. She’d get even with him, the tease.

She glanced up at Tony and cleared her throat, subduing the instinct to rub suddenly sweaty palms on her pants. “I didn’t mean to create problems, I know this is a working ranch.” That much was true, anyway. She’d tried so many times to insert herself into the business, to be a valued member of the team, but her ideas were brushed aside as the dreams of a young idealist. After a while, she’d given up trying.

Tony met her gaze and sighed. “I probably overreacted. I tend to do that a lot around you,” he admitted. Sophia didn’t have time to enjoy the warm glow his words wrought, before he added, “But you should know better than to come down to the barns dressed like that. You’re distracting my men.”

She wasn’t sure which rose faster, outrage or pleasure. She went with outrage, it was safer. “I’m wearing blue jeans, they’re hardly haute couture. And most of your men have known me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, you’re exaggerating my appeal. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see my horse. At least she doesn’t judge me.”

She’d stomped past three stalls, the horses within staring at her with inquisitive eyes, before Tony caught up to her. “It’s been a long time since you’ve been on much of a ride, I don’t like the idea of you going out alone.”

Sophia huffed out a strangled laugh. “I was born on this ranch, I’m pretty sure I know my way around it. Besides, it’s your own fault I don’t have a companion, you got rid of him, remember?”

Tony grabbed a couple of bridles on their way past the tack room. “That idiot would be too damn busy showing off to protect you,” he snapped. “And I wasn’t worried about you getting lost so much as getting bucked off and, if you were lucky, landing on that delectable keister. I’ll go with you.”

“No.” She swung around to face him. “I want a fun, relaxing ride. You’ll just mess with my Zen.”

“You want to go, princess, then I go too. End of story.” He opened the stall for his bay and entered, mumbling sweet nothings to the horse while he swung the bridle over the gelding’s head.

Oh, yay.



I have a secret; I love secondary characters. They have a sense of mystery about them. You need to find out their story and they leave all sorts of possibilities open for future books. 🙂

Crazy Little Thing About Love releases Tuesday, May 15th. I hope you’ll buy a copy and see if you can pick out the next character who needs his/her story told.

What about you? Do you have a thing for secondary characters? It’s okay, I won’t tell 🙂

16 Replies to “Help, my secondary character is taking over the book! #amwriting #Romance #mgtab”

  1. I love the new cover. It looks inviting. 🙂 My pushy secondary characters usually end up in their own books too. Sometimes even years later because they won’t leave me along. I love them as well, Jacquie. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mary. Yes, much as I love my main characters (That’s why I’m writing about them, after all) it’s those characters who pop up and worm their way in that I can’t resist 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a great excerpt. I especially loved the end. I have no idea how you write as fast as you do, but CONGRATS on another release! What a wonderful cover, too.

    And I know what you mean about secondary characters. I had one pop up in the book I just finished, and she is going to be the new lead in the next book, even though I had planned someone else in that role. It’s best to go with the characters when they come knocking, LOL.

    Congrats again, Jacquie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I LOVE secondary characters. I’ve never tried two stories at once, though. Amazing! Best wishes with them.

    If you ever want to promote on my site, Jacquie, just let me know. Happy to help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you, Staci!
      It surprised me how well the two books went, also. At first I considered writing a sub-plot with the secondary characters (Suzanne Brockmann does this so well) but Ty had so many issues of his own I knew his story needed its own book-Twilight’s Encore. I’d write a scene or two in The Rebel and then follow up in Twilight so that both books have the same timeline, but two complete standalone stories of their own.
      I’d love to do that again one day, if the right characters come together 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Robbi. It was more a case of two strong heroes who needed their own book–now! lol. And since the timeline was the same, I decided to go for it 🙂


  4. Hi Jacquie. To your question of do secondary characters take over when I’m writing – I have to answer a big YES!! I am currently finishing the revision of the sequel to my first novel: If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. When I wrote the first one I had Jennifer as a mean girl secondary character who helps my main character understand how awesome she is. But many readers identified with Jennifer, who was a big part of the book and went through some changes as well. One of these was my line editor’s daughter who after reading the book wanted a sequel and many other young readers who wanted to see more of Jennifer. As a result my second novel is now a full series with the second book titled: Who Is Jennifer Taylor and all about her. But the crazy thing is a character I introduced in this novel as a secondary character totally took over as well. So now a third novel is planned for this character and many of the tertiary characters from each book may have leading roles in this one as well.

    If a character decides to take over I just let them and see where it leads. I think there is always a reason you just don’t know yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Those secondary characters have an important message to share, we just need to listen.
      Thank you so much for stopping by to comment, I’ll keep an eye out for your books 🙂


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