Sunday, February 3, 2013

When Secondary Characters Take Over

One comment that is typical of people who have read Accidental Affair is, "I love Bear."  Bear is not warm and furry, he's a 6'8" FBI Agent, and the hero, Jack Vaughn's, best friend.  During the editing process I actually had to tone him down somewhat because my publisher said he was taking over.  It was hard to do, because Bear literally took on a life of his own, but somehow it got done.  Barely.

Almost every person who's read the book has expressed interest in seeing Bear have his own story, so I gave him one.  However, before I wax poetic about that, allow me to introduce you to Special Agent Ted "Bear" Bristol, the one man I would leave my husband for (if he were a real

            “Can I get you something to drink?” the perky brunette asked.
            Laine absently wondered if there was an attractiveness quotient required to work here, noting that all members of the wait staff were fit and attractive.  No wonder Jack’s friend ate here a lot.
            “I’ll have an iced tea with lots of lemon,” Laine replied.  “I should be ready to order by the time you get back.”
            The pretty twenty-something smiled and nodded as she walked away, and Laine went back to the menu.  Her heart rate was slightly elevated, but when she saw the 6’8” man grab the door handle with hands the size of dinner plates, her pulse jumped and started to race.  Jack had said he’d be the tallest guy in the room, blonde, blue eyed, and muscular.  The newcomer fit that description exactly and her heart leapt again.  The moment of truth was at hand.  She was about to find out if she was as good at this as Jack said she was.
            Laine took several deep breaths.  As he walked through the door he almost had to turn sideways because he was so broad, but there wasn’t an ounce of fat on him.  If she hadn’t known he was an FBI agent she would’ve guessed Marine.  His hair was cut in a high and tight, and he walked like someone with formidable military training.  He had steely blue eyes, and his jaw was so square she had no doubt she could open a can with it.  His features were sharp, but he didn’t look hard or jaded.  He wore a pair of jeans and a white Denver Broncos polo shirt which completely hid the evidence of the pistol Jack had told her he always wore.  He paused near the cash register, smiled, and said hello to her waitress.  The girl giggled and gave him an adoring look.  When he turned to scan the rest of the establishment, Laine focused on her menu, leaned back in her seat and crossed her legs gracefully.
            In her peripheral vision she saw him hesitate in his perusal, and his body turned toward her.  Pretending to look for her waitress, Laine started at the far end of the counter and moved her gaze toward him.  When their eyes met his stare was arresting, and Laine had no doubt many a suspect had been cowed into confessions by that laser-pointed look.  She smiled, tipped her head slightly, and then went back to her menu as a blush rose in her cheeks.
            She went to steal another look at him and jumped when she realized he was standing at the end of the table.  She pressed a hand to her heart.
            “Oh, goodness,” she said in a low, breathy voice, “you startled me.”
            “I apologize, ma’am.”  He nodded curtly.  “That was not my intention.”
            His smile transformed his appearance from forbidding to stunning.  The change was dramatic and Laine found herself momentarily distracted by his movie-star smile and bright blue eyes.  When he extended his hand it was a moment before she slipped her fingers into his, and the heat in her face intensified as he brushed a kiss across the back of her hand.  He immediately released her, but his gaze continued to hold hers captive.
            “A gentleman,” she commented.
            “Always, ma’am,” he replied, “and I don’t mean to intrude, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you here before.”
            Laine leaned her elbows on the table, giving him a good view of her cleavage, but his eyes never left her face.  “No, you haven’t.”
            “And, until now,” he began, “that has been my misfortune.  I am extremely glad my luck has changed for the better.”
            Laine didn’t think she’d ever met anyone so charming.  There was nothing smarmy or sleazy about his manner.  Every word that exited his nicely shaped mouth conveyed warmth and sincerity.  This man would easily give Jack a run for his money when it came to like-ability and sex appeal.
            She gave him a demure smile.  “Are you staying for lunch, my good sir, or are you here for take-out?”
            “May I ask if you are alone?”  When she nodded, his smile widened.  “I don’t believe in take-out, ma’am.”

Sigh....  I'm sure most authors have had secondary characters who wanted to step out of bounds, and reigning them in can be difficult, especially when they charm the pants off of you.  The good thing about this is a new hero/heroine has just been discovered.  A secondary character who gives the main characters a run for their money is a main character in their own right.  All an author has to do is create the world they live in and voila!  Another book is born.

So, when those secondary characters start to assert themselves, tell them to chill out.  They'll get their own story soon enough. 


Debby said...

Secondary characters can really add to a story and yell for one of their own.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Leslie McKelvey said...

Yes, they can, Debby, and sometimes it's hard to keep them from growing beyond their role.

Catherine Lee said...

I tend to be drawn to the quirky sidekick characters--crazy aunts or chubby, funny best friend. They make an enjoyable book for me. NOW, I could see how Bear could be a distraction!
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com