Monday, September 24, 2012


Secondary characters are fun to write. They are not burdened by the heroic responsibilities of the two main characters. With this leeway, an author is allowed to make the secondary characters fun, shady, goofy, or bumbling without detracting from the over-the-top qualities necessary for the hero and heroine.

Two of the most enjoyable secondary characters I’ve writtern were the aunts, Lizzie Mae Fraser and Maggie Jo Gamble in my Men of Stone Mountain series: BRAZOS BRIDE (now available),  HIGH  STAKES BRIDE (releasing this week), BLUEBONNET BRIDE (end of 2012).

Available now in print and e-book

These two ladies are loosely patterned after my mom (as Maggie) and her older sister, Elizabeth (as Lizzie). Both have passed on now, but either would have done anything for her children. The sisters were always close and, as widows, grew even closer. Aunt Elizabeth always found something nice to say, and was one of the world’s best cooks. My mom was more critical or, as she was prone to say, “just let her know what I thought,” but she was tireless when it came to helping her children. My youngest daughter and I were reminiscing just Sunday evening that my mom also made the world’s best pies and candy.

When they were together, my mom and aunt were such fun. I had tried to get them to move near me and live in a duplex so each had privacy yet still had the close companionship of the other where I could look after them. My mom was willing. Aunt Elizabeth hesitated and then learned she had colon cancer, which ended her life. One of the joys of writing is that the author can accomplish in print what was not possible in reality, so I brought these two sisters together in fiction to enrich the lives of one another and the lives of their family (as the models did their children in life).

Releasing later this week in Print and E-book

In series, secondary characters can become the main characters of later books. In the Men of Stone Mountain series, brothers Zach and Joel were supporting players in Micah’s story, BRAZOS BRIDE. Each brother will have his own book, so readers can follow their developing relationships throughout the series. Each character must continue to change, to move forward in his character arc as the series continues. In Zach’s story, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, readers see Micah and Hope as parents of a son, Andrew. Micah remarks that he never realized it was possible to love a child who can’t even talk yet as much as he loves Andrew. Micah also helps Zach face the truth.

As you can tell, my books often feature family relationships. What I’ve enjoyed about writing the Men of Stone Mountain series is that the three brothers are closely knit. They may look at life in a slightly different way, but each is loyal to and supportive of the other two. I love that in a family, don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by!


Paty Jager said...

Those aunts were great secondary characters! I love adding secondary characters to a story that bring levity and put a smile on the readers lips when they read one of those characters coming in to the scene. Secondary characters round out a book in my estimation. Great post!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks, Paty, and thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.

Ellen O'Connell said...

Oh, I LIKE that High Stakes Bride cover, Caroline. That ought to really attract bunches of readers.

Lyn Horner said...

Caroline, you and I think along the same lines. I love my secondary characters, so much so that I'm compelled to write a book for them. Secondary characters are essential for developing a strong plot, and the more colorful they are, the better.

I also love the cover for High Stakes Bride.

mesadallas said...

I love secondary characters who go on to have their own books. and if I like the first book I'm a sucker to buy the sequel so I can read about the secondary character's stories.My favorite types of series are about brothers.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks, Paty. I agree that secondary characters round out a book.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Ellen, I genuinely hope so. Thanks for commenting.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Lyn, thanks for commenting. I love colorful secondary characters, even if they don't merit their own book.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I love books about family members, brothers or sisters or a mix. And I'm a sucker for series about family and have to keep buying the books. Hope that's true for readers of my series. ☺

Jacquie Rogers said...

I loved Brazos Bride and I'm so looking forward to reading High Stakes Bride! Nice cover, too.

All your characters shine, but I do get a kick out of your secondary characters and am always curious about how they came into being. The anecdote about your mom and aunt is precious and it's wonderful that they live on in your books.