I was at an author/reader event over the weekend, spending time with authors and meeting some amazing readers. While there, I participated in some really interesting panel discussions, one of which had an important impact on me.
It was a panel on creating supporting characters who sometimes take over with books/stories of their own.
I brought up Evan and Liz and Ian and Cassie and most importantly, Mike and Jade.
We talked about how and why certain characters seem to take off on their own and how much of it was reader input.
At the end of the panel, the question was asked of us – “Which secondary character would you like to sit down with and share a cup of coffee? What would you ask/tell them?”
I was at the end of the line of authors, so I listened to their responses and how and why they felt the way they did.
I didn’t really have to think about it.
I knew who I wanted to talk to.
During the panel, I talked a lot about Mike and bringing him into the story as the man Bill saved. I explained how I developed his story later and how he and Rebecca have been an integral part of the plot moving forward. Mike in great ways and Rebecca in horrid ways.
Then I thought a lot about book 25 which is about Josie, but also Mike and Jade.
I explained to them that Jade had a pretty rough upbringing. I told them she was abandoned as an infant and grew up in and out of foster care. She struggled with her weight and her self-esteem and abandonment issues.
I also explained that she was a mother of 3 beautiful daughters and a wife and was happy.
But that doesn’t take away from the feelings of self-worth and self-doubt that we all struggle with. She also worries that her own issues will rub off on her daughters.
I explained how Jade is the girl and boy I see in my classroom. The ones who struggle with their self-esteem and put on a brave face. I see her in how some people talk down about themselves because they don’t want the attention.
I love Jade, but I know how she feels.
I told them that if I sat down with her, I would tell her she is doing a great job.
I would tell her she is enough.
I would tell her to stop worrying.
This leads me a bit into one of the main stories told in book 25.
Desi’s story and Katie’s revelation will be first and foremost, with devastating effects on David.
But there is a secondary story that emerges fairly quickly and it involves Mike and Jade.
I have left something pretty important hanging in the wind for a while now, and it needed to be handled. It isn’t pretty and it won’t be easy, but it’s important.
Are you curious? Do you want more?
How about a preview?
Title and cover coming soon 🙂