History Hoydens

Example

Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

17 September 2007

Lord Scandal Cover!


Sometimes the fun news overwhelms the research. I recently got the cover for my second book, Lord Scandal, and I love love love it!

This is the story of Gabriel, the best friend of the heroine in Lord Sin. His has been the number one requested story by fans who took the time to email me, so I guess it was a lucky stroke that his was always the story I'd planned to be next in line.

Speaking of fan mail, I found it fascinating to see what characters really captured the readers imaginations. I'd assumed (correctly) that readers would be eager for the stories of George's two friends (Gabriel "Brimstone" Angelstone and Marcus Thane, the viscount St. Audley), what I hadn't counted on was that I'd get an almost equal amount of fan mail for Bennett, the mutual friend of the hero and heroine, who readers first meet with the hero in the opening chapter.

Not one to disappoint, or to ignore clear reader interest, I've already begun to kick around ideas for Bennett . . .

So, as a reader do you sometimes find your interest irresistibly perked by a secondary character (I sure do!)? As a writer, do you listen to this kind of fan mail, or do you follow your muse wherever it leads you?

17 Comments:

Blogger Amanda Elyot said...

I find that when I WRITE my novels, supporting characters wanting to steal the thunder. Because I write stand-alone titles, it's difficult to give a supporting character in one book their starring role in another -- and it's especially difficult with the kind if historical fiction I write ... but in my contemps, I try to get away with it.

In my first novel, MISS MATCH, there's a character of a fatuous Hollywood actor (he was based on an amalgam, looks-and-brains-wise of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt) who threatened to run away with the book. So in my 2nd novel, REALITY CHECK, which is about love and corruption on a reality dating show, My imagination insisted that I "had" to make the Hollywood actor the host of the show, so I could bring him back. Fans of MISS MATCH had written to me to ask if they would see more of him, which was a good thing, because they were going to!

The weirdest thing for me was the first time I caught "American Idol" and realized that my character of Rick Byron was JUST LIKE Ryan Seacrest -- and I'd written and published both novels before AI was ever on TV!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Congrats on the gorgeous cover, Kalen. Interesting about Bennett. I think it's also that readers want to go back to the world you created.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

At last, a man with hair on his chest!

Very nice, Kalen! (And I'm reading Lord Sin and enjoying it a lot.)

I find my wicked secondary characters tremendously interesting, but I wonder if I'd find them so fascinating if I tried to write them.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

I've got to admit that my own guilty pleasure is seeing a well-beloved character make a return appearance in a minor role. I want to see a happily married George appearing at the periphery of your next books, all swift step and whoosh of big Georgian skirt (George is a lady, for anyone who hasn't read Lord Sin yet, and a fantastic one).

11:33 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Great cover Kalen, very sexy! I love when a there is a secondary character that grabs my attention who gets a book of his own, but I think it should be up to the author. Just because a secondary character pops on the page, that doesn't necessarily mean that he or she needs his or her needs own story. Sometimes a subpot can be enough. Of course, if you get enough emails, and you can come up with a fantastic plot, I say go for it!

12:26 PM  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Tell me, Amanda. I have to sit down the not-MC characters on a regular basis and tell them that they can't get more screen time since I already have 5 MCs. They'll nod and then flash me a smile, "but I do get to be in that cool scene when we make it through that bunch of Germans who waylaid us, because you see, I need to be in that later scene when Clodia learns her brother has died because her husband, who could have saved him, didn't." *sigh*

Writing scene out of order doesn't help with that, either. I can only hope somewhere in the wilderness a publisher IS looking for 170K+ epic historical fiction with more characters than the NY phone book. :)

As reader, I sometimes root for the most unlikely characters. Childeric D'Essoms in Kushiel's Dart was one of those odd choices. Though there were several characters I liked/found interesting.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Tracy Grant said...

Gorgeous cover, Kalen, congrats!

I always find myself getting intrigued by secondary characters when I write--it's why I always write connected books :-). Charles and Mélanie were orgianlly inspired by secondary characters in a never-published Regency that I co-wrote with my mom. In the future books I want to write about Charles and Mélanie, I want to work in stories about Raoul O'Roarke and Jeremy Roth and some other secondary characters who don't even appear until the third (not yet published) Charles and Mélanie novel.

Of course it's difficult not to be influenced when readers want a story about a particularly character (it's incredibly flattering to have readers care about a character that much). But even with reader interest, I can't always turn a secondary character itno a hero or heroine. My mom and I wrote a novella about Simon di Tassio because Kate Moore had been saying he should have his own story from the first book he appeared in (as a boy of eleven). Simon made a great hero. But we never could write a book about Antony Paget, Marquis of Carteret, on of the rejected suitors from "The Corting of Philippa". I think we agreed too much with Philippa's reasons for rejecting him :-).

1:48 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Beautiful blue (and dude) on the cover, Kalen. Nice!

I find my supporting characters wanting to upstage the H/H, too!

So the least I can do is give them their own story.

But come to think of it...I had one reader just write and tell me how much she loved the horse in DARK RIDER! She was rooting for him in the end as much as she was the hero.

That I had not anticipated. ;-)

2:39 PM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

Hey all, I'm so glad you agree with me about my new cover. I'm super happy with it.

And Tracy, PLEASE write O'Roarke's book!!! I loved him.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Kristina Cook said...

LOVE the cover, Kalen!! It's gorgeous!! Who *wouldn't* want to pick that up?!

What always amazes me is the number of emails I get asking for stories about secondary characters that I've never even considered writing about. Either a really wicked character that I simply don't like enough to write an entire book about, or someone who, in my head, already had a 'finished' story that readers wanted 'redone' so that they had a happier future (Emily in UNVEILED got a lot of letters devoted to her--hoping she would leave her husband--or he'd be killed--and she'd finally find someone worthy!).

I actually had so many readers write me asking for Lord Thomas Sinclair's story (a bad guy in UNLACED and UNVEILED) that I put him in UNDRESSED, doing and saying really, really horrible, irredeemable stuff! Didn't get a SINGLE letter asking for his story after that!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Roflol, Kristina. That must have been really bad, if he can't even play a dark, tortured, aggressive alpha hero in need of redemption. Did you have him kill a puppy? :)

8:28 PM  
Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I love reading the stories of minor characters! Love writing them, too.

Your cover is every bit as good as Lord Sin's, Kalen! Verrrry nice!

We're having a week of celebration and prizes over at Risky Regencies this week. You are all invited!

8:38 PM  
Anonymous francois said...

I'm often more intrigued by tertiary characters that we don't learn much about in the original book. That way, when they do get their story told, you only see the original couple from a distance, from a different perspective.

I hate hate hate books where a previous couple (or whole horde of previous couples) turn up as smug marrieds, prophesying that "it'll be your turn next" and showing off their children and their perfect marriage. It's sad when interesting people turn into indentikit boring stereotypes once they're married! Sadder still when they pop up for no good reason in the story, except to confirm how amazingly happy they are.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Kristina Cook said...

Francois, I completely agree with you about the smug marrieds thing! It's something I really work to avoid in my own books. Actually, it was kind of easy for me with the series I just finished, because the books were written of order chronologically--so, for instance, Jane, a secondary character from the first book, gets married in the second book (Unveiled), but in the third book (Undressed) she's single again, because it takes place many years prior. And then no smug marrieds in the fourth book, because it takes place long before the prior three in the series. Did that even make sense?! LOL!

5:43 AM  
Blogger Kristina Cook said...

LOL, Gabriele! Not quite as bad as killing a puppy, but I made him say some really horrible, misogynist things and gave him a long-term mistress and illegitimate children that he spoke horribly of and planned to eventually turn out on the streets. Oh, and I also made him behave a little violently to the heroine. But hey, maybe I should have made him kill a puppy!

One reviewer likened him to a one-dimensional 'mustache twirling villain' , and I thought to myself, good, I accomplished it!

5:49 AM  
Blogger Patricia Rice said...

Excellent cover, Kalen, congrats!

One word of warning--be certain the fascinating secondary character that leaves readers drooling can be sold come hell or high water. I've got one readers are still asking about twenty years later, and there is no way he can be resurrected at this point.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Bonnie Ferguson said...

Congrats on the fabulous cover! I definitely find my interest perked by secondary characters. :)

7:14 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Site Counter
Kennedy Western University Online