Guest - Francesca Hawley

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Guest - Francesca Hawley

Good morning everyone! Today, we have author Francesca Hawley visiting us. Francesca is sharing with us a very interesting take on the other characters we employ in our work. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy! -- Lynda

Supporting Actors, Actresses, and Bit Players

by Francesca Hawley

We all know how important a sympathetic heroine and a strongly written hero are to any romance – regardless of genre. However, as writers we don’t often consider the supporting cast. After all, no matter how cool they are, the hero and heroine can’t interact only with each other. Well, they can if you’re writing a quickie erotic romance…but that’s about it. A good supporting cast can make or break a novel.

Think about it – what is Luke Skywalker without Obi Wan, Yoda, Han, and Leia? A troubled and slightly whiny teenager. Without a sister in trouble, would Joan Wilder have left in New York and traveled to Colombia to meet Jack Colton. I think not. She would have kept writing about Jesse and listening to the soundtrack of “How the West Was Won.” How would Dorothy have gotten to meet the Wizard if she didn’t have the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion to help her out and Glinda to get her started? She would have stayed in Munchkinland saying she wanted to go home. These stories would never work without secondary characters. Secondaries provide conflict, support, and comic relief.

I’m not a plotter by nature so I don’t know that I need a character to tell my hero something to forward the plot in chapter 4, scene 2. If only I did my life and writing would be soooo much easier. Instead, I just sit down and write. I let the story go where it will and invariably, my protagonists find other characters with which to interact.

In my book, Protect and Defend, my loner hero Lieutenant Diarmid Redwolf has co-workers and family. His mentor is his Captain, Ossie. Ossie doesn’t have much stage time, but it’s obvious they have history. Ossie also provides my heroine, Mikaela, some important info about Diar’s past. Diarmid has conflicts with both his parents. It turned out his father Kincaid was a sharp SOB who gave Mikaela trouble from the get-go. He also turned out to be a softy under the tough shell. Diarmid’s family relationships ended up as a strong secondary plot line I didn’t even know was there until I stumbled over it because of my secondary characters.

Mikaela, is close to her father and brother. I’ve had readers tell me already they’d like to see me write about her brother Rik, a singer/songwriter in a country music band. Miki also has co-workers and at least one is highly quirky. I didn’t know I was going to write him, and he isn’t much more than a walk on – but I love Freddy Rhineschmidt. I have to admit he leaped into my mind and pirouetted as a swishier version of Tim Gunn (of Project Runway fame).

Freddy moved the story forward when he told Mikaela about a book his partner had for her at “the store.” This led to a trip to an adult emporium run by Andre. Freddy and Andre weren’t in my plans but they just showed up. As secondary characters they provide support and comic relief. They also open up a way for me to bring greater intimacy between Diarmid and Mikaela.

Heroes and heroines need to have a strong supporting cast. Someone they can sit down and bitch to, or who can help them learn important things about themselves and their significant others. They are as important to a great story as the hero and heroine.

Who are some of your favorite secondary characters in books, movies and on TV? Do you plan out your secondaries carefully or do you trip over them as you’re writing the story? Are there any secondary characters who have ruined a story for you? Please share your thoughts. What doesn’t kill me will make me a stronger writer. :D

Protect and Defend

Mikaela Laughlin discovers a whole new world, and an entirely new species, when she tours the crime lab to meet Lieutenant Diarmid Redwolf while researching her next book. She’s lusted after “Delicious Diarmid” from afar for a long time, but meeting him sets her body on fire. It doesn’t take long for Mikaela to discover there’s more to Diarmid than meets the eye. He is far more delicious up close than she ever dreamed.

Diarmid has bad guys to catch, but one look at the voluptuous writer has him wanting to catch her instead. His shapeshifter blood recognizes his True Mate and he wants her naked body arching beneath his. Now. But with a cold-blooded serial killer on the loose, Diarmid has one shot at his future and he will not fail. Because this time, the killer wants Mikaela.

I've had a short story in an anthology called Paranaughty published by Draumr Publishing.

Alpha v. Alpha by Francesca Hawley

Serena Goldwolf's life revolves around making matches for her fellow shapeshifters through her mate service, She's thriving in the business world, if not her private one, until a match goes awry. That's when she comes face to face with Damien Blackwolf, a very unhappy customer. He's the hottest male on two legs, or four, she's ever met. Life just got interesting.

Damien is looking for his perfect Mate and is startled when he first catches the scent of the voluptuous Serena. He knows he's found his True Mate, but how will he convince her of their destiny when she won't even give him the time of day? He needs to bring out her baser desires and he knows just how to do that--by dragging her off someplace private to get to know her "intimately."

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About Francesca Hawley

I earned a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science in 2003 and work as a librarian in central Iowa. I'm a member of Romance Writer of America, including multiple special interest chapters. Even in my teens I wrote romances, spending my lunch hours with pen, paper, and characters. I love to weave new tales by embroidering and knitting intriguing narratives for the amusement of myself, my friends, and my readers.

My writer's mission statement is to write about exciting, sensual, plus-size heroines who love and are loved by their intense, passionate and seductive Alpha heroes.

Why create a mission statement, other than because I'm a librarian and it's something we tend to do? Because I've been plus-size all my life and I don't know how to be anything else. When I started reading romances, almost every heroine had a slender, girlish figure. If she didn't start out that way, she ended up that way. Plain or pretty, the heroine was thin. I loved those stories and their writers, but I tired of not seeing me in the heroines of my favorite books.

As I started writing, I followed market trends and wrote about slender heroines. Then I thought, am I part of the market? Yes. I am. There must be other readers who want to read about a differently shaped heroine, too. Everyone deserves to find love. So now, I write about plus-size heroines who know, or learn, how to live in their skins. My heroines are authentic and that's part of the reason my intense, passionate, and seductive Alpha male heroes love them. I hope you will too.

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10 Responses to "Guest - Francesca Hawley"

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

Hi Francesca! Everyone needs to ask Francesca what her favorite kind of pie is. I think you'll be surprised at her answer!

Jody W.

Gwyn Ramsey said...

Yes, Francesca, secondary characters are very important to the entire story. They help to move the plot forward and had interest to the story. I so agree with you. Good article. Thanks

Francesca Hawley said...

Hi Gwyn,
Thanks for stopping by today!


Francesca Hawley said...

Do you mean my Medieval tart recipe? I posted a great medieval tart recipe on the Otherworld Diner blog last Saturday. For sweet pies, it's a toss up between apple and chocolate.

Thanks for stopping by, Jody!


Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Francesca, thanks again for being with us. I was going to ask a question about characters but somebody mentioned pie, lol. What's in the Medieval Tart recipe?

Francesca Hawley said...

Thanks for inviting me to post, Lynda. The medieval tart includes mushrooms, onions, eggs and some tasty herbs and things. It's a little bit like a quiche and it's good hot or cold.


Lynda K. Scott said...

Cool, where can I get the recipe?

Francesca Hawley said...

Visit my blog post at The Otherworld Diner. :-)

You'll find a bunch of other very tasty recipes by visiting the home page for the Diner too.


Marci Baun said...

Nice article, Francesca. For me, I do enjoy secondary characters, but I don't want them to have their own POV. I've seen authors do this, and I think it detracts from the story. If a story is well-written, and the secondary characters are well-defined, then I will usually want to read a story just about them.

Oh, I wish my husband would eat a wider variety of food. Most vegetables are out of the question. (sigh) LOL


Francesca Hawley said...

I agree with you on POV issues. It always throws me out of a story if I get something from a secondary viewpoint - or even strictly from the villain's POV.

Thanks for commenting!