#WriteTip - Develop Secondary Characters by @HaleyWhitehall (spotlighting her #historical #interracial #romance Midnight Caller)

It's been a while since Haley Whitehall paid a visit (I kid.... a couple of months, at the most). She and I met through an author loop at the same small press many moons ago (approximately 24), and since then some of our titles have hit the rights-reversion mark. While I'm still hovering on the indie sidelines trying to decide if I want to tackle re-editing and re-releasing my own titles, Haley has valiantly taken the plunge. Here's a writing tip from Ms. Whitehall, along with a closer look at Midnight Caller.

Develop Secondary Characters

by Haley Whitehall

I’d like to thank Tara for having me on her blog today and help celebrate my re-release of Midnight Caller. My write tip: develop your secondary characters. Many times the secondary characters are overlooked and if they are developed at all are often cliché characters.

Many writers focus all their attention on the main characters. If it is a romance, they spend all their time developing the hero and heroine and of course the bumpy road that leads to them falling in love. However, in real life, people do not live in a bubble. We do not have tunnel vision and only think about, see, and talk to our significant other.

Secondary characters serve many important functions in a story. They can be a sympathetic ear for the main characters and offer advice. With their help the main characters might be able to figure things out and make life decisions. They can help the main characters out when they are in a fix, or they can cause problems for the main characters either intentionally or unintentionally.  There can be many secondary characters in a story. I love the small town romances where you get to know the whole town: the nosy neighbor, grumpy old man, a few rambunctious children etc. Secondary characters can bring the setting to life, and make it feel more real to the reader. And you know what the best part is? Sometimes secondary characters beg to have a story of their own!

I recently re-edited, lengthened, and re-released Midnight Caller (Moonlight Romance, Book 1). After writing three books in the Moonlight Romance series it occurred to me that an important secondary character in Midnight Caller needed a story of her own. Mrs. Dimshire is a widowed matron in Louisville, and she encourages Emma to take a black lover. I got to thinking what is her story? So when I lengthened Midnight Caller for the re-release I went back and added a few more details about Mrs. Dimshire’s life. If secondary characters are more developed, it makes them more real as well as making it easier to write their stories later.

Secondary characters need to be more than names. We need to take time to describe them and develop them. In my opinion, the more the secondary characters are brought to life the more the story will ring true. Just be careful and don’t let them take over the story!

Midnight Caller

Moonlight Romance, 1

by Haley Whitehall

Life without love is painful, but in the Reconstruction Era South forbidden fruit can be deadly. A fiery romance between a widow and an African American man has more consequences than either of them imagined.

Slavery has ended, but racial prejudice remains in Kentucky. Emma Bennett guards a secret that could destroy her life. Until now she never considered the price of her security. Becoming a well-respected member in Louisville had seemed a dream come true, but at what cost?

Her husband’s death from a carriage accident releases Emma from her loveless, controlling marriage. Now she has a chance to find happiness and raise a family. But before she begins courting again she wants to experience her freedom. At the advice of the leading socialite in town, she takes a black lover to fulfill her sexual needs. His raw masculine power awakens feelings she didn’t know existed. After the first touch, she craves more.

Frederick works as a roustabout by day and moonlights as a prostitute. He knows better than to fall in love with his white client, but Emma enchants him the first time he calls on her. To keep them both safe, he works hard to put up barriers. Unfortunately, he can’t protect Emma from the slimy Mr. Hawthorne, who wants her as his bride. Frederick vows to keep her safe even if his forbidden love costs him his life.

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About Haley Whitehall

Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy.

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