My answer to the first question is that I don’t develop secondary characters. They introduce themselves to me when a story needs them, and I find out about them together with my readers. Often, they surprise me, perhaps more than people do in life outside my computer (so-called real life).
The main character and narrator of Ascending Spiral is Pip. I felt a compulsion to start on this story after my past life recalls. Initially, I thought I was producing a private record, organising the great deal of information that came to me over about two years.
One morning, I woke with this in my mind: “The first time I saw my love, she had long dark hair with a red band holding it in place, pansy-blue eyes, and a long elfin face that was quick to flash into a shy smile.”
And given this was about my past lives, I immediately had, “The second time I saw my love, she had golden hair, a square face and a terrible temper. She was two years of age, and me four, and when her parents and mine worked in the potato fields, it was my task to keep her from mischief. But as she lay in the dirt and screamed with her face going blue and her heels hammering the ground, that was when I knew I loved her, and always had and always would.”
The same Person emerged later, as Grace, when Pip’s spirit was Amelia, and then finally as his wife in our current times.
Since Pip is a version of me (if only I could be like him), I’ll get in trouble at home if I don’t nominate her as my favourite.
But this is the way it happens. Seek and you shall find. Ask and you will be given. A story needs someone, who comes along, perfect for the job.
Hit and Run has two major characters: 14 year old multiple murderer Chuck, and old lady Sylvia. But Sylvia needed a lever to move Chuck out of his terrible way of thinking and acting — and his little brother Tommy walked onto the stage. He is a traumatised, foul-mouthed little kid who nevertheless steals people’s hearts, and ends up as the focus of much of the story.
But also… oh, how can you choose favourites from among your children? There is Jenny, who is in foster care because her mother is dying of cancer, and who becomes a major motivating force for Chuck-who-has-become-Charlie to work toward a good life. And Sylvia’s daughter-in-law Sandra is a lady I’d love to have in my corner if ever I am in trouble. For heaven’s sake, I love them all, even the baddies.
Guardian Angel is about little Australian Aboriginal girl Maraglindi, but while she told me her story, I found all sorts of other people introducing themselves to me. Early on, Gerald and his mates harmed some little children, killing one. The black magic man’s magic killed the other six, but Gerald survived. I didn’t know why at the time, but as he discovered his future, so did I. God had given him a new life, so he wowed to devote his life to God’s service. He felt terrible guilt for killing an Aboriginal child, so protecting and helping Aborigines became his life’s work.
In fact, the sequel, when I get to write it, will be The Protector, who is of course Gerald.
But my favourite secondary character in that book is Kirsten. Several readers have told me she is theirs, too. We meet her when Maraglindi arrives at school. I knew she’d be treated with hatred and discrimination, but was surprised that Kirsten actually physically attacked her, and threatened to kill her if she told.
From this unpromising introduction, Kirsten developed into a person I could like and respect. How? You’ll have to read the book.
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Then, you can have the pleasure of visiting these nice ladies, who are also part of Rhobin’s Rounds. (Yes, I am the only male.) Please read what they have to say, and comment there, too.