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Getting to Know Your Secondary Characters

Do your characters ever say things that surprise you?

I spend a lot of time with Tommy and Careen. I know about their childhoods, their fears, and their triumphs—tons of details that never actually make it into the finished books. They’re as real to me as my daughter and my nieces.

Their circle of acquaintances expands in Resist, Book Two of the Resistance Series.

Jaycee and Tommy became close allies as the series progressed, but much to her dismay, he remained oblivious to her feelings for him.

Some of the secondary characters got their start as cameos in Counteract, and they revealed their complexities as I wrote them into larger parts in Resist. Others started out as vague “types” in an outline, created to stir things up and help build conflict and tension in the story. But they’ve become so much more.

I built those characters up from their first appearances in the book the same way I built the main characters–by giving them honest reactions to their circumstances.

Jaycee Carraway first appears in Counteract. She’s a teenager who works at her father’s diner, and she’s been raised around the activities of the Resistance. She’s the youngest one in the cast, and eager to engage with people, but she’s a little immature and awkward because she’s not used to being around a lot of strangers. She’s not above playing a practical joke or telling a fantastic story to get attention. It doesn’t take much for her to develop a crush on Tommy.

When the rest of the Resistance seeks safety at the backwoods headquarters, Jaycee’s beside herself with excitement–and even better, Careen Catecher, a fugitive who’s been in the media spotlight, is Jaycee’s new roomie!

Jaycee takes her guest upstairs, and hurriedly collects all the stuffed animals and clothes off the spare bed in her room. She gushes, “I never have company–especially famous company! But I’m so glad you’re here, because it means now I get to be part of the revolution!”

The thing was–I didn’t intend for Jaycee to mention a revolution at all. Her words just kind of…came unbidden, out of my fingers and onto the keyboard. Jaycee had momentarily taken over the story.

Wes stirs up trouble wherever he goes.

Is she up for the challenge? You’ll have to read the books to find out!

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jaycee and the rest of the new characters and watch them develop into their roles in the story—not just as foils, but as living, breathing, complex people with their own wishes, motivations, and problems. Now, in the third book, I’m increasing another character’s role, and he’s revealing himself to me as we go.

Danni’s tough exterior masks a passion to do what’s right.

Some of the most surprising things come out of their mouths. They lead me in directions I wasn’t expecting. They’ve made me laugh out loud and they’ve made me cringe.

I can’t wait for you to get to know them!

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