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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet Jannine Gallant



I’d like you to meet author Jannine Gallant. I met Jannine through a group called Authors Helping Authors. Like so many in this group, Jannine is wonderfully supportive. Here’s more about Jannine.

Write about what you know. Jannine Gallant has taken this advice to heart, creating characters from small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors. She grew up in a tiny Northern California town and currently lives in beautiful Lake Tahoe with her husband and two daughters. When she isn’t busy writing or being a full time mom, Jannine hikes and snowshoes in the woods around her home. Whether she’s writing contemporary, historical, or romantic suspense, Jannine brings the beauty of nature to her stories. To find out more about this author and her books, visit her website at www.janninegallant.com.

Today, Jannine is sharing her insights into the other characters in our books.

The Importance of Supporting Characters

We agonize over our heroes and heroines, getting each little detail right, creating character sketches that describe their likes and dislikes, the important events in their lives, the exact color of their hair… Okay, maybe I’m obsessive about these things. LOL The point is, we as writers put a lot of effort into creating main characters we can really care about. But the h & h aren’t the only characters in our stories. In my opinion, the supporting cast can make or break a book.

I admire writers who delve deeply into their hero and heroine’s psyche and focus on the internal battle waging there. But I’m not that sort of writer. Yes, my h & h have problems, but much of what they have to overcome is external. When your book is plot driven, the importance of the setting and supporting characters comes to the front. These are the people who give your protagonists a headache, make them laugh, make them cry. In short, they support your h & h and let their personalities sparkle and glow.

I love writing funky, interesting, crazy supporting characters. And to add more impact, I often make them family. In A Deadly Love, the older generation shines. Brooke, my heroine, has a grandmother who wears fuchsia T-shirts and drives an ancient VW bus with peace sign decals plastered all over it. My hero, Dillon, has a grandfather who lives in a cabin in the woods with no electricity. He greets trespassers with a loaded shotgun. Dillon also has a six-year-old son. Writing kids can be tricky but rewarding. I have daughters. Creating a little boy was a stretch for me, but I hope I captured the unbridled energy and enthusiasm I see in my friends’ sons. I hope readers will see how Brooke interacts with Dillon’s son and like her more than they did before. I hope the way Dillon tries to be patient with his grandfather resonates with those who have older, difficult relatives. Most of all, I hope these secondary but oh so important characters leave a lasting impression.

 
Blurb for A Deadly Love:

In the heart of the redwoods, a madman waits...

Recovering from a broken engagement and determined to start over, Brooke Wakefield flees to her grandmother's home deep in the redwood forest. Discovering her teenage crush lives next door is a less than auspicious beginning. The last thing she needs is another man to break her heart, but every time Dillon glances her way, her heat level soars.

Dillon Tremayne isn't looking for a relationship. With a young son, an eccentric grandfather, and a logging company running him ragged, he can't afford any romantic entanglements. But Brooke's humor and strength are hard to resist.

When a woman from his past is brutally murdered and another disappears, Dillon is heartsick—and terrified the killer will target Brooke next. Can Brooke and Dillon find love in the heart of the forest? Or will a madman's twisted dream destroy their chance at happiness?

Excerpt from A Deadly Love:

June sat in the parlor watching a police drama. She glanced away from the TV when Brooke entered the room. Her thin, white eyebrows drew together over worried eyes. “I heard raised voices. Did you have an argument with Dr. Shaw?”
“No, Dillon and I exchanged a few heated words.” She dropped onto a chair and sighed. “He was angry I went out with Carter.”
“I told you he would be.”
“You were right.” Brooke scowled down at the toes of her black boots. “Dillon should have decided what he wanted from me a little sooner.”
June clicked off the TV with the remote. “I’m sure you two can work it out.”
“I burned that bridge, Grandma. Anyway, it isn’t like our relationship was going anywhere.” She swallowed against the hot lump in her throat. “Not that I wanted it to.”
“Oh, honey, you don’t fool me.” Her eyes softened. “You care about that man.”
Brooke blinked back tears. “I’ll get over him. Eventually.” She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. “I accepted Carter’s invitation to the black and white ball.”
Her grandmother’s lips firmed. “When I was young, girls didn’t keep company with one man when they had feelings for another. It made things simpler.”
She squeezed her eyes shut. “I don’t know why I make it so hard. I really don’t.”
June stood and walked over to her chair. She laid her hand on Brooke’s shoulder. “You’re afraid of being hurt again. Carter is safe.”
“Maybe so.” She rested her cheek on her grandmother’s frail hand. “Men are overrated. Who needs them?”
June chuckled. “I’m afraid we do. The dishwasher was making a funny noise when I ran it earlier. I was going to ask Dillon to take a look at it.”
Brooke jumped to her feet. “We don’t need him. I’m a whiz with kitchen appliances.” She draped her arm around her grandmother’s thin shoulders and headed for the kitchen. “That dishwasher is no match for the two of us.”

Readers can find Jannine at:

Jannine has a question for you:
 

Who are some of your favorite supporting characters?


18 comments:

  1. Jannine, thanks so much for coming over today and sharing your thoughts.

    My favorite supporting character is Drakus, a wily alien enamored with Terran tv, who appears in all my Switched books. He often provides much-needed comic relief during difficult times.

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    1. Diane, thanks for having me. I agree, funny is always good in a supporting character!

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  2. Hi to both Diane and Jannine. Nice post, Jannine. Diane-I like the sound of your Drakus! My favourite would have to be Ruaridh, the father-in-law, in my Take Me Now. He's round about my age (okay I'm pushing that one) but I'd love to meet his double in real life.

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    1. See, it's not always just the hero who makes us sit up and take notice. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy.

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  3. Hey Ladies,

    Oh I so love Grandma June. I want to be just like her when I grow up. LOL. To answer your favorite supporting character question. That would have to be Aaron Goodwin, the self-involved anti-hero who wreaked havoc in two of my Class of '85 books.

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    1. I love Grandma June, too! And I agree that those irritating supporting characters play a very important part in our h&h's development.

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  4. Jannine~

    I think secondary characters are essential because a lot of times they're the driving force which causes the h/h to re-evaluate a situation. And that re-evaluation can then compel the h/h to make a life-changing decision.

    Great post!

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    1. Exactly, Lynda. Without really well drawn secondary characters, the h&h would fall flat. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Secondary characters add such sparkle and they provide so many opportunities for unfolding the story! Lovely blog, Jannine!

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    1. Thanks, Regina. And who says the supporting characters have to be human? Dogs can add a whole new demention. I know you'll agree with that one!

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  6. I love all the insights everyone has contributed. Really shows the importance of supporting characters. Good topic, Jannine.

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    1. Thanks, Diane. I enjoyed visiting your very cool blog!

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  7. Thanks, Jannine, for being here today. And thanks to everyone who stopped by.

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  8. I agree that the supporting cast can make or break a book. I've just received a review which really highlighted my secondary characters. I also discovered that people who want a second book to follow, wanted to know what would happen to those characters. I mean, they'd put more thought into it then I ever had, since I wrote the book as a stand-alone. It really surprised me. Great post and topic!

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    1. Lisa, Isn't it great when readers fall in love with secondary characters and want more? I have a stand alone western historical called Bittersweet, and I've been told numerous times "the other man" needs his own story.

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  9. It is always a thrill to hear/read about authors helping each other out! I love how the literary cyber communities have made this so easy for us to do so. Secondary characters can make or break a story ! Enjoyed the post!
    M.C.V. Egan

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    1. Thanks, Catalina, I also love how other authors are so supportive. It's a great group of people!

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  10. Fabulous interview, ladies! So nice to meet you, Jannine! I agree with you that supporting characters can make or break a book. They play a major role, hence their name :) Great post!

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