When a Side Character Insists on Being a Hero
I knew from the outset that the charming lady’s man Jake Warriner was a spy, so in his book, A Warriner to Seduce Her, I had to create a whole new world of espionage. He was a member of the King’s Elite, a crack force of covert operatives who were tasked with catching smugglers. I never intended to pursue the King’s Elite beyond that one book.
In the first chapter of Jake’s book, when he had his long-awaited leave cancelled by his superior Lord Fennimore to schmooze vital information from a lady for the government, he tries to palm the task off on one of his colleagues.
“Why can’t Flint seduce her?”
“I need Flint to keep chipping away on the other side... Besides, I can hardly send Leatham.”
All eyes instinctively travelled to the jagged and impressive scar down Seb Leatham’s right cheek. Even without the scar, his friend resembled a bare-knuckle fighter and tended to be monosyllabic around the opposite sex.
And right then, Seb intrigued me. How did he get that scar? Why was he so painfully shy?
From then on, I knew that my side character had to have his own book so that I could delve into his psyche and background fully. From that first chapter in A Warriner to Seduce Her, I beefed up Seb’s role in that book. I made him commander of the Invisibles- the branch of the King’s Elite that specialised in blending into the shadows because that is what Seb did best. As the story unfolded, I realised he was brave and selfless. Quick witted and loyal.
While I was about it, I expanded Flint and Lord Fennimore too and by the time I actually wrote The Mysterious Lord Millcroft, I had two more agents to fall in love with. Seb’s second in command Gray and the government lawyer Hadleigh.
In the end, that one little sentence turned into four books- The King’s Elite- and all five of those side characters get their own Happily Ever After, alongside some other side characters I created along the way. Or in past books. Even the heroine in The Mysterious Lord Millcroft is recycled.
There is apparently a whole interwoven, constantly expanding Regency world now living and evolving inside my odd head…
The Mysterious Lord Millcroft is released on 23rd August 2018