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June 21, 2011

J. B. Lynn: I Need Lion Taming Skills (a guest post)

I am thrilled to have author J. B. Lynn joining me on my blog today. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of her romantic thriller The First Victim (you can read my review here). I absolutely loved the book and was excited when J. B. agreed to write a guest post for my blog. Please give a big welcome to J. B. Lynn.

Thanks so much for having me, Donna! I’m thrilled to get the chance to talk about The First Victim.

I Need Lion Taming Skills

Remember in the old cartoons and movies where all a lion tamer had to do was crack his whip to keep the ferocious beast at bay? I need one of those whips. Badly.

It’s not a ferocious beast I need to keep at bay, but my secondary characters. If I don’t make a concerted effort to keep them in line, they’ll do their best to take over my novel. Personally, I think that’s the way it should be. As a reader I enjoy getting to know secondary characters and caring about what happens to them. BUT as a writer, it’s my job to make sure they don’t become more important than the main characters.

I battled three secondary characters in The First Victim.
The First Victim
Mark Castle, the B&B owner and surrogate father of the main character Emily Wright, is a wonderful guy, but like any good character, he’s got flaws and issues he’s contending with. More than once, I found myself delving deeper and deeper into his motivations. Unfortunately that took away from the story, so I had to crack my whip, sending him back to his proper place in the novel.

Another character who threatened to run away with the story is Anna. A number of readers have told me that Anna is one of their favorite characters in The First Victim. I understand this completely. She’s loyal, quirky, and likeable. It was a conscious choice to make her so. It was important to me that the reader like her….a lot. The problem was that I liked her too much. I wrote entire scenes (that don’t appear in the book) that showcased the Pierced Wonder teenager. I forced myself to remember that she had a curfew and couldn’t stay on the page later than she was needed.

The secondary character who may very well get his own book someday, is Evan Swann. When they were teenagers Evan rescued Emily…not because he was a heroic kid, but because he was a juvenile delinquent. If he hadn’t been cutting classes, he never would have stumbled upon her trying to escape from the Babydoll Strangler. I desperately want to know how this changed him, how it shaped him, how it influences the man he is today (which is why he may get his own book) but exploring those questions took away from Emily’s story. Sadly, I had to crack my whip and relegate him to the role of a supporting character.

As you can probably tell, I don’t enjoy my lion tamer status. I love my secondary characters just as much as my main characters and I hope my readers do too.

Who are some of your favorite secondary characters? (I will admit that Dobby, the house elf, from the Harry Potter series, is one of mine!)

Ooh, I hope Evan Swann does get his own book as I have some questions for him. Thank you again J. B. for sharing this behind the scenes look into your secondary characters. Readers, I hope you will check out this great romantic thriller. You can find the books and learn more about J. B. Lynn at the following links.
JB Lynn's website: 
The Publisher's website: Carina Press 
For your Kindle at Amazon: The First Victim
For your Nook at Barnes & Noble: The First Victim
You can also find J. B. Lynn blogging on Mondays at Killer Chicks 
On Twitter: @JB_Lynn_author


  1. I just started reading JB's book last night and haven't yet met all of the secondary characters (I'm most intrigued about Evan!). But so far, so good. So very, very good.

    I think secondary characters are the spice of the story. You need them to make the story more flavorful and colorful, and enhance the big things that are going on. Two of my fave secondary characters are Robin and Rick from Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series - they give the MCs, Alex and Milo, more emotional depth. And of course, my favorite movie of all time, The Princess Bride (which is a good book, too) is chock-full of great secondary characters like Miracle Max and the Albino.