Today, Jessa's giving us a glimpse into her process for creating characters and excerpts of some of her loveable supporting cast members!
“Writing Loveable Supporting Characters” (With excerpts!)
I’ve been beyond pleased with the feedback I’ve received regarding my side characters, in both DIVIDE and The Ever Trilogy, and I have to say that my characters are blessed in friendship, because I am blessed in friendship.
For over twenty years now, I’ve had the same core group of girls in my life, and though we’ve had the occasional hiccup (okay, some of them were more than hiccups), we’ve always managed to come back to each other.
There’s Charissa, who constantly inspires me and can make me laugh on even the darkest of days; Candice, my ride-or-die (though I despise that phrase—the Thelma to my Louise, the one who can call me out on my BS and I’ll actually listen; and Kristin, the one who would hit the road with me in a heartbeat if a getaway was needed, and someone I could count on to get my feet moving even if the last thing on my mind was dancing—she’s music, inside and out; Marisa would stop the world to help a friend, hell, she’d stop the world to help a stranger; and there’s Stevie, a woman who is beautiful not just on the outside, but truly has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing—she inspires me to be a better woman, a better friend, and a better mother; Michelle and Nicole were a blessing placed in my life by the awesome luck of our daughters sharing a Kindergarten classroom, and they entered my life right when they were supposed to—I don’t see them ever leaving; and Taryn, my most fearless friend, well, she helped inspire Jessie (The Ever Trilogy), with her relentless ability to overcome any obstacle in her path with a smile and just the right pair of heels, her loyalty to her friends is unmatched, and I see so much of her in Jessie . . . .
All of these girls, and the many more I don’t have room to mention, all of these girls and all of their many, many qualities are what makes my supporting characters so damn loveable. But most of all, their love and acceptance of me is what transfers onto the page. I think people love the characters, and each unique trait they bring to the story, but what readers really see, what really shines, is the supporting cast’s love for my leading ladies.
My main characters tend to be a bit more on the moody, emotional side of things, often quick to play the victim, and sometimes even relentless in their drive to make the wrong choices—much like me. Their friends, however, are level-headed and wise, even when that wisdom is masked in overly pink fashion, or fairy wings, or too many quirks to count.
My friends may not mimic Jessie and Rosemarie exactly, as I do not mirror Holland and Ever, but their traits have definitely played a major role in creating these amazing supporting characters—much like my flaws and characteristics mold my MCs.
My girls always know how to cheer me up, annoyingly know what’s best for me, and when I need a good talking to, they don’t hold back.
Their love is unwavering, even when, no, especially when I don’t deserve it, and through thick and thin, their loyalty has proven to be something I can count on like the rise and fall of the sun each day.
I included two of my favorite scenes with Rosemarie and Jessie.
So, who inspires your cast of characters? Do you best friends ever make a subtle appearance in your stories? Do their unique abilities and characteristics contribute to what make your supporting cast so special?
Excerpt from DIVIDE, featuring Rosemarie Stevenson:
Sana shook her head, inhaling deeply and looking about ready to explode. Her eyes widened, and her jaw clenched, a muscle twitching in her cheek. Her two friends stood behind her with matching expressions on their faces.
I snorted, causing Sana and her drones to turn their attention to me.
“What? You have something to say to me, you little fire-starting psycho?”
Rosemarie stepped forward before I could retort, pushing Sana back so hard she almost fell on her ass.
“Oh my God!” Sana whined as she caught herself on the rearview mirror of a nearby car.
“I think that’s just about enough out of you,” Rosemarie said with a smile. “Now, run along before I show you what kind of psycho I can be.”
In a flash, Sana was in Rosemarie’s face, close enough to kiss her.
“You will regret touching me, freak.”
“Yeah. I bet. Run along now. You too, sheep. Baaaa.”
Excerpt from EVADE (Book Two of The Ever Trilogy), featuring Jessie Smith:
“Sorry, Ev. I wasn’t thinking. But seriously, get up! We’re on vacation! Viva la Meh-hee-co!”
I laughed as she did a weird salsa-samba-sashay dance move thing over to the bed and tried to drag me off it.
“Fine! I’m coming, I’m coming! Just promise me you’ll never do that move again.”
She shook her boobs in my face then spun around, making her little pink sundress expose the bottom half of her butt cheeks. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Jess, seriously, is that even a dress?”
“It’s a tunic.” She responded matter-of-factly, as if that was a logical answer.
“A tunic, huh? Well, I’m pretty sure that means it’s a shirt. You know, the kind you wear with pants? Or shorts? Or even a skirt?”
“I have pants on.”
“I don’t think underpants count, Jess.”
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