Jana Richards, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! Please tell us about the characters in To Heal a Heart.
Secondary Characters in “To Heal a Heart”
Secondary characters are fun to write. They can be outrageous, funny, or just plain evil. They can be the best friend who provides a sounding board to the heroine, or the rival out to crush the hero. Whether they’re good or bad, secondary characters provide texture and depth to a romance novel.
In “To Heal a Heart” one of the most prominent secondary characters is Everett Branson, Blair’s grandfather. Everett, a widower, has had a couple of heart attacks and Blair decides to move to Masonville to look after him. Everett dishes out wisdom with folksy humor. He enjoys having his granddaughter’s company, but he worries about her spending too much time with him and not enough with people her own age:
“I love this spot,” she said with a contented sigh.
“Your grandma loved it, too. We used to sit out here most evenings in the summer. She used to say she’d be stuck inside all winter. She wasn’t going to miss one minute of summer if she could help it.”
“I miss her.” Anna Branson had been her favorite person in the world. Both she and Granddad had stuck by her no matter what she’d done.
“Yup, so do I. You’re a lot like her, you know. Same determination, same sunny outlook on life. My Anna was a joy, and so are you.”
Blair laid her hand on his arm, her throat constricting with emotion. “That’s the nicest thing you could ever say to me.”
“It’s only the truth.” He set the rocker in motion, pushing it with his foot. “But a young woman like you should be out with other young people sometimes. It’s not good for you to be stuck out here with an old goat like me.”
“I’m not stuck anywhere. This is exactly where I want to be.”
“Blair, girl, you need a life.”
Garrett’s parents, especially his mother Grace, have always provided him with love, emotional support and a helping hand when he needed it. Now is one of those times. After being injured in Afghanistan, he moves home to North Dakota and stays with his parents while he tries to figure out what to do now that his military career is over. He appreciates the concern they’ve shown him, but it can be a source of guilt:
Garrett went to her and enfolded her in his arms. She was tiny, no more than five foot two, but she was one of the strongest people he knew. “I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too, Garrett. I only want you to be happy.”
He kissed her cheek once more before leaving the kitchen. To Grace, happiness meant having work he enjoyed, along with a wife and a family. But he didn’t know if he could accomplish any of those goals. All those things, which he’d once assumed would be his one day, seemed an impossible dream now. Knowing his mother’s happiness depended on him getting his act together overwhelmed him.
But Grace is no pushover:
“I could help you with that,” his mother said.
Blair shook her head. “Oh no, I couldn’t ask you to do that.”
Grace waved away her objection. “Nonsense. Like I said, gardening is a labor of love for me. And you’d be helping me out. I have some plants that need dividing, and I don’t have anywhere to plant them. I could put some of them in your yard.”
“It’s Grace, remember?” His mother smiled brightly, and Garrett knew from experience Blair didn’t have a hope of changing her mind now that it was made up. “It would be fun for me. You wouldn’t want to deny me my fun, would you?”
Everett and Grace have always been there for Blair and Garrett. But Blair’s mother Victoria was an entirely different kind of secondary character to write. She’s anything but likeable. The trick was not to turn her into a cartoon-type villain. In this scene Blair compares her mother to Grace:
How different Grace Saunders was from her own mother. She couldn’t imagine Victoria Greyson digging in the dirt, or patiently explaining the differences between various perennials to her. If Victoria wanted a flowerbed, she hired someone to create it and tend it for her.
All Blair ever wanted was a mother who would make time for her. Care for her with kindness. Her parents had always been more interested in maintaining appearances than in actually parenting. They showed off their children to their wealthy, powerful friends like trophies they trotted out whenever it suited them. She remembered attending political rallies with her parents and brothers as a little girl. Her mother would dress her in fancy clothes, and she’d be expected to sit still through long, boring speeches. If she fidgeted, she’d receive a painful pinch to her knee. God help her if she cried out. Blair could still hear Victoria’s voice hissing in her ear, “For God’s sake, smile!”
She pushed away the hurtful memories and the longing. She couldn’t change anything about the past, and she couldn’t change her parents.
I tried to give each of my secondary characters a distinct personality and a little charm to keep them from being cardboard cutouts. But mostly, they were a lot of fun to write!
To Heal a Heart by Jana Richards
Genre Small town contemporary romance/contemporary western romance
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R
Garrett Saunders’ world changed two years ago on a road in Afghanistan. Back home, he feels like a stranger. As he struggles to find his place in the world, he meets a horse destined for the slaughterhouse and a woman bent on rescuing the strays of the world, including him.
Blair Greyson moves to Masonville to look after her ailing grandfather and give her rescue horses a home. Right away she butts heads with a surly former Marine. Despite a rocky start, they come to an agreement: Blair will board Garrett’s rescue horse and he’ll help with repairs around her farm.
Garrett finds purpose working with Blair—and falls in love with her. But she’s hiding a secret. Can she forgive herself and accept Garrett’s love, or will she let guilt and regret continue to rule her life?
Where to buy To Heal a Heart
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-heal-a-heart-jana-richards/1136868654
Jana Richards Social Media
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.
When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.
Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.com
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Jana-Richards/e/B002DEVWWG
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