Monday, March 28, 2011

Memorable Secondary Characters

What would a book be without the people who either frustrate or cause trouble for the main characters? While readers identify with the hero and heroine, they’ll smile or frown at the antics of your supporting characters.

In THE MITCHELL MONEY, one of the most memorable secondary characters is Mavis Bidwell, town gossip and all around pest. She grew up in Maystown, Arizona, and went to school with Gary Martinson, the ex-cop who owns the biggest ranch in that part of the state. Mavis and Gary are both pushing fifty now, and she’s had a major crush on him since high school. His wife died fifteen years ago, and Mavis is still hopeful, still determined to marry him someday. But he’d rather shoot her than marry her.

Mavis is not just in love with Gary, she thinks she owns him, like a puppy or a pair of shoes. Gary can’t stand her and tries to avoid her, but every time he drives his old pickup to town, there she is, fawning over him like a lovesick teenager. No wonder Gary is frustrated and surly. Seeing Mavis nearly every day would do that to a man.

When Mavis learns Rachel is living at the ranch and cooking for Gary and his son, she’s determined to chase her off the ranch and out of Gary’s life, just as she’s chased every other woman away from him.


At four, Rachel drove to the ranch next door to begin her new job. As she pulled off the highway and drove around the hill on the rutted dirt drive, the strangest house she’d ever seen appeared before her. It looked like it had been designed by committee. The right side was crude stone, with a big stone chimney at the end. The left side was a mixture of rooms that must have been added on at different times. One room was stucco, one was brick, and another was natural finished wood. The massive two-story center section was painted blue and the entire structure was pulled together by a deep front porch, like a patchwork quilt with a white border.

Joe, the young attorney who’d offered her the job cooking for him and his father, opened the front door and walked outside, smiling warmly. Another man walked out behind Joe, and as Rachel’s mind connected the Gary who ran into her with the Gary that Joe spoke about, her stomach burned. Joe’s father or not, the Gary she’d met wouldn’t want her in his kitchen.

Joe walked around and opened Rachel’s car door. “Rachel, welcome to the ranch. We’re glad to have you here, aren’t we, Pop?”

“I hope she can cook better than she can drive,” said Gary. “She’s the woman who backed into me.”

Oh, no! He wasn’t blaming the accident on her. “You ran into me. You were driving too fast and you weren’t paying attention or you would have stopped in time.”

Gary glared at her. “Can you cook, or is this just a ploy to worm your way into my house?”

“I wouldn’t dream of coming into your house. You can starve for all I care.” Shaking with rage, she jumped into her car and slammed the door. She would not allow another man to belittle her. She’d had enough of that nonsense when she was married to Mitch.

Before she could drive away, Joe leaned down to say, “Rachel, let me explain. There’s a woman in town who has been trying to get Pop to marry her, and she’s not the first one. He thinks—”

Her mouth dropped open. “You have got to be kidding. Who in their right mind would put up with a rude—”

A loud voice came from the porch. “Is she staying or not?”

“Not,” Rachel yelled. The old grump could cook for himself, because she wasn’t setting foot in his kitchen. She’d have to find the missing money herself, because she wouldn’t hire that man to do anything for her.

The burning in her stomach turned into a raging fire. “I’m sorry, Joe.”

“Not as sorry as I am.”

She’d allowed herself to believe things would get better, only to be let down again.

Pigheaded man!

Check out the COMING SOON page at The Wild Rose Press.

THE MITCHELL MONEY will be available April 29, 2011.


  1. Great excerpt, Sue! Can't wait for it to come out!!!!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful read, Sue! Congrats on the upcoming release!

  3. I know you're eager for your book to come out. Exciting times! Well deserved times! Loved the blurb. Wishing great sales.

  4. Thanks Tess, Sarah, and Vonnie. I'm anxious for the book to be released.

  5. Sounds yummy! Congratulations.
    Joy Held
    Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity

  6. Sue,

    Your book sounds interesting! Those seem to be memorable characters.