Saturday, April 11, 2015

J: Julie Garwood


My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year is a mishmash of books, movies, writers and TV shows that have in one way or another taught me something about writing and helped me be a better writer. Some inspired my own stories and a few taught me what not to do. Each post is a one minute lesson on writing. Speaking of inspiring, please visit the IWSG blog for A to Z also.

One of my favorite romance authors is Julie Garwood. Of all her many novels, there are none I like better than, For the Roses. Julie has a way with dialogue that makes you smile but in For the Roses, she creates a family of characters so interesting, you really don't care about the plot of the book or the developing romance. For the Roses starts out as the story of four homeless boys in Civil War era New York City who have banded together for protection. They find a baby girl in the trash and decide to leave the city and raise her in a good home and become a real family. It is a lovely story of family.
Even though this book is sold as a romance, the best part for me is the family dynamics between those four brothers and their little sister. The secondary characters make the story. I think this book could be used as a textbook for how to make your secondary characters flesh out and improve the basic plot. Their interactions with the main protagonists show the reader the hearts and souls of the main couple. The secondary characters were so popular, that Julie Garwood wrote a story for each of them in the years following the publication of For the Roses.

Lesson: Make your secondary characters more than decoration in your novels. When writing a series, introducing interesting secondary characters in the first novel is a great way to set up additional books. Everybody loves a story of family that overcomes hardship and challenges.

Today is also my turn to post on the A to Z Challenge Blog. I hope you'll stop in and share your views on Juggling.

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant." Anne Bradstreet

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." Milton Berle

Tomorrow is Sunday. Are you doing some catch up for A to Z or taking the day off? Is spring a big enough payoff for this past winter? Any book every stand out for you because of secondary characters?

32 comments:

  1. Another author I do not know, but she sounds like a fantastic writer. I shall have to look her up. Tomorrow I have to write 3 drabbles that I have left hanging since the atoz began, then I will be caught up on my side.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  2. I am not knowing this author, thank you for sharing... and the juggle, juggle = life.... :)

    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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  3. the way have reviewed it, it looks like a must read book

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  4. More than decoration is sure a good rule to live by, as they can add a lot

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  5. Very good idea, using the secondary characters for another novel. I am doing this with First Wolf, using Kendra the slave girl to continue the story. She'll be the subject of my K posting. Maybe prompt me to actually begin the book! :0)

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    1. In my series the protagonists for upcoming books almost always make an appearance.

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  6. Secondary characters need a purpose. I love giving them their own stories too.

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    Replies
    1. Lots of readers want the secondary characters to get their own stories.

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  7. This sounds like a cute plot for the book. Writing it down to read after April. I have heard of this author, just had not read anything by her before.

    betty

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  8. Sometimes the secondary characters are the most fun.
    Four boys raising a baby girl. Wow.

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    1. And they were so cute doing and grew up to be 4 very overprotective brothers.

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  9. Great post! Julie Garwood has always been one of my favorites. I've got all her books tucked away in my Keeper Vault. :) I'd forgotten about this one, so thanks for the reminder. I definitely want to read it again soon.

    Donna

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  10. That sounds like an interesting premise. I haven't heard of Julie Garwood
    before. I often learn lessons - especially how NOT to do something - from novels. The ones that do something well are just easy to read, the ones that are done badly stand out like a sore thumb!

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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  11. I remember reading her more contemporary series when I was in high school!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

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  12. Hi Susan - an author I don't know .. but you've alerted me to her strengths .. she does sound an interesting writer ... and one I should probably read .. cheers Hilary

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  13. The Civil War era is always interesting read about. I don't know her work, but will make a note of her because I do enjoy historical fiction. Your comment about secondary characters is right on. I love it when I find those minor characters that make me want to know more about them.

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  14. That does sound interesting. Usually that type of book isn't my thing, but you make it sound worth a read :)

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  15. Once upon a time (when romance was my favorite genre of reading) I loved everything Julie Garwood. I probably still have a good many of her paperbacks. I remember taking several to camp and reading them during rest hour over the summer. I couldn't tell you my favorite, but I don't think I've read this one.

    My other favorite romance author (back in the day) was LaVyrle Spencer. I came to love Nora Roberts because her romance and mystery/suspense intertwined and really like JD Robb (Nora Roberts) still. Turns out that I like my romance dished up best with something else. Mystery. Suspense. Something.

    I suppose we could call Diana Gabaldon a romance writer with her Outlander series... boy, that's one of my favorites. Since it's been showing on Starz I reread the first one twenty years after having read it the first time. Still an incredible story!

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  16. For my current WIP, I'm like 89.5% of every other writer who wants to do a trilogy, so I'm absolutely focusing on the second-stringers to help make the (possible) series zing along :)

    PS: Thanks, as always for the kind words, Susan :)

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  17. I completely agree! Good characters can make me forget everything else. And love that Berle quote!

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  18. such inspiring quotes you share! I love them. As "For the Roses", that sounds like the most intriguing plot. I so wish all babies of the world who are abandoned would be saved just like the little girl. <3

    I am taking the day off. It's crazy!

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

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  19. What a great lesson! I think secondary characters are very important too.
    One of my colleagues just told me that as long as I'm posting about my travels, I need to add tension to it. I never really think of that when I'm blogging. But I think he might be right.
    Thanks for a great post!
    Amy Visiting from A to Z Challenge
    http://amybovaird.com/i-is-for-itadakimasu/

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  20. Hi Susan. Thank you for your recommendations. I'll check them out. Also thanks for stopping by to say hello during the challenge. I'll be sure to check out what you have to say about juggling, a favorite activity of my kids. Maria

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  21. I don't know the author, but I like the tips about secondary characters. Sometimes they have a tendency to sneak up and take over so giving them their own book is a good idea. But then they all want one!!

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  22. I've never heard of Julie Garwood.
    Enjoyed your "juggling" post, Susan! :)

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  23. One of my all time favorite authors :)

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  24. I can totally see you digging a writer who creates families as you've described. Cool beans. I'm reading about immune systems. Probably not as fun as what you've been reading.

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  25. I think I may have read this! I'll have to go back and check it out though.
    Thank you!
    Heather

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