Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Gwen Gardner - Speculative Fiction Writer

I'm thrilled to introduce Gwen Gardner as this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. She's talking secondary characters today, which is ironic - I'm visiting her blog today, where one of my secondary characters is making a confession. Please pop by and say hello to Victory Dead. 

Now over to you, Gwen.

Franny Pops In With Gwen

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Ellie. And thanks to the audience for showing up, too. *waves*. I thought I’d talk about secondary characters. Those whose role it is to support the primary characters. They offer enormous assistance by providing the commentary necessary to further the story, an invaluable method to authors of passing on information. And of course they often provide comic relief and an eccentricity that no story should be without.

One of the comments I hear most is how much my readers love Franny. For those who aren’t familiar with her, she is a secondary character, a Victorian ghost and former madam who ‘resides’ in the home of my main character. You might say she haunts the place, but for the fact that she’s so extraordinarily at home there that it can’t really be considered haunting. And she’s made it her business to make Indigo, my main character, at home as well. To the point of interfering…

*Franny pops onto the set of Ellie’s blog. The audience gasps*

I jump. My hand shoots to my chest in hopes of stilling the sudden pounding of my heart. “Franny, what are you doing here?” I glance down at the notes in my lap, then back up again. “You weren’t scheduled to be here today.”

“I decided to make a surprise appearance, didn’t I?” says Franny. “I want to make sure I am represented well, especially where it concerns Indigo.” Her blue eyes pierce me like a fly to the wall. Her chin lifts ever so slightly, as if in challenge. Even as her creator, I am impressed with her classy bearing. A heaving bosom above a tiny waist, her mauve skirts spread wide, and her midnight black hair shining in an elaborate up-do.

“W-well, I was just about to tell our guests about how you, um, do your best to, er, make Indigo at home…”—a quelling glare stops me from continuing— “…but why don’t I let you show them…”

“Why, thank you, Gwen. I think I will. We wouldn’t want to give them the wrong impression of me.” Franny waves her hand over Ellie’s audience, a kind of sparkly substance rains on their heads. Soon, a vision enters their minds, of a dark-haired teenager named Indigo, and Franny herself…


I sat up in bed, propped my pillows behind me and watched Franny knit. Glancing around the room, I sensed something different. I frowned. And then heaved a deep sigh.

“Franny, you unpacked me. Again.” I had not unpacked my personal items since moving there seven months ago. I wasn’t ready. So I basically lived out of my trunk.

She shrugged. “I thought you might be ready now. There’s no reason not to.” She didn’t look at me. Her nonchalance didn’t fool me. The issue was an ongoing argument between us.

“I - I might not be staying. Why unpack?”

“Of course you’re staying, dear. Where else would you go?”


“This is your home now, dear. Your family is here.”

Yes, but unpacking would mean I accepted my father’s death. And I didn’t. Sure, logically I knew he was dead. But emotionally? I couldn’t think about it, not when unfinished business existed like another spirit in my life.


“So you see,” says Franny to the audience, “I am only trying to intervene”—she glares my way—“to help the poor child adjust to her new situation.”

“Franny, I know that your utmost desire is to…”

Too late. “Good day!” says Franny. She disappears with a loud, POP!

I sigh.

Do you ever inadvertently offend your characters?

An Angel Among Us

Paranormal happenings at the Eady household are the norm. Recently, things have become downright peculiar. Childish giggles at odd hours of the night lead Indigo Eady to her little cousin, Bryan, a guileless cherub spirit, complete with Spider Man pajamas and a set of faux angel wings. The problem is that Bryan died nearly three years ago in a hit and run that killed him and his mum. The driver was never found.  Now the gang must solve the mystery of his death in order to send him back to heaven.  But where to start when the trail is three years cold?

Indigo Eady

Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks fly in more than one direction.

About Gwen:

Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter.
Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face - but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate - not necessarily in that order.

In answer to Gwen's questions: Yes. I offend my characters with alarming regularity. Usually, they complain they're waiting too long for another literary appearance. Sigh. You can't please them all.

Thank you, Gwen. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Franny. She is quite a character.

Don't forget to call back this Friday, when I'll be appearing as part of this week's Creepy Freebies. Until then, happy reading and writing.


  1. It's always strange when secondary characters kind of steal the show. But strange in a good way :)

    1. Franny has stolen many scenes, Trisha. As you've just seen, she tends to get her way :)

  2. I love your dialog! That's the hardest thing for me, and I wish I had your knack. Yay for Franny -- she's so cute! :-)

    1. Lexa, that is the greatest compliment to me. I struggle with dialogue and making it feel authentic. You totally made my day!

  3. Franny is really trying hard to help her.
    Each of my books has a secondary character that I really like. Not always the fans' favorite, but that's all right.

    1. Alex, I have another secondary character that I like (Cappy), but was just reading on Goodreads yesterday how someone didn't think his character rang true. Ah well, I still like him a lot :)

  4. Fantastic post! Franny sounds easy to like, which can help the main character. I'm a big fan of secondary characters helping to define the MC and build the world they're living in.

    1. SA, what's funny is that I don't consciously set out to have Franny support my MC. I just like writing her :)

  5. Good morning, Ellie! Thanks so much for letting me and Franny take over today :)

  6. Franny is a wonderful character. I enjoyed her scenes a lot.

    I received a lot of fan mail about Talos and Lepsi, so I had to unkill Lepsi. lol

    1. HaHa, Mary. I haven't had to unkill a character yet.

  7. Interesting stories, and more books to catch up on. Something about this interview that made me think of the old comedy Soap, where Chuck’s ventriloquist’s dummy Bob is treated like a real person by Chuck, making comments no one else would dare and telling Chuck what to do. Maybe you would not have seen the show, it was a long time ago but memorable, like Franny.

    1. Snafu, that is sounding familiar, LOL!


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