Thursday, September 14, 2017

Secondary Characters with Houston Havens

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Houston Havens. September’s theme is ‘Secondary Characters’ so Houston will be talking about secondary characters. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Houston Havens is a Bestselling romance author, a former successful model who enjoyed an adventurous jet-set lifestyle, and a past she uses to set the world on fire with her erotic romance books.
She a tenacious Irish lass, who strives to entertain with seductive stories created from her decadent imagination and traces of a provocative lifestyle she may or may not admit to. She intrigues her readers with a mix of the past, present, and future, and sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, and western romance, always with love everlasting.
Her interest in the paranormal, fascination with quantum science, passion with myths, and the lure of her mysterious Celtic Irish-Druid bloodlines are combined with generally unknown truths, strange facts, and questionable fiction filled with passion and mystery.
She hopes her sultry stories will entertain and fascinate those who dare to take the journey. But don't be fooled by the glit and glamour Houston has a secret: she was an Acquisition Editor at one time. You can find her at

Beverley: Are secondary characters important in a story?
Houston:  I'll let what a reviewer said about my secondary characters answer that question -
"This is what makes Houston Havens a bestseller. She's so talented in her craft even her secondary characters stand out in the minds of her readers!"
If you want a reviewer to say that about your characters and you want 5 star reviews and a chance at hitting the bestseller mark and gaining faithful readers -  heck yes !
Beverley: If yes, why?
Houston: Secondary character are as important as every other aspect of the novel. Secondary characters aren't there just to fill space. They are there to help the main characters come off as fully rounded living beings. As well, they are there to reveal things about the plot and main character to the reader. They're there to help the main characters move the plot forward and to intrigue your readers into wanting to read "their" story (your next book or possibly a series making the secondary character in this book the main character in the next book, like I did in my Psychic Menage Series.)
As an ex-Acquisitions Editor I couldn't express enough to authors how important it is for them to USE EVERY character and word on that page to WORK for them. Your word count is limited - use the words and character wisely. EVERYTHING must count or toss it out.
Anyone who's having trouble understanding how to make secondary characters work for them should read my Psychic Menage Series and see how I do it, or come to my lecture at the Midwest Writers Conference where I'll be speaking about this and other secrets on writing; the importance of your very first paragraph. Authors attending the conference can submit the first page of their work. I'll select a few to explain how to structure an opening paragraph so a publisher will read it.
Oct 6-9 2017 in Indianapolis, IN for those who can't make it to Indianapolis I heard the lectures will be aired (online) so please check this conference out.
Beverley: How many secondary characters should be in a story?
Houston: LOL well in my Psychic Menage Series I have several in each book because it's a seven book series - Here's how it works: In Sinful Surrender Book One I introduce four main characters and I have to introduce seven secondary characters (Book One's heroine needs a close friend 1st Secondary Character. Then I need to introduce 3 more men for this secondary "close friend" of the heroine to be interested in and these men play important roles in book one - one is the doctor, another is a warrior who helps the main hero fight in a war (series plot) and the last is a minor secondary character and brother to the warrior and doctor, But what makes this minor character stand out in my readers minds is that even though his appears is limited in book one, I gave him a description my reader not only won't forget but will intrigue them -  he's an albino who brings bad news of a spy in camp)
These three men (Secondary characters) are SPOTLIGHTED because they and the Best Friend (another Secondary Character) to the heroine in book one will be the main characters in book two (Phantom Desire) of the series. However, I can't stop there with my secondary characters because Psychic Menage is a seven book series, my villain in the first five books is only foreshadowed or makes limited appearances. So, I introduce him in bits and pieces (like the shark in JAWS). The purpose in this is to create tension in my readers and keep them reading to the end of the series.
I have another main character who appears in all seven books as a Secondary Character but in the end is a Major Player in the series. This is what keeps my readers reading - you cloak characters in the clothing of Secondary yet the reader's so intrigued by what she reads about them, she just knows the author will tell her more in the next book.
I have another Secondary Character who appears in book one but is a main character in book three Exposed Ecstasy. The reason he's brought into book one is because his role is very important to the series and to the characters in book one. Yet he can't be completely revealed until the end of the series BECAUSE he leads the readers into the SECOND SERIES.
I could go on and on but you see Secondary Characters play many roles in a novel (Be it a series or single title)
Beverley: Can you have too many?
Houston: The most important thing here is not how many Secondary Characters you have but what role do they play in the plot, be it a series or not…what is their role. They have to have an important reason to be there…not just to fill in space.
If the Secondary Character has no real purpose and is just there as a writer's convenience to manipulate the hero or heroine, then that one Secondary Character is too many. Again, it's not how many you have or don't have, it's how you use them that counts.
Beverley: How detailed do you need to know your secondary characters?
Houston: As an author, you should know all your characters VERY WELL. The only way to make them come alive and become real in your reader’s hearts is to know your characters. You must know what is behind the things they say and do. They just don't say things to be mean. No one does. Those who are mean are mean for a reason - as an author you have to know this reason to make the character come alive for the reader.
My bestselling author friend Kayelle Allen has a series called The Antonello Brothers with a villain named Pietas. Her villain was so mean that when she got to the Surrender Series (Due for new release soon) she didn't want to know him at all. In fact, she was afraid of him. She just couldn't understand why he did what he did. She struggled for eight years to write the second book - because she didn't know her Secondary Character. Then she and I did an interview and she uncovered this villain and all his reasons for doing what he did. She then decided to write his story. She knew him so well she wrote Bringer of Chaos in two months.
If you're interested in seeing how she developed her series go to
Beverley: Do secondary characters need to have or be involved in conflict? If yes - inner or outer conflicts, or both?
Houston: It depends on how you're using your Secondary Characters. I'd say in most cases YES the Secondary Character will have some inner and outer conflicts (it's what makes them real) Now the trick is in know how deep to show this inner and outer conflict and that depends on if this character is part of a series where they might become a main character or if in a single title this Secondary Character ends up being the villain or somehow affects what's happening to the hero/heroine.
Beverley: How do you use secondary characters in your books?
Houston: As I said above, I use them in a multidimensional ways depending on whether-or-not it's a series or a single title. I can't get into a lot of details about this subject in this interview, so I'd highly recommend those interested in this subject check out my Psychic Menage Series and see how I do it, because each book uses the Secondary Characters differently.
Beverley: Do you have any favorite secondary characters – yours or other?
Houston: I love Faerydae, Grid, and Quidel from my series who were Secondary Character at their creation who have become major characters and I love Marigold who as of yet is a Secondary Character but will play a major roll at the end of this series and play a big part in the following series. There are many other Secondary Characters that I love but for now they're staying right where they're at.
Beverley: Any last comments on secondary characters?
Houston: Don't be afraid to dig deep into all your secondary Characters - you never know who they will become.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Houston: I starting training myself back in the 80's but knowing the importance of my author's voice, I didn't rush any of my work to market. That can really damage an author. Even when I thought my book was ready I didn't submit it. I waited until I knew (actually saw) my voice come into action. That's when I submitted and got accepted.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Houston: I'm an Irish Lass who can't be pigeon-holed. I write all genre because I'm not limited in my knowledge, so I won't be forced to stick to one genre.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Houston: Johanna Lindsey
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Houston: I've never let anything stand in my way of writing. However I've had to overcome Dyslexia and being a bad speller (because English was not my first language). My father spoke English with an Irish accent. So, I spelled the way I was taught to talk ~ hence a phonic "bad speller" that had to be retrained how to talk and spell. The obstacles I continue to work at overcoming is TIME. There's never enough of it and it's hard to get people to respect my time since I work at home.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Houston: Conspiracy theories, myths, and history.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Houston: Having someone interrupt my work schedule.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Houston: Not a big breakfast eater - A cup of organic coffee (with organic cream and sugar) with half a sheet of Matzos drizzled in organic honey.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Houston: I get dressed just like those who go to work every day, because I am going to work as well. Some days dresses, other days pants depends on the weather. I'm not a sweat pant girl. And yes, I do my hair and put make-up on most every day.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Houston: My den is my office.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Houston: I didn't grow up in America so I didn't watch cartoons as a kid.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Houston: I'd like to meet the very top man of the Illuminati and set him straight….sorry, I'm a feisty Irish lass.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Houston: Relax with my hubby and dog at the cabin
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Houston: I'm working to finish - Renegade Rapture the fifth book in my Psychic Menage Series - Don't be put off by the word Menage - I hope most who've read this article now knows I offer a whole lot more than sizzling romance in my novels.
I'm also drafting a book that will tell all the craft secrets published authors don't share with Newbies.
Thank you, Beverley for having me here today. I hope this interview on Secondary Characters has helped a few of your readers.

Blurb for Psychic Menage Series and the first 4 books of the series
Series blurb:

Though the humans were warned time and time again, they refused to believe doomsday was at hand until it was too late to find sanctuary. The price they paid - was their lives. This series takes place in the aftermath of the Transdamian Prophecies of the worlds end from devastating earth changes caused by the passing of the planet Nibiru. The series opens in the future of Earth, in 4860 AD. There were survivors. Not all were human, and not all of them were happy.

What they didn't know was, since the beginning of humanity there had always been and unseen presence guiding their beliefs, actions, and lives. The Secret Blood Doctrine is the law the Dirt Dwellers Elites live by. The Dirt Dwellers have their own goals and reasons for controlling the Earth. The humans were a means for accomplishing their goals, and a way to cover operating costs by culling them at the end of each cycle. At the arranged times, the Dirt Dwellers would withdraw to the Underworld to await the next renewal.

Book One: Sinful Surrender, top psychic spy Fay Avalon suspects what she's remote viewed in her mind-travels and what her post-catastrophic dystopian government of the Underworld is stating as fact is in fact a lie. In search of the truth, she escapes the Underworld, only to land in the arms of her enemy; the Airbornes. Will she get the chance to uncover the secrets the Underworld is hiding? Or will those on the surface, Logan and his brothers, discover who she is? Will they make her their wife or execute her as a spy?

Book Two: Phantom Desire, the search for truth continues with Fay's friend Chandra Lamar, but from a past she can’t remember. A psychic vision pushes her to recall her purpose for being, but it’s a ghost that awakens her desires for a life she fears she’ll never have. Does Chandra find true love in the arms of the Nodin men or does her Phantom Desire forever own her heart? Will uncovering her true past expose the Underworld's deception?

The plot thickens in Book Three: Exposed Ecstasy, when Tessla Reto escapes the Underworld after she finds the two men sent to help her are dead. She’s rescued by a handsome stranger…or is she? Faerydae’s search for truth and peace abruptly ends when a woman who stirs everything he’s spent a lifetime denying falls into his life. Will Shomar be able to win the woman of his dreams or will a Faery always have her heart? Can the Underworld's long reach find Tessla, daughter to the ruler of the Dirt Dwellers, on the space station or will they find a way to draw her back to the surface?

Book four: Intimate Betrayal, Kindise Wyatt is in search of her lover and escapes her Star Rider capture with the help of an Old World Mole. What she doesn't know is, his sexy but mysterious friend, Jaden Valenti is a Dirt Dweller and has orders to assassinate her. Will betrayal at every turn crush Kindise's inner strength to lead the Freedom Fighters and defeat the Dirt Dweller Elites?

The saga continues with three more books - I hope you decide to join this journey and visit my worlds.

You can find Houston at:
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Amazon Author Page -

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and discussion of secondary characters.

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