Meet Kyle Madden, Leading Man in THE BETRAYAL

Photo by CanStockPhoto.com

One of the things I enjoy doing as an author is crossing characters from one novel into another. After all, they’re just sitting there, doing nothing, so I may as well put them to work, right? One of these crossover characters is Kyle Madden, who we first meet in The Reunion. Kyle is the police detective who warns Gillian, the leading lady, about her ex-husband, Jason.

As I began formulating the plot line for The Betrayal, I decided to include a good cop/bad cop story, with my leading man being the good cop. The story would be set in Phoenix, and, rather than create a leading man from scratch, I decided to use Kyle. He’d only played a minor role in The Reunion, as a generic police detective, so he had plenty of potential. In The Betrayal, Kyle becomes a thirty-something divorced dad whose wife had left him, and their young son, a few years earlier. Kyle wants very much to be a good father, but his demanding career takes up too much of his time, and it has left him feeling burned out.

Kyle first meets Emily, the leading lady, at an art gallery opening, but they’re destined to meet again. This time, however, it’s official police business, and Kyle soon realizes that Emily is being framed for a crime she didn’t commit. As he fights to prove her innocence, he’ll discover that one of his fellow officers is behind the nefarious plot.

Kyle is a hero who was inspired by real heros, all of the dedicated real life police officers out there who put their lives on the line for the rest of us each and everyday.

MM

Meet Scott Andrews, the Deceiver in THE DECEPTION

Photo by Fotolia.com

They’re out there. The lying, cheating, scumbags. The players. Married men who put themselves out as single men. And like the predators they are, they like to prey on unsuspecting single women, looking for lasting relationships.

Scott Andrews, the antagonist in The Deception, is one of those predators. A handsome and charming software engineer, Scott can, and does, pass himself off as a single man, presenting himself as the perfect catch for a single woman looking for Mr. Right. And unfortunately for the woman, she has no idea that Scott’s married.

Scott is introduced to Carrie, the leading lady, by a mutual friend. As usual, he presents himself as a single man, and he hasn’t just fooled Carrie. He’s also fooled their mutual friend, Allison. Not only does Allison believe that Scott is single, she also thinks he might be a good match for Carrie, who’s still recovering from an earlier breakup. Scott quickly takes advantage of an all too vulnerable Carrie, but it won’t take long for her to realize things just aren’t adding up. By then it will too late, and the consequences will leave her life shattered.

Scott is inspired by someone I once knew, and by stories other women have told me. He may be a fictional character, but there are, unfortunately, many real life Scotts out there. Stay safe, ladies.

MM

Meet Laura Palmer, the Likable Villain in THE REUNION

Photo by CanStockPhoto.com

Sometimes characters can be problematic simply because of who they are. Such was the case for Laura Palmer, Ian Palmer’s ex-wife in The Reunion.

We all know that in real life, ex-spouses can be a headache, so it would have been all too easy for me to make Laura into a stereotypical bitch. But then again, life isn’t always what we expect, and being eternal optimist I am, I’d like think there are ex-spouses out there who are like my late grandmother–good people trying to make the best out of awkward situations. Besides, I didn’t want to make Laura too common and too predictable.

Laura bursts onto the scene as soon as she learns about her ex-husband’s new romance. Of course she wants to check out Gillian, the leading lady. Her motive, however, isn’t a scheme to try to win Ian back. She’s found someone else. She doesn’t want Ian back. Her motive is her children, and because she’s a good mother she wants to meet with Gillian to draw up the ground rules regarding the kids. Naturally, she’ll bring up Ian during the conversation. Laura is nothing if not direct.

As the story unfolds readers will see Laura not as a witch, but as a woman mislead into a marriage by a man who now admits he married her for all the wrong reasons. She may have looked like Gillian, but she wasn’t Gillian, and for too many years he made her miserable because of it. Fortunately for Laura, she’s found happiness with her finance, Will, and she’s built a new life for herself, helping him run a horse ranch near Steamboat Springs. For a “villain” she’s turned out to be surprisingly likable.

MM

Meet Allison Santiago, Supporting Character from THE DECEPTION

Allison Photo
Photo by CanStockPhoto.com

One of the readers reviewing The Deception commented about how we should all be so lucky to have friends like Steve and Allison, two of the supporting characters. Well, guess what? I really do have friends who are just like Steve and Allison, that’s why I’m paying homage to them in the book.

Allison Santiago has known Carrie Daniels, the leading lady, since high school, and their friendship has lasted into adulthood. That friendship, however, will be soon put to the test when Allison introduces Carrie to Scott, a man she’s also known for several years. Allison thinks he might be a good match for Carrie, who’s recently ended a long-term relationship. But unbeknownst to Allison, Scott has a secret, and it could be Carrie’s undoing.

Allison was inspired by several of my friends, but she resembles one woman in particular. The two of us have literally traveled the world together, and, much like her literary counterpart as she’s been a steadfastly loyal friend for over ten years now, and she’s someone I can always count on. Friends like her may be hard to find, but they really are out there.

MM

Meet Cassie Palmer Leading Lady in THE JOURNEY

Romantic young woman outdoors at a summer day.
Photo by Fotolia.com

Cassie Palmer is a character best described as grace under pressure. Seemingly naive and shy on the outside, Cassie is an iron lady in disguise.

We first meet Cassie in The Reunion, when Gillian and Jeremy stop for breakfast at a truck stop diner in Idaho Springs, Colorado, where Gillian suddenly finds herself reunited with the diner owner, her long-long best friend, Samantha Walsh. As they get reacquainted Samantha unveils another surprise–her daughter, Cassie. Gillian is surprised, but Jeremy’s life will never be the same.

Cassie and Jeremy soon become friends, but I don’t want to spoil too much of the story for those who haven’t yet read The Reunion. Cassie returns in The Journey, and this time she’s the leading lady. As the story begins, she is critically injured in a car crash that leaves her fighting for her life. Later, as she begins the long road to recovery, her world will turn upside down once again, yet through it all, she remains gracefully resilient.

Cassie is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I know in real life. She is, instead, an inspiration for those times when we feel overwhelmed by all life’s obstacles.

MM

Meet Hal Tyler, the “Un-Evil” Antagonist in THE JOURNEY

Photo by Fotolia.com

I seem to have gotten into the habit of creating some really evil antagonists. So much so that they’re even scaring me and leaving me wondering, “Where on earth are these people coming from?” Then my good friend and fellow author, David Lee Summers, explained to me that the antagonist doesn’t always have to be an evil villain. He or she could simply be someone whose goals are contrary to the protagonist’s goals. So, after listening to David’s comments, I decided to give it a whirl and come up with an “un-evil” antagonist. Someone who stands in the way of the protagonist, but has no evil intentions.

Harrison Tyler, or Hal, as his friends call him, is a nurse practitioner with an orthopedic surgeon, and he’s one of three antagonists who appear in The Journey. We first meet Hal during a time when Jeremy, the leading man, is missing and presumed dead, while Cassie, his wife, is still recovering from a broken leg. The time has come for her cast to be removed, and as luck would have it, the technician is out that day, the job falls on Hal, who immediately falls for Cassie. Her brother-in-law, Larry, is also there. He can see that Hal is a decent guy, so he encourages her to go have coffee with him. A reluctant Cassie finally agrees, just to get Larry off her back.

Cassie sees Hal as a friend who’s come into her life at a time when she really needs one. To Hal, however, Cassie is a rare find. And while he hasn’t quite fallen in love with her, he knows he wants her, and he’s willing to wait patiently until she’s ready for him. And if it means having to be persistent, if not a little manipulative, so be it. His intention isn’t to cause any harm. He simply wants to make Cassie his–before it’s too late.

Hal is a purely fictitious character and not inspired by anyone I’ve ever met in real life. He’s a nice guy who’s found himself in the awkward position of wanting something he can never really have, but still trying to reach for it anyway.

MM

Meet Jeremy Palmer, Leading Man in THE JOURNEY

Photo by Fotolia.com

It’s funny how things sometimes work out. Jeremy Palmer was originally intended to be a rouge character in The Reunion. He would make a brief appearance, do his dirty deed, and then disappear into the night. But sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. As I was writing The Reunion, I came to realize that Ian, the leading man, wouldn’t have had such an evil son. So Jeremy went from rogue villain to a rival, competing with his father for Gillian’s affections, and creating a storyline that many readers tell me was their favorite part of The Reunion. Jeremy blossomed. Okay, he jumped off the page. He became a sexy, vibrant character worthy of having his own novel, The Journey.

We first meet Jeremy in The Reunion as a twenty-one-year-old bartender. He has his father’s good looks, and his mother’s bold, sometimes too direct, personality. Jeremy isn’t one to mince words. He likes to get straight to the point, and his bluntness occasionally gets him into trouble.

The Journey begins approximately eighteen months after The Reunion has ended. Jeremy is now working as an engineer, and he’s happily married to Cassie. (You really didn’t think Ian would have allowed him to steal Gillian away, did you?) Jeremy’s world turns upside down the night Cassie is seriously injured in a car crash. He rushes to the hospital and stays by her side. While Cassie recovers they befriend Denise, one of Cassie’s nurses. Denise seems familiar, and while Jeremy can’t quite place her, she has never forgotten how he jilted her, years before. Denise wants a second chance with Jeremy, and she’s about to unleash an evil plan to win him back.
Jeremy is a purely fictitious character. He wasn’t inspired by anyone I knew in real life, although his character is very similar to the young Ian seen in the flashback chapters of The Reunion. The younger Ian was inspired by someone I knew, long ago. And just like his father, Ian, Jeremy will make his fair share of mistakes, no doubt making some readers saying, “Like father, like son.”
MM

Meet Billie Hughes, Supporting Character in THE DECEPTION

Photo by Fotolia.com

If there were an unsung heroine in The Deception, it would have to be Billie Hughes. A former model turned FBI agent, Billie and Carrie, a former child model, quickly form a strong bond. Her specialty is white-collar crimes, and she’s one of the agents in charge of the investigation when Carrie’s identity is stolen. Billie is in her forties, and, while not mentioned in the final manuscript, she’s also the mother of a grown son.

Billie is a purely fictitious character, but she and her partner, Agent O’Dell, are inspired by, and loosely based, on a neighbor I had many years ago who was also an FBI agent. He was a hardworking professional who put his life on the line each and every day to help make the world a safer place for the rest of us.

MM

Meet Samantha Walsh, Supporting Character in THE REUNION

Photo by Fotolia.com

They say there are no small roles, only small actors, and I think the same can be said for characters in a novel. And while Samantha may not have a huge role, she’s one of the more memorable characters in The Reunion, as well as one of my personal favorites.

Samantha is the best friend of Gillian, the leading lady. We first meet Samantha in the flashback chapters, early in the novel. Set in the mid-1980s, Samantha is introduced as a twenty-something whose apartment is a few doors down from Gillian’s. While good friends, the two young women are remarkably different from one another. Gillian comes from a well-to-do family in Phoenix, and is studying art at Arizona State University. Samantha, on the other hand, comes from a working-class family in a small mining town in eastern Arizona. (I wasn’t able to include this detail in the novel, but it’s in my character notes.) And while Gillian may be a bit naive, Samantha is more worldly. She’d been studying to be a nurse until she ran out of money, so now she’s working as a waitress at a truck-stop diner where she makes good tips. Her goal is to return to school to complete her degree, once she gets her finances in order.

Along with her down-to-earth personality, Samantha is described as having above average looks. In fact, Ryan Knight, the antagonist in the flashback chapters, makes a rather crass remark about Samantha when he says, “With her looks, I’m sure she turns more than just tables.” But not to worry, Samantha will soon make him regret his choice of words.

Samantha returns, rather unexpectedly, later in the novel. By then the characters are middle-aged, and the story is set in the year 2010. She’s aged well, and she introduces her adult daughter, Cassie. Cassie will soon fall for Jeremy, the son of Ian, the leading man, and they’re also the two leading characters in The Journey.

Samantha was inspired by a neighbor I had when I was in college. Her apartment was a few doors down from mine, and while not a student, she worked at the dog track. She was a real kick in the pants, but she soon moved away, and I never heard from her again. Even after all these years, I still think of her from time to time, and I think she’d be pleased, and honored, with the Samantha character.

MM

Meet Larry Palmer, the Rebellious Teenager in THE REUNION

(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / mimagephotography

Larry was one of those characters I found a little intimidating to work with. He’s the younger son of Ian, the leading man in The Reunion. Larry is first introduced as an angry seventeen-year-old, bitter over his parents’ divorce. He’s been told, many times, that they went their separate ways because they were unhappy together, however, Larry doesn’t see it that way. Deep down, he thinks they broke up because he was a bad kid–a fairly common occurrence with children of divorce. His mission is to thwart his parents’ new relationships, and Gillian, the leading lady, is in his cross hairs.

When Larry isn’t trying to sabotage his parents’ happiness he’s a typical high school senior. He makes good grades, he has a good circle of friends, and, after graduation, he plans on attending culinary school and becoming a chef. Unfortunately, teenagers have a knack for getting themselves into trouble, and Larry is certainly no exception. Trouble will come his way when he lies to his father and sneaks out to a drinking party in the woods.

Larry is a fictitious character and not inspired by anyone in particular that I’ve known. However, as the story progresses, circumstances force him to change his attitude, and by the time he appears in the The Journey, he will have matured into a remarkable young man.

MM