Lisa Kleypas bestselling fiction writer
Lisa Kleypas, New York Times Bestseller

Book Hopping Characters

Then Came YouSometimes when I’m creating a minor character, he or she just seems extra vivid to me. I always feel the greatest freedom in writing about my “supporting players”, because I'm not bound by rules or preconceptions. I don’t have to worry about making them likeable or attractive, or educated . . . they just are what they are. And every so often, they show a surprising potential to be a hero or heroine. This happened to me with one of my past novels, Then Came You, when I created a minor character named Derek Craven. Unlike the typical hero of a romance novel, he was a cockney-born gambling club owner . . . the son of a prostitute . . . minimally educated . . . and although he was handsome in an offbeat sort of way, he had slightly snaggly teeth, and Dreaming of Youa scar on his forehead. But something about him was so interesting to me that I eventually made him into the hero of my next book, Dreaming Of You. And he arguably became my most popular character ever.

I have other minor characters who “visit” various books, and on occasion they do get their very own love stories. Here are the ones I’m asked about the most often:

Derek Craven was a minor character in Then Came You and then became the hero of Someone To Watch Over MeDreaming Of You. He has visited a few other stories, but he is more or less in retirement now. The problem with Derek is that he seems to overpower every story that he’s in. He can’t help it! Derek has made a brief appearance in an old short story of mine called “Promises”, in the anthology Three Weddings and a Kiss, and he is the father of the bride in another novella, “Against The Odds” in the anthology Where’s My Hero. There are the briefest of mentions of Derek’s gaming club in Someone To Watch Over Me (don’t blink, you’ll miss it) and in the newer The Devil In Winter.

Lady Sophia's LoverDr. Jacob Linley certainly gets around in my novels. He first appeared as a minor character in one of my Bow Street Runner novels, Someone To Watch Over Me. During the next few years, as I wrote novels set in the early Victorian period, whenever I needed a doctor I just brought in Jake Linley. I joke that it was laziness on my part, as I didn’t want to have to do the work of creating a brand new character . . . but the truth was that I was getting rather fond of Jake. He made some fairly strong appearances in Where Dreams Begin, Lady Sophia’s Lover and Worth Any Price, before I finally made him the hero in "Against The Odds” from Where’s My Hero. Becoming Derek Craven’s son-in-law is a daunting proposition, but I think Jake handles it prettyWorth Any Price well.

Grant Morgan was the hero of my first Bow Street Runner novel, Someone To Watch Over Me, and afterward he played significant parts in Lady Sophia’s Lover and Worth Any Price. His growth over these books, from a rough-around-the-edges Runner to a powerful magistrate in his own right, was really fun for me.

Sir Ross Cannon, the reserved, lonely and secretly passionate Bow StreetMagistrate, was a minor character in Someone To Watch Over Me, the hero of Lady Sophia’s Lover, and he visited Worth Any Price. Suddenly You

Nick Gentry, the dashing villain of Lady Sophia’s Lover, reformed just enough to become the hero of Worth Any Price, changing from a crime lord into a Bow Street Runner, and then into a very reluctant viscount.

Gemma Bradshaw, the tall red-haired madam, will probably never become a heroine . . . her past is just too shady. But I liked her so much as a minor character in Suddenly You that I had her play a much larger role in Worth Any Price. Her job was to turnNick Gentry into a world-class lover . . . and I think she did well at it! Again The Magic

Marcus, Lord Westcliff is my favorite hero after Derek Craven. He is an aristocrat, unlike my usual common-born professional men, and he is principled, reserved, powerful and inwardly longing for love. He made a minor appearance as the heroine’s employer in Worth Any Price, another turn as the meddling older brother of the heroine in Again The Magic, and as the hero’s bossy best friend in Secrets Of A Summer Night. He finally got his own love story in It Happened One Autumn, when I paired him with a free-spirited, headstrong American heiress who drives him crazy.  He and his wife make an appearance in Mine Till Midnight, too.

It Happened One AutumnSimon Hunt is easily defined as a classic "Kleypas hero"--tall, dark-haired, self-made and more than a little sarcastic. Underneath his self-assured exterior, however, he is consumed with love for the heroine. I thought Simon would be the perfect hero to launch the Wallflower Series, with Secrets Of A Summer Night. Simon is the best friend of Marcus, Lord Westcliff, and he makes a strong supporting appearance in Marcus's story, It Happened One Autumn. He also appears in the subsequent book Devil In Winter.

Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, is one of my rare blond heroes. He is a first-rateSecrets of a Summer Night ladykiller, not only gorgeous but amoral. He is mentioned briefly in Secrets Of A Summer Night, and does a villainous turn in It Happened One Autumn. After that I had no plans to make him into a hero, because he was sufficiently dastardly that I couldn't see how any woman, least of all a wallflower, could reform him. However, I eventually couldn't resist the challenge, and I gave him his own book, Devil In Winter. It was quite a trick to make his transformation from bad guy to hero believable--I had to put him through the wringer!

Andrew, Lord Drake, is another villain-turned-hero . . . he is the hero’s alcoholic half-brother in Because You’re Mine, and then a sexy reformed rake in my novella “I Will” from Because You're Minethe anthology Wish List.

I have a lot more character-sharing I could mention, but I’ll have to keep adding to this page as I find the time. Many readers have asked me if I will someday write stories about Nicole or Henry from Then Came You . . . Vardon, Lord Ravenhill from Where Dreams Begin . . . or any of Derek Craven’s children, who are mentioned in “Against The Odds”. At this time, none of these are likely except perhaps for Vardon. I just have to find the right story for him . . .   I’ll let you know when I do.

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