Saturday, July 12, 2008

Scene Stealer

Most of you guys kind of know that I have a thing for Johnny Depp. Well, it’s not just Johnny. Give me a good-looking sexy pirate and I’m pretty much mush in his hands. And speaking of pirates. . . I’d like to introduce you guys to another of Dorchester’s fabulous writers, Emily Bryan. Her upcoming release, PLEASURING THE PIRATE, is on my must-read list, and I swear it has nothing to do with the hot pirate on her cover. Okay...I'm lying.

Take it away Emily.

* * *

Back when I was singing professional opera, occasionally one of the supernumeraries (spear carriers, we used to call them) would do something to upstage the main characters. (Dare I confess to doing it myself sometimes when I was spear carrier?) It’s not always planned, but it happens.

It happens in fiction too. An unsuspecting writer creates a secondary character to fill a need in the hero or heroine’s life and all of a sudden, the bit part refuses to stand quietly holding the spear. It happened to me when I created my heroine’s mother for PLEASURING THE PIRATE, my July 29th release from Leisure Books.

Meet Isabella Wren, better known as ‘La Belle Wren’ in demimonde circles. That’s right. She’s a courtesan and she’s good at it. She moves in the most exalted circles. As the 18th century counts celebrity, she’s a rock star. She’s bone-deep beautiful, wickedly sensual and calculatingly clever. She’s used to being the center of attention.

Why did I ever think she’d fade into the background until she was needed?

First she began poking her way into the story through my heroine’s memory. Isabella sent Jacquelyn to the finest schools, but couldn’t leave her education totally to the headmistress and her minions. She sent her distant daughter detailed letters schooling her in the art of love. “Ignorance is not always conducive to bliss,” she says.

When I turned in the initial manuscript for PLEASURING THE PIRATE, my editor said, “I love Isabella! She’s outrageous, but she sucks all the air out of the room. You have to tone her down.”

She was right. When ‘La Belle Wren’ made her entrance, the rest of the cast faded a bit. Isabella knows how to ‘take stage.’ But instead of toning her down, I opted for ratcheting my heroine up to meet her. I gave Jacquelyn an extra dollop of her mother’s spine, courage and wit. When the two of them join forces, my formidable pirate hero doesn’t stand a chance.

Isabella was too much fun to let go once PLEASURING THE PIRATE was finished, so she makes an encore appearance in my next book, VEXING THE VISCOUNT, due out March 2009. If you’d like to read an excerpt of both stories, please visit

Thanks, KillerFiction, for giving me a chance to share with your readers about my newest release, PLEASURING THE PIRATE!


Anonymous said...

Great post, Emily. I know what you mean about those scene stealers, too. Your new book looks like a winner!


Christie Craig said...


I have a problem with secondary characters, too. Which is why I write a lot of sister books. You come across those powerful characters and they won't stop trying to take the lead until you promise they will get their own book.

Thanks for guest blogging with us today.

Crime Scene Christie

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for having me, Christie.

I guess my problem stems from wanting to make all my characters believable, even the bit players. Once I know them, it's hard not to let all of them out.

I'd actually love to write a younger Isabella as a heroine, but I'm afraid it would not be a romance story in the purest sense of the genre. Isabella is the sort for whom 'happily ever after' just doesn't ring true. I suspect because it's too ordinary for her.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for the kind words, Faye. So far the reviews for my PIRATE have been stellar. Here's what RT BOOKReviews had to say: "Bryan's touches of humor, naughty, bawdy dialogue and colorful descriptions capture the era, adding dimension to this charming tale of a landlocked pirate, the hellion who tames him and their wild adventure. The heat rises as their escapades sizzle, and readers' hearts will race to the delightful conclusion."

The Boston Globe was a little more succinct: "Steamy . . . arrg!"

Barb H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barb H said...

Yes! Of all people, my villain became such a scene stealer, he had me wondering if I could rehabilitate him in the next book... In some books I read, the hero/heroine are not vivid.They are so nice. Pablum-y. I like h/h's who are sharp, quick,and with enough quirkiness to make them likeable. From the excerpt, it sounds like "Pirate"'s fill the bill. Thanks for the blog, Emily.


Gemma Halliday said...

K, I'm going out to buy your book right now. It sounds SO yummy! I love pirates!
(Well, fictional ones at least...)


Anonymous said...

Hi, Emily!

Ooh, did someone say JOHNNY DEPP?? Did someone say PIRATES?? I just love it that these bad-boy heroes are coming back into romances (and gee, I loved writing a pirate of my own in HOT FOR IT last year!)

Great post on secondary characters! While it's fun to see a "lesser" character upstage our hero/heroine, it was great to hear that you ramped up your heroine instead of demoting Isabella to the ranks of quickly forgotten secondaries.

I, by the way, would love to hear you sing opera someday. That is SO cool!

Charlotte Hubbard,
who writes dirty as
Melissa MacNeal

EmilyBryan said...

Me, too, Barb. Spare me from shrinking violet heroines. I'd rather have "violent" ones, like Jacquelyn Wren who starts the story with "The next time I decide to kill a man, I'm going to need to find better help."

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Gemma! I hope you enjoy my pirate.

I love your High Heels series. Uber-chic with humor. You rock.

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Charlotte!

Thanks for stopping by.

Johnny Depp does have that indefinable "watchable-ness" about him, but I have to confess his Captain Jack nanced about a bit too much for me. My Gabriel Drake has just as much a pirate's heart as Jack Sparrow, but Gabe's all male. He couldn't nance if his life depended on it.

My opera days are long gone, I fear. I've never been one for forcing my musical tastes on others, however, once in a while when I pull up to a stoplight and hear something "stank and nasty" booming from the car next to me, I'm tempted to throw in Ride of the Valkyries and crank it up as loud as I can. Bad, bad, bad. But just thinking about it makes me smile.

Terri Osburn said...

Did I hear Pirate?! Oh my, a girl after my own heart. And I like that you brought the heroine up instead of toning down her mother. A character that good should be able to shine.

I belong to a group of fans of Eloisa James affectionately known as the Bon Bons. The group and the name all came out of our obsession with a secondary character who was not originally supposed to have his own story. But there was no way Eloisa could let Mayne fade away into secondary land after we all fell in love with him.

Now that's scene stealing. :)

Anonymous said...

I loved 'Distracting the Duchess', and am really looking forward to 'Pleasuring the Pirate'! Oh, and the succint review from the Boston Globe rocks!!!

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Terrio!

The Bonbons are so right. An author cannot gainsay her readers. When we decide we love a character, a writer ignores us at her peril.

While we all long for the love of our lives, we all have points of intersection with countless others--family, friends, co-workers, even enemies. Our fictional heroes and heroines need those too. And why not make them interesting people in their own right rather than just props that walk and talk?

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Kathryne. I'm looking forward to your DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT too. Victorian times with a little magic tossed it for good measure. What's not to love?

EmilyBryan said...

Thank you, Ladies of KillerFictionWriters! I appreciate the chance to visit with you.