WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CHARACTERS

Books are full of them aren’t they–characters who play a minor role and yet arouse your interest or get a raw deal in what is someone else’s story. What can be done with them? If they are part of a series, of course, the plan may be to give them stories of their own. But what if they are not? Or what if they are not among the ones chosen for a leading role in that series? Well, one answer is–give them stories of their own anyway!

I have done it a number of times, sometimes at the request of readers–Lady Angeline Dudley from the first two MISTRESS books, for example, and sometimes on my own initiative. The Bedwyns were created as minor characters in A SUMMER TO REMEMBER–a snooty lot of aristocrats to give Lauren a rough time when she entered a fake engagement with Kit Butler to save him from having to marry Lady Freyja Bedwyn. Thesummerhc4 trouble was, though, that the moment I created them, they wanted to take over the story. I kept having to cut out chunks of writing because this was Kit and Lauren’s love story, not theirs. I had to make the decision to give them a series of their own! And in the Bedwyn series, there were frequent mentions of Miss Claudia Martin, the only governess who ever stood up to Lady Freyja Bedwyn before quitting one day and striding off to set up her own school in Bath (with the help of an unknown benefactor who, unknown to her, was Freyja herself). Miss Martin intrigued me to the extent that after I was finished with the Bedwyns, I wrote the SIMPLY quartet about four of the teachers at her school. Claudia’s story is SIMPLY PERFECT–and her hero is Joseph, Marquess of Attingsborough, another leftover character, a rather gorgeous male who floats around a couple of other books, most notably ONE NIGHT FOR LOVE and A SUMMER TO REMEMBER.

s-perfect4

And THE ARRANGEMENT,  a Survivors’ Club book due out at the end of August, has a rather sad leftover character, who appears only in the first chapter and is mentioned once more toward the end. She is a perfectly blameless young lady brought to meet the blind Vincent, Viscount Darleigh, as his prospective bride, but he has not been consulted and he takes frights and flees. It didn’t seem quite fair to Miss Philippa Dean. When my editor asked me to write an e-novella to precede THE ARRANGEMENT, I thought immediately of Philippa and was able to write a story giving her a happily-ever-after. And because I knew at that time that the novella was to be part of the Survivors’ series, I gave her a hero who is also linked to those characters. He is the nephew and heir presumptive of the Duke of Stanbrook. I don’t yet have a cover to show for THE SUITOR. This cover of THE ARRANGEMENT is for the British edition. I love it though the heroine’s hair should be auburn!

arrangebrit

Do you like reading about leftover characters? Do you have favorites? Do you have some whose stories you would like to have told?

To one person who leaves a comment before the end of next Tuesday, June 11, I will send yet another autographed copy of the advance reading edition of THE ARRANGEMENT. Last week’s randomly-drawn winner was Bill Boyd. I read and enjoyed all your comments, by the way.

 

 

 

178 thoughts on “WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CHARACTERS

  1. I love it when authors use leftover characters, and sometimes those end up being the best books. Nothing quite beats Kit and Lauren, though Sydnam and Anne come close.

  2. I love the left-over characters. Maybe that is why I love a series. As I read THE PROPOSAL, knowing that it was the beginning of a new series, I really tried to retain everything about each character because I know I’ll see them again. Oh, and thanks for giving Wulfric a line. Love him! 😉

  3. I like it when authors use leftover characters. There is always a character I end up liking in a book and at the end I say Hmm, wonder what happens to them…
    It’s great when the leftover characters get stories of their own and previous book characters are included. I love being able to “catch up” on their lives when they appear in subsequent stories.
    I love all your books – after reading this blog I’m going to have to read them again. Oh darn it 🙂

  4. I do enjoy stories about leftover characters. Especially when they are memorable. Looking forward to reading “The Arrangement!”

  5. I love series for the character building aspect! We get to know so many ‘friends’ and watch their lives unfold into HEA’s (we hope).

  6. When I read I often create my own story for the other characters, give their lives borders and then go back to reading the rest of the book. What would they eat, would they like the smells in the garden, what makes them happy and on and on. Good healthy imaginative exercises.

  7. I enjoy reading about a leftover character. It can be like meeting an old friend and catching up with what they have been doing since you last met. My favorite is probably Lady Angeline.

  8. That’s the main reason why I prefer to read a series, you cheer for the other characters, waiting impatiently to read of their story and hopefully become a part of loving them.

  9. Sometimes it’s the marginal characters, the best friend, the nemesis, the overlooked sibling, who piqué your interest & leave you craving more. I love when authors weave characters throughout their books, allowing us to see a hero from one novel through the eyes of the hero from the next.

  10. I love leftover characters , main reason because I fall in love with a series and hate to see it end…left over characters mean it doesn’t have to end 🙂 I loved Gerald, Constantine…all of them. There’s yet to be one I haven’t adored 😀

  11. I love books with leftover characters…we feel we get to know them in the original story and then want to know their story! As long as their story makes sense to the character as I originally met him/her, then I really enjoy it. It’s only when the leftover character got a personality transplant between books that I find it annoying or frustrating.

  12. I love when you write stories for your leftover characters. I love all your books, so it is so nice to have the original story continue. The character’s story that I looked the most forward to was Gwens!

  13. I love leftover characters! Especially the ones that don’t “look their best” the first time out and then are redeemed in a future story. Love that!

  14. Nothing is more exciting than finding out a leftover character from one story is getting his/her own story! I love a series because it prolongs the inevitable “ending” of a story or set of characters.

  15. The “leftover character” that I most wanted to know more about was Constantine Huxtable–although I assumed that he would eventually have his own book. I love books and series that tie into other books and other series, like the Slightly/Simply books.

  16. Sometimes those fleeting glimpses leave me wishing I could put the main characters on hold a moment and dash off down that side road after the secondary. We KNOW the heroine/hero will be okay in the end, but what about poor Lord Whomever and that odd Miss Whatsit?

  17. I often find myself asking what happened to so-and-so or why doesn’t he or she get a story of their own. I appreciate when you, that is the royal you- writers, go back and help them out! It is nice to see left-over characters turn into their own stories and sometimes series! Then, as the reader, we can keep enjoying the continuation of all the characters and sometimes it turns into “generations” of characters.

    • I love it when a character shows up in a new book and I dig in my books to see which one mentioned that character earlier.

  18. I love watching a minor character get his/her own book. I love to see how the author can tie them all together. I am also happy though, if the minor character gets a mini story in another hero/heroine’s book is there’s not enough to write an entire book about. I always wonder…Whatever happened to…?

  19. Some of my favorite historical romances are your “left over characters”! The Bedwyn series is one of my all time favorite series! …along with your “spin-off” books. I still remember checking for new books in the Bedwyn series and how sad I was when it was completed. How wonderful it was to read more of your books and have the Bedwyn’s mentioned, even in passing. Thank you for many hours of reading pleasure AND for giving us the “left over characters’ ” stories!!

  20. I think what I love about series is that once a character gets his/her own story you tend to start thinking like you’re part of a family. I do tend to wonder when starting a series which characters will appear and reappear and do love seeing all the interaction between the people that way.

  21. I love leftover characters too. I can hardly stand the anticipation until their stories are told. I don’t have any favorites other than all of them! Too hard to chose.

  22. I love when leftover characters get their own books. I also like it when you find out about a scene from one of the earlier books as seen through this character’s eyes.

  23. I love left over characters, it is so nice to see them get their own stories after you have been introduce to them, and I love reading cameo appearances in other books about characters I already love and enjoy. Actually, the first book I read from you was Simply Unforgettable, which made me want to read the rest of the Simply series and then I found out about there was a Bedwyn series and I love them so much in Simply I had to find out what happened. So basically I read your books backwards in a way but still totally enjoyable.

  24. I love reading books about characters that have grabbed my attention. I appreciate that the author sees that their stories must have a voice and then write their story. Thank you.

  25. I’m glad you brought up Lady Angeline in The Secret Mistress. In reading the other books, I was kind of curious about her relationship with her husband. I think I may have actually liked her story the best, and I liked them all! I think it is great when you read a book & you can have an “aha” moment when you remember them from a prior book.

  26. There are no left over characters. Just characters who are needed…sometimes in a small role, sometimes just in a role that entices another story to be told.

  27. I don’t think of them as leftover. That sounds sad. What may be a minor character in one book surely can be a main character in another. So those leftover characters merely await their time in the spot light. I do love how you listen to your readers & write those stories for Angelina & Gwen & Joseph & maybe Claude. I love how our heroes & heroines from one book become the supporting players in a series. I enjoy getting lost in a world that is so rich in characters & stories.

  28. I guess I don’t think of them as left-over characters but rather as characters necessary to make the story whole but, I think it is great when they get a happy ever-after of their own. Can’t wait for the next book Mary, it seems so long since “The Proposal”.

  29. Wow, hard to believe that the Bedwyns were leftover or spare characters! Those are some of your most fascinating novels! I can’t wait to read The Arrangement. Love your work.

  30. Mary…….I love your “left over characters” although I like to call them “secondary characters” who become main characters. I appreciate that you give these characters their own stories and that we get to stay “in touch” with the characters from the original stories, I just love finding out what is going with the characters since we last left them, even if its just a glimpse. Thank you for your amazing talent and for bringing us characters so rich in personalty that they become so real that we wish we they actually were!

  31. What to do with leftover characters? Mix them up into a tasty broth, stir well with love, and serve with a side helping of dramatic tension and a dash of happy endings, of course!

  32. What a great topic to address. I know that I have been worried for years, really years, since I first read Indiscreet, about Horatia Eckhart. What happened to her? Did she find her love, even after being raped? I have not given up hope that she will appear in some future novel. Thank you, again, Mary, for so many hours of reading pleasure.

    • I did mean to write Horatia’s story, Diane. I was going to kill off Caude’s nasty wife and give him a love story with Horatia. But I was leaving that particular publisher, and the book never did get written. Perhaps one of these days…

      • “I was going to kill off Caude’s nasty wife and give him a love story with Horatia”

        It’s so funny when you put it that way. I guess I never stopped to think of the power over life or death you hold in your hands. Not that I want to kill anyone, heaven forbid, but what fun if we could do a little of that social engineering in our own lives. Just hit the delete button and start fresh.

      • Oh how I wish you’d write a story with her. Hope you will get a chance to pick it up someday. She sounds so intriguing.

  33. I love left over characters. I am still waiting for a book about the 4th horseman who fell in love with Nathaniel’s ward Lavinia

  34. I prefer to think of the “leftovers characters ” as those people whose lives intersect briefly with others yet have full lives of their own. For example, Wulfric is the distant head of the family until Christine takes him in hand. The tapestry of his life is more finely woven as more details of the life are unveiled. Without the “leftovers” the tales that are told would be one dimensional at best.

  35. Its great when an author picks up on a stray character and let’s the reader in on what is happening in their world. Although I was shocked to hear the Bedwyns were an afterthought since it turned into a 6 book series of its own. And now one with their own stray characters…it’s a delicious cycle! (secretly I would have liked to have had a back story on wulfrics maid, the one he scared to death anytime she was in his presence). I think the best characters are the ones the reader becomes so engrossed with we now want to know about their mothers cousin next door neighbors best friends son…lol.

  36. I love the way minor characters become major ones as a series develops. I also enjoy seeing other minor characters reappear and develop during a series. Then there are the ones that catch the imagination for whatever reason, but you never see them again. I weave my own stories around them in my head.
    Thank you for your Facebook page. I really enjoy all the wonderful pictures and sayings you post there.

  37. My favorite books are those whose characters are related – not by blood but beause they’ve come from other stories. The Bedwyns and the Simply series, for example. As someone above said, they aren’t leftover. Their story simply hasn’t been written yet. I’m looking forward to the next story. Would love to have one with you’re signature.

  38. My favorite books are those whose characters are related – not by blood but beause they’ve come from other stories. The Bedwyns and the Simply series, for example. As someone above said, they aren’t leftover. Their story simply hasn’t been written yet. I’m looking forward to the next story. Would love to have one with your signature.

  39. I LOVE when leftover characters get their own story…it’s like enjoying a friendship that only just began 😉 And when main characters make appearances in these spin-off stories it’s even better!!!

  40. Mary you have always been my favourite author to develop your sub-characters that have been a far cry from leftover characters. Actually, I try to guess which characters will get developed down the road in your books and I guessed right with the Bedwyns – what great characters they are. I love that about your books you let other characters have more full personalities beyond your leads making the stories that much more full and colourful. Thanks for that Mary.

  41. I don’t think of them as left over characters. Without them, the story would be incomplete. When I get to the last page of a book, I invariably wish I could know more about all the characters, whether they were the main characters or the supporting cast. I want to know what happened after the fairy tale ending – when you write stories about the supporting cast, I get to meet all the characters again! I love to go back and compare the reactions to make sure they are still staying true to their character! Thank you for your lovely series’!

  42. I love leftover characters. They are mysterious treasure troves that make the imagination run wild. I love when I get to read up about them later on. See if they meet or exceed my expectations.

  43. Some of my favorite books feature ‘left over’ characters who have stepped up to the main stage and become the hero and/or heroine.I’m glad to see when you feature one of your secondary characters. I feel like I’m getting more of the story and a glimpse into the life of these characters.

  44. I lways appreciate when my favorite authors, Mary Balogh, Stephanie Laurens, Julia Quinn and Victoria Alexander explore the lesser characters in previously written story li. nes. I enjoy crossover characters that bridge the story lines between my of well known authors. They add an interesting dynamic when Mrs. Whistledown, Lady Oblestone or the fearsome grand patriarch stirs trouble between the Cynsters, the Bedwins or the

    • Or the Smythe-Smith appear for their annual musicals and torture the ears of the Ton.
      I enjoy weighing my imagination against the authors vision for these extended characters. I eagerly await the futures of some of the characters rattling in my head. Please write faster ladies and write more about the grand dames who invoke fear into the hearts of rakes and challenge the lesser debutante/wall flowers.

  45. I’ve only been reading your books for a few years. I’ve not read them in any order so it’s like making my way through a mist of lovely characters. I don’t know which of the characters came first and who are leftovers. I love how the books branch off from others.though, great reads”.

  46. my favorit hero is Wulfric Bedwyn. And my favorit leftover character is Rose, his former mistress for 10 years. She died before he met Christina Derrick. I always wonder wulfric actually loved Rose n the sentiment was mutual. But their differential status made it impossible for them to marry. I really wish u’d write a short story with Rose’s POV the 1st time she met wulfric. I love to imagine that Rose was phisically abused by her former protector. she was trying to escape n got caught by her mean protector when she saw wulfric 4 the 1st time. A honorable gentleman at heart, Wulfric saved her. he took care of her since then n Rose, being grateful, trying to be a good companion 4 him. Their was a comfortable relationship based on mutual fondness n slowly it grew into love. Please Mary, write bout Wulfric n Rose.

  47. I love starting a new book with a familiar character. I like the idea of a whole world existing that the characters inhabit and I get to know them better when they get their own story.

  48. I don’t think of them as “left-over characters”. You have created an entire world inhabited by any number of individual persons. Any one of whom might just be waiting for that random dancing spotlight to freeze on them and light up their own specific life-story. Reminds me of J.R.R. Tolkien. Taking decades to painstakingly build the world of the Lord of the Rings – complete with languages, histories, races of creatures, legends, sagas, manners and mores of each. That’s what the Mary Balogh world is too, within the confines of the specific historical period that the tales are set in, we have the Balogh equivalent of Middle Earth. I can’t really pick a favourite spotlightee. Maybe Emily (and Ashley) from “Silent Melody”. That tale could have gone horribly wrong in a number of creepy ways, but you managed to make it work out, somehow!

  49. I have always loved what you have done with your leftover characters. Thank you for giving them lives and loves and letting us share them.

  50. My favourite leftover character is Sir Gerald Stapleton of Precious Jewel. He first appeared in The Ideal Wife as a friend of the hero, Miles Ripley, the Earl of Severn. What is unique about Sir Gerald is that he is not even the typical alpha male whom you normally portray as a hero, Mary. But you wrote his story so well that he becomes so lovable and is one of my favourite characters. I read Precious Jewel with half a box of Kleenex gone.

  51. I love when we get to see the characters in more than one story line or book. Your characters are so well done it is easy to miss them when they are gone and want to read more about them. I reread your books often.

    I like the covers of your books because they tend to be classy instead of smutty.

    Thank you 😀

  52. Amen, sister! I love the phrase for secondary characters. I consider them old friends and always get excited when I realize I remember the character from another book. I think secondary characters are so important, as they show facets of the primary stars. It is good to see them get their due. Thanks–love your novels!

  53. It is kind of sad to see left over characters not find a happiness of their own. I love it when they do end up getting a story of their own because that means I have another book to read!!

  54. Mary, I love that you have written books about characters that have been a part of other novels. This helps your readers keep tie the relationships together. I am a big fan of your books, especially the Simply series but they are all wonderful reads. All your books read fresh and new to me. In reference to the book covers, I am often surprised the characters featured on the cover do not physically represent the characters described in the story, hair color or age. Doesn’t the cover artist read the book to understand your description of the characters? I usually don’t pay attention to the covers for this reason, just having your name on the cover is enough for me to purchase. I am excited for The Arrangement.

  55. I love book series in which left over characters are given their day in the sun. When I start a book, the characters become my friends so I’m always interested to see how their stories evolve. I think it’s a smart move for the author too because by writing new books for your leftover characters, you’re presenting your readers with people they’re already familiar with which is a much easier sell than introducing a whole new set of characters. Oh yes, and you’ve already laid a lot of the groundwork so as long as your record keeping is up to scratch, it’s got to be quicker and easier to set the scene for the leftover characters. Stephanie Laurens and Julia Quinn do this really well, as do you.

  56. I imagine those so-called leftover characters are all hanging around tapping on your shoulder and whispering in your head… saying, “hey…. I have a story too!! “

  57. Leftover characters aren’t actually left over. They are patiently waiting for the author to write their stories. They all have one, you see and they are unable to blend into the background and stay there because they have awakened our interest in them. It’s a bit of a letdown when an author doesn’t give them their chance to be centre stage and you are left wondering what became of them.

  58. I do think there are characters that need their own stories but I also realize that an author could never get to them all. I really like the idea of the novellas to manage the issue. Let them bring in a new series or tie up loose ends either way. We get the stories and the series is wrapped up in a neat little package.

  59. I love reading about left over characters. When I read such stories I feel as though I’m a part of the family, and not knowing what happened to someone is like losing touch and not caring about a long lost cousin you have just been reunited with. Of course, until that particular characters story is published I can indulge in my own imagination and make up my own ideas on what they will do and who they will marry !

  60. I live reading a book and speculating on which character will someday come alive in another book or series. It’s is only with skilled writers that you come to know secondary characters enough that you are intrigued by them.

  61. Series and recurring characters are my favorites. All my favorite authors are writers who keep their characters around like friends, who show up on occasion even when the story isn’t about them. It’s like life, isn’t it? Sometimes we are the main character in the story, and sometimes we are the supporting character; and then sometimes we just pass through on the edges of another’s story.

  62. I love stories with “leftover” characters. Many times they are people I like. I want to get to know them better and wonder what happens to them. There is one author wrote about character there was no way to find out who the orphan really was. I want to know what happened to the character to this day. I will never find out as the author is no longer living. Writing stories about the leftover characters answers such questions.

  63. I love to read books in series. After a while the characters seem like friends and family. So I do wonder about the leftover characters. I want to know what happened to them. I offer go back to a previous book to see if there was reference to them that I forgot.

  64. I adore left over characters!
    I’ve tried to make a mapping of the characters in your book. I began this when I realized that you had created a “world,” and characters from unrelated stories overlapped. It made me so excited that I started writing them down with arrows all over the place.
    Have you thought of creating something like this for your website? I would appreciate and enjoy it so much!
    Thank you for your work. I love your stories!

  65. I, too, love when “leftover” characters get a story of their own. And sometimes, when they don’t, you wonder why. 🙂 THE ARRANGEMENT sounds like my kind of book. Hope to read it soon.

  66. When an author writes a novel that has such a fabulous plot and characters that stay with the reader long after finishing reading it, I would absolutely love to read a “follow-on” novel, if you will, with those leftover characters. Quite frankly, there aren’t a whole lot of authors whose novels fit into that category, but yours certainly do, Mary. Every novel of yours that I have read, stays with me because the plot and characters are so strong and so real.

    I cannot tell you how excited I am about reading “The Arrangement.” “The Proposal” was just delightful and, again, those characters and the plot have remained with me. Congratulations on your continued successes and all the best.

    Connie Fischer
    conniecape@aol.com

  67. While I enjoy the use of leftover characters in other books, including their own, I also like having a leftover character for my own fantasy stories–which never get written down, so the story can change as needed. Nothing is quite so distressing as having “my” leftover character taking up with some 19th century hussy in the next book!
    Request: Now that I’m getting much older I’d appreciate some attractive leftovers in the senior citizen area who are not buffoons or martinets for my fantasies. Thanks.

  68. I like leftovers. How Wulf can be left over is impossible to understand. I especially like when with Sir Gerald we take up with him in The Christmas Bride the bad person is redeemed and he is brought in from the cold.
    Will the e novella be available to get for my computer? I have no hand held device.

    • Yes, Mary. You can download something free from amazon (not sure of the details) that will enable you to get Kindle books on your computer. It might be worth it for a novella.

  69. There is something fascinating about those you call “leftover characters”. They are generally quite personable in some way that makes them stand out from other charatcers in a book and if they do, I think they should be put to use when you have a good plot to place them in, whether it is part of a series or not. (There are often books filled with lots of dull characters that would be greatly enhanced by the presence of someone who draws the reader’s attention.)
    I’ve read a number of books that have characters I recall from earlier stories, including Claudia Martin and the Bedwyns; I found them very good and highly entertaining. Please continue to use these gems wherever and whenever they show up. I enjoy them very much.

  70. I do love reading about left over characters! Your characters are one of the reasons I love your books, I love your character development skills! I don’t really consider them left overs…they are opportunities for new books! Thanks for the chance to win! cjdempsey9 at msn dot com

  71. It is amazing to me as someone who has taken a stab at writing, how seemingly minor characters can leave a lasting impression on one. Sometimes they cry out for their own story. And as a reader, there is the comfort factor. I loved Kit and Lauren’s story. It is one of my all time favorite MB novels. It is the one I recommend to people who are asking me which of her novels they should begin with because it is more than a romance. And from there you slip into the world of the Bedwyns…a comfortable slide because you have already met most of them in A Summer to Remember. I personally enjoy seeing the connections. So sometimes minor characters are simply lurking in a novel and in the author’s mind, waiting to have their own story told.

  72. I believe, at this point, that romance readers are *trained* to expect that “leftover characters” will be addressed in future novels or novellas. There has been such a trend of writing series of novels in romance over the last 15 years or so that a generation of readers has grown up with this model. I actually think it’s hard for a writer to avoid that today–particularly in our interactive stage, when readers can submit requests for “please write ____’s story” easily via websites, blogs, cons, etc. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you–I just believe it’s become the norm.

    That said, I too have waited many years for Horatia’s story. 🙂

  73. It’s wonderful when secondary characters come back with their own story. I enjoy that you get glimpses into the lives of past heroes and heroines along with the new story. You and Grace Burrowes do this so well. Isn’t it also fun when a past villain becomes a hero in a new story?

  74. Love, love, love secondary characters and love it when they get their own stories. If they are strong enough to get the authors attention and never stop bugging them screams of wanting their story told, then they are usually the same ones I want to get to know more about. 🙂

  75. I still remember how delighted I was to discover connections between Mary’s books when I first started to read them – to create books of their own for “leftover” characters is her great gift to us. I think the first one I knew of was the connection between “The First Snowdrop” and “The Christmas Belle.”

  76. Yes I do! But honestly, I never consider any of your characters as ‘leftovers!’ This is because you write about each person so well that I am never surprised to find that you have given another one of your great characters their own book.

  77. I always wonder about the less-appealing characters. I read somewhere that Lauren and Kit didn’t get their story told for a omg time because an editor didn’t like Lauren as she appeared in One Night For Love. When I read that, and thinking about how much I loved Lauren/Kit, it made me wonder if you could write Wilma’s story in a way that I would like her in the end? It seems possible, because while she’s been shown as petty, concerned with appearances, and even (in her speaking part of. Slightly Dangerous) a bit malicious, she is also known to be genuinely fond of her husband and doting towards her sons.

    I also wondered near the end of Simply Perfect if there were a way that Charlie and Portia could actually mature in a way that they could get to (and deserve!) a HEA. It would be a stretch, since you made her so unlikeable in two books already without the kind of redeeming characteristics that Wilma has been shown to have, but I’d certainly read it if you tried it.

  78. It’s very satisfying for readers to learn about what happens to all those memorable characters, even the lesser ones. For instance, I wonder about Bertie Trent, annoying brother to my all-time favorite heroine, Jessica Trent from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. Will he settle down? How will he support himself and a family? Is he still annoying? Inquiring readers want to know!

  79. The hazard of being a good writer is that all your characters are so interesting, people want to know more about them. I’m still upset that I don’t have a full story of the romance between two “leftover” characters in one of Mary’s older books. I can’t even remember their names, but the man was a close friend of the hero, and a handsome man. He told his friends that he was engaged to a wallflower that he had met by being pressured to dance with her. She was quite homely, but he was impressed by her sweetness and eventually fell in love, to the incredulity of his friends. Anybody remember this couple? I wrote Mary soon after I read the story, hoping she’d give them their own book or short story. I still think about them once in a while, and they were very minor characters.

  80. I love when left over characters get their own book. It wraps up loose ends sometimes and sometimes it continues the story line by adding new left over characters! I love the cover of the UK version of The Arrangement.

  81. It’s very interesting for me to read your sets of series, and the other books that are connected by characters. But even then I just can’t seem to get enough of them, especially the Bedwyn series which I wish could go on forever! I would like to see another book, telling us about Wulfric in his later years.

  82. The left behind character idea is lovely in stories the way you use it! The “Simply” series is one of my favorites! Can’t wait to read “The Arrangement”!

  83. You may call them “leftover characters,” but for me, they are the reason I read your books. There is this whole wonderful universe — I call it Bedwyn World — and I adore seeing minor characters from one book get the starring role (or even a cameo) in another.

  84. To me, “leftover characters” are rather like people we meet in real life. You are introduced to someone through friends or work or at a social event. It seems to be simply an introduction. But, later we find that the person goes to our church, is a member of a club we have joined, or shares a hobby or interest with us.

    So, your leftover characters are exactly what we need to feel involved in the world you have created for us.

  85. I have just finished reading the rereleased dual volumes and am totally in enchanted with Lord Fancis Kneller and am so glad that he was given a book and love marriage of his own after losing Samantha in Lord Carew’s Bride.
    The Famous Heroine has become my favorite Balogh book. I cannot imagine a greater misunderstanding than the heroine assuming that the hero is gay up to and including her wedding night. Brilliant!

  86. i love reading books about the characters from another book, not the main ones, and i get to learn their story and watch as their lives unfold. And sometimes you even get to see a snippet of the lives of the main characters from the orginial book and how their lives have continued. I love every one of your books and i cant wait to read The Arrangment!!

  87. It’s quite funny for me to hear that Claudia Martin and the Bedwyns were left over characters. the first book of yours that I read was the first Simply book, which then led me to the Bedwyn series, which in turn led me to A Summer to Remember and the rest of them. Thank you for letting your ‘secondary’ characters tell their stories too, it has all be very entertaining.

  88. One of the first books that I read by you was “Simply Love” so, of course, I didn’t even realize that Anne Jewell and Sydnam Butler were left overs (smile). What I love about your writing is that you create such strong and memorable characters that even the minor ones are unforgettable.

    When I finished reading “Ideal Wife” I found myself wondering what happened to Gerald and Priscilla (did he find her, had she married her swain, did he bring her back, etc?). Likewise, when I was reading the Mistress series, I found Angeline to be such a joyful and appealing character, that I was wishing there was more of her in the books.

    So, two of my favorites are “Precious Jewel” and “Secret Mistress” – thank you!

  89. I absolutely LOVE reading a book that has a secondary character or one that has a brief mention because they seem to answer so many questions. I always HATE to see a series end. 🙁 I have enjoyed reading all of your books (that I can get my hands on). Other then the books that are not released YET, there are 26 books that I have not read, but i will keep looking for them! Can’t wait to read the latest ones!!! Keep up the good work!

  90. I have loved your stories since I read A Chance Encounter. The left over characters continue to bring me back time and time again. I was glad to see Lauren Edgeworth have her own story and find someone to make her happy. Even though Neville and Lily Wyatt were meant to be together in One Night of Love, Lauren was too nice to be jilted through no fault of her own. And Constantine’s story, A Secret Affair, was a satisfying way to wrap up the Huxtable series. I look forward to the next installment of your wonderful tales. After reading some of the blogs, I need to go back and reread some of your books to get acquainted with some of my favorite characters again.

  91. I love it when familiar characters pop up, especially when you’re not expecting them! It makes you feel like the world you’re reading about is real, that all these people know each other somehow, or bump into each other every once in a while.

  92. Mary, I think you link your books and tell the stories of your “secondary” characters better than any other author writing today. Patricia Veryan, who is no longer writing, also did a great job at this.

    As so many others have said, it makes it so much more enjoyable to become immersed in the world you’ve created and to get to know all of the characters in turn like family through book after book.

    I’m one of your legion of fans having read all of your books (except the elusive and expensive The Trysting Place and The Wood Nymph) at least three times, and sometimes more!

  93. Mary, I love that you use your “leftover characters” so often and give them a voice of their own. Like many others, I hate to see a series end and miss hearing about familiar friends.

  94. I’m fine with interesting secondary characters getting their own stories. What I’m not so fine with is when the secondary character is introduced to us in a way that screams “I am not here because it makes sense in the current story; I’m just here to put in an appearance and be set up for my own book.”

    PS–I would love a copy of The Arrangement. Please please please please please…. 😀

  95. I enjoy some of the secondary characters very much. Reading Stephanie Laurens so many of her characters are inter-related and you are not sure who is left over, who is the next aspiring hero/ine and who was the main character. Series are wonderful when they connect different characters. Even if the books are not a true series, but connected some way. Thanks to all the authors who work so diligently so we may enjoy other worlds.

  96. My favorite of Mary’s leftover characters is Edgar Downes, the brother of Cora in The Famous Heroine. Edgar’s book, Christmas Bride, one of my very favorites. Gwen, Lady Muir, in The Proposal, is another. I am happy to have another MB book coming out this summer.

  97. I love when a story can continue with another character. I invest so much time in these characters and it is a relief from the heartbreak of the story being over. I just read the proposal and was literally bouncing in my seat when Wulfric spoke up!!! Thank you again for another great book!!

  98. I love hearing about other characters in their own stories too. I read the Simply series first, which then led me to One Night for Love and A Summer to Remember, then on to the Slightly series. I really loved the many interactions of the characters in these stories and felt like I knew them so well and became a part of their families. Then when I found Gwen in The Proposal, I was overjoyed and glad to finally know the story of her first marriage and limp, which had been hinted at before – also of course her happy ending. Can’t wait for the rest of this “family” which was introduced to have its stories unfold with the unique twist of “survivor”.

  99. Mary, when you cook a fantastic “meal” and put so much loving effort into creating that “meal”, “leftovers’ are just another opportunity to savour the meal again. Needless to say, like many have echoed, we love your leftover characters.
    Angeline Dudley’s story is one of my favourite books of yours. Because I am new to your books, I havn’t really encountered leftover characters I would love to hear more of since I am still catching up. But if I were to pick someone whose story I would like to hear, it would be Eleanor Thompson’s (Christine Bedwyn (nee Derrick nee Thompson) (can you tell I just finished Slightly Dangerous?) That way, I might get to read more snippets of the Bedwyns’ lives post series ending. Just sayin’……

    I am pleased that your new book isn’t too far off, Mary as I expect I should be all caught up with all your past books and I suspect I shall be bereft by the time August rolls around, from lack of my most recent addiction to your books.

    Please, please, please let me win the book….

    • Eleanor Thompson appears again in the SIMPLY books, Diane, as one of the teachers at Miss Martin’s School in Bath.

      • Dear Mary, i have read all the Bedwyns’ books and the Simply series. I liked Eleanor Thompson a lot. I understand, that she has lost her fiancee and decided never to marry. She is such a nice person.. I wish that she could fall in love again. She deserves her happiness.

  100. I love reading about leftover characters. I feel like all the characters in a story are family, and I am left wondering what happens to all the characters after the story ends.

  101. Mary, I love the way you have given leftover characters their own stories, and I long to know more about Horatia Eckert from “Indiscreet.”

  102. I’m a devoted male reader, and I’ve always been struck by the depth of all the characters who populate each of your books. I think that one reason your ‘leftovers’ beg for their own stories is that they all possess some degree of depth and richness. To borrow a metaphor from Morgan, who is always looking at her subjects from the inside, I think that with just a few deft strokes you capture the essence of even supporting players. There is always some hint of the hidden layers and backstory that your writing always explores. To put it another way, in the Balogh universe every person is interesting and more than he or she first appears.
    Except for Wilma Sutton, perhaps. But some people are just that way, and usually because they choose to be.
    Thank you for writing!

  103. I love reading about characters that I have already been introduced to. That familiarity makes it fun and comfortable, while the fuller backstory helps to explain why they might’ve been the way they were when we first met them. And I agree with everyone else – I love all your stories. Thank you for writing them. 🙂

  104. Whew-eee! I just saw that I won last week. So I should not win again. But I want to comment anyway.

    I love series of books that contain characters from earlier books. It feels like I get to know the characters better because I meet them in a succession of books. This is particularly true of Wulfric, the Duke of Bewcastle, who is in six books before his own book Slightly Dangerous. Gwen, Lady Muir, the heroine of The Proposal, is another example of a character we have known for some time before we get her story.

    This isn’t only true of romance. My favorite thriller authors are the team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child who have written 12 Agent Pendergast novels with multiple characters carried through the series. (I still haven’t quite forgiven them for murdering two of my favorite characters. One of them was in Relic, the very first book and all of the those that followed.)

  105. I love minor characters in previous books. I think my favorite book would be A Precious Jewel. Hoping that some day you will write Miss Lizzie Pickford’s story? =D

  106. I do like knowing what happens to minor characters. It’s great fun to see everyone get their happy ending. often, though, I feel that when minor characters are given their own books, too much ink is devoted to giving updates and backstory on the other books, or prepping characters for the next book. Sometimes this makes me want to look for the next book, or or the previous book- which I guess is the point!

  107. I’m writing a five-part series set in 16th-century Russia and the steppe lands to its south and east. Book 1 came out last year, and I had drafted half of book 2 when the character I had pegged as the antagonist presented himself as the perfect match for a leftover character from book 1, already scheduled to receive her comeuppance in book 4. So that necessitated a lot of rethinking. In the process, a due-to-be leftover character from book 2 convinced me that she could really do a better job than the redirected antagonist in keeping him and his assigned troublemaker at odds until their essential resolution. So now she, too, will have a role in book 4 (quite likely, the whole trio will also reappear in book 5, since they don’t seem like the shy type).

    Meanwhile, there are still a few leftover characters from book 1 stewing in corners, plotting their returns. That’s why I love writing series!

  108. sometimes the secondary character stories turn out better than the original though not always. i’m thinking of precious jewel, slightly dangerous, seducing an angel, simply love, magic and perfect, the plumed bonnet, silent melody( although luke and anna’s story was to die for as well but ashley and emily have always remained very dear to me) indiscreet, irrestible, web of love,
    etc. etc.!!

  109. The fact that you do consider all your characters in your books, and you feel that they all speak out to have their own story told tells a reader that you are involved in all aspects of the story you are writing at the time.
    Don’t we in real life try to find out everything to know about a new friend or someone we just met? Why would it be different in a story that we are reading. Having a little (or a lot) of history about someone lets us form our own opinions about that person or group. The first thing we learn about someone might not be the what the person is all about. Case in point the Bedwyn and the stoic way he is brought across. Later when we get to know him he is still stoic but very loveable.
    Thank you for your books. I love reading them and about all the people.

  110. I love leftover characters. I was especially thrilled to read A Summer to Remember, as what happened in One Night for Love was frightfully romantic, yet it was through no fault of her own that she lost her groom. It is great to get those happily ever afters for those sorts of characters. leanne

  111. I just finished The Proposal, and loved it! Is there going to be a story about Constance? I would love to hear if a romance develops involving her.

    • Now, she is one of those leftover characters… It would be tricky because readers like aristocratic characters and she has to end up with her ironmonger! Maybe a novella. I’ll have to see if and how I can work in their story.

      • Ahh… but does she *have* to end up with her ironmonger? I could see a tragedy for him, and a heart wrenching story for Constance, but of course leading eventually to her HEA. Does she maybe need to overcome her prejudice against the aristocracy? Not ever good to generalize folks as to “all” being something or other.

  112. They aren’t leftover characters anymore. In reading The Gilded Web last weekend, i encountered Perry and Grace Lampham who have been in other books. Their own. The one with Gerald and Priss. And it seems at least one more. They keep showing up. I don’t know if they first appeared in their own book then re-appeared in others or if they were leftover characters. In any case, it is fun to encounter them again.

  113. One of the reasons I have enjoyed your books so much is that the incidental character one comes across may indeed be the main character in a future book — and that the reader should pay attention! You enhance the experience by making the “incidental” character very real and interesting and noticed. I do remember Angeline and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how such a beyond-the-boundaries woman was a) tolerated by her brothers and b) married to such a stick as Edward. The resulting book was a real joy and it had me going back to reread the other two Mistress books.

  114. I absolutely love when you write about “leftover” characters, and include previous characters in a new novel. It’s nice to know what happened to them after “happily-ever-after”. Especially when you read a long series, you feel “vested” in the characters and hate to see the series end………..

  115. Sometimes the best stories come from characters who are not necessarily likeable when they are first introduced. Everyone loves to read a story of redemption and love! I guess Freya Bedwyn started out like that! Somehow, these characters become the most popular as we grow to like and admire them as it can give much more depth to the plot.

  116. I also enjoy reading your secondary characters’ stories. Two favourites include Edmund Waite, the villain of The Trysting Place and hero of The Notorious Rake. He is a man with great depth of character in his own novel, but seemingly very shallow in our first introduction to him. And of course Lauren Edgeworth and Kit Butler in A Summer to Remember is a most memorable and wonderful story. I was very glad when Gwen’s story was finally told in The Proposal. Thank you for creating such worthy personalities for us to read and care about.

  117. Recurring characters really add to my enjoyment of your books. You create an almost tangible sense of family or community. Plus, in a series like the Bedwyn’s, as each character grows and changes, the family dynamics change. And we get a deeper, more complete picture of certain characters as they appear in book after book. I’m thinking, probably obviously, of Wulfric, Duke of Bewcastle.

    I think I’m going to reread the Slightly Series. 🙂

  118. I love all your books, whether with leftover characters or a new series. It always amazes me how you can give such depth and color to characters that I may not have ordinarily been sympathetic to, and force me to expand my notion of a “heroine” into gray areas… One of my favorites is Lauren: a character who started out so prudish and proper, until you started peeling back the layers and all preconceived notions unravelled. And how could Wulfric ever be considered a side character (I just realized the Bedwyns were “leftovers” from reading your comments;) his story is my favorite in the Slightly series. I am impatiently waiting for your next book to be published. Thanks for weaving your magic, each time.

  119. Leftover characters sometimes just demand a book of their own. It can be a minor character, but I will find myself wanting to know more about them.

  120. I love it when supporting characters get there own stories.Reading there books is like seeing old friends again.I have always loved series that have groups of friends or family and they get there own books.

  121. I totally love the “leftover characters” because it adds to the complexity and richness of the world you are painting for us. The Proposal sent me back to reread the Slightly series and now I’m embarking on the Simply quartet again. Nice to revisit them all, and thanks for many hours of pleasure.

  122. Just love getting to read the leftover characters stories it is what makes the first stories great and what’s to come even better, can’t pick any favorites love them all. Love reading your books they are what got me hooked on reading and I’m just not sure I can stop!. >^.^<

  123. I adore your books and can hardly wait until the next comes out. I am missing some of the older ones in some of the series and am eagerly looking in bookstores and websites to try to find them. Love that you are writing about the leftover characters as they have always intrigued me. Claudia Martin and her interaction with Lady Freyja Bedwyn was a favorite as well as her entire family and Gwen Muir was also a favorite who had a sad time of it so glad to know her story is coming soon. Thanks for keeping us enthralled and entertained.

  124. I don’t consider them “leftover” characters at all. I love it when a minor character in one book shows up as the major character in another book! It connects the books in ways that are unexpected and fun and makes me keep looking at the characters in every book I read (not just Balogh’s) and to focus on the minor characters and think about what THEIR story would be…..I often find myself wishing I could read their story, too!!!! Keep it up!!!

  125. Loved Angeline, so I was glad she had her own book. Loathed the Bedwyns, but ended up reading their stories anyway. Slightly Dangerous is now one of my all time favorites.

  126. I especially like secondary characters who appear in different books and even series. I think it adds greatly to the overall feel for your “world”.

    For the longest time Lady Gwen was my favorite leftover character so you know how thrilled I was to read The Proposal.

    Looking forward impatiently to The Arrangement.

  127. I am eagerly awaiting both The Suitor and The Arrangement. Each of your books is a gem, and in collecting them, I have my own set of Crown jewels.

    Thank you for your wonderful stories, your characters and your insights. It is a pleasure to read the work of an author with life experience.

    Cheers,
    Elaine

  128. I love the books about the left over characters and how they each became their own series. I started with just grabbing one of your books for a long plane ride and before I knew it I had read everything published by you. Getting a glimpse of the character in on book always does leave you wondering about that person and being able to eventually read their story is great, but then leave you wanting even more. Fr myself it went to the point that I’m writing my own book (though when it is done and if anyone will ever see it no one knows)! Can’t wait to read the next book!

  129. Some characters are just so engaging I can’t help wondering what will happen to them after the story “ends”. I was recently reading through the Huxtable series and there were a few younger siblings who I would love to see again. I’m not sure I knew the Bedwyns were leftover characters before I read that series, but I am so happy that you wrote their stories! I loved that series, and also Anne’s and Claudia’s stories from the Simply series as well.

  130. I don’t think of characters as “leftover” but as continuing and I am delighted when you give me more information about their lives and sometimes adventures.

  131. I enjoy reading all your books and the characters you create, left over or otherwise!!! I also think that you have a great way of making events and even holidays, like Christmas, seem like characters that continue on into eternity. I am so looking forward to reading The Arrangement and hope you have some left over characters that will soon become another book that I can look forward to reading.

    I hope you publish some of your older books soon.

  132. It makes me really happy to have a character mentioned again. Like when Joseph and Claudia are mentioned in The Proposal. I feel better knowing they are still out there.

  133. I always like reading about left-over characters. It’s funny how different authors say they never intended to give them a story, but fans want one.

  134. I started reading this genre with Mary and I found it helped to list all your books in order of publication so I was reading them in order. As you said with the Bedwyn’s taking over on A Summer To Remember, I cannot fathom not giving your characters their own story line. And, it was fun to see them grow. I have yet to write about your work in my blog, even though you are my first and favorite author, because I haven’t found the words I feel appropriate to describe your work…it will come.

  135. I think I have read almost all your books–in fact the reason I looked at your site today was to get a book list so that I could check to see if I have missed any! As far as ‘leftover’ characters, I think it is a great idea to give them their own stories. Aside from fleshing them out more, it gives a chance to learn a little more about what has happened to the ‘main’ characters from the previous story, since they will often become background in the new!

  136. I would love to hear the story of Christine’s sister, from the Simply series. We last hear of her she takes over the school when Claudia marries Joseph in Simply Perfect. Does she ever find love?

  137. I love your books and can never seem to wait for the next one. Your books bring your fans so much joy, your simply fabulous! Keep up the great work! Cant wait to read the arrangement.

  138. I love it when you write stories about left over characters because it’s like watching a family unfold. Sometimes there will be just a small mention of someone who sparks my interest and then a few books later, his/her story is being told. Just like real life…the circle is never broken!

  139. I am eagerly awaiting “The Arrangement” and have my calendar marked for next year’s book about Benjamin. I look forward to the entire Survivor series. Your books have given me insights into human nature and emotions that I treasure. I even have typed quotes from Morgan Bedwyn and Hugo Emes into Notes on my iPhone because I think the words are so wise. (While I was out of state at my niece’s wedding, I spent time with the groom: I had him read two quotes from Hugo.) I love the way that so many series are interconnected with what you call your forgotten characters. (By the way, it was an interesting experience to be reading the three Mistress books since my last name is Dudley.) Thank you so much for writing such good books.

  140. Love all the left over characters so far, but ever since I finished the simply series, I’ve been curious about Eleanor Thompson and if she will ever get a happy ending? She has always struck me as someone who is level headed and intelligent but on the shelf… I am curious to know what happened in her past, maybe she was jilted or beau went off to war? She is similar to Claudia and maybe she is so mature now because of a past indiscretion? You could make her the heroine of one of the survivors from the survivor’s club, she is intelligent enough to deal with their PTSD and get her own happy ending along the way.

  141. I’m just now discovering the mary balogh books – and I don’t think I’ll have my life back until I’ve read them all. Mary, I can’t wait until you get around writing Horatia & Claude’s story! The whole time I was reading Indiscreet I couldn’t help wishing I could learn more about Rex’s incredible twin. And by the end of the book all I could think of was Horatia left standing on one side of the ballroom with a message in her eyes waiting for her story to be told!! Overly romantic notions–but I do hope we get that story in our hands someday!

    • Thank you, Nica. I am moving on to a new publisher who can possibly get back the rights to IRRESISTIBLE so that the complete trilogy can be republished as a set. If that happens, I may well suggest to my editor that I write Claude and Horatia’s story–at last! In the meanwhile, of course, I have to finish writing the seven-part Survivors’ Club series. But, stay tuned….

  142. I was led to this thread because I did a search for Eleanor Thompson to see if you ever planned to flesh out her story past, present and future. I read most of the posts and only see one response from you regarding Eleanor..or ET…since she is a bit of an alien in the world she lives in. I was just rereading Slightly Dangerous this weekend and wondered about her. I know she takes over Claudia Martin’s school later…but sucker that I am…I’d like her to find love as well. She is an awesome character almost as perfect as Wulfric and Constantine my 2 all time favorite characters of yours. So, maybe your answer will always be No for Eleanor but I’m throwing my vote in for her anyway. I think I’ve read 90% of your books and over all tge sideline characters besides Wulf and Con…She’s the standout for me.

  143. I would love to know if the Marquess of Attingsborough’s daughter, Lizzie, will get her own Novel!! It would be lovely to link her with David, the loving and artistic son of Anne Jewell Butler. I can see a lot of promise there…..

  144. In Slightly Dangerous, there is a minor character whom I have wanted to know more about. Miss Amy Hutchinson. Is there a story about her?

  145. I have just discovered you, Mary Balogh, and am enjoying work. I love how you interweave characters in to many different books. I have been reading Georgette Heyer and I wish she had written books about her leftover characters, like Hon. Ferdinand from Frederica. That would have been fun.

    I have especially enjoyed your Survivors series and your story about Ann and Sydnam. I thought it was so important to talk about all those things; working through a new disability, PTSD for both characters, family reactions. You have kept it on the light side, I think, but you did a great job addressing it. With so many readers, you are changing people’s minds–isn’t that great?

    I look forward to reading about the rest of the Westcott family–

    Kindest regards-

  146. Hello, Yes I have also found many left over characters in books that I would like to hear more about, Such as Lizzie in Simply Perfect, did she ever have a story of her own? The problem is all of Mary’s books have such wonderful characters that you always want to know more about them.

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