Monday, July 15, 2013

We All Need a Friend

Is anyone else old enough to remember the lyrics of Carole King’s brilliant song “You’ve Got a Friend”? Here’s the first verse:

When you're down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

The song is a deeply-felt tribute to the kind of friendship we all need—supportive, unquestioning, and enduring. The final verse sums it up perfectly:

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend

Are you one of those people who seem to make friends everywhere they go? If so, rejoice in your gift. I’m a classic introvert, so I’m more comfortable with fewer, deeper friendships. My college roommate is that kind of friend. We can tell each other anything, and even if we don’t see each other for years, we can pick up where we left off without missing a beat.

In a remarkable twist of fate, her son and my daughter ended up attending the same university five years apart. Last quarter, her son unwittingly signed up for a course my daughter was teaching. Talk about serendipity. (I knew he would be a stellar student because his mother would kill him if he tried to goof off!) The most gratifying consequence of this coincidence was  the opportunity to spend time with my roommate and her husband several times during the past four years while we visited our children. Since we live on opposite coasts and she hates to fly, our times together are precious.

I believe women’s friendships are very special. We support each other in ways men can’t always understand. So it was only natural for me to give Lisa McAllister, the heroine of my book Harvest of Dreams, the best kind of friend. Jessamine Randall is one of those characters who storm into a story and grab it by the horns. She’s feisty, determined, and fiercely loyal. She refuses to allow her friend to settle for less than she deserves. And by the end of Harvest of Dreams, I knew she had to have her own story. I hadn’t planned to write a sequel, but Jessy, the daughter of the town judge, had fallen in love with an outlaw, and I couldn’t simply leave her to her own devices. She needed help to tame A Man Like That.

Have you ever had a secondary character demand his or her own book? Do you enjoy reading about friendships? Do you like to include them in your own stories?

Alison Henderson


Jannine Gallant said...

Oh my, your post is almost begging me to promote my books! LOL My series, Secrets of Ravenswood, is about three young girls, best friends, who witness a murder. Jump forward 17 years, and they're still best friends and still supporting each other. Each of the three woman gets her own story. Right now I'm working on a sequel to my very first published book. In Victim of Desire, the heroine's sister, Grace, is her best friend. It took me a while, but Grace is finally getting her own book! Friendships in life (and fiction) are oh so important!

Margo Hoornstra said...

I'll have to agree, the Secrets of Ravenswood series is friendship personified! And three very good reads. To answer your character question, I had an anti-hero threaten to take over two of my books. But he was just there to spoil the romance. At least he tried to.

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, I thought of the Ravenswood books the whole time I was writing this post. So glad to give you an opportunity to promo them!

Diane Burton said...

Great post, Alison. Oh, yes, I have several secondary characters (best friends of either the hero or heroine) hollering at me to write their stories. Wishing for more time to write each one.