Mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, horror & YA by "Cheryl Kaye Tardif" & romance by "Cherish D'Angelo". Cheryl is represented by Trident Media Group in NY.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Redeeming Characters Blog Tour - Turning a Sidekick into a Leading Man

Today's special guest blogger is Jennifer L. Hart, whom I met at To celebrate the launch of Jennifer's latest novel, Redeeming Characters, she's put together a fabulous blog tour with great prizes. Welcome, Jennifer! ~ Cheryl

Hello all and a great big thank you to my hostess for having me here as part of my Redeeming Characters blog tour. One of my personal guilty pleasures is watching brainless comedies. You know the kind when you laugh at toilet humor and people falling off high places to land in a whole pile of icky glop? Yes I know, how sophomoric, but I love to laugh.

Going hand in hand with that is the drive to make other people laugh too. I don’t have the personality for a stand-up comedian—I actually don’t like that much attention focused on my person. I’m more like the two old muppet characters snarking from the balcony.

In typical comedy, the one-liner character is invented for a single purpose, to say something pithy to ease the tension or sometimes to ratchet it up a few notches. After watching enough comedies though, I stop following the main storyline and my mind starts wondering what his story is, what makes a man so snarky and always ready to quip at another’s misfortune? 

Popular culture has never really delved into that guy, the side kick, the wingman. Sure you have your comedic heroes—John Cusack comes to mind— but the characters he’s plays always have more depth right from first scene.

Unsatisfied at the offerings of snarky heroes, I made one up instead. From his very first line, “Did anything in the known universe suck as much as author day?” I knew this guy was exactly what I wanted, the kind I yearned to know more about. Absolutely nothing was sacred— anything in sight was fair game to Drue.

What I didn’t expect were the hidden depths, the dark and twisty places inside his head that not only explained why he became the one liner guy, but that he really had no other choice. Part nature, part nurture equaled a scary and difficult human being.

You see, the typical one liner guy, he’s a one trick pony. Pop over, unleash a zinger, or two and then fade away. A true romance novel hero needs more depth, more color. There were times when writing Redeeming Characters when I worried I was ruining my zinger guy, after all, who can laugh in the face of constant suffering and not look like a total lunatic?

Worse yet, the one liner guys aren’t typically fantasy material. They fit more comfortably in the role of the best friend’s older brother, like Paul Rudd in Clueless. Sure, he gets the girl in the end, but he went overlooked for a good portion of that movie.

So how to create a real Alpha hero who could be snarky and loveable at once?

After years of struggling it hit me. And man, did I feel like a moron when the dust finally settled. It’s not what he says, it’s what he does. You know the schoolyard rhyme. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me? Well, they do hurt, just in a different way. I had to make sure his actions spoke to the man, and made up for the words Drue wields like a weapon’s expert.

So, that’s the story of how I turned the sidekick into my leading man. Come check out Redeeming Characters available wherever ebooks are sold and in print now at One random commenter, selected by my good hostess, will receive a Redeeming Characters keychain. Be sure to stop by for a chance to win the blog tour prize.


Gail Hart said...

I loved Drue's snarkiness when Redeeming Characters was in the Textnovel contest. Thanks for telling us about how he came to you.

Unknown said...

I'm so excited to read this book! I actually just won it today on Goodreads!!!! thanks so much for the giveaway and for explaining where leading man came from!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Hi ya Gail, thanks for stopping in! He is snarky, but it's like a car wreck, it's impossible to turn away!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Heather, congrats on the goodreads win. I'm sending my DH out to mail your book in a few minutes.

Jennifer L Hart said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, I love the name of your blog!

Valorie Dorr said...

This blog tour is such a fun idea. And thank you for sharing how Drue came to be. I loved both Drue and Dakota on Textnovel and I'm so glad Redeeming Characters is now published!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Thanks, Val! I'm having a blast with this tour, love giving swag away!

Unknown said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love love love this leading man. He's a new kind of hero, modern and alpha in a way that's completely unexpected.

I could see Cusack playing him in the movie if he were a bit younger. :) I'm thinking Grosse Point Blank vintage. :)

Jennifer L Hart said...

Saranna, I love how you say "in the movie" like it's a done deal! In fact I'll get into castring ideas on one of the upcoming blogs this week and who I'd like to play, so stay tuned!

Cheryl Tardif said...

You are very welcome, Jennifer. Glad you like my blog name. It compliments my saying for when people ask me what I do. I tell them "I kill people off for a living." lol

Good luck with your VBT!

PS: It's great to see so many familiar names from Textnovel! All the best to you all.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
aka Cherish D'Angelo

kerribookwriter said...

This blog is rockin' good. How have I not been here before. Sigh.

Too many blogs. Too few hours in the day.


Great commentary on your character creation. I laughed out loud at your comparing yourself to the old dues in the balcony. They were so my fave characters on the Muppets. Well, them and Miss Piggy cause she's a woman who takes what she wants. ;-)

Congrats on your blog tour. I'm going to try to keep up and support you but I'm on another deadline (pant, pant). Getting old.


Heather said...

I've always had a thing for the underdog in stories. And by underdog, I mean less prominent characters.

I'm glad to see one has made it out of the depths of supportivism. :P

Jennifer L Hart said...

Best thing that came out of that contest were some of the lasting friendships forged during all that vote tarting! I respect each and evry one of you!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Kerri, thanks so much for stopping by, I know you're a busy bee!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Heather, that's my description on twitter, "Champion of the underdog." Also able to leap large piles of laundry in a single bound ;-)

Vivi Dumas said...

Hi Jenn! Great blog. I'm only halfway through Redeeming Characters but loving it.

Lillie said...

Drue is one of the most unique leading men I've ever had the pleasure of reading/fantasizing about. :) Much love to both Cheryl and Jenn!

~Lillie Spencer

Cheryl Tardif said...

Hello all, and thank you so much for dropping by my blog and reading Jennifer's featured post. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Since Jennifer elected me to draw a name for her contest, I put everyone's name in a bowl and have selected the winner of the key chain. And the winner is...

(drumroll please)


Congratulations and enjoy!

I hope you'll all check out my blog in more detail. You'll be able to meet some other characters, authors and have a peek at what I write.



P.S. Lillie, my Textnovel buddy, so great to see you here!! :-)

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Jennifer L Hart said...

Lillie! *Waves framtically!* Good to see you out and about!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Paranormal Queen, so glad you are enjoying it!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Yeah, Kerri! Huzzah! Send your address to me at
jlhart79at(@)gmail(dot).com and I'll get your prize out!

Jennifer L Hart said...

Thank you again for hosting, Cheryl. It was like a class reunioun, but FUN!

kerribookwriter said...

Jen, I'll be in touch and thanx for the goodie. :-)

Cheryl, thanks for choosing me and you bet I'll be back. You won't get rid of me that easy. Geez.


Cheryl Tardif said...

You're very welcome, Kerri. LMAO!

Since many who commented here are authors, I'd like to mention that I have another blog you may find helpful as it deals with book marketing and often features articles from marketing experts. I invite you all to check it out.