I love secondary characters. They help to flesh out the hero and heroine and they often take on a mind of their own. Additionally, because I write Jewish characters, and many of my readers may not be familiar with some terms or customs that I reference, I also use secondary characters to explain things. Most often, it’s with a child, because it’s perfectly believable for a child to ask a question. It’s not always believable for an adult who presumably has been doing something their whole lives to suddenly want to know what it is that they’re doing (CSI, anyone?).
In Five Minutes to Love, however, I used my hero’s mother. Almost everyone knows the stereotypes of Jewish mothers. They want their child to settle down with a “nice Jewish boy or girl” and are always trying to feed people. In Hollywood, they are often portrayed as complaining a lot and shopping. I tried to avoid the stereotype, especially the complaints and the shopping, and while fleshing her out, she took on a mind of her own.
Karen was a blast to write. She became the conscience of the book. If Jacob was studying too hard, she made sure he took time out for a break, especially if that break was to visit her. On the flipside, she reminded him to focus on his law school needs and his future career, which is a main source of conflict in the book. She has a voice and she’s not afraid to use it, calling Jacob out when he’s done something he shouldn’t have. She’s meddlesome, but useful. She also helped create minor conflicts that Aviva, the heroine, was easily able to overcome, thereby showing Jacob what a great woman she was. For example, Karen has been known to be hard on Jacob’s past girlfriends. She never thought they were good enough for him. When Karen invites Aviva and Jacob to Shabbat dinner, Jacob is terrified Aviva will fall into any one of Karen’s “traps.” But Aviva charms Karen from the beginning. When Karen makes brisket for their dinner, Aviva loves it and knowing it’s Jacob’s favorite, asks for the recipe. Jacob is horrified, because Karen never shares recipes with his girlfriends. But not only does Karen offer to share it, she offers to teach her how to make it. By the end of the evening, Karen and Aviva are getting along wonderfully, and Jacob is convinced that Aviva is much stronger than he’s given her credit for being. When Jacob and Aviva reach their “black moment,” it’s Karen who is able to provide some perspective to Jacob, helping him to understand how his own actions have led them to this point, and illuminating the different paths he can take in the future.
I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun with a secondary character as I have had with Karen, and I hope you enjoy her as much as I did.
Aviva Shulman has had enough of the dating scene. Her father valued his high-powered career over his wife and family. She wants something more, someone who values her. But her roommates are determined to find her the perfect match.
Jacob Black doesn't have time for relationships. A third-year law student, he's focused on studying and getting a high-paying job with a top-notch law firm. But his overbearing mother wants him to find someone and settle down.
Their paths cross at a speed dating event and sparks fly. But is five minutes long enough to determine a future together?
Aviva sat in the Prudential Center with Jacob’s mother and the families of the other law school graduates as the names were called. After quizzing Aviva on her recovery from the accident, her ability to take time off for Jacob’s graduation, and complimenting her on her dress, his mother kvelled next to her about Jacob. Aviva couldn’t blame her. There was something awe-inspiring about watching these students reach their goal. Knowing how much effort Jacob put into this made it more amazing.
Especially when you considered she’d almost messed everything up for him. She shook her head to rid herself of the thought, wiping a tear from her eye.
Karen leaned over. “My son the lawyer.” She beamed with pride. “You know what makes me even prouder of him?”
Aviva shook her head.
“Because for all the nagging I do about making time to see me and prioritizing things in life, he manages to balance everything and still do well.”
Aviva tried not to show her reaction to Karen’s words. Was this woman psychic? If she was, there could be definite problems down the road—a psychic mother-in-law? Holy cow.
“Don’t look surprised, sweetheart.” Karen patted her leg. “You think I don’t worry about his finding time for life in his life? I do. All the time. But look at how well he did after your accident.”
Aviva shook her head. “I could have messed everything up for him.” Other audience members turned to look at her. She lowered her voice. “I feel guilty,” she whispered.
“Nonsense. You didn’t mess anything up. If you think he hasn’t spent forever studying, you’re crazy. He spends so much time doing it, if he misses a day or two, he’d still be fine. He was. Because he’s there.”
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/five-minutes-to-love-jennifer-wilck/1128011304?ean=2940158814495
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5742-five-minutes-to-love.html?search_query=jennifer+wilck&results=6
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.
She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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