Jennifer's characters have best friends...
When we write a story, our focus is usually on the hero and heroine and how to develop them into three-dimensional characters. We form their backstory, motivation and character arc and we hope the reader will relate to them.
But one of the best techniques to help develop a character is to give them a best friend. In real life, we are often judged by our best friends and our characters are no different. Who they choose to hang out with says a lot about them.
Best friends can say things the reader is often wondering, such as, “Why are you doing this?” or “Haven’t you learned anything?” They can act as go-betweens for the hero and heroine and clue the other into the character’s motivation. They can help show the backstory without using an info dump. They can even play matchmaker!
In many of my stories, my hero or heroine has a best friend that they confide in. In A Heart of Little Faith, my heroine, Lily, has a best friend who is the catalyst for her meeting the hero, Gideon. Because she knows both characters well (Gideon is the best friend’s brother), she can provide each of them insight into the other.
In Skin Deep, Valerie’s best friend at work also introduces her to the hero and becomes a confidant when they have problems.
In both The Seduction of Esther and Miriam’s Surrender, the heroines’ best friend is her sister and that adds an additional dimension because they’ve obviously grown up together and family dynamics play a big part.
But it’s not just women who have best friends. When guys interact with their friends it’s an opportunity to show their masculine side and how that side differs from the side they show the women in the story. Sometimes that masculine side can be a good thing, and other times it isn’t. But in all cases, best friends enable the writer to show various aspects of their characters.