Noelle Marchand: Let There Be Ink

Writing a novel is the ability to create an entire world through ink and paper. I’ve learned that in order to make that world as real as possible I needed to fully develop the supporting characters as well as the hero and heroine. So as fascinating and lovable as Kate and Nathan are to me and I hope will be to you, let’s examine two scenes that showcase the world they live in. 

In the first, I endeavored to allow the supporting characters to emerge as fully formed, fully functioning people rather than just a characterization to be used as props. The trick was not to let them steal the lime light but give them what is call in photography “reflectors” meaning that they reflect the lime light to shine back just enough on the main subject to make it appear more interesting. 

“We ordered a husband for you.”

At the sound of her little brother’s voice, Kate O’Brien’s finger froze in its trek down the page of her financial ledger. Her gaze shot to the kitchen doorway where twelve-year-old Sean stood next their to ten-year-old sister Ellie. She met their serious stares blankly. Surely, she’d heard wrong. “I’m sorry. You did what?”

Sean exchanged a look with Ellie, then met Kate’s gaze before carefully repeating himself. Kate’s heart began to beat faster in her chest. She placed the ledger on the kitchen table and tried to swallow the sense of foreboding that skittered down her backbone. “What exactly does that mean?”

“Something wonderful,” Ellie exclaimed with a smile before slipping into a chair across from Kate. “I heard Mr. Johansen talking about mail order brides at his mercantile.  knew that was what we needed so we put advertisement for a mail-order-groom in a few newspapers.”

She glanced from Ellie to Sean, hoping for some indication that they were joking. They both looked perfectly serious.

“We received a lot of responses,” Sean said as he pulled a small pack of letters from behind his back and placed it on the table in front of her. She spared the packet a brief glance before meeting her little brother’s sincere green eyes. “One response was special. We knew he was perfect for us so we wrote back.”

“Oh, Sean,” she breathed in dismay.

His gaze faltered for an instant before he continued. “I knew he wouldn’t respond if we told him we were children so we just told him all about you and took a few passages from Ma and Pa’s love letters to make it sound more grown-up.”

Her heart froze in her chest. “You forged letters from me? That’s against the law.”

His eyes widened and he shook his head adamantly. “We didn’t forge letters. We just never said which Miss O’Brien was doing the writing.”

“Why did you do this?”

“We wanted to help,” he insisted quietly.

She widened her eyes imploringly. “How does this help?”

“You do a lot, Kate,” Sean said. “We don’t always say thank you for it, but when we stop to think about it we know.”

“I do what has to be done.”

He nodded. “That’s just it. Ma’s and Pa’s deaths were just as hard on you as they were on us but you were strong. You had to be. We wanted you to have someone who would do for you what you do for us.”

Kate was astounded at the maturity in his voice but still shook her head in disbelief at their actions. “I appreciate that, Sean, but what you two did was wrong.”

Ellie leaned forward earnestly. “We knew what you needed and that you would never get it for yourself. You’re too shy around handsome men.”

She gaped at her younger sister. “Oh, Ellie, really.”

“Well, it’s true,” the girl declared obstinately. “You never let men court you. It’s all that awful Mr. Stolvins’s fault. Ever since he—”

“Ellie, bringing that man in to this conversation really isn’t going to help you.”

Ellie allowed her words to stumble to a halt then lifted her brows archly. “It’s true and you know it. Besides, you need someone to take care of you.”

Kate slammed the ledger shut. “I do not.” 

“You do so, but you won’t admit it,” Ellie said firmly. Her small fist pounded on the table. “That’s why we had to act.”

Kate crossed her arms. “You were trying to marry me off without my consent.”

“I know,” Ellie said then lifted her chin nobly as tears gleamed in her large green eyes. “We couldn’t because you have to sign a silly paper.”

Hopefully, you’re getting a very clear picture of who each character is, their relationships with each other and how it impacts our heroine. Kate’s true character as a loving, responsible woman with a bit of a temper is revealed in her interactions with the people who mean the most to her. 

I hope that you’ll read Unlawfully Wedded Bride and be swept into an entirely new world that’s just waiting to be discovered. Visit me at!

Back Cover Blurb

Kate O’Brien can’t believe her ears. She’s been married, by proxy, to a man she’s never met, thanks to her young siblings’ meddling! Kate offers her “groom” room and board at her farm until the annulment is granted—nothing more. After all, what else could this predicament be but a blunder that needs fixing?

Nathan Rutledge arrives on Kate’s doorstep, seeking a fresh start—with a family that needs his help more than Kate will admit. The shadows in both their pasts will be no match for a bright new beginning. But first, he has to convince a woman frightened of love to throw caution to the Texas wind… 

 Comment for a chance to win a free copy of Unlawfully Wedded Bride!

Cover Art is Copyright © 2011 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited and Text is Copyright © 2011 by Noelle Marchand. Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

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28 thoughts on “Noelle Marchand: Let There Be Ink”

  1. This sounds really good. I love me some Love Inspired books. All the ones I’ve read are great. Would enjoy reading Unlawfully Wedded Bride.

  2. Hi Noelle! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols and congratulations on your debut novel. Terrific excerpt! Secondary characters give so much to a story. They can add light or darkness, humor or need, especially when they’re children. Enjoy!

  3. Enjoyed your excerpt. I’d love to read Kate and Nathan’s story! Congrats on your release of Unlawfully Wedded Bride!
    I agree with your comments that the secondary people need to feel real.

  4. Noelle,

    Congratulations on the release of Unlawfully Wedded Bride! You’re so right about the importance of fully fleshing out secondary characters. I usually do that in the first revision, and sometimes end up eliminating a couple because if they can’t be fleshed out then they’re usually not necessary for the story.

    From the excerpt, you did a super job bringing to life all your characters!


  5. Noelle, we’re so happy to have you blog with us and letting us share in your excitement. Your book looks wonderful. The excerpt hooked me. I’m wishing you lots of success.

  6. This excerpt had me laughing and smiling… I love your characters and I can’t wait to read this book…

  7. Hey, yall! I’m so glad you dropped by to celebrate my first release with me. You’ve all made me feel so welcome!

    Thank you everyone for your very sweet words of encouragement and congratulations!

    Thank you, Liz! Texas is one of the few states where to this day proxy weddings are STILL available! Once I found that out my imagination went wild. lol. Montana actually allows DOUBLE proxy marriages where neither the bride or groom have to be present for the ceremony.

    Sherry, I also have a weakness for mail order brides (and mail order grooms). I also love marriage of convenience stories. I kind of tried to mix them together and add a dash of the unexpected. 🙂

    About the characters, I was so young when I started writing this (only 16) that the manuscript and the characters went through a lot of development along the way. I definitely didn’t get it on the first draft. lol. It wasn’t until I revised it at 21 that I started to let the secondary characters shine.

    I spent a total of about 7 years with these characters so I ended up getting to know them and their world really well. Sean’s story is next so I’m still there. haha.

  8. Congrats on your new release! This sounds like a wonderful read! I loved the excerpt. Thanks for sharing your book with us.

  9. Oh I am loving the sound of this book… 😀 I want to see more interaction between these characters… gotta love siblings! Congrats on your release!

  10. Thank you so much, Tanya and Quilt Lady! My visit here has been wonderful so far.

    Colleen, I’m so glad! I have both an older brother and sister so I had plenty of material to pull from. I’m afraid my sister style was most like Ellie. I never did anything like that but I was definitely mischievous.

    So do you guys normally notice secondary characters when you’re reading a romance? If so, what makes them stand out to you? If not, what makes the fade into the background?

  11. I just love the Love Inspired line of books and this book sounds like it will be a real treat to read. I would love the opportunity to win a copy. Either way, winner or not, I look forward to reading this book. Thanks!

  12. this sounds like a wonderful book, congrats, I would love to be put into a drawing for one.
    thanks for sharing.
    Paula O(

  13. Oh this book sounds so good. I want to read more. I have heard of proxy marriages before. What state is this book set in.
    I would love a chance to win if an aussie is able to enter.

  14. I amn always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBR list.

  15. Thank you, everyone! Best of luck to all of you in the contest. If you don’t win one today, check out my website for more opportunities to win a free copy. It’s

    Ausjenny, the story takes place in Texas where blue bonnets bloom, cayotes wail, and sky scrapers loom. Texans tend to be intensely proud of the state and can probably sing three different songs about it from memory. See? I just had a moment. Haha!

  16. This book sounds very interesting! I love the premise! I instantly put myself in Kate’s position and thought, “what would I think if my brothers did that to me?”!!! Craziness! I guess I’ll just have to read the story to find out!

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