READER FRIDAY: Give your main character the third degree with these questions.

How would your current main character answer the following questions? (For an added degree of difficulty, write your answers in the voice of your character.)

1.) Who is your closest friend?

2.) What is the worst thing you did as a teenager?

3.) What would you die for?

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

20 thoughts on “READER FRIDAY: Give your main character the third degree with these questions.

  1. Interesting exercise. The current WIP features a secondary character from my Mapleton series. Ed Solomon’s a seasoned cop, but this story takes place when he’s still a rookie, so I’ll try to let him answer from that stage of his life.

    1.) Who is your closest friend?
    Being brand new to Mapleton, I haven’t made a lot of friends here yet, so I’m going to have to say it’s Mary Ellen, my wife. She supported me as I went through school and the academy, so I deferred to her wishes by moving to a small town rather than a big city. She wants me safe, and I can understand that, although being a big-city detective is still one of my dreams.

    2.) What is the worst thing you did as a teenager?
    I was always a follow-the-rules kind of guy (guess that’s why I decided to become a cop). I’m almost ashamed to admit the worst thing I did was lie to my parents about being with a friend so I could go to a rock concert in San Francisco.

    3.) What would you die for?
    As a cop, I understand every day could be my last. I’d like to think if I die, it would be for protecting the people I promise to serve when I put on my badge every morning.

  2. 1. My best friend is Buddy. He’s a Tar Heels fan. We went to high school together, and his name really is Buddy. He’s a loser.
    2. I started drinkin’ in junior high. Stole from Dad’s stash. He never noticed, or if he did he didn’t say nothin’.
    3. I’d die for Tia, my daughter. She’s two. After my wife blew her brains out, Tia saved me. She deserves a good dad. I ain’t there yet ‘cause I screwed up so bad.

  3. My best friend is Mel Landeta, a cop who’s losing his eyesight so had to resign from the force, which about killed him.

    Worst thing I did as a teenager was get a girl pregnant and didn’t stick around.

    What would I die for? My daughter — the result of the above pregnancy, who I didn’t know existed until she was 10.

      • Thanks for the exercise! It’s illuminating because it goes to the idea of the plot-character nexus. Might steal this for a workshop. 🙂

        • Build on the list of questions to add prompts that showcase their humor, personal relationships, job goals or a secret only his/her mother knows about them.

          Have your attendees write in the voice of their character and it’ll read like a diary.

          The way you chose to answer yours, elements connect into plot hints or could trigger a storyline for your workshop attendees.

  4. The main character for my series, ‘The Secret Cold War’ is ELINT analyst Ross Brannan. I’ll let him tell you in his own words.

    In my soon to be released book, ‘The Ethiopian Intercept,’ Ross says, “Mack Gibson was not only my boss, he was close as I had to a best friend and had saved me countless times from Hansen (the project director). I trusted him.”

    In ‘The Latakia Intercept,’ Ross is being interrogated by Air Force CID agents.
    The younger guy asked, “You ever been arrested before? Don’t lie, we’re gonna check you out real close.”
    “Once.” That got their attention. He motioned for me to continue. “Back in high school we took the coach’s Thunderbird. Planned to ditch it at a hot sheet motel and call in a disturbance, but they pulled us over halfway there.”
    “What was the disposition of the case? You serve any time?”
    “Worse than that, the chief of police turned us over to the coach. We ran laps every morning for a month.”
    “Sounds like you’re a born troublemaker,” said the older agent.
    “Take the fifth on that.”

    In ‘The Ethiopian Intercept,’ Ross has just rescued Lissette, a French ex-nun. She was drugged by her kidnappers and is still unconscious.
    “It’s all my fault. She’s had enough bad times, now I came along, and… My blood ran cold as despair turned to fear. A flood of possibilities ran through my mind. What did they do to her?
    “A wave of anger welled up from deep inside as I imagined a string of lurid possibilities. The real world returned. A white-hot rage dispelled tears like the sun burning away a mist.
    “The bastards, they’re gonna pay for this. They won’t get her again — won’t let’em. My focus turned cold and logical: a new reality took shape with two choices — flight or fight.
    “Lisette became, in an instant, my single focus. I had to do something — anything — to save her. We have to survive. Nothing else matters, we’re gonna make it, one way or the other, gonna make it to Nairobi.
    “The sun touched the horizon. Soon darkness would envelop the plains. Time had come to decide on a new course of action. Rage powered a renewed sense of purpose: We will survive. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

  5. 1.) Who is your closest friend?
    My daughter, Megan, but she blames me for her father’s suicide. She’s all I have.

    2.) What is the worst thing you did as a teenager?
    I lied to my mom about the boy I sneaked out of the house for. He raped me. She still doesn’t know. I have no one to blame, but me. Now my daughter is missing. I still have no one to blame, but me.

    3.) What would you die for?
    My country and Megan, and not in that order. I returned from my last deployment, hoping to make a stable home for my husband and my only child. If only I had come back a day early.

  6. 1.) Who is your closest friend?
    Father Dominic D’Angelo. We’ve known each other since our freshman year at William & Mary, and now he is my neighbor and pastor of St. Katherine’s Catholic Church in Fisherman’s Cove, Virginia. He’s the only person on the planet who truly knows me–knows my secrets and the weaknesses that no one else is allowed to see.

    2.) What is the worst thing you did as a teenager?
    My teenage years are something of a blur, lost to the whirlwind of my father’s indictment, trial and imprisonment. Angry and embarrassed and ashamed, I mostly tried to disappear. I changed my name from Gravenow to Grave, and I became an angry young man. My surrogate mother, Mama Alexander, did her best to keep my head straight, but how could she? When I escaped to college in Williamsburg, and then later joined the Army, decades passed before I ever looked back.

    3.) What would you die for?
    Principle. Same thing that I’d kill for.


    1.) Who is your closest friend?

    Okay. So I’ve been black (that’s under deep cover and outta sight) and alone for so long I can’t remember having any friends. My Dad, of course, is my best friend. He’s not my biological dad, but he’s as real as he could be. He’s Sheriff Jim Studder up there in White Sulphur Springs. ‘Course he’s been retired for a long time now. He saved me as a kid. I’ll tell you about that one in the next question.

    But one of the coolest things ole Sheriff Jim did was to come visit me in Iraq. I was way out there on FOB Zulu Foxtrot. Had no idea he was comin’. Then all of a sudden I seen him comin’ through the haze. Knew it was him right off. Yunno. Funny way he walked and wearin’ that big black Stetson of his. Had forty big maduro cigars all wrapped up tight for me in his little pack. He hung out with us for a couple days and then he was gone. Just like that. No goodbyes for this guy. No, sir.
    2.) What is the worst thing you did as a teenager?

    I was a wild one, for sure. Dad, my biological dad, never did show his face. And Mom was what you would call a piece of work. Yunno. She was crazier than a loon. On day she’d be there with presents she found or stole. Everything was all lovey-dovey and shit. Then she’d vanish for a few days or a week or so. I never knew. I lived with her friends, a bunch of sweet hookers. They was always careful with us kids, but mostly, we was on our own. And of course, that meant getting getting into constant trouble.

    Worst thing I done was breakin’ into Thompson’s store in the middle of the night. Now old Thompson had just about everything you’d ever want in that store of his. Yunno. Hunting and fishing gear. Tents and backpacks. Show shoes for sure where I lived. So I’m in there having the time of my life, tryin’ shit on and pretending I was out hunting and creepin’ around. He even had a fake mountain and lake in there, too.

    Then all’s a sudden, there’s ole Sheriff Jim with a big light starin’ me down. Oh, man, was I scared! Well, I thought I was goin’ to fuckin’ jail for sure. Then Sheriff Jim sat me down and made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. He said I could choose, a nice stretch in Deer Lodge–that’s the state prison–or I could come live with him in his big house with all the horses and dogs. Said he’d put me in school and show me how to hunt and fish and become a real man. Yunno. ‘Stead ah some no-good layabout.

    And there it was. All’s a sudden I had me a new life. I went to school. Had good grades. Learned all about hiking and camping in the woods. We’d go out there with nothin’ but our rifles, the dogs and our horses. No tents either. We’d really rough it. And it was just great. All that going around in the mountains and the woods and learnin’ survival skills with Sheriff Jim was what motivated me to join the Army upon graduation. Ole Sheriff Jim had a fit ‘cause he wanted me to go to Montana State. But, yunno, he come around when it was time for me to go. Drove me to the train station in Livingston in his old truck, too. No way, he said, was we drivin’ over there in Sheriff truck. And that was it for me, a new life of jumpin’ outta planes, blowin’ stuff up and chasin’ bad guys all around the world.

    Then, right after 9/11 I was recruited into this ultra-secret operation called Blacklite. I shouldn’t even be talking about it here. Way it works is that I go out into the world alone, acting on my own good sense to bring down bad guys wherever I find ‘em. My pay goes into a secret account, where I move it into a couple other secret accounts. I don’t have to phone home or none of that shit. I don’t work in teams. Nope. It’s just me. And just so ya know, I found plenty of bad ones over the years. And now they’re gone.

    Then Operation Blacklite didn’t seem like such a good idea to the ones who set it up. I think there were more than a few Constitutional issues that were hard to explain. So they started shuttin’ it all down. Of course nobody said nothing to me about it, and it took awhile for me to find out about that. By that time it was way too late to stop. Like, I was on the trail of some serious bad guys right in the heart of our own government. Imagine that?

    So you can read all about that in INCOGNITO: Life on the Lam by Adam James. It’s an ebook on Amazon that’s only 99 cents. That’s book one. Book two is on the way. Then there will be more after that. Seriously.
    3.) What would you die for?

    Hey, that’s an easy one: Truth, justice and the American Way, y’all. And that means, folks bein’ wronged, poor little kids, the defenseless and what is good and right for the people. Sounds corny, huh? But that’s what it is, and that’s what I do. See yas around.

  8. Hi, my name is Rusty. I don’t have a best friend. I did. I loved him but I killed him. Not on purpose, you understand, but he is still dead because of my actions.

    The worst thing I did as a teenager? I ran away and joined a wagon train headed to California. I ended up in a heap of trouble.

    I would die for my girls. I run a parlor house in this mining camp and sometimes my girls are not treated right. I won’t put up with that.

  9. 1.) Who is your closest friend?
    Growing up, my brother Chad. We were competitive and fought sometimes. But, we always had each others back. Several years ago, I married Laura. The love of my life. She became my closet friend. So I thought.

    2.) What is the worst thing you did as a teenager?
    I stole Tic Tacs. I still do. I learned that from my grandfather. He said they weren’t worth the price charged for them. He skillfully pocketed one each time he’d check out at the grocery store cash register. He never got caught. And neither have I.

    3.)What would you die for?
    My wife. She’s my heart and soul. And when I find the SOB who took her from me, I’ll kill him.

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