In Which a Secondary Character Takes Over . . .

Returning home at midday, several hours before I was due, made for a quieter welcome. The footman, this time, did not inform me of any message from my father. Since he would not expect my report for some time yet, I headed for my room. Nan met me near the top of the stairs.

     “Owen, I need to talk to you.”

     The seriousness in her tone belayed any further greeting. “All right.” I motioned to a nearby sitting room.

     We went inside, and she took a seat across from me in one of the leather chairs. My sister rarely spoke or acted with such urgency, so when she did, it compelled me to listen. 

     “Go on.” I leaned forward slightly.

     She placed her hands on the armrests of the chair. “I’ve been spending a little time with Talia.”

     “With . . . the Follower?” This could not be good.

     “No, with Talia. A fellow human being who desperately needs somebody to be her friend.”

     “Nan,” I whispered fiercely, glancing toward the door, “do you know what Father would do if he found out?”

     “Yes, and I also know you won’t tell him, because you never told him about Elwin’s faith. Owen,” she stressed. “Please. Talia told me you’ve conducted most of the reformation sessions. You have an opportunity to help her.”

     “I’m a reformer, Nan. No matter how misguided, I’m still loyal to King Kane.”

     “But you were loyal to Elwin, too. I think if he were alive, in hiding somewhere, you wouldn’t even tell me. I know you’re still angry at him, but you two were so close.” 

     Wow. Suddenly very uncomfortable, I cleared my throat. My gut tightened.  

     “Owen, Talia is an innocent young woman who desperately misses her family. Please, if nothing else . . . find out what’s happened to them.”

     I ran a hand over the back of my neck. “She may not want to know.”

     Nan leaned back. “Do you know?”

     “I know where her oldest brother is, and her sister. That’s it.”

     “Then tell her,” she demanded. “She deserves to know.”

     “Nan, I’m a-”

     “Reformer, yes, I know. Now pretend you aren’t one. Put yourself in her shoes. Working seventeen hours a day. Torn away from the only life you’ve ever known. Can you even begin to imagine the horror of it all?”

     “It’s reformation. It isn’t supposed to be pleasant.”

     “Tell her what she wants to know, Owen. If you won’t do it for Talia, do it for me.”

     I sighed. I had three sisters, but none of the others could get away with this, or succeed at manipulating me. Nan was special. Even still, this would have to be handled correctly. I couldn’t lead Talia to believe I had compassion for her situation. “Okay. But you have to do one thing for me.” I held up a finger. “One thing.”

     “Okay.”

     “You have to stop spending time with her. If not your sake . . . for mine.”

Aanndd . . . that was part of one of my favorite scenes from my YA novel Promised Land, which will be releasing on January 25th.

One reason I like the scene so much is because it shows a secondary character (Nan) who broke into the story, demanded an audience, and became a pivotal character in the second half of the book.

I’m so excited to get this book into the hands of readers, at last, but I need your help. In order to get Talia and Owen’s story out there, I need you on my launch team. All you have to do is put a little book spotlight on your blog during the official blog tour. That’s it! Or, if you’d like, you can read the book before anyone else in the world reads it, other than my editors. (Cool, huh?) In return, all I ask for is your HONEST (brutally, totally honest) review on Amazon or Goodreads.

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Published by Hannah Gaudette

Hannah Gaudette is a home-school graduate living in the hills of New England. When she’s not writing or playing with the dogs, it’s a safe bet you can find her with some other animal, like goats. She is the founder of a sustainable agriculture movement called STEWARDSHIP in central Maine. She's a life-enthusiast and advocate for food allergy awareness, youth ministry, and service dogs.

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