Guest Post: Going From Best Friend to Main Character by Toni Shiloh

Brittany here…One of my favorite things as a reader and book reviewer is finding a story world where the author has created characters that I get to return to in future books. Sometimes the characters may be siblings, where each one gets a story. Other times there is a character from an earlier book who is unlikeable and the author redeems them with their own novel. And another way to create a story world that readers are eager to return to is to create a best friend character in the first book who then gets their very own story in the next novel.

Today, author Toni Shiloh is here to share what it is like to create those best friend to main character stories that we love so much!


Toni Shiloh

Creating a story with friends is one of my favorite things to do. I love seeing a group of women do life together, uplift one another, cheer one another on in good times, and weep with one another in bad times. It’s no surprise that when I create a story around friends that one of the friends (or all) will soon find themselves with their own stories. Sometimes the idea is clear from the get-go. After all, I did it in my Freedom Lake series as well as my Faith & Fortune series. Other times, the best friend has such a presence on screen that readers quickly ask for their story.

In To Win a Prince, Iris Blakely, best friend to Queen Brielle Adebayo, gets her own story. When I originally pitched Brielle’s story (known as In Search of a Prince) to my publisher, I had no idea Iris would become larger in life. I just pitched ISOAP as a standalone idea. But as the story went through the process of becoming a contracted idea, I was asked if it was possible I had ideas for other stories set in Ọlọrọ Ilé. I quickly thought of Iris because at this point, I had written a few chapters of the story and could already sense Iris had something to share with the world.

When I know there will be a story for the best friend, I do my best to lay some groundwork in the story previous to theirs. I want readers to be interested in that character along with the main character. That way, when the best friend goes from secondary to main character, the readers are ready for her story and interested to see how it all pans out.

So far, the reviews for To Win a Prince have been great. People eagerly awaited Iris’s story and couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve even had people already suggested some secondary characters they wouldn’t mind learning more about. 🙂 To me, that’s the biggest compliment. People don’t want to leave the world or the people they’ve met in the pages. They recognize that everyone has a story and main character potential. 🙂

What about you? What makes a secondary character interesting enough for you to want their story?

Want to find out more about a few of Toni’s “Best Friends to Main Characters” books?

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops the mother of all bombshells–Brielle is a princess in the kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, King Tiwa Jimoh Adebayo, is failing.

Distraught by her mother’s betrayal, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before assuming the throne or the crown will be passed to another. Uncertain who to choose from the council’s list of bachelors, she struggles with the decision along with the weight of her new role in a new country. With her world totally shaken, she must take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring.

Amazon Goodreads

As a fashion aficionado and best friend of the queen of the African island country Oloro Ilé, Iris Blakely dreams of using her talent to start a business to help citizens in impoverished areas. But when she discovers that Ekon Diallo will be her business consultant, the battle between her desires and reality begins.

Ekon Diallo has lost everything: his princely title, his material possessions, his friends, and the respect of his countrymen. To pay for his actions against Oloro Ilé, he’s forced to assist the charismatic Iris Blakely–but he can’t allow his heart to distract him from regaining his status.

As Iris strives to get her business off the ground while keeping her heart intact, will her dreams of happily ever after survive the challenges she faces?

Amazon Goodreads

Faith & Fortune Collection

This omnibus edition contains all three books of the Faith & Fortune series.

This Christian Chick Lit series includes:

The Trouble With Love (Book 1) Holiday Brown has it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that she shares with her two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until her roommate’s brother decides to bunk in their guestroom while his house gets renovated. W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of her existence. But when his sister’s threatened by a stalker, dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as she always thought. Maybe he has a good side she’d overlooked all these years. Or maybe figuring out love is too much trouble.

The Truth About Fame (Book 2) Born to two famous parents and then quickly raised to “super” status in the modeling world ensured that Astoria “Tori” Bell would always have her image plastered across newsstands. Unfortunately, adoring fans aren’t always magnanimous and now she has a stalker on her hands. Oddly enough, the tall, dark, and all-too handsome bodyguard hired to protect her seems more harmful than the threatening notes from her stalker. As well as his plan to flush out the danger by proposing a fake engagement. With a new rock on her finger and the man who put it there by her side, happily ever after seems like a possibility or is that as fake as her public persona?

The Price of Dreams (Book 3) 
Ballet has always been principal ballerina Octavia Ricci’s life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything she worked so hard for. She thought for sure her physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain her dream once more, but he wants more than she’s prepared to give. If her dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love?

(These stories are also available individually and as a collection in Kindle Unlimited)

Amazon Goodreads

Freedom Lake Collection

This omnibus edition contains all three books of the Freedom Lake series.

This Christian contemporary romance series includes:

Returning Home (Book 1)
Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.

Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.

Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from?

Grace Restored (Book 2)
Michelle Thomas has it all. Beautiful and successful, she’s just opened her own law firm in Freedom Lake. What more could she want? When her old flame rolls back into Freedom Lake, she’s intent on ignoring him. But how can she give the widower and his precious twin girls the cold shoulder?

Still reeling from the death of his wife, Guy Pierre returns to Freedom Lake to take over as town sheriff and raise his twin daughters. Alone. Yet, life keeps throwing Michelle in his path and sparks of interest began to rise.

Will old secrets tear them apart again or can they find the faith to let God’s grace restore what has been broken?

Finally Accepted (Book 3)
There’s only one thing Chloe Smith has ever wanted: family. Yet the DNA results she’s received have thrown her life into a tailspin. Her utmost desire has ended up being the catalyst for shaking her faith. She doesn’t even know who she is anymore, and she’s certainly too messed up for her longtime crush to give her more than a second glance.

Darryl Jones is struggling between his past and the grace God so freely offers. His sins feel too big for him to handle, let alone expect the woman of his dreams to accept. Chloe is the only woman he’s ever wanted and the one he doesn’t deserve.

As they form a tentative relationship and examine their faith, Chloe and Darryl ache to know they are finally accepted and fully loved.

(These stories are also available individually and as a collection in Kindle Unlimited)

Amazon Goodreads


Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novels, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist, Risking Love a 2020 Selah Award finalist, The Truth About Fame a 2021 Holt Medallion finalist, and The Price of Dreams a 2021 Maggie Award finalist. Learn more at

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About Brittany

As a homeschooling mom and avid reader, I get great joy through reading and reviewing books. I focus my reading and my reviews on Christian fiction, primarily Christian romantic fiction. I also review sweet, clean fiction. I hope you will find my reviews helpful in your decisions on what books to read.
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