The Joy of Writing/Reading Best Friend Characters

Naomi Watts would play Jules in movie version.
By Christine Fairchild

Writing and reading great characters in a book is certainly what drives me to spend more money on books than on food. But occasionally I come across a best friend or side-kick character that truly puts the icing on the cake!

Even as an author I aspire to write best friends that readers love, remember, and anticipate on the page. That means they must be loyal and multi-faceted, but never predictable.

Workmates Can Prove Loyal Friends

For example, my photographer heroine, Jules, in my romantic suspense novel, An Eye For Danger, doesn't have a trove of girlfriends. Heck, she doesn't have friends at all, since she's a loner. Her editorial assistant, Howard, who aspires to be Editor-n-Chief one day, proves the only real friendship she's got.

Jim Parsons as Howard.
Howard's job is to escort Jules on photography trips because her anxiety attacks make traveling outside her five-block safety zone unbearable. Howard even escorts her to dental visits across town, showing he's one loyal friend outside the workplace. Howard's vain, sarcastic and mouthy, and has a flair for the dramatic, but he always brings her dog Max a treat. One minute he's complaining about the dating game and not wanting to be considered just another boy-toy, and the next he's playing tug-of-war with Max and not afraid of doggie slobber. He's even willing to get his hands dirty when Jules is in trouble with the law and needs his help sneaking out evidence. Now that's loyalty!

Stephen Amell as Sam Fields. Sexy!
Since the previous post on Beach Read Authors was about casting characters in a book, I'll add this... If my book were made into a movie, Naomi Watts would be the perfect actor to play Jules. Howard might be Jim Parsons from the TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory, or a young Sean Hayes from Will & Grace.

Male Bonds are Harder to Break... and Fix

My hero, Sam, an undercover cop in the same book, has a very different type of best friend in James, a former boxer who's edgy, authoritative, and runs a chop shop. Sam is dedicated to upholding the law, but the guy he grew up with in the hood will always be considered his brother, even if they went opposite directions with their career choices.

So when Sam reunites with James while on the run, he expects that bond to mean James has his back. James' loyalty goes too far, however, and he turns on Jules, putting her to the test. James wants to save Sam from another unfaithful woman, but ends up temporarily severing his friendship with Sam. What will he do to earn that friendship back? (And earn Jules' forgiveness?) Sorry, I can't give away the end of the book :)
Wentworth Miller could play James. Hot!

Sam could be played by an older Stephen Amell (from the TV show Arrow, and here he is at the recent ComicCon

Sam's best friend character? Wentworth Miller could definitely play James because he's also edgy and has that dark and mysterious look about him.

Sometimes a Girl's Best Friend is Her Dog

Jules and Sam have another friend in common. Besides becoming each other's best friend, they both adore Max, a lab-German shepherd mix with a penchant for finding trouble.

Never predictable, Max is the one that jumps right into a murder scene to save the day, but also the one to lead a fugitive back to Jules' apartment. Of course, even Max can figure out that this fugitive is the perfect guy for lonely Jules.

When Sam or Jules' life is in danger, he's there to bite the bad guy. When they need to smile during rough times, Max is there with a dumb trick to lighten the mood. And when either of them needs comforting, he's at their side to snuggle or give a sloppy kiss.

Body double Max, Jules' best furry friend
Max is loyalty, bravery, and joy all wrapped into one human-like dog. And I can admit that he was loosely based on my former working dog, Bo, who helped me rehab dogs and work with disabled persons. So he's definitely a best friend character close to my heart!

And here's the dog picture I used for Max, which I found online and fit his image.

So who's your favorite best friend character in a book? Comment to win a free copy of my ebook, An Eye For Danger...


For more images, check out my Pinterest page I used while writing An Eye For Danger:

I've also published a book about character development to help other authors/editors create more memorable heroes, heroines, and best friend characters: The Editor Devil's Gude to Characters

For more information about me, check out my personal page here on Beach Read Authors, or look me up at my editing blog,


  1. Oh, I LOVE this post! Every character needs a best friend to tell them when they're being an over dramatic weenie girl, or a total douche-bag. a Sometimes they even emerge from a former enemy. My favorite best friend in one of my own books (Green Eyed Temptation) is a bad boy trying to be good (Tanner Collins) befriending a bad girl being good (Angelique Baptiste). They understand and never judge each other but won't hesitate to call each other out when they slip into old habits. I can't seem to come up with one in another book, but I adored the way Temperance Brennan and Sealy Booth countered each other in the Bones series. Booth was always there to tell 'Bones' when she was being too technical about things.

    Great post, Christine!

    1. Thanks, Lori, I think it's a fun topic for us as writers and readers alike! I forgot to mention BFFs are there to mirror back to us our strengths, weaknesses, and "duh" and "aha" moments. Oh well, next time...

  2. Great post! Love the best friend topic. And love the dude who will play Sam Fields!!!

    1. Thank you, Kim!! This is definitely a topic that could be fleshed out even more...maybe a future post from you? Hee hee :)

  3. I think this post is great. I was looking at your other posts and I always try to imagine what actor would play the roles of my characters It's fun and also making soundtracks.

    1. Thanks, Denise! I put a Coldplay album on my personal page of this site that was the "theme" album when I was writing this book. So I totally agree that making soundtracks is powerful for those of us who are aural-oriented as well as visual-oriented.

      Please let me know your email so I can gift you a copy of my romantic suspense, An Eye For Danger via Amazon (or Barnes and Noble Nook if you have that). My email is:


  4. Yes, I can definitely see those actors in a sexy romance. :)

    Great post--I love seeing other authors' ideas of casting their stories.

    My favorite BFF I've written (so far) is John's best friend Alex in my most recent book, Shameless. They met in juvie when they were young and in trouble with the law. Alex tried to bully John at first, then when John didn't back down, they became best friends. And have stayed best friends for almost 20 years.

    1. Thanks for the kudos, Becky! I loved Alex, tough and big and block-headish sometimes, as a BFF for John. Alex was grounded when John wasn't. And his dating life was hysterical. I loved how he ended up reuniting with "family" (trying not to spoil book plot). Great job on him.

      If you don't already have An Eye For Danger, can I gift it to you via Amazon?

  5. I know I'm late, but I love this post. I definitely need to focus more on creating interesting friends for my characters. Thanks for the reminder...and they eye candy. :-)

    1. Hey, late can still be classy, except to your own funeral I guess. I'll be late to that too, if I can help it :)
      Glad you enjoyed the post and happy writing! Eye candy helps motivate us all to write more, eh?