When speaking or writing about a supporting cast of characters, movies usually come to mind. Starting in the 1920’s first British and later American film makers recognized the importance of them. Interestingly writers used the tool practically from the first novel written. Robinson Crusoe had his man “Friday”. Don Quixote had his squire Sancho.
This type of supporting character complements one or more main story figures, either by contrast or through some form of supplementation. The relationship is designed to enhance both personalities and make them come alive.
A good example is the character of Linda in “My Life as a Dog”. She is private investigator and shape shifter Drake Martin’s secretary. I used her insouciant competence to showcase his frequent inattention to detail. She is the classic “I am woman; I am strong” female who balances work and family keeping both on course, while complaining of being under appreciated by all.
On the other hand nothing beats a good villain. Where would Superman be without Lex Luthor, or Batman without The Joker? The character of Cynthia in “Subspecies” provides a sometimes humorous, sometimes guileless, high energy teenage foil to Sam’s cool adult behavior, with insights only the young can come up with. The contrast between her persona and that of the main characters, Sam and Jim, more clearly defines all three of them. She’s the kind of character you can both laugh and marvel at. Without her the personalities of hero and heroine would be watered down.
You build a supporting character using the same methods as any other. Plan them out. They should have unique and believable attributes. In “My Life as a Dog” I contrasted Linda’s teased hair, East Texas speech, and general confident sassiness against Drake’s more laid back deeper thinking persona. That she doesn’t know about his shape shifting ability keeps tension in the interactions between them.
The character of Jethro from “Subspecies”, on the other hand, is what Mark Twain called “flourishing villainy”, that most despised of all creatures by humankind. Holding sway until the very end he keeps the hero and heroine on their toes, without respite.
So, build the supporting cast with the same care you take with the lead roles and the work, whatever the genre, will benefit.
Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mike completed careers in the United States Navy Submarine Force and the Transportation Security Administration. He lives in Orlando Florida with wife and Editor in Chief Cynthia, daughter Jennifer, six year old granddaughter Larrna and partner in crime Thumper, a Yorkshire terrier.
Mike’s extensive travels in the Navy took him throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, providing accurate and vivid settings for his stories.
Subspecies, Subspecies, Inc., Children of Subspecies, and Tenth Legion are scheduled for release in May, September, December 2011, and February 2012 from Muse It Hot Publishing.
Drake Martin is a unique shape shifter. Instead of transforming into a ferocious animal, he morphs into an eight pound Yorkshire terrier. Six year old Kady Hartley rescued him from an animal shelter. As "Precious" he was her "bestest friend" for twelve years, leaving when she started college. Ten years later they cross paths. He’s a PI; she’s FBI. Continuing to keep his abilities secret from her, he follows Kady as she pursues a case. Accompany them on an odyssey to New Orleans investigating human traffickers and watch the fur fly. To protect Kady, Drake remains in the shadows. For her sake he puts aside his loner life and accepts protection and assistance of the local shifter pack under its leader, the Sufi. The pack and Drake soon discover they have a common cause, leading to a bloody confrontation with the Russian human traffickers.
During the adventure, will Drake and Kady rekindle their loving friendship or will it become much more?
Dr. Jim White, a 130-year-old Vampire, as a mathematics professor and man of science, rejects the ways and lore of old in favor of modern solutions. Lycans and Vampires, The Subspecies, live invisibly in society, because discovery is their worst fear. Resulting from a chance meeting, he has the best sex of his life andregrets the intriguing girl had to be his next victim. But she has a secret. As a Lycan, she hunted him as he hunted her.
The Girl in the Library
Samantha “Sam” Johnson, a Lycan, lived through world wars and The Great Depression, counting Al Capone and Babe Ruth as acquaintances, before settling into decades of anonymity, quietly preying on humans to live. On a chance meeting with an intriguing professor, her decision to devour him comes into question. Kill after a night of exquisite sex?
A Dynasty is Born
After discovering each others secret, neither can resist the physical attraction. Together they hunt and reach out to others of their kind using modern technology to form a support group which becomes more than either imagined.
Follow The Subspecies’ journey as they open a universe of possibilities with the promise of life being more than hunting, living in shadows, and fruitless mating.
Thanks again to Mike Arsuaga for being a great guest!