Guest Post:- Kristoffer Gair
Creating Secondary Characters For The Secondary Characters
I created a couple of secondary characters in Falling Awake II: Revenant for main character Andrew to interact with. He needed them for information purposes and to drive the plot forward. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, those characters grew on me. Falling Awake IV: Retribution is a direct sequel to Revenant, and closes up some dangling threads hinted at from Falling Awake III: Requiem (which takes place a couple decades later). Confused yet? Try living with this all in your head.
I’m reminded of the film Sinister 2, in which a minor character from the first film has a meatier role in the second. It doesn’t necessarily work, at least to me and the way it’s written, so I wanted to avoid the same mistakes with this latest book. I really took a shine to Joe Murphy, the former police captain who Andrew meets in the second book and has information that sends him (Andrew) down to Waco. Joe’s personality is quite strong, and I felt there was potential to explore it a bit if the opportunity every presented itself.
Joe needed a bit of a foil, someone who could call him on his BS and get under his skin a little, but in a good way. That turned out to be Lorraine, the woman who works at RJ’s, a local bar whose main customer base is law enforcement. We met Lorraine in Falling Awake II also, and she interacts with Andrew and Joe a tiny bit. Andrew even tells Joe that they (Joe and Lorraine) obviously like each other. Lorraine is back in this latest book, and her story is expanded upon a bit, including her feelings for Joe. Of course, we learn why Joe doesn’t necessarily return those feelings. They’re a good match, and the chemistry is something I hadn’t predicted.
Now, Roy Girard, the current police captain who took over after Joe retired, is someone who has a long history with Joe. There’s a strong sense of loyalty there, and both men were involved in the investigation into the death of Thomas Reis fourteen years earlier (the boy who was a friend of Andrew, and the reason Andrew started to investigate Thomas’s death in the second book). Roy’s foil here is his wife, Virginia. Virginia had a stroke some years back, and lacks a filter. One is never entirely certain what’s going to come out of her mouth, but the bond she has with her husband is deep. Okay, the bond is also a bit humorous, too.
Frank, the final character of our main three, works for Roy and is a police officer. He fell in love with Andrew in the second book and while he doesn’t necessarily have a secondary character in this book, an argument could be made that the memory of Andrew is his secondary. Or, if not Andrew, then certainly his grief made flesh while hunting the men responsible for killing Andrew and Thomas.
Each secondary character gets their moment to shine, and each adds to the story in a way that I’d miss them if any were gone. I guess that’s the problem of taking a shine to secondary characters. You want to give them their own book and explore their lives.
It’s funny when I think about it. I, as an author, try my best to make the main characters ones we can relate to, and want to stick by from the beginning of the story until the end. But I’m telling you, those secondary characters sometimes make the ride that much more enjoyable!
Just wait until you meet Delores.