Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Between a Rock and a Heart Place by Natale Stenzel
I guess I could have titled this post 'when secondary characters try to take over the book,' but then we'd just circle right back around to the author caught in the middle, so my current title's appropriate anyway -- especially since it was the book by that same title that addressed that particular situation. So. Secondary characters. We can't have a book without them, can't make them flat and uninteresting, but must keep them in their place. Well, that doesn't sound too hard, does it?
Er. Hmm. I guess you've never met High Druid Phil or Tremayne, then. Phil's fascinating and endearing and entertaining -- but a bit more understanding and easygoing than Tremayne. I also think he was entertained by the notion of staying in the background, so he never insisted on having his own story.
Tremayne, on the other hand . . . Well, we first met him in The Druid Made Me Do It (Dorchester Love Spell, August 2008) as kind of a dark, truly powerful enigma that was never explained to our satisfaction. In fact, we weren't even sure if he was a good guy or a bad guy and it's quite possible that, like everyone else, he's a mix of both. Perfect, quite frankly, is boring. You see, he's the guy who played jailer to my puca* Riordan in Pandora's Box (Dorchester Love Spell, February 2008), although we never actually met him face to face. Then he powered his way right into the story of The Druid Made Me Do It, casually demonstrating the extent of his magic during one shocker of a scene. Maybe two . . . I'll never tell. But he became so much larger than life, that enigma taking hold of my mind and my heart. He required another story. So now he has it in my current release, Between a Rock and a Heart Place (Dorchester Love Spell, March 2009). And he shares that story with my affable High Druid Phil.
You really, really should meet Phil. He's both a successful business man and a modern Druid, with a sense of humor and an unshakably Pollyanna outlook on the world. He savors the fun in life where he finds it, even though he's seen some pretty nasty things along the way. Contrary to the traditional long-bearded, furred and white-robed Druid, Phil wears trendy purple specs, blow-dries his hair, plays golf, even shows signs of being a true ladies' man. He tells the future in his own unorthodox way and cheerfully sends text messages to the faery king when he's in a diplomatic bind (faery business vs. Druid or human business). Phil baffles Tremayne with his quirky mannerisms and speech and the shocking truths he casually drops when Tremayne least expects it.
Early on, my heroine Daphne isn't too fond of High Druid Phil, since he's the guy who refuses to let her escape to the new life she's been planning for so long. It's his duty, after all, to protect the magical realm from discovery and the human realm from harm -- and Daphne, with her warring puca* and Druid powers threatening her very sanity, poses a real risk to both realms. Oh, but sweetheart that he is, Phil's been rooting all along for Tremayne and Daphne -- and their seemingly impossible love. Now that this series has been completed, I'm going to miss all my characters but admit to a soft spot for my buddy Phil. I might have to revisit him at some point.
So tell me. What are some of your more memorable secondary characters? In movies, books, cartoons, fairytales . . . they're everywhere, you know. And, hey, I'm offering a free book to one commenter on this blog. Winner gets to choose either a copy of Pandora's Box or a copy of The Druid Made Me Do It. These are the two prequels to my current release, Between a Rock and a Heart Place.
(Thank you so much for having me today, Terra!)
*A puca is a shape-shifting, half-human and half-faery trickster from Celtic and British mythology. I admit I took wild and dangerous liberties with the existing traditions and added twists of my own where I couldn't find the necessary details.