But That’s Another Story...
There’s No Such Thing as a Secondary Character
by Tiffany Reisz
Tori asks me a near impossible question to blog about - Who is your favorite secondary character and why? Why is this nearly impossible to answer? In my writing, there are no secondary characters. Every single character in my books is a fully formed person in my mind. They may only play a minor role in that book, but they usually return in another book as a main character. Any character who has more than five lines in my books usually ends up getting a book of his or her own.
I blame Michael Ende for this. If you’ve never read his glorious children’s novel The Neverending Story, then BOO! I shun you! In less than four-hundred pages, Ende creates a fantastic world of breathtaking strangeness and beauty that eclipses all seven Harry Potter novels for sheer imaginative glory. A young boy named Bastian ends up the world Fantasticia, which is the creation of human imagination. As he adventures through this world, he meets strange character after strange character and helps them through whatever dilemma they’re in. And once that adventure is resolved, the character Bastian has helped goes on his or her way to have new adventures without Bastian. The narrator intones at the end of these scenes, “But that is another story and shall be told another time…”
With every character I create, even if he or she plays only a small part in one book, they loom so large in my mind that I have to write their story, even if it’s only in my head. For example...in my debut novel THE SIREN (coming in 2012 from MIRA Books), my main character, an erotica-writing Dominatrix named Nora Sutherlin, takes her editor Zach Easton to an infamous S&M club. A sexy young man with impressive muscles, arms tattoos, and a wicked grin waits on them. Nora introduces him as Griffin Fiske, a Dominant in their world and a spoiled trust fund baby in the outside world. He has two short scenes in the book where he hits on both Nora and Zach, makes a few wisecracks that has Nora ready to gag him, and then he’s gone. But in his short time on screen we learn that he’s intelligent and witty, that he’s bisexual and rich, and that he’s a little lonely and would like his own submissive.
Cut to book two, THE ANGEL (2012, MIRA Books), and suddenly Nora’s in a pickle and needs a place to hide out. She and Michael, a young male submissive friend of hers, run up to Griffin’s estate in Upstate New York. Griffin and the Michael fall for each other hard and fast, and their complicated love story has been the most enjoyable romance I’ve ever written. Griffin’s a recovering drug addict. Michael’s recovering from a suicide attempt and severe depression. Griffin’s all Dom. Michael’s pure sub. Griffin’s rich. Michael’s poor. Griffin’s out and proud about his kinkiness and bisexuality. Michael’s a terrified teenager who can barely look his parents in the eyes. But together they make an amazing team and manage to help each other confront the demons of their past as they plan a future together.
That’s why Griffin Fiske is one of my favorite secondary character I’ve ever written.
Plus Griffin says stuff like this:
“Blowjob on a British guy?” Griffin asked with some concern. “You're a braver bitch than I. No offense.” Griffin turned to Zach. “I have a foreskin phobia.”
Griffin nodded his approval. “Mazel tov.”
Oh, and he looks like this: