In my novel Storm Chaser, the main characters aren’t all that different from standard romantic comedy leads (on the surface). The supporting characters, on the other hand, were quirky and memorable enough that some of them headlined their own tales in my short story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. You don’t want supporting characters to overwhelm the leads, but you do want them to be interesting and fun.
In Coming Attractions, the general description of the main characters is also not all that off from the norm, although turned around: It’s the woman who’s a Type A power broker working on her first heart attack, and the man who provides the voice of reason and emotion.
But the same rules apply to their friends and family – they have to do their jobs for the story, but also keep things interesting. Logan Chandler’s kids are pretty much your typical tykes: Faith, the sometimes bossy older sister, and Conner, who’s quick to point out that he has achieved age five. The family matriarch, Judy Chandler, is not all that different from Elsa Hamlin of Storm Chaser (although she has a secret).
After that I made things deliberately … odd. Outside of the Chandler, the main supporting characters of Coming Attractions are:
Tupper, who resembles Shaggy from the Scooby Doo cartoons. Tupper – “My mother sold Tupperware, and she’s pretty hardcore” – is eager and wants to be helpful, but his intentions are sabotaged by the fact that he’s essentially clueless. It’s a mystery to Maddie why her high powered law firm hired Tupper as her Indiana contact, but she soon meets him again in the most unexpected of places.
No, he doesn’t own a large talking dog.
Dena Hantaywee is Maddie’s personal assistant and best friend. Part Native American, Dena is as opposite her boss as you can get: brash, disrespectful, and effervescent. She’s also psychic and can see spirits, or so she says – a possibility that runs contrary to Maddie’s world view.
They’re a true odd couple, arguing and defending each other, and we soon learn their friendship runs deeper than just being coworkers.
More supporting characters pop up as the story goes on, hopefully keeping things interesting. We meet the drive-in’s dedicated owner; a haughty, conniving partner from Maddie’s firm; the Chandler family’s wheelchair-bound pastor; and Maddie’s intimidating boss, the most senior of senior partners, among others. We also meet Logan’s dead wife – sort of.
Of all the supporting characters it’s Dena who I’m most proud of. Who knows? Maybe, if Coming Attractions is published and becomes successful, she’ll headline her own book, someday.
Oh, one more thing: There’s also a brief appearance by a character from Storm Chaser, although that character is never named.
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