The fabulous Lori Rader-Day tagged me to continue this blog hop about characters in our novels. Lori’s novel, THE BLACK HOUR, came out to rave reviews, and having read it, I can say that I concur with those reviews. Her novel tells the story of Amelia Emmet, a sociology professor who studies violence and then is the victim of a student she’s never met. He also shot himself. Now he’s dead and she’s back on campus, trying to keep up with her class schedule, a growing problem with painkillers, and a question she can’t let go: Why? (Amazon page here.)
The tagline on my KILMOON postcard reads: Family secrets, betrayal, and vengeance from beyond the grave … Merrit Chase has just discovered her long-lost father.
Kilmoon is principally Merrit’s story, but, like Lori, I have dual protagonists and my secondary protagonist surprised me with his insistence on receiving page time. Despite what I’d originally had in mind for this story, Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern became a full-fledged character with his own subplot (which will continue in the second novel in the series!).
I resisted Danny at first. Big time. After all, I wasn’t reeaaallly writing a mystery. I felt a little too high-falutin’ a writer to be writing a mystery, for Christ’s sake.
(Sidenote: Someone remind me to write a blog post about great writing and great story and great literature — and mystery. Boy, was I ignorant!)
But, Danny turned about to be integral to Merrit’s story. She needed someone to play off of, a local Irishman with plenty to say about her apparent connection to the murder that occurs near the beginning of the novel. He doesn’t know whether she’s a suspect or a victim — maybe an accomplice? or a pawn? or both?
Danny isn’t just a straight man sidekick for Merrit to bounce off of though. He’s got his own problems. His marriage is on the rocks because of a previous tragedy (think: backstory) and he’s got an asshole superintendent for a boss. Danny is one of those characters you’ll like. He’s a nice guy with tons of problems and complications in his life.
Is he perfect? Heck no. I can’t abide by perfection in my characters. Danny’s been known to drink too much. He’s been known to let his anger get away from him. He’s been known to side with loyalty over professional duty. It’s this last conflict that tests him in Kilmoon.
I just love Danny. There, I said it. So much so, that in my second installment in the County Clare mystery series (long-drawn-out revisions in process now), he’s the main protagonist while Merrit steps to the side a bit. GREY MAN (tentative title) is definitely Danny’s story.
Since this is a blog hop, please welcome and check out blog posts from the following two stellar storytellers sometime next week.
CINDY BROWN has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.
SUSAN SPANN is a transactional attorney focusing on publishing law and a former law school professor. She has a deep interest in Asian culture and has studied Mandarin and Japanese. Her hobbies include Asian cooking, fencing, knife and shuriken throwing, traditional archery, martial arts, rock climbing, and horseback riding. Susan keeps a marine aquarium where she raises seahorses and rare corals. Spann is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is the author of Claws of the Cat. She lives in northern California with her family.