Today we are happy to welcome Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese to our blog. We had a wonderful ‘Not At GRL’ celebration on Saturday and today we will continue with some great Guestposts and even more opportunities to win! In addition to a wonderful Guest Post about ‘The Importance of Secondary Characters’, you can comment on the post to win an e-copy of ‘Starling’ 🙂 Enjoy!!!
Our novel Starling is an M/M romance. But it’s also the first book in the Love in Los Angeles series. LiLA is a queer intergenerational series that hits every letter on the QUILTBAG spectrum. This is because in addition to our heroes Paul and Alex we also include their friends, family, and co-workers. These people not only involve themselves in Paul and Alex’s lives, but also have their own loves, losses, hopes and dreams.
Designing a supporting character that actually supports the story and grabs the reader means remembering that they are the main character in their own story, and presenting enough hints of that story to provide both credibility and mystery. In romance series, which often do not focus on the same couple from book to book, this credibility of supporting voices is particularly important — today’s supporting character may be tomorrow’s leading man. Or woman.
When characters don’t get to be the stars of the story — especially characters who belong to marginalized groups that too often get relegated to side-kick roles — we try to make them vocal on the page about these frustrations. In one of the future LiLA books Alex takes for granted his best friend Gemma, a Korean-American woman who hasn’t succeeded in achieving her childhood dream of Hollywood stardom. She promptly calls him out on his behavior, shouting at him for preferring to hang out with people who are whiter and more successful than her. She then goes on to make a new and successful Hollywood dream for herself, and Alex has to do real, hard work to repair that relationship. Romantic relationships, after all, aren’t the only ones that matter.
Victor, the showrunner of the show Alex works on and Paul writes for, is enigmatic and — as far as he cares to let anyone else know — in control of his own life and the lives of the people who work for him. The strongly positive reader reaction we’ve gotten regarding Victor’s presence in Book 1 is predicated in part both on that control and that mystery. Even so, in the world of our novels he is all flesh and blood. Certainly, he is the hero of his own story. That’s why when the second book in the series opens (Doves, available January 2015), we see Victor with Nigel, his oldest friend and the man with whom he once struggled to work out his own asexuality. Supporting characters are what give a story room to expand infinitely in the minds of readers.
For us, writing strong supporting characters isn’t just about fleshing out a world or providing convenient hooks for b-plots. People are complicated, and exist not in linear relationship to star characters, but in a complex web. Every fictional person, just like every non-fictional person, plays multiple roles in their own lives and in the lives of others: boss, lover, friend, roommate. Over time, these roles and their intensity and importance change and evolve. And when we have dynamic characters in a dynamic supporting cast, we have the space to tell stories that we hope resonate as rich in detail and true to life.
When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.
Because the stars aren’t benign
Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends — and even the paparazzi! — quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.
But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.
Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry (Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (TBD)), all from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer (Summer 2015), about a summerstock Shakespeare company, is from Dreamspinner Press. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire.
Comment on this post to win an e-copy of ‘Starling’ by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese.
You need to be 18 or older to participate in this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Etc.
Contest will end on October 31st @ 11:59 pm CDT. Good Luck