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Supporting Cast: Love interests

Each of my books has a normal set-up in characters: main character (usually female) with three to five supporting main secondary characters (best friend, one or two love interests, and family). The secondary characters act as foils, support and petty antagonists to the main character (petty in this case simply meaning that they have minor squabbles like friends, family and lovers usually have). In a series, these characters remain predominate in each book as well.

In the case of Azure Maris the supporting cast is large: two families in the Frankels and MacMichaels as well as Mitch and Akua. For this post, I'll focus on Eliam and Mitch - Azure's two primary love interests in the book.

Eliam came first since I usually develop only one love interest in a book. Sometimes, I have two, but those are quite rare. I knew roughly who Eliam was: age, intelligence, appearance, passions. I knew that he would feel out-of-place in his world, and I knew that he wanted more out of life then what he saw around him. Developing Eliam came easy - a few general brush strokes and I had a good image of who this man was. As I wrote, the character began to develop as well as some of the conflict that would come in the relationship - not the least of which was the fact that Eliam could not date until twenty-one.

Then comes Mitch, Eliam's best friend, who could date, and who was interested in Azure as well. Mitch was similar to Eliam in many ways: passions, intelligence and age. Like Eliam, Mitch wanted more out of his life, and both simply bided their time until they could leave Crabapple Harbor.

Foils, in writing, are characters who reflect another character for good or for evil; typically they reflect the main character, but not always. In Azure Maris, Eliam has two foils: Mitch and Mano Leo-mana because all three pursue Azure. Mitch and Eliam pursue Azure the way that best friends pursue the same woman: subtle challenges and maneuvering. Mano Leo-mana pursues Azure on his time and emphasizes the fact that he knows about Azure's other half unlike the two mere boys.

Eliam has a strong faith in God - the Most High, as Azure would refer to God - and that faith plays a role in how he responds to the world around him. For the most part, Eliam is clueless about the greater aspects of the world: Azure's tail, Mano Leo-mana and the brewing war below the waves. He continues forward because he knows and trusts Azure.

Mitch, who has even less knowledge about what is happening, continues to pursue Azure as well for many of the same reasons that Eliam pursues Azure: her intelligence and passion. While Azure is striking, it is her passion and intelligence that keeps the men coming back for more. Mitch comes from a good family that has a strained relationship - best exemplified in his twin, Marshall who plays a very minor role in the book.

There is a saying from stage: There are no small parts only small actors. This concept explains Marshall and other characters in the book (especially people at the church). I can tell you a great deal about both Eliam's and Mitch's backgrounds even as I can tell you a great deal about Azure, her brothers and their family. This backstory might never be written down anywhere, but it is a part of the story that I know. Each of the characters interact in their world: Mitch, Eliam and Azure interact with Marshall, the pastor, and others. As the interactions happen, the reader sees something of the world and the character. We see Marshall's arrogance, and Henry's hospitality. In each of those cases, we see something about Mitch and Eliam, the world they inhabit which has, in turn developed their character.

Tomorrow, I'll explain Mano Leo-mana.


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