Hi! Kim Fielding here to celebrate the release of Love Has No Direction, my 26th novel!
Protagonists of romance novels are flashy, right? They have to be, because for the story to work, readers need to fall in love with them. Need to care about them so much that it’s vital for obstacles to be overcome and True Love to find a way. We may remember these protagonists long after we’ve finished a book and might even miss them—we might hope their creators share more of their story with us.
The leads get star billing in romance novels, which is as it should be. But what about the secondary characters? They’re important too. Unless the entire story takes place while the heroes are isolated from the rest of the world, secondaries are what make the tale work. They’re the friends and family, the exes, the bosses, the villains. Maybe they have such a small part they don’t even get names, or maybe they’re fully fleshed characters in their own right.
I have a special love for secondaries. They serve important narrative purposes and assist with the protagonists’ character development. But they’re also just plain fun—a chance for the author to play with someone new and interesting. Some examples of what I mean? Miracle Max and Valerie in The Princess Bride. Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. Batty in Bladerunner. Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King.
When I write, many of my secondaries feel as real to me as the protagonists. You probably won’t learn all that much about them since it’s not their story, but rest assured: in the universe of my mind, their histories and personalities are as fully fleshed as the heroes’.
A really fun thing about writing a series is that it allows me to revisit those secondary characters—and to give them some little adventures of their own. In the Love Can’t series, Rhoda Levin shows up periodically as the owner of P-Town Café, where the protagonists tend to hang out. She’s a friend to them and an encouraging voice. In the newest book, we learn a bit more about her backstory—and get some hopeful hints about her future.
Of course sometimes a secondary character in one book can become a protagonist in another. Nevin Ng was a secondary in the first book of the series but starred in book two; he’s back in a supporting role in book three. On the other hand, Parker Levin (Rhoda’s son) got only some brief mentions in the first two books, but now it’s his turn to shine.
Who are some of your favorite secondary characters in books or movies?
A Love Can’t Novel
Yet another series of poor decisions lands Parker Levin back in his mother’s house, working at her coffee shop, and feeling like a failure. Then he learns his ex-boyfriend has died by suicide and things go from bad to worse. When he meets a handsome stranger, he doesn’t have much left to lose.
Ten years ago Wesley Anker made a grave mistake. Since then he’s lived in near isolation, supporting himself by making custom furniture and only rarely connecting with other people. When he attempts to make amends, he encounters Parker, a beautiful and colorful young man, and he agrees to Parker’s impulsive request to join him.
Together, Parker and Wes find quick friendship and fierce attraction. But Wes’s past demons haunt his footsteps, and Parker’s struggle to plan a future has him stumbling through life. Then they uncover evidence that suggests Parker’s ex’s death might not have been a straightforward suicide, and every path seems to lead to dead ends and destruction. Can Parker and Wes find their way to lasting love when the route is hidden?
Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
Having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls California home. She lives there with her family and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.