Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Backcountry Brides -- Secondary Characters

May is the release month for The Backcountry Brides Novella Collection from Barbour Publishers and we're celebrating! All month long, the authors from the collection will be hosting one another on their blogs to share about different aspects of their stories.

My blog will be devoted to the Secondary Characters from each novella and to kick off this fun topic, my first guest is Shannon McNear, author of The Counterfeit Tory.

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Before we get to Shannon's post, here's a little more about the collection:

Love on Colonial America’s Frontier

Travel into Colonial America where nine women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry. Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love?

The Counterfeit Tory by Shannon McNear – Backcountry Brides

The main secondary characters in The Counterfeit Tory fall clearly into two categories, heroic and villainous. Among the latter are Lizzy’s father, Charles Cunningham, and her brothers, Robert and Richard (Robbie and Dickie), fictional uncle and cousins of the infamous Bloody Bill Cunningham. Ideally a writer should strive to create almost-villains who are more than cardboard cut-outs, to give redeeming qualities even to men guilty of neglect and abuse. I tried with Lizzy’s father and utterly failed. The brothers I painted with a little more sympathy. All three are quite steeped in pride and self-interest, and the father may qualify as a true narcissist. When they fade from the scene near the end of the story, there’s little to miss.

The heroic Zacharias Elliot, on the other hand, may someday demand his own story. Elliot serves as Jed Wheeler’s contact with the Continental forces while he’s undercover with Cunningham’s company, and readers of my first novella, Defending Truth, may recognize him as the older brother of Micah Elliot, who had turned coat long before the Battle of Kings Mountain and figured so heavily in Micah’s reluctance to return home while questioning his own loyalties. (The son of “good loyalists” choosing to go rebel was no light matter at the time.) It was fun to pull in a briefly mentioned character from one story and give him actual screen time in another.

Other secondary characters—the townfolk, for instance, and Jed’s fellow company members—are more ambiguous in their honor. Many loyalists served as they did because their sense of justice or religious duty demanded it; so it was with those on the patriot side. Many loyalists chose to extend mercy when the occasion demanded it, while many patriots exacted vengeance nearly as chilling as that of William Cunningham himself. I hope I’ve captured a little of history’s complexities in these brief portraits, but it’s probably more than a little ironic that the more prominent secondary characters are less evenly shaded.

Click to purchase Backcountry Brides 
And the prequel, The Highwayman, which is now available as a standalone.

About the Author:
After more than two decades in the South, Shannon McNear now makes her home on the windy northern plains with her husband, four of their eight children, two German Shepherds, four cats, several chickens, and a noisy flock of guinea fowl. She serves in worship and youth ministry, and has been writing novel-length fiction since age 15. Her first novella, Defending Truth, from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® nominee. When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the Dakota prairies.


Question for you: What kind of secondary characters do you enjoy in a story? The villain? The comic relief? The overbearing friend? The confidante? Is there a secondary character from a story that stands out to you?
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  1. Thank you so much, Gabrielle! How fun--and such an honor!--to be part of this collection, and to get to share time with everyone on your blog. Blessings!! <3

  2. I let the authors dream up the secondary characters but I think I like the idea of a confidante. Congrats on the new release! I’m on the 2nd story in the book...got a ways to go, but it’s good.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Perrianne! It's so much fun to get to know our readers. :-) <3


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