In a romance novel, it's the hero and heroine - and their love story - that are the main focus. And that's how it should be. We all love to close that book with a contented sigh at that "happily ever after."
But along the way to the ending are many stumbling blocks for our couples. And one of the best devices to help them along the way to happiness is the secondary character.
I love secondary characters. They can come in many forms - a hero's best friend, a heroine's father or sister. For that matter, a secondary character needn't even be human. Animal friends, ghosts, or fairies can sometimes be just as real in the world of romantic fiction.
Two of my favorite secondary characters appear in my first novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow, as well as my upcoming Highland Press release, Coming Home.
Margaret Kilpatrick is known to everyone in the small Irish village of Ballycashel as Grannie Meg, She's my heroine's grandmother, shrewd, full of wisdom, understanding, and the rock Siobhan Desmond depended on when her life was nearly destroyed by the Famine. She was also the first to perceive hero Rory O'Brien's true character.
Tom Flynn was even more fun to write. He was Siobhan's best friend from girlhood, a man she looks on as a big brother. He stood by her during the worst time of her life.
Tom has also been like a second father to Siobhan's daughter Ashleen, heroine of Coming Home, and that "second father" role does complicate Ashleen's budding romance with Irish-American war hero, Cavan Callaghan. There were a few times when Tom's Irish stubbornness - and the famous Flynn temper! - tried to take over the story. But I managed to rein him in. And he did help bring about a very satisfying conclusion to Ashleen and Cavan's romance.
Do you enjoy seeing secondary characters take part in the romance of the hero and heroine? Who are some of your favorite - and least favorite - secondary characters?