"It Takes a Village" by Amber Lea Easton
A while back, I made the mistake of attending a critique group without really knowing the people attending. I gleefully submitted the first chapter of my work in progress, eager for feedback. Well, glee switched to confusion when I received one critique in particular. A man in the group said that I should eliminate the extra characters, the supporting cast, because they were “of no use to the story” and I should “delete them completely.” He claimed--in an authoritative, self-important way--that readers only care about the main two characters and that anyone else in the story is a distraction.
Lucky for me, I know stupid when I see it and ignored his advice. I can’t imagine reading a novel where there are no other characters surrounding the main two. Now, I understand balance and agree there shouldn’t be so many characters in a story that it’s difficult to tell who the lead is, but a great sidekick or two--and let’s not forget a villain--are essential ingredients for a full-bodied story.
A cast of supporting characters allows the reader to get a broader view of the world where the hero and heroine live. Secondary characters answer the questions: How is the hero/heroine perceived by others? How does the hero/heroine relate to his/her family, friends, coworkers? What kind of people does he/she like to surround themselves with? A cast adds flavor to the story, serves as a reader’s window into their world, gives backstory without the author needing to “tell it”.
Heck, even Tom Hanks had Wilson the ball to interact with when he was stranded in the movie Castaway. And, when he later lost Wilson, I cried. What would that movie have been like without Wilson?! Okay, maybe it would have been fine, but, in my opinion, that soccer ball added another layer.
Those secondary characters the man in the critique group wanted me to eliminate were essential to my story. One was the villain (or not, therein lies the mystery), about to betray the hero later in the manuscript and the other two were also key players in the plot. If I’d been insecure enough to ditch them, then Riptide wouldn’t be releasing on Wednesday.
Book blurb for Riptide, a romantic suspense novel, available for pre-order now, official release on August 1.
One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she's accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story. She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother's home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.
Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter Noah Reynolds. His take-me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer's block and while he's dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness.
Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah's stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What's real? What's imagined?
Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge.
Excerpt of Riptide:
Damn, the woman did insane things to his rational thinking. He’d decided on the boat that he needed to see her, make things right, take it slow, get tangled up in some strings.
“I can’t decide if you’re hotter when wet or dry...I’m thinking it might be a tie,” she said.
Oh, what the hell. With an opener like that, how could a man resist? He crossed the space between them, slipped his hand behind her neck, and kissed her on that mouth he’d been fantasizing about all week.
Her hands slid over his damp chest while her mouth moved slowly beneath his, her teeth lightly catching his lower lip. Eyes open, they smiled against each other’s mouths.
“Miss me?” he asked.
“It would be very uncool of me to answer that.” She slid her hands over his abdomen and lingered on the towel. “Are you still wanting to back off, or have you come to your senses?”
He braced his hands over her head. The only thing he wanted to do was kiss her slowly and make her beg for more. He looked into her eyes. “You’re making me forget all of the reasons this is a mistake.”
“A sexy mistake.”
“Good point.” He smiled. “We’re headed into the danger zone.”
“You have no idea how dangerous.” She tugged on the towel, a wicked grin in her eyes.
Oh, he had an idea about the level of danger. He’d thought of nothing else for the past forty-eight hours and ranked this situation a solid Level Red. Despite that, all he could think about was how good it would feel to have her long legs wrapped around his hips while her nails clawed against his back. He needed to pull the emergency brake. Slow, he reminded himself. Slow.
He leaned against her, enjoying the way her body arched toward his like a magnetic pull. He tangled his fingers in the hair at the back of her neck. “What do you want, Lauren? After the other night, you know I’m more complicated than I seem.”
“Show me. Let’s make some mistakes together. We’re both consenting adults. What the hell?” she whispered, her teeth pulling at his lower lip.
“Does that scare you?” she asked.
Yeah, she was scary reckless, but that turned him on more than he could say. So what if she wanted to use him for a distraction from her own demons? He knew that had something to do with it—the woman oozed intensity.
Riptide, now available for pre-order directly from Bookstrand.com. Watch Riptide's book trailer: http://youtu.be/2YWX6FDUbfU
Follow Amber Lea Easton on Twitter as @MtnMoxieGirl or Facebook to stay up to date on her latest releases, etcetera.
Read Amber's earlier guest post here: http://erinoriordan.blogspot.com/2012/01/wip-wednesday-with-amber-lea-easton.html