… And the Best Supporting Role is: Luke Graham
Join a selection of fabulous authors and their
Supporting Role Characters
We all know the protagonist is the hero (or anti-hero!) of a novel. He or she usually has a companion main character, often the ‘love interest’ or maybe the stalwart side-kick, but what about that next rank down: the supporting role guy or gal? You know, the one who doesn’t get Best Actor, but Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. I thought it time that some of these supporting cast characters had a chance to step from the shadows of novels and have a turn in the limelight.
So, a rousing round of applause please for… Luke Graham
a Supporting Role Character from
A Rip in the Veil
by Anna Belfrage
Helen: Hello, I believe you appear in Anna Belfrage’s novel A Rip in the Veil, the first book in The Graham Saga. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Certainly. My name is Luke Graham, younger – and much more dashing – brother to Matthew Graham, may his name be cursed, his member rot and fall off.
Helen: [a little nervously] what role do you play in the novel/s?
Well, given my previous reply, it’s sort of obvious I don’t bring a lot of pink and fluffy stuff to the party, isn’t it? I recur throughout The Graham Saga, and IMO I add zest. And tension – lots of it. After all, I’m the one who arranges for Matthew to be abducted and sold into slavery – and you can stop glaring at me like that, because he deserved it, the bastard. Look what he did to me! *Sets a finger to the silver nosepiece that adorns his face in lieu of a real nose* Mind you, he’d say I deserved it, for what I did to his odd foreign wife, that Alex woman.
Helen: [still a tad warily] No spoilers. But are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? (Or maybe you are both!)
Ha! A matter of perspective, isn’t it? But…Look, I know I lost it with Alex, and all that stuff with getting Matthew convicted of treason, it doesn’t paint me in the best of colours. It’s just that he had it all – he had Da’s respect, he had Hillview, and then he had the temerity to wed my Margaret – mine! He shouldn’t have done that, should he? *shrugs* I had to make him pay, somehow, and Margaret belonged with me. In retrospect, one could almost say I did him a favour, because had he not divorced Margaret for adultery, he’d not have been free to marry Alex. Had he not ended up in gaol due to my false accusations and felt obliged to flee to survive, he’d never even have met Alex. Yes; that sort of sums it up, I think. I did him a favour – which he rewarded by cutting my nose off. Bastard!
Helen: [stoically continuing…] So you support the lead character? Who is he or she and tell us a little bit about him or her?
I’d no more support Matthew Graham than I’d take a flea-infested dog to bed. As to who he is, he’s one of those enervating devout men of the Kirk – just like Da – and of course he had to go gallivanting off in his youth to fight against the King. Made him a bloody hero in Da’s eyes, him always going on and on about his eldest son, so young and already a man of morals and convictions. Pah! Anyway, he came home in 1649, and those four years away had changed him, left him haunted somehow. *falls silent* I reckon I didn’t see that at the time. All I saw was the precious heir returning home, the son who had lived up to all of Da’s expectations while I was only the spare – and even worse, the fool of a son who supported the king in exile.
Turns out I backed the right horse, though. Once Charles II was back where he belonged, it was me, not Matthew, who prospered. Can’t say I was all that sad to see him forced to leave Scotland for the New World – him and that opinionated wife of his and all their bairns! *leans forward* I’m telling you, that Alex is very, very strange. At times, I get the impression she isn’t at all what she seems. I’ve even harboured suspicions that she could be a witch of sorts – except that dear, devout Brother Matthew would never take up with a woman who dabbles in magic and superstition.
Helen: Now be honest – what do you really think of this lead character!
Honestly, I don’t know. Now and then I am afflicted by a sense of loss – we are brothers by blood and have spent most of our adult lives hating each other. When we were young, he was my hero, and now…In my maudlin moments I toy with the idea of reaching out to him, but I fear we are too different, too hardened by our experiences to be able to bridge the chasm of recriminations that separates us.
Helen: Do you like being the ‘supporting role’ or do you wish you could have a lead part in a book of your own?
I do feel I deserve a somewhat larger role. Besides, my life is so much more glamorous than Matthew’s. I live in proximity with court and king, he lives in proximity with what? Savages and trees?
Helen: What is one of your least favourite scenes?
Well, it wasn’t exactly fun to have my nose swiped off!
Helen: and your most favourite?
I rather liked it when I convinced that fraudulent witch hunter Hector Olivares and his minister side-kick to accuse Alex of being a witch. Talk about putting a fox in the hen-house – most amusing.
Helen: Thank you – that was really interesting – I look forward to meeting you again in ‘your’ novel!
Helen: Now something for the intrepid author to answer. You can invite six fictional characters (not your own!) to Christmas Dinner – who will they be?
Oh dear: as long as they don’t expect a Christmas Dinner, as we don’t do much traditional Christmas fare in our home here n Sweden.
Anyway, Jack Reacher is always welcome to darken my door. I’d sit him side by side with Ikmen Cetin, hero of Barbara Nadel’s books set in Istanbul. I somehow think they’d hit it off, two men obliged to confront the murkier sides of life.
To give me something to drool over, I’d invite Mr Rochester (and I’m seeing him as portrayed by Michael Fassbender) and 17th century heart-throb Francis Heron from Pamela Belle’s The Chains of Fate. (The hours I’ve spent crying over Francis…)
And then I’d invite Robert and María from For Whom the Bells Toll. They never made it to Madrid, those two, so I feel they deserve a Christmas en mí casa. The food will be as diverse as the company, ranging from Turkish köfte to Spanish turrón, and I suspect the evening will be very, very long. Plus there will be singing. And some shaking of legs.
Come back tomorrow to meet the next Supporting Role Character
Here’s the full list of authors and their characters – links will be added as each character makes his or her entrance
11th Christoph Fischer
12th Pauline Barclay
13th Antoine Vanner
14th Annie Whitehead
15th Derek Birks
16th Carolyn Hughes
17th Helen Hollick