At a writer event I went to recently, I heard someone inquire as to the key ingredient in a successful series. My initial impulse, of course, was good writing. Because, let’s face it, that is paramount.
But a book or TV show can have a phenomenal writer and still not connect with readers or viewers. Which leads to yet another question…
Sure, a story has to have a strong lead. I mean, can you imagine the show Castle with anyone other than Nathan Fillian? I know I can’t.
But part of what makes Fillian so great in that role is his supporting cast—Espo, Kevin, Kate, and his mom. Each one of those characters enables us to learn more about Fillian’s Castle. Espo and Kevin allow us to see a funny side. Kate gives him an opportunity to be fun but also protective. And his mother, she shows us his past.
The same holds true for a book. A great protagonist is, well, great. But a great supporting cast can make that protagonist even better.
In Éclair and Present Danger, the first book in my new Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, Winnie Johnson is a strong lead. Her creativity, her loyalty, and her determination make her the kind of character you instantly care about. But it is through her supporting cast—downstairs neighbor, Mr. Nelson, next door neighbor, Bridget, and best friend/co-worker, Renee—that we get to see Winnie’s inner most layers.
It is because of Winnie’s relationship with Mr. Nelson that we get to see an occasional crack in her otherwise cool exterior. Their talks on the front porch illustrate a side of Winnie we don’t necessarily see when she’s brainstorming dessert names, making deliveries, and going about her day-to-day life.
It’s because of Winnie’s relationship with Bridget that we’re able to see just how deep her patience and her sensitivity run. Her ability to talk the eighty something off the proverbial cliff is nearing legendary status.
And, finally, it’s because of Renee that Winnie is forced to stop and take a long hard look at herself every once in a while. Renee doesn’t let Winnie ignore stuff away. She knows when Winnie is dodging and ducking and she thinks nothing of holding Winnie’s feet to the fire when it comes to living.
So yeah, good writing is key to any book—series or otherwise. But a supporting cast that can help deliver a truly unforgettable protagonist? That’s priceless, if you ask me.
Éclair and Present Danger
The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.
With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow’s hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude’s late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery—a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bart Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.
To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods—and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she’s not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart’s killer—before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim…
About the author:
As a child, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do or be anything else. Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey, and the upcoming Tobi Tobias Mystery Series. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis. (Photo by Carrie Schechter Studios)