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C.B. Forrest: Memorable secondary characters

The author of the Charlie McKelvey mysteries on fleshing out those supporting roles.

"We wait up during the Oscars to see who wins the Best Actor award, but it’s often underappreciated supporting roles that make a good story great. So it is with fiction. Secondary characters must never overshadow the leads, and yet they must be integral enough to move the plot forward. I give each secondary character a unique, often oddly endearing, habit or personality trait. One villain’s habit of buying scratch lottery tickets somehow makes him more like you and me. Quirks and tics, a way of speaking, a style of dress, these all move your characters from cliché to lifelike."

C.B. Forrest's first two crime novels, The Weight of Stones and Slow Recoil, were both shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award. His final novel in the trilogy, The Devil’s Dust, has been called “a beautifully crafted novel” by Governor General Award-winner Tim Wynne Jones, and will be released in June.

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