Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Wingman

Congratulations to "Jaclyn L", the winner of Tamsen's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

In my blog post yesterday I talked about how much I love reading and writing about the transformation of the main characters – how they grow, change, and learn from each other - and how good triumphs over evil. In my mind, these two things are at the heart of most, if not all, romance novels and they are what gives us the love and happy-ever-afters we look for in the genre.

But there is one character who doesn’t change, who isn’t supposed to change, and who makes the story better through their consistency. Who is this character that has the luxury of not having to delve painfully into their psyche for the betterment of the story? The wingman of course.

In my first novel, The Puppeteer, it was Fawkes. Fawkes, AKA Dan Fowler, was the happily annoying SEAL friend of Ty, the hero, who had a penchant for flirting with Dani, the heroine, just to get a rise out of his buddy. Fawkes brought out Dani’s hidden playfulness and held a mirror up to Ty to help his friend see what everyone else did, just how much Ty cared for Dani.

In my second novel, A Tainted Mind, it was Nick. Like Fawkes, Nick is a perennially cheerful alpha male. But unlike Fawkes, Nick’s relationship with the main characters is centered on Vivi rather than Ian. By being the one Vivi left behind, his presence serves as a reminder to her of who she is and what she values in a partner. And when juxtaposed with Ian, Nick acts as a spotlight, highlighting the qualities that Ian has that Vivi needs and wants in her life.

These Sorrows We See, sees my first female wingman in Elise Rutherford. Elise is Matty, the heroine’s, eighty-something neighbor that has, to say the least, a penchant for the unusual. She mows the lawn in her bikini, refers to Dash as Dr. Hubba Hubba, and drives a classic Cadillac named Greta. At her age, she tends to tell it like it is and when Matty becomes too entangled in her own thoughts, Elise is there to shine a light on what really matters by reminding Matty of who she really is.

The wingman is an often used plot device in all sorts of genres. But the reason I love to have them in my novels is because even though the story doesn’t center around them, they act almost like an anchor around which the main characters can swirl and churn and bump against as they work their way through new emotional storms. The main characters face a lot in my books, both from within themselves, as they battles their own pasts and perceptions, as well as from outside events. The wingman is the one person who is steady, the one person whose personality is consistent, and often times, the only one around whom the characters (and readers) can take a deep breath and relax because they know that with this one person, there won’t be any changes.

So wingmen are comic interludes, mirrors, a place of refuge, and often a good friend to one, or sometimes both, of the main characters – just to name a few of the roles they can play. And personally, I will add that they are also a hell of a lot of fun to write. Elise was a hoot to get to know and I suspect she might come back a time or two but we’ll see. Take a peek at These Sorrows We See and let me know what you think. Or better yet, read all three novels and let me know if you think any of my wingmen deserve their own story.

Matty was just about to cross the street to the restaurant when she heard the rumble of an old engine. Pausing to see where it was coming from, a smile spread across her face when it came into view. A classic red Cadillac convertible—fins and all—pulled to a stop. And perched in the white leather driver’s seat was Elise. Wearing more than just a bathing suit this time, she sported a white sundress, a white scarf around her head, and a pair of big Jackie O. sunglasses.
Matty crossed the street and leaned over the passenger door, grinning. “This is quite a car you have, Elise. She’s got some attitude, doesn’t she?”
“Life is boring without attitude, darling. This is Greta. I’ve had her for thirty years. More reliable than most people I know.”
“More sturdy, too, would be my guess,” Matty said, resting her elbows on the open window frame. “I just left you a little package on your porch to say thank you for your help yesterday.”
Elise beamed. “Thank you, darling. It’s so nice to meet a young person with manners. You’re welcome, by the way—and how is the little guy?”
As she was giving Elise a brief report on Bob, the sound of a familiar truck could be heard coming up behind her. Stopping her narrative, she turned to watch it over her shoulder. Dash stopped at the stop sign, paused a little longer than necessary, then turned right. She thought he might be headed out on a call, but then she heard him pull his truck into the back part of Anderson’s parking lot, turn the engine off, and, a few seconds later, open and close his truck door. She and Elise were quiet, still listening. After a minute, they saw Dash standing on the roadside, clearly waiting for her.
She turned back to Elise, who was smiling. “The rumors say he’s quite a handful, Matty dear.”
Matty laughed. “Is that a warning or a challenge, Elise?”
“That, my dear, is up to you.”

Tamsen will be giving away a digital copy of  These Sorrows We See to one lucky commenter from Nov. 4 or 5.         

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Nov. 5th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustRomanticSuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. I like your idea of a female wingman and Elise sounds like a lot of fun. I would really like to read this.


  2. I like your idea of a female wingman and Elise sounds like a lot of fun. I would really like to read this.


  3. Sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  4. A wingman can make or break a story IMO. A good one creates a little rivalry, humor and tons of loyalty ...just like you've described in your wingmen and woman. Thank you for the giveaway.
    Julie O
    jo1963jo at gmail dot com

  5. That is quite true that the wingman is in the story but he remains the same. He does bring that twisted sense of humor to lighten the tension between the hero and the heroine. Thanks for the giveaway.


  6. You've certainly made me think about the wingman more.



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