Have you ever gotten the feeling that someone was lurking in a book? A shadowy presence drifting through the scenes, felt but never seen? Well, in Candace Camp’s novels, you’d be right: There is!
The New York Times bestselling author, whose latest book, A MOMENTARY MARRIAGE, is out July 25, shares with us some of those phantom characters from her books!
He’s the Ghost at the Banquet: the person who is there but not there; a major character so pivotal to the story but who never actually appears.
Gabriel’s sister Jocelyn in A WINTER SCANDAL is missing throughout the book, but without her, there would be no A WINTER SCANDAL. (No A SUMMER SEDUCTION, either, for that matter.)
Reginald and Laurence, the fathers in A PERFECT GENTLEMAN and A MOMENTARY MARRIAGE, aren’t just memories, fond or otherwise. They created the situation that set up both novels, and their sons must deal with the consequences. Their actions, their faults, their loves, are woven all through the books, haunting Graeme and James.
Then there’s the Ghost of Ideas Past: that character who was intended to be there but for one reason or another worked his or her way out of the story; a minor character who added too much length but not enough substance; someone in an extraneous scene; someone who was left behind when the plot turned another way; a provider of comic relief who just wasn’t funny.
Sometimes a major player gets the axe before the first scene is written. When I dreamed up the Willowmere series, the “bouquet” of the Bascombe sisters contained a fifth “flower” named Violet. Poor Violet, alas, was one too many. She made the scenes unwieldy, and there was a bothersome lack of symmetry in the uneven numbers. Fortunately, I ditched her before I had really given the girls personalities, so I didn’t miss her. (And I got to use her name in a later book.)
But I did mourn Sloane Prescott, the illegitimate half-brother of Graeme (A PERFECT GENTLEMAN) and cousin of Sir James (A MOMENTARY MARRIAGE). “Who?” you ask. “There is no Sloane Prescott in those books.” Well, there once was.
A MOMENTARY MARRIAGE and A PERFECT GENTLEMAN, were meant to be a trilogy, but when they became a two-book series, I cut Sloane. His absence changed the dynamics of the stories—Laura lost a friend; the dowager countess lost an antagonist; Mirabelle’s character lost some shading; and a new character became necessary (you may recognize him from Sloane’s last name).
This subtly changed Sir James—or, at least, the persona he liked to present to the world—and gave him a stronger presence leading up to A MOMENTARY MARRIAGE. He became clearer to me, and I fell in love with him even more. And I comfort myself with the knowledge that one day I’ll find another book for Sloane and Celina—after all, A MOMENTARY MARRIAGE had been residing in the back of my mind for years before I got the chance to write it!