Photo by Timothy Eberly
Heroes often carry on without much ado following their heroic deeds. Some, such as first responders, perform many heroic deeds daily or at least weekly and most of those heroic acts are barely mentioned. It’s sad, really. So we decided to shine a light on a couple special folks who aren’t main characters yet they are heroes nonetheless, Mr. Niff and Lucy.
Mr. Niff is a goblin warrior in the William Bradshaw King of the Goblins series. Like most goblins, he is small, weak, stupid and more than a little crazy. Unlike most goblins he isn’t cowardly. Mr. Niff runs toward every fight, eager to defend his king from any enemy (and a startling number of innocent bystanders).
This stems from an event in his youth where the goblin found a little girl lost in the woods. He led her to the nearest human settlement, and she rewarded Niff by giving him her rag doll. This convinced Niff that he is in fact a hero, brave, strong and skilled in battle. Through means no one understands he has become the hero he thinks he is, surviving against incredible odds and winning when defeat was certain.
Mr. Niff is also addicted to taking trophies from his victories, and has filled the goblin treasury with useless knickknacks like melted swords, broken masks and a hideously ugly tie that he claimed from his enemies.
The main character in Of Bows and Cinnamon is Elena, a breast cancer survivor. Elena nonetheless fears allowing a man into her heart because there’s no guarantee she will stay cancer free. In comes sweet and fearless Lucy, a woman who has been down that road. Lucy helps give Elena the courage to live her life without worrying about tomorrow. Lucy is one of her author’s very favorite side characters, largely based on a sweet angel she knew growing up.
At times there’s a good reason a hero’s name is not well-known.
I actually love for side characters to become heroes, especially if it is unexpected. I think my book Sunlight and Shadows is a great example of this. In fact, one of the main things Betty learns is that ordinary people can be extraordinary heroes, in big and small ways. There are lots of twists and turns in this story, and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. But whether it’s a neighbor appearing in the middle of the night to rescue her father, or an unexpected source of help delivering a baby, or townspeople putting aside their petty grievances and banding together to rescue someone in need, or a long-buried great act of heroism that only reveals itself through tragedy, I really wanted to explore the idea that people are complex, and heroism, big and small, can come from really unexpected places. ~ Jessica Marie Holt