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We all know the protagonist is the hero (or anti-hero!) of a novel. He or she usually has a companion main character, often the ‘love interest’ or maybe the stalwart side-kick, but what about that next rank down: the supporting role guy or gal? You know, the one who doesn’t get Best Actor, but Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. I thought it time that some of these supporting cast characters had a chance to step from the shadows of novels and have a turn in the limelight.
So, a rousing round of applause please for…Vergil,
a Supporting Role Character from the Five-Volume
Legends of the Winged Scarab Series
by Inge H. Borg
Helen: Hello, I believe you appear in several of Inge H. Borg’s Legends of the Winged Scarab novels? Would you like to introduce yourself?
Vergil: I am Vergil, with an e. That’s how my Puerto Rican mother spelled it.
I am a relative late-comer to Borg’s Legends, appearing only in Books four and five, The Crystal Curse and The Nile Conspiracy.
Helen: What role do you play in the novels?
Vergil: I turn into a rather important character due to my special skills acquired while plying the Southern Atlantic in search of ships. It’s how I wound up in that stinking Venezuelan prison on Margarita Island. Twenty-five years, I got for what the crappy Caracas court called ‘Piracy on the high seas.’ (I am sure, Helen, you are familiar with the term as you seem to have a soft spot for those engaged in the trade.)
Helen: No spoilers. But are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? (Or maybe you are both!)
Vergil: Depends who you ask, doesn’t it? I think I am rather good. Especially at what I do. Well, getting caught was bad luck.
Helen: So you support the lead character? Who is he or she and tell us a little bit about him or her?
Vergil: I wouldn’t exactly say I am supporting the lead characters, high-minded archaeologists Naunet and Jonathan Wilkins, trying to save those silly Ancient Egyptian golden tablets from obsessed people like my new boss, Lorenzo.
Rather, in The Crystal Curse, I support Lorenzo Dominguez, the South American billionaire and art collector; a bit of a pirate himself, to put it mildly. After he sprung me and some of my murderous buddies from jail, he made me guard his “guests” on board the Bucanero.
Helen: Now be honest – what do you really think of this lead character!
Vergil: You are talking about that Boston boy, Jonathan? He’s always wondering if I only speak Spanish, or if I understand English as he and his exotic-looking wife are plotting their escape from Lorenzo. He keeps poking me in the chest, and in his broad ‘haavaad-yaad’ accent tests me with things like, ‘Your mother’s a whore.’
But I am smart [taps the side of his nose with his finger]. I keep my cool. Although, one day, pretty-boy …
As to Lorenzo? He thinks I am beholden to him, poor bugger. He plum forgets he owns a ship. From the outside, the Bucanero may look like a wreck, but inside, she’s a palace. Very tempting, that’s all I can say.
Helen: Do you like being the ‘supporting role’ or do you wish you could have a lead part in a book of your own?
Vergil: Naw. I am kept plenty busy, especially in The Nile Conspiracy. Did I tell you I am very handy with weapons? Balancing on the skid of a helo trying to shoot off a rocket launcher takes nerves of steel—and the prospect of a juicy prize.
Helen: What is one of your least favourite scenes?
Vergil: Remember, I’d been in prison for some time. So, I suggested to Jonathan I would appreciate a little romp with his lovely wife Naunet. The ungrateful sod slams a steel door in my face. I can tell you, I really had to hold on to my pistol (no pun intended).
Helen: And your most favourite?
I have a real good chance of getting my hands on a super ultra-modern yacht, the A&N. She belonged to a shady Russian billionaire (aren’t they all, shady I mean). This yacht was confiscated by the Egyptian president for his own use. He renamed her the Khamsin. As I said, I may have a real good chance …
Helen: Thank you – that was really interesting – I look forward to meeting you again in ‘your’ novels!
Vergil: El gusto es mio, Señora Helen.
Helen: Now something for the intrepid author to answer. You can invite six fictional characters (not your own!) to Christmas Dinner – who will they be?
Inge H. Borg [panic stricken] Does that mean I have to cook?
Seriously, I’d love to get to know a real pirate. I am thinking of Jesamiah Acorne and his lovely Tiola from On The Account.
Oh, you wrote The Sea Witch Voyages series, didn’t you, Helen. Well, a bit of sucking up never hurts. But honestly, it’d be great if they would accept my invitation.
Then, I’d like to meet Aurelia Mitela, the strong woman from Alison Morton’s Aurelia, Book four in her Roma Nova series and, skipping back to the previous three novels in the series, add her grand-daughter Carina.
Placing William the Conqueror and Harald Hardrada from the 1066 Turned Upside Down: Alternative Fiction Stories, a collaboration of nine authors, at the dinner table prior to the battle of Hastings, of course, would certainly bring animation to the conversation, if not drawn swords.
But that leaves me in the odd seventh chair. Can’t have that. So, I am choosing as my dinner partner Charles from Christoph Fischer’s Conditions. I always wondered if sweet Charles really had ‘a condition.’ Surely, the sequel Conditioned will tell.
That’s it. Shall we adjourn to the living room for coffee and cognac?
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Inge H. Borg’s e-Books and Paperbacks are widely available:
Come back tomorrow to meet the next Supporting Role Character!
Here's the full list of authors - links will be added as each character makes his or her entrance
6th Inge H Borg and Vergil
7th Matthew Harffy and Coenred
8th Alison Mortonv and Lurio
9th Regina Jeffers and Viscount Stafford
10th Anna Belfrage and Luke Graham
11th Christoph Fischer and the Countess
12th Pauline Barclay and Zilda Gilespie
13th Antoine Vanner and Fred Kung
14th Annie Whitehead and Queen Alfreda
15th Derek Birks and Hal
16th Carolyn Hughes and Matilda Tyler
17th Helen Hollick and Claude de la Rue