Sometimes characters just sneak up on you. They’re just secondary characters, not even a protagonist, someone you created to fill a needed spot in the story, but somehow, before you know it, that secondary persona has enough backstory and a sufficient story arc behind them that could fill a book or two. So, what can you do?
You write their story. In this case, The Heritage of Michael Martiniere.
Michael Marcus Martiniere, clone of Philip Martiniere, adopted son of Gabriel Martiniere and Ruby Barkley, was one of those characters. I needed something more in the plot of Realization, the third book of the Martiniere Legacy. A piece to fit in with Philip Martiniere’s cyborg schemes and, well–Philip in this series is enough of a sociopath that he would create clones with the intention of using them for parts and blood transfusions, and the later possibility that he could transfer a digital personality clone into a physical clone as a means to live forever.
It gave Ruby and Gabe an additional dynamic to resolve in that book, especially Gabe in dealing with the twin concerns of guilt over not being around while his son Brandon was growing up, and worry that he won’t see Philip’s clone as anything but a copy of Philip.
Michael–Mikey–Mike–rose to the challenge. The frightened, timid, hurting five-year-old clone who nonetheless had enough courage to stand up to his toxic progenitor and threaten to bite if Philip laid hands on him. But who also fell madly in love with horses when he first sees them, as well as dogs, unlike his progenitor.
I had to think hard about Mike’s arc. I decided that in this case, cloning meant being raised from birth to adulthood at a regular pace. I also added in the “Dolly factor”–accelerated aging, and susceptibility to the ailments that plagued Philip when the host tissue was harvested. Mike had arthritis at an early age. Heart attack at fifteen, which led to the discovery of cancer and then crippling osteoporosis. Besides being a clone, he needed cyborg heart and lung replacements, and later cyborg bone replacements in his arms and legs.
Besides the health issues, everyone around Mike also had to worry about the possibility that Mike might turn out to be too much like his progenitor, with the same sociopathic drives toward acquiring and holding power. He’s clearly heir to Philip’s intellect–Philip might have been evil and dangerous, but no one denied that he was brilliant.
Fortunately, for whatever reasons–a singleton rather than a twin, perhaps, or just the different upbringing, Mike is the opposite of his progenitor in many ways. That doesn’t mean Mike isn’t ruthless when he needs to be–he is a Martiniere, with all that implies. But the concern and care he received from Ruby and Gabe, as well as the others around him–Brandon, who accepts him as brother, Justine, who accepts him as nephew, and all the other Martiniere connections as well as Mike’s ties to his dogs and horses–means that Mike grew up being loved and understanding it.
And when Mike has to face off with Philip’s digital thought clone that is determined to possess him–it is the love and support of his connections that sustains him in that final battle.
The Heritage of Michael Martiniere is available on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, Kobo, and Smashwords (25% off at Smashwords through the month of July!). Links available here.