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Character Profiles: Orabella Madison and Gram Ellis


October 21, 2013 by Jen Cudmore

Today I’ll share a few tidbits about two minor characters who are both dear to my heart. They come from The Lawmen of Clayton County: Athena Creek.

Orabella Madison:

Physical features – At age 46, still very beautiful, with only a hint of grey in her hair.

Personality – Formidable enemy when crossed and one tough cowgirl. Very protective of her friends and family. Doesn’t tolerate people with little integrity. Bitter about her husband’s death because she believes he was murdered.

Backstory – Her and her husband were one of the first families in Clayton County. They purchased a herd of cattle from John McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver and established one of the first ranches in the area.

Creative process – Originally I envisioned Orabella playing a larger part in the story. But as the novel progressed, I found I didn’t need her. Sometimes characters have to be cut back or taken out altogether if they don’t advance the plot. Thankfully, I didn’t have to cut her!

Francine Ellis, aka Gram:

Physical features – White hair and slight build.

Personality – Tough and feisty, independent  and stubborn (sound like someone else in the story?)

Backstory – When her husband ‘retired’ from the Hudson’s Bay Company, they moved to Clayton County to start a farm. He dies about a year before the story takes place. Although she’s fond of her dog and goats, she quickly grows lonely until Lynette and Kate come to live with her.

Creative process –When I first started the story, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted from Gram. The more I wrote, the more she jumped off the pages at me. At first I was afraid she, Lynette and Orabella were too much alike, but I eventually decided it worked because they served different purposes. Gram becomes a healthy role model for Lynette and helps her ‘find her way’ after leaving her parents and fiance behind.

What is one of your favorite attributes of Gram or Orabella?

©Jen Cudmore, 2013 ___  Subscribe to my blog or my email newsletter on the right side of the page!


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