December 2, 2013 by Jen Cudmore
I forgot to post a character profile last month, so I figured I’d better get one up. I’m excited to delve into characters from my latest novel, The Whispers of Angels, a love story set in Oregon in the late 1800’s. I’m starting with Eliza, the female protagonist. At first I was afraid she was too flat and boring, but I needed someone who couldn’t relate to the hero very well in the beginning. Here’s a little bit more detail about Eliza.
Physical features – Average height and build with blonde hair and blue eyes, cute dimples, only 17 years old when the story opens.
Personality – Sweet, loyal and caring, she has the potential to love with her whole being. Yet she has no idea how difficult life can be. Her dearest friend is Laura, her older sister. When Laura marries, Eliza must find someone else to occupy her time and her heart, so she quickly makes the Foss family her mission. Her caring nature even manages to draw out Raymond, a loner who is afraid to leave the family wheat farm.
Backstory – The family moved to Oregon when she was a girl. Her mother was an orphan who was separated from her brother at a young age. After she married Joseph, they had Laura and Eliza. Due to her own difficult past, she sheltered her daughters from as much pain as possible and showered them with unconditional love. This gave Eliza a false sense of security and a skewed view of life. She soon realizes that she’s rather self-centered. Her interactions with Raymond and his siblings forces her to mature quickly as she tries to make life easier for them.
Creative process – For this story I envisioned a young boy fighting against great odds to keep his family together. Because Raymond was dear to my heart, I knew I had to give him a love interest that was very sweet and supportive. But every story needs conflict, so I made Eliza a naive young lady who can’t comprehend abandonment and isolation.
I also wanted to explore the idea of young love, since our society pushes couples not to marry until they’re at least late in their twenties. I believe I was in love at age 17, even though I still had a lot of maturing to do. But there’s no reason why a young couple can’t make it if they’re committed to each other and make wise decisions. Marriage is about commitment, not feelings. I wanted to show a young couple beating the odds and taking a stand, even when they’re hurt and confused.
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