My favorite part of creating characters is getting to know them outside the stories themselves. So I thought I’d share some of the unique things I’ve learned about some of the characters you’ve come to know from my book Surviving the Stillness.
1. Despite loving to run, Matthew Mason isn’t a very fast runner. In his time with the orphans of St Catherine’s, he only won a handful of foot races.
2. As a child, Abigail Morgan was known for her fearlessness. She would take any dare, climb any tree, even snuck into the old abandoned watermill and slept there overnight.
3. Samuel Mason liked to help set the type for the pages of his uncle’s newspaper. He also secretly loved to put errors in to see if anyone would catch them.
4. Dr. Mason was known for his debating skills in high school. He was always challenging his teachers and classmates in Omaha and was voted most likely to run for political office.
5. Mother Margaret had begged God not to let her be one of the sisters chosen to start the new orphanage in Montana. She wasn’t fond of the cold or children. But as God tends to do, He showed her that His will would work through her weaknesses.
6. Sister Ernestine was trained and worked as nurse in a Catholic hospital. Selected by the bishop because of the need for the remote orphanage and convent to have someone with medical training available, Sister Ernestine didn’t know any of the other sisters. However, she was quickly accepted by them as the harsh realities of building a convent and orphanage in the wilderness took its toll.
7. Father Andrew was sent to replace the ailing Father Michael who was the first parish priest of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church just a few years after the orphanage opened. He was intimidated by the fact he was younger than the sisters and was responsible for not only their spiritual care but the orphans they cared for.
8. Sister Monica emigrated from Spain to New York as a teenager with her parents and six brothers and sisters. After experiencing the harsh reality of tenement housing and factory work, she decided to enter a convent in New York. She rarely speaks because she is embarrassed she never formally learned English.
9. Sister Josephine was sent with Sister Monica and a few others once the orphanage was built and there was a need for more hands to do the work. She had hoped joining a missionary Benedictine order would mean traveling to far parts of the world. She was disappointed when she was told she would be going to Montana.
10. As a girl, Grace Henderson was one of the few children who lived in town and had school lessons with Father Andrew. She was very quiet and usually ate her lunch on the church steps while the other children played out in the street or down by the river. Once a week, an elderly woman would come to make confession with Father Andrew. Every time Gracie would greet her and ask her how she was doing. The other children made fun of Gracie for talking to the woman, who was a bit of a pariah, no one talked about. But all those years of little exchanges impacted the woman and when she died she left Miss Gracie her home and everything in it.
Which character would you love to see more of in the rest of the series?