OUT from the PAST
Creating backstory for characters gives an author a deeper understanding of the characters in a novel and influences the plot’s direction. It’s like meeting someone and becoming friends as you get better acquainted.
The Three Sisters series began, in my mind, with Haleigh Abbott, the girl who lost her best friends because of growing up and changing interests. If you’ve read Heart’s Desire and A Heart’s Journey, you know there’s more to the story.
The relationship between Haleigh and Aubrey’s brother Willie developed in their early teen years. Here is a backstory scene from an early draft of A Heart’s Journey.
“Hello, Halo.” Aubrey’s brother didn’t look up from digging in his butterfly garden.
“How did you know it was me?” Haleigh dropped to the ground beside Willie, her backpack landing with a thud. Only Willie called her Halo, and she hoped no one heard him.
“The sound of your voice is like music to my ears.” When he deepened his voice, she laughed. “Actually, you’re the only one who calls me ‘Hey, Willie’ that way.”
He stuck his trowel in the dirt and turned his head. “You don’t come around here much anymore.”
She shrugged. “You know how it is—so busy with school and all.” She avoided his gaze.
“You mean my sister’s too busy for her old friends.”
“Yeah, well…” Willie read her mind. She pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “Your garden looks nice. What are you doing?”
“Pulling weeds. Want to help?” He held out his dirt-caked hands.
“Yuck! No thanks, I’m not wearing my gardening clothes. Is Aubrey around?”
“Nope, soccer practice.”
“Oh, that’s right Do you know if she’s planning to go to Teen Extreme tonight?” Aubrey and Katie, her two best friends, had missed a lot of their usual activities lately.
“She’ll probably be there.” Willie pulled up his trowel and worked at more weeds. “You know, you should try to make new friends. Don’t wait around for Aubrey and Katie. Get a life.”
“But we haven’t even been to the mall this year. I really miss them.” Haleigh wrapped her arms around her bent knees. “Gram thinks I should get a dog.”
Willie nodded. “A dog can be a good friend.” He glanced her way. “Would you take it to obedience classes or train it for shows?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Gram said she’d help me train it.”
“I think I’d prefer a pot-bellied pig.”
Haleigh’s eyes widened. “You’re kidding aren’t you, Willie?” She leaned toward him, trying to peer into his face. “Willie?”
“Okay, okay.” Willie grinned at her. “I said that to Mom a couple of years ago, and she said, “Absolutely not! No pigs for pets!’ We’re not sure they’d be allowed in town anyway. But I think a pot-bellied pig would be my kind of pet, clean and clever.”
Was he crazy? She giggled. “I’m sure your pig would enjoy rooting around in your petunias and daisies.”
Willie leaned back and groaned. “My flowers. Maybe a pig wouldn’t be such a good idea after all.” He sighed.
“Well, what do you think about a dog?”
“Gram might be right, but wouldn’t you rather have a pig?” He grinned.
“Oh, Willie, you’re impossible!” She stood and grabbed her backpack. “Will you tell Aubrey I stopped by?”
I’m looking forward to the release of Her Heart’s Longing, Katie Mann’s story, in July 2023. Haleigh and Willie will be there, along with Aubrey and Jeremy. You’ll get to know more about Jesse White, Willie’s brother, and you’ll meet Jackson Stone, the special Someone in Katie’s life.