It’s easy for writers to fall in love with our characters, and like loving our children, writers love each character for different reasons. I obviously love my main characters, because I spend so much time with them and know them inside and out. But I also love my supporting characters. My favorite in Fools Gold is Billy Webster, Ellie’s younger brother.
I created Billy as a way to get Ellie to Alaska. I knew a decent woman would have a hard time traveling to the Klondike Gold Rush by herself, so Ellie needed a chaperone. Billy is the escort she needs to keep things proper, and he has to take her because she had qualities he doesn’t. Ellie is the brains and Billy is the brawn of this outfit, and they compliment each other well.
Billy is seventeen at the beginning of the book, a little green and inexperienced, but brave and willing to do anything to save the family farm and keep his sister safe. He is a caring, sincere person. He proves himself worthy several times throughout the book, and learns to solve problems and handle business affairs too. Billy stumbles a few times, as we all do, but his good side prevails. As he is growing physically and intellectually, he also forms a deeper bond with Ellie. Their sibling relationship becomes more of a partnership. Billy also becomes friends with Duke Masterson, and writing scenes where the three of them interact was a great pleasure for me.
I enjoyed watching Billy grow up in Fools Gold, and I hope you do too. Watching our characters grow is one of the rewards of the writing life.