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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Meet the Character: Elliot William Fulton Sr.

Of course, it’s always after the book is published and out in the world that I take the time to think about the main character. Ha! Since I’ve begun writing Book 3 in the Daughters of the Seven Seas, I have been giving a lot of thought toward that book’s MC, Keaton Clarke. Which brings me right back to Elliot Fulton, Keaton’s best friend and polar opposite. He’s only in this next book a couple times—in the prologue, where he is putting some of his signature humor to work, and toward the end, when the spotlight will be shining on two other characters instead. But I can’t keep my mind off of him.

Keaton himself has always been a black and white character, so while I’m figuring out what makes him tick, I’m also dwelling on what doesn’t make him tick and what makes him different from the last character I wrote. It was pretty easy for me to get inside both of their heads, but now that I’m out of Elliot’s perspective, I’m beginning to miss him.

Which is one of the many reasons I’m taking the time to go back and talk about one of my most favorite characters, the hero of Prisoner at Heart.

Elliot William Fulton Sr. was born in Portsmouth, England in the year 1655. His father was away at sea, and his mother cared for him alone in their home on the shore of the English Channel for the first three years of his life. Then his father returned and took young Elliot with him.

The next few years of his life were spent on board the Bella, a pirate ship captained by Maverick Blackstone, a cold and mysterious fellow who proved to be more of a father than Elliot’s own. His daughter Rina, who was Elliot’s same age, became like a sister to him. During this more carefree time of his life, Elliot was a mischievous lad like all boys are. But as the years passed and he lost his father in the same battle that killed Captain Blackstone and nearly Elliot as well, and married only to lose his wife in childbirth, Elliot changed.

He’d always been, as Rina would put it, stupid and reckless. He acted before he thought, spoke without choosing his words, and followed his heart rather than his head. Obviously, he got into quite a bit of trouble because of his foolhardiness. Even still, he remained jovial, happy-go-lucky, bright, and honest.

Growing up on board a pirate ship, you can expect that he didn’t have much manners nor any formal education, but that never kept him down. He excelled in every other skill he could learn. He’s a skilled fighter and knows near about everything there is to know about the sea—including a spot of history here and there. Keaton stills gets onto him about his limited vocabulary and mispronunciation of words.

It struck me the other day, as I was reading over one of my more emotional scenes in Prisoner at Heart, just how caring Elliot is. Yes, he can be a little bit selfish—but aren’t we all? As time passed, that selfish grew. He became dark, distant from pretty much everyone. The same smile that never faded rarely curved his lips, the light in his eyes had died, and he hardly listened to anyone. Oh, wait. He never had to begin with.

Then Crimson Wilde, the heroine, entered his life. She’s broken too, just like he is. And she has no hope or peace either. It takes him a long time to realize that, but when he does… Well, it made me realize something too.

Elliot’s always watching out for Number 1, right? Except there’s a part of him that basically never gives himself any thought. He’s constantly looking out for his two-year-old son, Elliot Jr. He’s always right there by Rina, his captain and surrogate sister. Despite their differences, he’s loyal to Keaton and thinks of him as a brother.

It was his and Keaton’s differences that really drew me to my final conclusion about Elliot.

Keaton’s a thinker. He sits there, calculating, analyzing. He never acts upon impulse, but only upon logic. Elliot, on the other hand, is a feeler. He’s led mainly by his emotions and his heart. That lends a compassionate component to his person. When he sees someone hurting, his first instinct is to comfort them. When he sees someone laughing, he joins in.

Of course, when he’s mad, he’s liable to kill someone—for real.

But he actually cares about people, in his own special way. I had never noticed that about him until I started easing into the comfort of Keaton’s stone-cold thought process. It really amazes me just how deep these guys are, though at the time I might not see it.

I always put a little bit—or a lot—of myself into a character. One of those I just really poured myself into was Elliot. We’re both heartfelt and stupid most of the time. Sometimes that makes us honest and caring, and other times it makes us bold and puts us into bad situations.

I prefer to think of the good, right? Or, as Elliot does, nothing at all.

As a reader, what do you see in the characters you read about that maybe others don’t? For authors out there, what about your characters do you not notice until much later—and what aspect of their lives/personality is like you?

Join me for my next “Meet the Character” to see what I’ve learned about Keaton Clarke, the hero of my next book, Bound and Determined.

(Originally published December 14th, 2019.)

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