Thursday, 12 August 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Serena Miller's Rachel Troyer & Joe Matthews

Rachel & Joe

Serena Miller has intrigued me with the description of her characters in an obviously Amish novel. You will soon see her characters are not of the bonnet set! I'm looking forward to seeing where her story leads and hope you are, too!

Over to you, Serena:~

Brief physical description

Sugarcreek police officer, Rachel Troyer, never wanted to be anything except a cop—just like her dad. She’s a straight-talking, athletic woman who wears her hair pulled back in no-nonsense pony tail while watching over the inhabitants of the town she is sworn to protect.

Here is a link to the picture of “Rachel” that was my inspiration.

Copyright ~ Tyson Crosbie

Strengths and weaknesses

A beating she took while trying to protect a mother and child from a domestic violence situation, put her into the hospital for several weeks. When the story opens, she’s still trying to get her nerve back--while trying to pretend all is well. She’s an interesting mix of bravado, fear-- and absolute bravery when she has to protect someone she loves.


She admires and longs for the social network of the Amish, the tight knit religious order which her father left, but she can’t imagine giving up her car or her gun. Like so many non-Amish people in the Sugarcreek area, she always feels like she’s on the outside looking in.

Your inspiration for the character

When I went to do research in the village of Sugarcreek, Ohio, there was a woman police officers taking care of the miniscule police station. She was kind enough to talk with me about her job and some of the interesting situations in which she had found herself when dealing with the local Amish.

Physical description of Joe Matthews

Picture Russell Crowe with wild hair to his shoulders and a full beard, dressed in deliberately tattered clothes.

To Rachel, Joe is obviously on the run. The question is, from whom? When his truck breaks down in Sugarcreek, he’s forced to beg shelter for himself and his four-year-old son within an Amish Inn, which is owned by Rachel’s three elderly Amish aunts. Rachel is suspicious of this penniless stranger, whose cultured voice and good manners are at odds with his scruffy, homeless appearance.

Strengths and weakness

Joe's wife was a recent murder victim of an unknown assailant. His little boy, his only child, has become Joe’s whole life. The desire to protect his son has propelled Joe on a cross-country trek that is wearing both of them out. His fierce love for his son worries Rachel, because she wonders to what lengths Joe would go to care for him. Would it include robbing the elderly Amish aunts she adores?


Joe uses his fork and knife in a style usually practiced only by Europeans. This is noted by Rachel, who wonders where the man is truly from.

My inspiration for the character

Strangely enough, Elvis Presley. The image of him renting out an amusement park so he could take his little girl on the rides without having to deal with fans, has always haunted me. It seemed such a lonely, joyless experience. Joe Matthews turns out to be a very famous man who is being hounded by the press and his own fans. He’s chosen to hit the back roads of the country to try to hide—growing a beard and moving constantly.

Background to the story

I took that thought—the way our country hounds anyone who has the slightest bit of fame—and ran with it. I also saw parallels between what they have to deal with and the constant curiosity and rude questions the Amish deal with daily. I threw in a suspense element to keep people turning pages.

Serena ~ thanks for sharing about your characters. It's been great to have you here at Relz Reviewz :)

On Monday the spotlight shines on Julie Lessman's Katie O'Connor and Cluny McGee with a signed and personalised copy of one of Julie's books up for grabs!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Serena's website and blog

Enter Serena's B & B contest

Buy Serena's book at Amazon or Koorong


Amber Holcomb said...

I really enjoyed this character spotlight, and I am definitely intrigued! The characters seem very deep and troubled, and the inspiration for them is quite interesting (especially the fact about Elvis Presley!).

And I'm curious--what exactly is the European style of using a fork and knife? I've heard that it's using the knife with the right hand and keeping the fork in the left hand the whole time. Is that right? I'm curious...

Thanks for the fun spotlight, Rel!


Rel said...

Spot on, Amber :) That is how we use a knife and fork, too. Also, using them both all the time, not putting the knife down and then just using the fork.

BUT we do use Splades here, too. A combination knife and fork which we would use for a rice dish, for example - LOL!

Serena did a great job on the spotlight, didn't she?

Amber Holcomb said...

Thanks for letting me know! The main reason I was curious was because that's how I use a knife and fork! ;) I think it's such a bother to switch the fork to my right hand after I cut something, so I just cut something and eat--leaving the fork in my left hand. How fun that even though I'm not European or Australian I can still share a trait with ya'll! ;)

I loved the spotlight, and I love your blog in general, Rel!


nolene said...

I've certainly learnt something new! I grew up in South Africa and we learnt it the European way too.

I enjoyed the spotlight, Rel, and am looking forward to reading this one!

Serena Miller said...

Beautiful job on the pictures, Rel. I especially love the one of Russell Crowe--a heart-stopper, that one. Definitely the "Joe" I was picturing as I wrote. BTW--the first time I noticed the "European" style of dining was when we had a foreign exchange student living with us from Austria. He did his best to civilize our family, but old habits die hard:-)

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