“In a very real way, one writes a story to find out what happens in it. Before it is written it sits in a mind like a piece of overheard gossip or a bit of intriguing tattle. The story process itself is like taking up such a piece of gossip, hunting down the people actually involved, questioning them, finding out what really occurred, and visiting pertinent locations. As with gossip, you can’t be too surprised if important things turn up that were left out of the first-heard version entirely; or if points initially made much of turn out to have been distorted, or simply not to have happened at all.” – Samuel R. Delany
The characters of The Fallen Snow are people you know – the young man eager to make his mark in a world he barely understands, a mother paralyzed by worry, the bright daughter chafing against family expectations. You’ve met these people, lived with them. You may even recognize yourself across an ocean of time.
Here are sketches of the characters inhabiting the world of The Fallen Snow:
Joshua Hunter, age 19 – From the opening lines, Joshua is a young man searching. He longs to find his place in a world he doesn’t understand, whose expectations never add up in his own mind. He marches to war seeking answers. Traumatized, he returns home more lost than before. And though he tries to put the events of France behind him, can a man hide his heart from those he claims to love?
Elisabeth Hunter, age 46 – Elisabeth has spent a life so steeped in fear that she no longer recognizes the pain it brings. As the novel opens, she is reeling from forces beyond her control. Struggling to reach Joshua and mend her tattered family, she questions the decisions she’s made and the ones she left to others. Can she find her voice before time steals the chance? And will faith carry her when circumstances shake her very core?
Wayne Hunter, age 56 – Some are destined to carry the burdens of others, soldiering on through all obstacles. But in the process they can lose their way and sometimes those they love. Wayne has toiled his whole life, straining his relationship with Elisabeth and sacrificing bonds with the sons who fear him. Even when faced with his own mortality, will he seize a chance for redemption?
Aiden Reynolds, age 26 – Hardened by battle and angered by estrangement from his family, Aiden sees in Joshua an innocence he once knew. As their relationship grows, he revisits the incidents that sent him headfirst into war and dares to contemplate a return to a path he’d all but abandoned.
Katherine Dalton, age 19 – Dutiful and warmhearted, young Katie Dalton has come a long way from the frightened girl forced into the backcountry by her family’s changed circumstances. Yet she is only now beginning to understand the ways of the world, and intellect only goes so far in explaining Joshua’s distance after the war.
Claire Laurent, age 24 – Everything Claire knew and loved was taken long before Joshua meets her. A nurse with a heart of gold and a sharp tongue to defend it, her resilience inspires those she encounters, including Joshua. Yet even a heart that beats strong is not immune to pain, and an aching desire for home is never far from her mind.
Olympia Dalton, age 43 – Living up to an imperious name, Olympia Dalton knows what she wants for herself . . . and her family. Clear from the start that she sees Joshua Hunter as an unwelcome addition, she pokes and jabs at every opportunity. But could her suspicions, judgmental as they are, be right? Could Joshua destroy her daughter’s chance at happiness?
Scott Hunter, age 17 – Joshua’s younger brother follows a different drummer as he barrels into manhood. Now with his idol faltering, he must trust his instincts to find his own strength.
Pete Morrison, age 18 – The Great War didn’t harm only those in the path of bullets. Some like Pete and his family must face the horror from afar, coping with the loss of a hero who will never return. Brought together by pain, he and Joshua tread gingerly among the tragedies that have changed them forever.
Thomas Jones, age 19 – Steadfast to Joshua and loyal to his fiancé back home in Pennsylvania, Tommy heeds a call of duty stronger than the rigors of the front. His devotion grounds Joshua, though he fails to understand just how much until their bond is torn asunder.
Harrison Carver, age 25 – Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious, and Harrison couldn’t be more of a stranger. An educated black man from the North, he too served in the war, a fact locals might well overlook if not for his missing arm. An agent of the government to boot, Harrison arrives in Hadley with three strikes against him. But when it becomes clear the man has something to say, will Joshua be ready to listen?