Of all the characters I’ve created over the years, Joe Trumbull is surely one of my favorites. I suppose I’ve known a lot of fellows like him — good-hearted, somewhat simple-minded, always friendly — but Joe wasn’t based on any particular person. In fact, when I began the story, Joe Trumbull wasn’t on my list of characters. He didn’t exist yet in my mind.
As I wrote the opening scene with Linn arriving in Brookfield only to have her “snub” the driver and be left standing alone with a wagonload of luggage, I realized I needed someone who’d be willing to help her out — for a price.
Because my first objective in the story was to introduce Linn and show her disdain for her humble, rural roots, what better character for her to meet than someone who epitomized all those things she disliked?
And so, Joe Trumbull was born.
In this opening chapter, as the first resident from Brookfield that the reader meets, Joe comes to represent the town itself. Like Joe, the town is slow-paced, easy-going, and not too concerned about appearances. Joe is very down-to-earth, not one to really be all that impressed by fame and fortune.
Creating the scene with Linn and Joe, letting them engage in a bit of dialogue, and imagining Linn’s reactions to this talkative, denim-clad farm boy was wonderful fun. I liked Joe Trumbull, and once he’d come into the story, he wasn’t going away any time soon. Joe’s youth and his discoveries about life — and love — were a perfect parallel for much of Linn’s backstory.
I hope you like Joe, or “Joe-Joe” as his mother usually calls him, unless, of course, she’s mad at him. You’ll be seeing more of Joseph Alphonse Trumbull as the story continues.