When a character introduces herself, sometimes it can be difficult for the writer to understand why this person is the way they are. We try to uncover her life, her background, her parents, whether or not she has a pet, what is her favorite color–and why is it her favorite color?
Environment can play a factor. When I realized who Bliss really is (spoiler deleted!) I knew that she would have been placed in with a foster mother so that she would have as normal and mundane a childhood as possible. A cottage in a distant shire, watched over by a woman of solid common sense like Mrs. Dalyrymple.
Old Dally. I named her after one of my favorite literary characters of all time, Old Golly, the common-sense nanny from Harriet the Spy.
I thought Old Dally must be some sort of retired nanny or governess to the stars. She had seen first-hand how children of the rich and titled could be spoiled beyond saving. I saw her as someone who would take her charge somewhere clean and safe, a fresh start in a life filled with wholesome work and simple pleasures. I think life in Old Dally’s cottage must have been a comfortable sort of simplicity. Bliss never lacked for food or education. I believe Old Dally adored her, but she wasn’t the sort of woman to show affection except perhaps in the way she protected Bliss from the excesses of her parents (spoiler deleted!).
This explains so much about Bliss. She always looks perfectly in fashion, but she treats it more like a job than something that actually interests her. She is unimpressed by wealth, and undismayed by scarcity. Old Dally’s practical training comes in handy when Morgan Pryce tries to shock his new bride with the humbleness of his home!
While researching Old Dally’s cottage in Shropshire, I found this book useful. I love this series by Trevor Yorke!