Don't judge me. It's hard to find a free image of a 19th century pad and paper. This is as close as I could get.
We first meet Edward Caldwell in Seeing the Elephant. He is a 22-year-old man of color, educated in a common school, and a voracious reader. He also is a man of faith and thus has the faith to show up at the Register to apply for a job as a reporter. After working for a local newspaper (fictional) and as a regional correspondent for The Christian Recorder (historical newspaper), he is ready to take on more responsibility. Edward knows it is quite a leap of faith to work for a white newspaper, but he is confident of his abilities. Eli’s interview with Edward is below. Notice how the two men hit it off and what Eli likes about the young man (including the fact that Edward, like Eli, wears spectacles).
Edward’s first assignment is to cover an execution. Eli goes with him, since he knows it is a tough task. But Edward proves himself by stoically watching and taking notes. Afterward, Eli offers him the opportunity to take a break and return to the house for the noon meal. However, Edward refuses, saying that he has “little stomach for dinner” and immediately goes off to write the article. To paraphrase James Bond, the young man is shaken but not stirred. A good sign.
Later, when Eli discovers that something fishy is afoot at the Western New Jersey Hospital for the Insane (where Frankie works as an attendant), the portly newspaperman decides to go undercover. And off he goes, simultaneously doing research for an article about the hospital, getting help for his persistent nightmares (a symptom of PTSD), and keeping his ears open for "fishy" news.
Eli, of course, tends to jump into things with both feet. And Tryphena Moore, the Register’s publisher and his boss, immediately sees the flaw in Eli’s plan: He almost always gets himself in trouble. In short, he needs a watcher. Edward convinces Miss Moore that he has what it takes and goes undercover, getting hired at the hospital as a gardener named Ed Wells.
I can’t tell you how things turn out in Seeing the Elephant, but Edward proves he has both brains and courage. Notably, he gains the trust of fellow gardener, Joe and together the two men uncover enough information to (as Edward puts it) “blow the top off this hell house.”
Finally, in my work-in-progress, The Good Community, an old friend of Frankie’s returns to Maggie’s sphere and almost immediately wins Edward’s heart. Good news! Our intrepid young reporter is getting his own love story. Truthfully, I hadn’t planned on that happening, but when the two characters met, I saw the sparks between them. Sometimes that happens on paper, just as it does in real life.
And that makes me happy. Things aren’t over for this secondary character and I look forward to developing Edward's character a bit more.
Until Monday, readers! I'm not sure who I'll highlight next, but I plan on maybe two or three more blogs. As I said, there are a lot of secondary characters running around the Saint Maggie series. I can't cover them all, but I want to give you a taste of the lively, quirky folks running around in my books.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder