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Stephany Tullis

Small town charm, larger than life characters


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July 18, 2019

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Who is the Kindest Character I've Ever Created and Why? (Part 3)

April 10, 2019


"One of life’s greatest truths is that we are all much more alike than we are different, and what most of us are looking for more than anything else is acceptance."

~Amalie Jahn, Author~

Last time I wrote, author and friend Traci Wooden-Carlisle agreed to share some of the kindness traits and qualities of one of her favorite characters, Dr. Shauna Nathan, a main character in her book, Missing Destiny (A Chandler County Novel). When asked, Traci acknowledged that Dr. Nathan is the 'kindest' character she's created and shared her thoughts as to why.

This week as I continue to explore the concept of kindness and its impact on interpersonal relationships, I'm excited to introduce you to one of the two kindest characters I've ever created. NOTE: As I revisited each of my favorite characters, I was shocked to learn that I only have two characters that consistently embody and demonstrate 'kindness' traits. So what does this mean about my other characters? You'll learn more about those revelations in my interview with Mrs. Isabella Markum of Mystical Springs, Texas who is without a doubt the kindest character I've ever created.



  1. What personality traits does my character possess that make her meet the definition of 'kindness'?


First Lady Isabella Markum, aka, Mz. Izzy is the embodiment of all the qualities of 'kindness'! She is compassionate, generous, friendly, graceful and full of grace. She is both empathetic and sympathetic. Most importantly, Ms. Isabella, wife of the Pastor of the Mountain of Hope Church in Mystical Springs, Texas treats everyone the same--her family, friends and even strangers as with Kevin and Deidre O'Connor who find themselves stranded on the road outside of Mystic Springs, rescued by Ms. Izzy and invited to to spend the night at her home.


Her husband Pastor Leonard Markum says it well: "I know you well enough, Mrs. Markum. You're a walking PR officer for Mystical Springs. And we love you for it! But I've said this before, and I'll say it again, you may also want to check with the Man upstairs about your calling. The Mountain of Hope could use an assistant pastor. Amidst your PR, sounds to me like you're giving one of my Sunday morning sermons."


2. Did I purposely set out to create a 'kind' character or did Ms. Izzy's 'kindness' personality traits evolve along with your story?


My intent was to create a character who would be a good match for Pastor Markum who was created as a likable, happy and good hearted pastor. I admit that Ms. Izzy's personality traits evolved in response to Kevin and Dee's needs. I wanted her to be kind but did not structure her kindness characteristics as part of developing her as Isabella Markum, the Pastor's wife. I believe the kindness she represents is what anyone would want and need should they find themselves in the dire circumstances like the O'Connors. 


3. Provide just one example of Mz. Izzy's kindness and share how it influenced your story.


Readers meet Mz. Izzy at the beginning of the book when Kevin and Dee are forced to pull off the road because of a flat tire and are stranded with no cell phone service.  They become anxious when cars continue to whiz by ignoring their flares and white flags as darkness approaches.


Shauna is innately kind. She doesn’t think anything of helping out a few children whose ball goes over a fence and into the street she’s momentarily parked on. She figures anyone with a few extra minutes would help return a stray ball, but maybe not while their bodyguard is in the deli buying their lunch and they have a stalker after them. What happened next was enough to galvanize her father into planning a secret getaway for her in the middle of Chandler County.


 Please enjoy this short Excerpt

Love Strengthens


Kevin was so engrossed that he jumped in response to the unexpected blast of a car horn. Not waiting for the car to make a full stop, Kevin checked quickly to confirm that there were no approaching cars and galloped across the road. The sedan had indeed pulled over but had crept to a stop about half a mile past the O'Connor's disabled car. Dee blasted the horn as though to plead the sedan driver not to change his or her mind.


As Kevin approached the back of the car, a woman got out and yelled, "Hey! Do ya need any help?"


 Dee decided to wait in the car.


"Yes, ma'am. Yes ma'am. Got a flat tire and ..."


Without waiting for an explanation, the pleasant looking lady shook her head. "These cars. I understand exactly. Just got mine out of the shop last week. Needed a new carburetor. ‘Course, my little hooptie looks nothing like that little beauty of yours."


"Well ma'am, I thank you so much for stopping. I don't know how far we are from the nearest town. We're on our way to—”


"No need to call me ma'am." She offered her hand along with a toothy, pearly-white grin. "I'm Isabella Markum. Another five miles and to your left, you'll be in Mystical Springs. Why don’t I take you into town and we'll find somebody to help you out with your car? Sheriff Dembe has a tow truck. He'll help with that tire."


"Well, thank you, Ms. Markum; we have roadside assistance, but no phone service."

Isabella smiled. "Yep, I believe you. Happens to all of us. In these parts, we know the dead spots and exactly how to time our calls." She squinted back at the spiffy sports car. "Oh, my Lord. You have a passenger, Mr. …"


"I'm sorry, Ms. Markum. Kevin, Kevin O'Connor."


"Hey, Kevin. Nice to meet ya. And who is this lovely lady comin' down the road, here?"


"That's my wife. Deidre."


Isabella waved. "Come on, Honey. It's getting dark. I'm gonna take you two into town....






KINDNESS HINT: Sometimes, it's the little things that make the difference. In my opinion, Ms. Izzy seems to have mastered this quality. Do you agree? Have you ever been kind to someone in distress? I'd love for you to share your experience. See you next week!




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