Firebrand Writing

Character Spotlight: Allison & Ellen

By on February 22, 2016

I have two characters to introduce to you today! I’m spotlighting them together in part because I’m persnickety and want an even number of posts, and in part because these two are Westleigh’s closest friends and generally inseparable. Allison and Ellen are sweethearts, too, much to the surprise of the rest of Dove Hollow.

A little bit of trivia: Allison Horner’s name is actually taken from my own family tree–he’s named after my third great-grandfather. True, today we see “Allison” as almost exclusively a girl’s name, but a quick search of the 1860 US federal census shows almost 1300 men who carry that name at the time. I looked up the meaning, and most agree that it comes from “Alice’s son,” which makes me think it likely started out as a surname originally. It also reminds me of names like Ashley that were “boy’s names” first. Might it be a little confusing for readers? Maybe… But once I named him, it stuck, and I can’t see him as anyone else!

Anyhow, I hope you like these two!

Allison plucked this list from my hand. “I can get this stuff, easy.”
“Not all of it,” Ellen said, snatching it from him. “Sure, and your father will notice you pinching things from his shop, Al. We need donations.”
“And how might you be proposing we do that, without alerting the whole town to our scheme, now?” Allison mocked her accent. Poorly, I might add.
Ellen stuck out her tongue.


Allison Robert Horner was born December 17, 1842, the middle son of a large family of boys–and only boys. The Horners are a wealthy and prominent family in Dove Hollow and the surrounding county–Allison’s father, Robert, is the mayor, and one of his many uncles is a Justice of the Peace. Allison and his brothers are known for causing trouble, though Allison’s mischief is generally more innocent than his older brothers’, who often bully him. In fact, he and Westleigh have been best friends since the day Westleigh got a black eye for standing up to Jonas on Allison’s behalf. And ever since, the two are hardly seen apart. Though some of Dove Hollow shake their heads at Allison dragging the quieter boy around, the more discerning townsfolk see that it’s Allison who became Westleigh’s shadow.

Allison’s sweetheart, Ellen Jane Moore, is the daughter of an Irish farmer and the oldest of six girls. She was born on April 30, 1844 in Ireland, and came to the United States with her family when she was ten years old. Her first day of school in Dove Hollow was the same day Westleigh took a beating from Allison’s brother, and it was Ellen who chased Jonas away. Allison fell in love immediately, but it was another five years before she let him court her. (And nothing perplexes the town more.) Definitely the more level-headed of the two, Ellen has dreams of following in Lucy’s footsteps into medicine, while Allison is a bit more aimless. This frustrates Ellen, but she’s patient, and expects that Allison will find his way soon enough.

Here’s a little more I’ve discovered about Allison and Ellen…


  • 3 words to describe him: loyal, gregarious, playful
  • Best friends: Ellen and Westleigh
  • Favorite book: Frankenstein
  • Hobbies: whittling, following Westleigh around, playing cards at the tavern
  • Favorite quote: “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:34 (NRSV)
  • Wishes & Dreams: Allison longs to find his purpose (though he’d never admit it). He also wants to make his father proud.



  • 3 words to describe her: helpful, confident, logical
  • Best friends: Allison, Westleigh, her sisters, and Lucy Bischoff
  • Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice
  • Hobbies: teaching her sisters Irish, reading, helping Lucy
  • Favorite quote: “Serve one another humbly in love.” – Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
  • Wishes & Dreams: become a doctor like Lucy

Now, if Allison and Ellen were a modern teens:


  • Favorite YA novel: Artemis Fowl
  • Favorite app/site: YouTube
  • Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
  • Fandom: Doctor Who
  • Superhero: Spiderman
  • Game: Plants vs Zombies
  • Disney/animated film: The Lion King


  • Favorite YA novel: Hunger Games
  • Favorite app/sites: Pinterest
  • Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw
  • Fandom: Doctor Who
  • Superhero: Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman)
  • Game: Words with Friends
  • Disney/animated film: Beauty and the Beast


ALLISON AND ELLEN APPEAR IN: Firebrand (novel releases March 22! pre-order the ebook today)

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