At Every Turn – The Characters

With the official release day of At Every Turn less than a month away, I thought it would be fun to highlight some elements of the book, complete with the pictures and real-life events and places that inspired the story. So check back here each Friday until September to learn more about At Every Turn. 

As I reader, the first thing that draws me in are interesting characters, so let’s start with a look at three of the major characters in this book.

At Every Turn is told through the eyes of the main character–our heroine, Alyce Benson. When I imagined this story, I pictured a spunky, happy young woman who loves Jesus and other people but is perhaps a bit too optimistic and impulsive in her desire to do good. But unlike some characters I’d written in the past, I couldn’t see her in my mind. Other historical authors I know managed to use faces of modern day celebrities as models for the characters, but I’ve always felt the need to see my characters as that would have been in the era I’m writing about, so I prefer pictures from the time period. But even then, I couldn’t find a young woman that fit my Alyce, a face that helped me write her story.

Then I traveled to Chicago with my husband for business. While he was in his lectures, I went exploring and researching. Somewhere along the way, I ran across this picture:

prototype for Alyce Benson

The moment I saw her, I knew she was Alyce! Don’t you just love her smile, her unabashed gaze at the camera? This girl shouted “I’m fun and fearless!”  This was my go-to photo as I wrote Alyce’s story.

There are two important men in Alyce’s life when the story opens. The first is her father’s bookkeeper, Lawrence Trotter. Here is how I pictured Lawrence:

prototype for Lawrence Trotter

Well, Trotter is a few years older and has a mustache, but I loved this little smirk on his face and his generally respectable air. Lawrence and Alyce are friends. They attend church together. They go out to dinner. He escorts her to Women’s Aid Society meetings. He wears stylish clothes, drives a nice automobile. He is handsome and friendly and Alyce enjoys being with him.

But there is also Webster Little. He works for Alyce’s father as the mechanic, tending to their personal automobiles as well as the building a race car and maintaining the equipement at Benson Farm Machinery, her father’s company. Webster is the only one who knows and understands Alyce’s penchant for driving fast when her world of “rich man’s daughter” collides with that of “devoted Christian.” He is a quiet and somewhat mysterious man, but Alyce has come to trust him over the few years they’ve known each other. Here is my idea of Webster:

prototype for Webster Little

This actually might be the most interesting picture of the three because this man really did work as a mechanic and did build race cars. You can find the bio of Ed Winfield, the man in this picture, at

Of course there are a slew of interesting minor characters as well, including Alyce’s grandmother, her parents, the pastor and his wife, the missionary and his wife, Alyce’s friend Lucinda and the Benson’s cook, Clarissa. Of course, to find out how all these lives interweave with Alyce, missions, and auto racing, you’ll have to read the book!

5 comments on “At Every Turn – The Characters

  1. Wonderful post, Anne! Just whets my appetite for this book even more:) Old photos sure make my imagination spin. I can never get enough of them! Happy new novel out to you!

  2. Pingback: At Every Turn – The Backdrop | Anne Mateer

    • So glad you enjoyed them, Ruth. I love looking at old photographs and wondering about the lives of those people.

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