I decided not to off Keon’s grandmother.  She’s a pain in the you know what.  Everyone’s lives would be better if she bit the dust.  She’s pushy and mean.  And Lux is a murder mystery, after all.  But I’ve already killed off two other old ladies in this manuscript, and I decided enough is enough.  Especially since she’s family.  After all, family has bonds, even if they don’t like each other.  I had the entire scene plotted out, and it was good.  High drama.  Lots of emotion.  And that’s great for a subplot.  But…  I scratched the scene and went for something else.  Lux still caught the killer–for that crime–and the plot moved forward.

There are things I try not to do in mysteries.  I never kill cats.  I never kill dogs.  But people are fair game.  I mean what’s a murder mystery without a body or two..or more?  And let’s face it.  If the body provides a punch in the storyline, all the better.  But killing Grandma Johnson?  I decided that might be pushing it.  But what do you do with an old woman whom a nursing home won’t even take?

And this probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s read my work, but I added two kittens in the mix.  I like to show the maternal side of my characters.  In the first Lux book, I introduced Ian–a young teen in trouble–and that filled that slot in the story.  A grandmother who’s a pill doesn’t accomplish what I wanted.  So Lux and Keon buy two kittens.  It was Keon’s idea.  The man’s a big marshmallow inside.

I’ve never not had a pet for any length of time.  When my black cat Pywackett had to be put to sleep at twenty years old, I swore I’d never get another cat.  Turned out, a gray cat meowed at our door and chose us.  A chihuahua turned up on our porch and scratched to get in the house, too, and before I knew it, we had two  more pets.  A house feels empty without one furry beast to demand attention.  So they end up in my stories.

My main plot is a tried and true mystery type, so I didn’t need to wrestle with my conscience about it.  Only Grandma.  And Grandma, blast her rotten disposition, won.  She’s going to live to grace another page.  <wince>  That might be good for Grandma, but not so much for the Johnson family.  Oh, well, mysteries have to be a little true to life, right?  And we don’t always love every family member we have to claim.

Happy Writing!






2 thoughts on “Virtue

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