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.