When I write a Jazzi and Ansel novel, I try to keep the characters and their relationships moving like they might in real life. I had Jerod and his wife Franny have a third child a few books ago. I had Walker and Didi have a double wedding with Olivia and Thane. Then Walker and Didi had a little girl. Olivia and Thane decided they’d rather get a new dog and install a pool instead of having kids.
Ansel’s been honest about wanting kids eventually, and Jazzi’s been putting it off. But she’s getting close to the big 3-0, so near the end of book 7, she surprised me when she told him that he could toss her birth control pills, that she was ready to start a family. When it happened, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. I know Jazzi and Ansel will be great parents. But once I finished the first draft of the book, I panicked. How the heck am I going to pull off Jazzi flipping houses and solving mysteries while she changes diapers? I know lots of women work, but Jazzi’s always running short of time doing what she does. Something has to give. Doesn’t it?
How long can you climb ladders and put new roofs on houses before you get too big to be safe? HH and I used to watch Rehab Addict, and Nicole Curtis was showing quite a bit while she filmed one season, so I know it can be done. But I’m sure there are limits to how much you can lift, etc. And won’t Ansel demand Jazzi be more careful when she gets involved in solving a murder, since he’ll be thinking even more about her safety?
I have doubts about how I’m going to work pregnancy into a mystery plot, but I didn’t change the storyline. I let Ansel throw away the pills, even though I’m not sure that’s a good idea–for me–as a writer. But I’ve decided to find answers as I go instead of making the series hover in the same static spot indefinitely. Some writers do that and they make it work. Their characters never age. They hardly change at all. Only the mysteries they’re involved do. But I want Jazzi and Ansel to go on with their lives. I doubt I’ll still be writing about them twenty years from now, so they won’t need walkers or false teeth before I finish their last book. But how true does a writer stay to real time? In lots of series, the characters age, but VERY slowly. I’m all right with that.
For now, I’m just taking Jazzi and Ansel one step at a time. And in book 8, she’ll probably be expecting. I’m going to make her like me. She’ll just get healthier the bigger she gets. No morning sickness. No aches or pains. And my bowling score kept getting better the more I showed. Elspeth isn’t as lucky. She’ll be more like my close friend. She’ll have trouble keeping her breakfasts down. Jazzi won’t rush to the hospital until book 9, and I’m not sure if she’ll have a boy or a girl. I have lots of time to decide. And she might stay home with her new baby during book 10. Who knows? That’s in the distant future, too.
At the moment, though, I just know her and Ansel’s lives are going to get a lot busier. And that’s part of life, too, isn’t it?
Any thoughts on keeping series real? Or not?