A few years ago, I read an interview with Linda Howard. She was talking about her MacKenzie series. (The first book in this series is called MacKenzie’s Mountain and it’s just awesome. I remember the characters clearly, even though it’s years since I read the book. The first line is “He needed a woman. Bad” and Linda Howard hooked me right there.)
Readers, including me, were clamoring for books about the MacKenzie children. I remember Linda Howard saying that she couldn’t write the story because the characters were children in her mind. She needed to give it time, at least a few years, before she could think of them as adults. Huh! I thought. How silly. This is a fictional world.
Fast forward to a few years ago. I’d written several stories in my Middlemarch Mates series, but the story for the two youngest Mitchell siblings, Joe and Sly, just wouldn’t gel for me. In my mind I thought of them as unruly teens and way too young for the naughty goings on that I wanted to write for them. My solution was to write other stories while they grew up. I packed them off to University while I waited for them to mature. They make a brief appearance in Leticia’s Lovers (coming in Feb) and to my surprise they have grown up. Oh, they still like to tease their oldest brother, Saber, and in Leticia’s Lovers they were plotting and trying to think of a suitable sex toy gift to embarrass their sister-in-law Emily and by extension, Saber.
I’m thinking that 2009 is the year for Joe and Sly to meet their match. They won’t be laughing quite as much by the time the heroine and I have finished with them.
I started thinking about this subject again because I’m reading a book written by Pam Crooks. In the first book the mother is the heroine and in the second book, the child is the heroine. I haven’t finished them yet but it will be interesting to see how I feel when I’ve read them both. (note: there was a publishing gap with the books coming out in different years)
Question: Do you agree with Linda Howard? Do you find it difficult to write/read about characters who were children in a previous book?