Eccentric characters are at the core of almost every cozy—more so, sometimes, than even the mystery plot itself. IMHO, it’s being in a world with these characters that makes cozy-reading such a delectable pastime.
When I start plotting one of my cozies, I make a list of the main players—my usual denizens of New Bergen and the transitory personalities who make the plot go round. I’m always trying to figure out which ones I can have a little more fun with. Sometimes I don’t figure out who the quirky, offbeat characters will be until I’m well into the first draft.
As I’ve been working away on the third King Harald mystery—tentatively entitled King Harald’s Snow Job—I realized that I needed an additional character or two to complicate Andy’s life over the long weekend the story takes place. I had originally toyed with the idea of having a blogger in my cast, but didn’t develop that idea. Then I came to realize that I needed that role filled after all. Thus, Justine Juveland, blogger and stalker, came knocking at my door. And coming in right behind her was her burly boyfriend Bobby, surname as yet unknown.
Since I’ve already written something like 60% of the book, I’m now in the process of going back and embroidering Justine into the weave of the story. Despite taking herself very seriously, she’s adding some light notes. And I’m sure more scenes using her will be coming along.
It feels good to finally have all my characters in their places. But there is a ne’er-do-well ex-husband who is also nagging at me for inclusion in the novel. We shall see.