I spend January fighting germs, and I mean LOTS of germs. I went through a Costco bundle of Kleenex boxes, and I bought so much pseudoephedrine that I was sure the DEA thought I was setting up a meth lab.
I also had time to think since I was too tired to do anything else. I like characters in books to be real, genuine, and relatable, but they never get sick. Did Sue Grafton give Kinsey Millhone some sort of built-in immunity by having her run on the beach all the time? She encountered every other catastrophe in the world, fire, theft, assault with assorted deadly weapons, but never a cold germ.
Michael Connelly never had Harry Bosch take a sick day. Now, I totally understand that when Bosch was working and in the union, he could accumulate those sick days to count towards his retirement, but now that he is “older” and working for “free” he still repels germs.
Not only do the detectives in books never get sick, their kids do not get sick. Actually, like Kinsey, most do not have kids at all, or as with Bosch, offspring make a surprise appearance later. If there are kids about, they are cared for by someone else until they become self-sufficient, thus avoiding the trauma of finding someone to watch the kids when a call-out goes to overtime or a late-night surveillance is required. They rarely even have pets that have to be fed let alone a hungry family.
I want characters in books I read to be real and relatable. Kids and germs, they are so much a part of everyone’s life but they rarely appear in books. So now, all you writers,
1. How do you make characters real and relatable?
2. Do your characters have kids or pets that have to be “managed?
3. Do you know where I can buy Sudafed without the clerk scanning my driver’s license and squinting at me suspiciously?